Feeds

Nokia takes hit in High Court priority-calls patent battle

Battle goes on, lawyers drool over war-chests

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The UK High Court ruling on Nokia's infringement of patents held by IPCom has both sides declaring victory, which is jolly friendly but not entirely accurate.

The latest chapter in the ongoing dispute, which goes back to 2007, falls largely in IPCom's favour in dismissing Nokia's various attempts to have the patent invalidated. The judge's ruling does agree that Nokia's more recent innovations bypass the patent, though IPCom reckons that also puts Nokia handsets outside the 3G (UMTS) standard.

The patent in question relates to prioritising users, enabling a class of users (such as the emergency services, or members of the Illuminati, or any other group) to gain priority access to the network. IPCom claims that it's impossible to make a 3G phone without infringing its patent, Nokia says that's simply untrue, and both companies agree that the battle is far from over.

The patent in question - UK patent number 1 841 268 - was filed by Bosch back when it cared about telephony. IPCom GmbH (not to be confused with IP.Com) bought the patent and started trying to extract an estimated €12bn from Nokia in licence fees.

Since then Nokia has complained, unsuccessfully, to the European Commission, and last year the UK High Court ruled two contested patents were invalid. But IPCom successfully amended one of the patents, making it less broad in its claims, and now the High Court has decided that Nokia has been in breach of that patent.

Whether Nokia is still in breach is more open to question. Nokia handsets originally used a mechanism for priority which is termed A1 for reference: that has now been declared in breach of the patent.

For the N96 the company tweaked the system, terming the tweak A2: A2 has also been declared in breach. These days Nokia has a range of solutions, dubbed B, C, D, E, F, and G, which Mr Justice Floyd (presiding) has specifically ruled as not infringing on the IPCom patent.

IPCom also attempted to get the judge to rule that its patent was essential for phones complying with the UMTS (3G) standard - something the judge declined to do as it wasn't pertinent to his decision on the validity of the patent.

That's not stopped IPCom claiming that its patent is essential to the 3G standard, a claim Nokia explicitly rejects. IPCom also says it will be seeking an injunction on Nokia phones being sold in the UK, though if Nokia's claims that the current handsets don't use A1 or A2 are true then it seems unlikely that such an injunction would be granted.

Nokia says it will also appeal against the decision, specifically the ruling that the patent is valid. During this case Nokia tried to argue that the patent wasn't obvious, that it was a natural development of existing standards, that in modifying the patent IPCom added matter broadening its the cover, and that the patent was insufficiently detailed to be valid anyway.

Those arguments were rejected by Mr Floyd, but that won't stop Nokia repeating them on appeal.

Both sides seem well funded, which seems increasingly important in patent cases these days. So it's likely this one will run for a few years more before we see only one side able to claim victory. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.