Apple Seeks Ban On Sales Of Nokia Phones In US

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Apple is seeking to block Nokia from selling any of its mobile phones in the US, in a move sure to escalate the increasingly bitter legal battle between the two companies

Apple has filed a new complaint against Nokia with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and is seeking to block Nokia from selling any of its mobile phones in the US. Apple’s lawsuit mirrors a similar move by Nokia last month.

It all began last October when Nokia announced it was suing Apple, claiming that its iPhone infringes ten Nokia patents concerning wireless connection patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN.

“By refusing to agree [to] appropriate terms for Nokia’s intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation,” Ilkka Rahnasto, vice president of Nokia’s legal and intellectual property division, said in an 22 October statement.

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There is little doubt that Nokia has been feeling the pressure from Apple of late in the smartphone arena, after data from Strategy Analytics found that Apple is now the world’s most profitable handset manufacturer.

And as predicted by eWEEK Europe, Apple responded in early December by counter-suing Nokia, claiming that the Finnish handset maker is infringing on 13 of its patents. Later in the month Nokia escalated its patent infringement lawsuit against Apple and filed a complaint against the iPhone maker with the International Trade Commission. It also expanded the lawsuit say that all of Apple’s mobile phones, computers and portable music players infringed on its patents.

Apple is not blinking though and filed its own complaint with the ITC on Friday, in which it seeks to block Nokia from selling any mobile phones in the US.

In response, Nokia has responded strongly to the news, widely reported as saying that it will “study the complaint and defend itself vigorously”.

It also took the opportunity to reiterated its belief that Apple has unfairly used Nokia innovations within its products.

“This does not alter the fact that Apple has failed to agree appropriate terms for using Nokia technology and has been seeking a free ride on Nokia’s innovation since it shipped the first iPhone in 2007,” a spokesperson said.

Apple’s legal team is certainly being kept busy, after last week’s news that Eastman Kodak is also suing Apple (as well as RIM), claiming that their camera-enabled iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones infringe its patents.