Categories: MobilityWorkspace

Nokia Takes HTC, ViewSonic And RIM To Court Over Patents

Nokia has filed patent suits against HTC, RIM and ViewSonic in the US and Germany yesterday, as part of its drive to protect its intellectual property.

The company has also lodged a complaint against HTC to the US International Trade Commission (ITC). Nokia claims a whopping 45 of its patents are unlawfully used by competitors.

Seeking justice

In the US, Nokia filed suits against HTC and ViewSonic in the Federal District Court of Delaware, while in Europe, it chose to fight against HTC and RIM in the Regional Court in Dusseldorf, Germany and against all three companies in the Regional Courts in Mannheim and Munich.

According to patent expert Florian Mueller, it is clear that HTC is the primary target of this campaign, as it has been accused of 18 counts of patent infringement in the US, and 16 in Germany. Nokia has also lodged a complaint against HTC to the US International Trade Commission, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe US patents.

ViewSonic is a secondary target, with 17 cases against it in the US and nine in Germany. Assertions against RIM are less aggressive, with just six cases filed in Germany.

According to Nokia, the competitors are using its patents in the design of their own hardware, such as dual function antennas and multimode radios. The court cases also aim to protect a host of software patents relating to application stores, multitasking, navigation, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device.

“Nokia is a leader in many technologies needed for great mobile products,” said Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Nokia. “We have already licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies. Though we’d prefer to avoid litigation, Nokia had to file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed.”

“We’d rather that other companies respect our intellectual property and compete using their own innovations, but as these actions show, we will not tolerate the unauthorized use of our inventions,” concluded Pentland.

According to Mueller, “Nokia demonstrated that it means business when it starts patent lawsuits” by beating Apple in court last year.

The Finnish company, which once dominated the mobile phone market, hasn’t taken the transition to smartphones well. Last month, it announced a €1.34 billion (£1.1bn) quarterly loss, followed by its shares hitting a 15-year low and its rating being downgraded by all three of the major credit rating agencies.

Last week, the company announced it was selling off Vertu, its luxury phone division. The price of the deal is rumoured to be around €200 million (£162.5m).

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Max Smolaks

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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