Apple Files Countersuit Against Nokia [Updated]

In a brief press release, Apple today announced that it has filed a countersuit against Nokia for infringement of 13 Apple-held patents. While the specific patents have not been identified, they presumably relate to wireless communications.

"Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours," said Bruce Sewell, Apple's General Counsel and senior vice president.

The move comes nearly two months after Nokia sued Apple, Apple claiming infringement of ten Nokia-held patents related to cellular and Wi-Fi technologies. Nokia claims that those patents, covering intellectual property related to "wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption", have been infringed by Apple's iPhone since its 2007 introduction. Apple noted soon after that it would "vigorously" defend itself against the charges.

Update: According to the court filing posted by Digital Daily, Apple accuses Nokia of demanding unreasonable licensing terms, including reciprocal access to intellectual property owned by Apple, for a variety of its patents.

Through the present suit, Nokia has asserted unfounded claims of infringement and breached licensing commitments it made to license on F/RAND [Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory] terms all patents that it claimed were necessary for a party to practice standards. Nokia has also violated those licensing commitments by demanding unjustifiable royalties and reciprocal licenses to Apple's patents covering Apple's pioneering technology -- patents unrelated to any industry standard. This attempt by Nokia to leverage patents previously pledged to industry standards is an effort to free ride on the commercial success of Apple's innovative iPhone while avoiding liability for copying the iPhone and infringing Apple's patents.

Apple denies that any of Nokia's patents cited in its own lawsuit are "essential" to standards, but even if a court should rule any of the contested claims valid, Apple should be granted F/RAND licensing terms, which Nokia has refused to offer.

In support of its claims that Nokia has already copied iPhone intellectual property, Apple points to comments made by a Nokia executive soon after the launch of the original iPhone highlighting Nokia's interest in copying Apple's inventions.

As Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's Executive Vice President and General Manager of Multimedia, stated at Nokia's GoPlay event in 2007 when asked about the similarities of Nokia's new offerings to the already released iPhone: "If there is something good in the world, we copy with pride."

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