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ITC formally investigates Apple over Nokia patent complaints

post #1 of 93
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In what has been viewed as an early win for Nokia, the U.S. International Trade Commission has begun to probe Apple in response to a complaint from the Finnish handset maker over alleged patent violations.

The ITC on Monday formally began its investigation into whether Apple has infringed on patents owned by Nokia. The complaint was originally opened in late December, when Nokia filed a lawsuit with the ITC alleging Apple has infringed on patents in its iPhones, iPods and Mac line of products.

In total, Nokia has accused Apple of treading on seven distinct patents to create key features in products through the user interface, camera, antenna and power management technologies. Nokia officials believe Apple has infringed on patents it owns that have led to key advances in small electronic devices.

According to Reuters, the ITC could choose to ban Apple from selling products in the U.S., if it finds the Cupertino, Calif., company to be in violation. A Nokia spokeswoman said the company was "pleased" that the ITC had begun its investigation quickly.

But weeks after Nokia filed its ITC complaint, Apple fired back with a lawsuit of its own. Apple has asked the ITC to ban handset imports from Nokia, and it's possible the commission could also choose to investigate Apple's claims as well. Given that Apple filed its ITC complaint weeks after Nokia, such a decision would likely be made in the near future.

Still, CSS Insight analyst John Jackson told Reuters that the ITC's decision was a "clear tactical win" for Nokia. But given how long these kinds of disputes typically last, the impact will not likely be known for some time.

The dispute began last October, when Nokia sued Apple over the alleged infringement of patents related to GSM, wireless LAN and UMTS. Then, in December, Apple countersued Nokia, alleging that the Finnish company infringed on 13 of its patents.

Nokia is seeking payments of up to 1 billion euros, or $1.415 billion, from Apple. Some industry watchers have predicted that the battle of two Goliaths could last up to three years.

Apple, in the past, said that it would "vigorously" defend itself from Nokia's claims. Apple executives were asked about the Nokia patent dispute during Monday's quarterly earnings conference call, but declined to comment.

"As you know, we have a long-standing process of not commenting on pending litigation," Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said.

As the iPhone has grown in popularity, Nokia has retained its status as market leader, but has lost significant share of the market it has dominated. Many see Nokia's move to sue Apple as an attempt to fight off the gains Apple has seen in the smartphone market.
post #2 of 93
So boring. So sleepy. Must take nap.

Ssssnnorrrkkkkk.
post #3 of 93
No big deal here -- it means nothing at all. The ITC is compelled to investigate formally filed complaints. That is what they are paid to do. They have no choice.
post #4 of 93
Let the SCO style lawsuits from Nokia begin.
post #5 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Let the SCO style lawsuits from Nokia begin.

You nailed it. That's all this will be.
post #6 of 93
I guess we know what nokia has chosen to do between the two options 1) build the iphone killer 2) sue apple
post #7 of 93
If Apple (or anyone else) want's to hit Nokia hard, bring anti-dumping action up before the ITC.

Free GPS will cost American jobs.
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post #8 of 93
Poor Nokia. I guess they just didn't have enough money to produce anything worthwhile on their own for all those years. Maybe Apple's money will help?
post #9 of 93
This is insane, Nokia cannot build a quality product anymore so instead of trying and doing things the way capitalism is supposed to work you sue the person you are losing market share to. What a bunch of bs, the USA should not allow Finnish companies to sue our companies, Nokia is a bunch of morons in my opinion who are just making the world worse for everyone else, companies should compete with one another and if one cannot make a better product than the other one they should close down their business because they failed, Nokia sees they are going to have to do that and then some idiot lawyer says hey lets sue the big guy now who is Apple and maybe we can get some money. Nokia = Scam Artists!!!
post #10 of 93
Quote:
A Nokia spokeswoman said the company was "pleased" that the ITC had begun its investigation quickly.


Not all that starts well, ends well.
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post #11 of 93
How by any stretch of the imagination is this a 'tactical win' for Nokia?

This is like ringing the police and claiming your neighbour has been stealing the wind that blows across your garden, and then when they arrive next door to find out whats going on declaring it a 'tactical win' !
post #12 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by surferfromuk View Post

How by any stretch of the imagination is this a 'tactical win' for Nokia?

This is like ringing the police and claiming your neighbour has been stealing the wind that blows across your garden, and then when they arrive next door to find out whats going on declaring it a 'tactical win' !

Those words came from an analyst. Could one ever expect something intelligent?
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post #13 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

Those words came from an analyst. Could one ever expect something intelligent?

Analcyst more like!
post #14 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Let the SCO style lawsuits from Nokia begin.

An ITC action, however, is usually resolved much faster than a typical patent lawsuit. The article mentioned 3 years, but ITC decisions are rarely more than 15 months or so. That's the primary reason many companies go to the ITC instead of filing a full US lawsuit.

