Apple jumps the pond in Nokia fight
Adds blighty court to world tour
Apple has started legal proceedings against Nokia in the UK, turning the ongoing dispute between the two companies into a transatlantic affair.
Reuters reports that Apple is citing the same patents it's already accused Nokia of infringing in the USA, related to touch-screen and interface techniques.
Nokia, meanwhile, has complained that Apple is infringing its patents on radio, interfacing, camera use, antenna design and just about everything else, with both companies seeking the involvement of the International Trade Commission (ITC) in the hope of getting some action before the 2012 court date.
That's for the Delaware hearing, though the UK action isn't expected to progress much faster. Some time next year the ITC will decide if either company has a case to answer, and could ban US imports of infringing devices, which would be critical for ether company, though more damaging for Apple given Nokia's limited US presence.
The ITC are already regular visitors to Cupertino, given that it has still to rule on infringing accusations from HTC and Elan Microelectronics, either of which could see the iPhone banned from US stores in theory.
The reality is that these companies compare patent stacks, with the owner of the smaller stack handing over some money to the owner of the larger stack. Court hearings and threatening noises are just a preamble to that, ideally getting a few of the opposition's patents thrown out to reduce their stack before getting down to business.
Adding a UK action isn't surprising: everyone loves to visit London on occasion, though they'll no doubt be hoping the hearing can be postponed until the summer months when the capital is looking its best. ®
What's so attravtive to Apple in UK jurisprudence?
May be the Learned Beak should postpone all proceedings in this matter until the US trade and court system has ruled on the matter.
I can understand people choosing the UK for libel cases, although this legal tourist activity is about to be curtailed, but why the UK for technology cases?
Re: Software patents in the UK?
Where does the article say anything about software patents?
Nokia sued regarding patents that "cover wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption" all of which may be hardware related. Apple sued regarding various patents including signal processing and power conservation (although other aspects do have a software feel). (in the US, I haven't seen the UK details)
That aside, the UK does have a fairly robust approach to "software patents" but it is possible to get a "software patent" as along as it is not solely related to software. The prime example is a software program which controls a manufacturing plant. If the improved software "invention" were to result in better quality/faster manufacture, there is a good argument that it has a real world "technical effect" and would be allowable and enforceable in the UK.
That is the law as it stands in the UK - not a comment on what is right.
</ patent lesson>
either company in the ether?
Some time next year the ITC will decide if either company has a case to answer, and could ban US imports of infringing devices, which would be critical for ether company, though more damaging for Apple given Nokia's limited US presence.