Feeds

Nokia sues Apple (again)

Finns to match Apple 'by 2011'

High performance access to file storage

Nokia has beefed up its legal challenge to Apple, filing a second patent-infringement lawsuit against Cupertino in US District Court in Delaware. This time around, the Finnish outfit says that Apple stole patents that make Nokia unique, including patents for a camera phone and a touch-screen display.

The suit comes on the heels of the Finnish phonemaker's filing last week of an infringement claim against Apple with the US International Trade Commission. At that time, Nokia issued a press release that said "virtually all of [Apple's] mobile phones, portable music players, and computers" infringed on Nokia patents.

The USITC complaint was a ramp-up of Nokia's original suit against Apple, filed back in October - which Apple responded to in kind in the middle of December.

According to iPodnn, Finland's Taloussanomat has reported that the USITC complaint covers much of the same ground as the most recent Delaware lawsuit. Apparently, Nokia is trying to keep all its bases covered, both in court and in international trade tribunals.

With all these briefs and complaints being tossed back and forth, it can be hard at times to divine the reasoning behind them. Fortunately, Nokia's mobile-phone honcho Rick Simonson recently brought it all into focus when he spoke with The Economic Times of India. "By 2011," he said, "we will be at par with Apple and RIM in smartphones."

Simonson's confidence is impressive. "Not only [will] we draw level with them," he said, "we will also win the war because, in addition to email, we will be adding content, chat, music, entertainment and several other features, which will soon become very critical for success of any company in this space."

To "win the war," Nokia is taking at least one page from Apple's play book, cutting back on the number of individual devices it plans to offer, just as Cupertino has pulled ahead of it in smartphone revenue.

Another warlike strategy that the boys from Espoo are employing is cluster bombing with multiple legal challenges. Their recent patent-infringement filing, for example, is a multi-pronged affair, attacking seven specific patents that Nokia believes Apple is infringing upon.

A quick scan of the seven patents mentioned in this recent lawsuit reveals that some of them - listed below in order of the dates they were grated and identified by their US Patent and Trademark Office number - are quite broad indeed:

  • 6,073,036, "Mobile station with touch input having automatic symbol magnification function," 2000, which is a rather straightforward description of how a touch-screen display works
  • 6,262,735, "Utilizing the contents of a message," 2001, which describes a method in which a command can be sent to a device by the user touching a "character-based message" - pretty much how any touch-screen display works
  • 6,518,957, "Communications device with touch sensitive screen," 2003, which in equally broad language describes a phone with a touch screen, of which part can be disabled when required, such as when holding the phone to your ear
  • 6,714,091, "VCO with programmable output power," granted in 2004, which describes a method for reducing power losses in a phase-locked loop by using a microcontroller-equipped voltage-controlled oscillator
  • 6,834,181, "Mobile communication device and related construction method," 2004, which describes a method of combining a mobile phone's antenna and speaker in the same chamber to improve bass response
  • 6,895,256, "Optimized camera sensor architecture for a mobile telephone," 2005, which in what appears to be quite broad language describes an integrating a lens and sensor to comprise a digital camera
  • 6,924,789, "User interface device," 2005, which appears for all the world to simply be a keypad built using a standard capacitive touch screen that can accept input by touching keys or "sliding a finger"

The interesting thing about this collection of patents is that Nokia identifies them as "implementation patents" and differentiates them from the patents in its earlier lawsuit, which it defined as "essential patents" - meaning patents from which industry standards can be derived.

As Nokia explains in the lawsuit, these implementation patents "are particularly important to Nokia's success because they permit Nokia to differentiate its products from those of its competitors."

Exactly how Nokia's patents for a digital camera, touch-screen interface, and a capacitance-based keypad differentiate its phones from millions of other handhelds flooding the world's markets will be up to lawyers to argue and a judge to decide. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.