ITC Staff Side With Nokia Regarding Apple's Patent Claims

Nokia and Apple, which have been involved in a patent dispute for over a year that has seen both parties file lawsuits and U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) complaints against each other, are finally headed to a courtroom after ITC staff issued a memo supporting Nokia in its defense against Apple's claims, Bloomberg reports.

"The evidence will not establish a violation" of Apple patent rights, the staff, which acts on behalf of the public as a third party in the case, said in a pre-hearing memo released yesterday. Apple is asking the ITC to block imports of Nokia phones into the U.S., claiming they are infringing four patents.

In their examination of the case, ITC staff determined that certain aspects of Apple's patents cited in the lawsuit should be found invalid, while other patents have not been infringed by Nokia's devices.

A decision from ITC Administrative Law Judge Charles Bullock is due in February, and while he is not required to follow the advice of ITC staff, their findings will clearly carry significant weight in the case.

The ITC has yet to take a position in Nokia's suit against Apple, which is scheduled to go to trial at the end of this month.

Related federal court cases covering the patent dispute have been on hold since March of this year pending the outcome of these ITC lawsuits.