Of course, the ITC only involves itself with imported products, and their primary relief action is to ban the import of infringing products from entering the US, so it doesn't always work. It's possible in this case Nokia is referring to their "tactical win" as the decision by the ITC that the iPhone is an "imported product" and not a US product.
post #15 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

No big deal here -- it means nothing at all. The ITC is compelled to investigate formally filed complaints. That is what they are paid to do. They have no choice.

This is only thing important here. The ITC is doing its job, Nokia filed suit first against Apple so its only logical the ITC would act in "favor" of Nokia. Afterwards the tables will be turned and Nokia will be under scrutiny from the ITC so this isnt all that interesting...unless Apple IS infringing on something which means a big payday coming for Nokia rather than having their products banned from the US (isnt that where nearly the majority of iPhones are sold? I think it was in yesterdays Q4 report)
post #16 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

No big deal here -- it means nothing at all. The ITC is compelled to investigate formally filed complaints. That is what they are paid to do. They have no choice.

yep. Doesn't mean Nokia will win or that the ITC will ban anything from Apple or when. We haven't seen a comment from the ITC that they define the iphone as an imported product even. They could be examining that issue as part of the investigation.

by the same token, the ITC could investigate the complaints against Nokia as well.

Wonder what would happen if they found both sides guilty and told them they had 90 days to sort it out on their own or they would both be banned from importing. I imagine it would take less than 90 hours for them to come to an accord.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dyler View Post

This is insane, Nokia cannot build a quality product anymore

that is beside the point. If Nokia created the original technology they have a right to gain from it whether they are directly using it or someone else is. At least for a period of time. Just as authors have a right to their writings, musicians to their music etc. That's what intellectual property laws are for.

Quote:
the USA should not allow Finnish companies to sue our companies,

okay, sure. lets do that. lets be the big bullies and tell folks that we are going to take whatever we want and they can piss off. But of course if we create something and they steal it we'll come beat them down cause we are the US and that's not cool. That's basically what you are saying.

Technology like cell phones takes time to create. And if everyone is forced to do it themselves you'd have 100 different formats and have to have a phone for every country in the world cause no one is sharing information.

This said, I find it unlikely that Apple stole anything outright. I could see Nokia trying to double dip and/or charge Apple more and Apple saying no. If this is the case it will come out during the investigation.

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post #17 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

If Apple (or anyone else) want's to hit Nokia hard, bring anti-dumping action up before the ITC.

If I buy a tom tom now, it comes with free maps and navigation, if I get a garmin, it comes with free maps anf navigation, infact all the stand alone gps systems do, so if everyone does it, how come it is dumping when Nokia does it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Free GPS will cost American jobs.

You're an Australian, what is your point?
post #18 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

Not all that starts well, ends well.

Right. Let us get this ridiculousness done with quickly. I doubt they will put restrictions on either company, but it would be funny if Nokia ended up getting the restriction and had to pay for a license from Apple to sell in the US instead of the other way around. The ITC may very well throw out Nokia's complaint because they are trying to use their patents to get free access to intellectual property owned by Apple. Although I'm not a lawyer, so this theory is probably far fetched.
post #19 of 93
Who cares. Bring on the Tablet, Apple.

Then settle with these clowns from Finland and continue to consign them into irrelevance.
post #20 of 93
How hard would it have been to actually go to the ITC site to see what the heck they say about this rather than parroting some analyst?

"By instituting this investigation (337-TA-701), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC's Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC's six administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission."

http://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news.../er0125hh2.htm
post #21 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

An ITC action, however, is usually resolved much faster than a typical patent lawsuit. The article mentioned 3 years, but ITC decisions are rarely more than 15 months or so. That's the primary reason many companies go to the ITC instead of filing a full US lawsuit.

Of course, the ITC only involves itself with imported products, and their primary relief action is to ban the import of infringing products from entering the US, so it doesn't always work. It's possible in this case Nokia is referring to their "tactical win" as the decision by the ITC that the iPhone is an "imported product" and not a US product.

Normally a product is not considered an import in a multinational companies home country. Lawyers always try to spin things, but the ITC probably doesn't really have the ability to ban the iPhone in the US... It might be able to ban one of the chips inside the iPhone though...
post #22 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

Normally a product is not considered an import in a multinational companies home country. Lawyers always try to spin things, but the ITC probably doesn't really have the ability to ban the iPhone in the US... It might be able to ban one of the chips inside the iPhone though...

What would be nice is if USITC threatened to ban Nokia for violations to give the EU a taste of tech economy saber rattling they are so fond of vs US companies.

Not too likely though.
post #23 of 93
There must be a makeover on the patent laws... Soon, very soon, you can't draw a straight line on a paper without risking getting sued.
post #24 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

You're an Australian, what is your point?

Doesn't matter where he's from. He has a point. (I had also said this in a post a few days ago).

Anti-dumping charges can be brought if products are sold at less than cost, and that can be shown to adversely affect a firm or industry in the US. GPS nav cannot cost zero to produce and distribute. Thus, if Nokia and Google are giving it away for free, it must be, by definition, below cost.

The affected firms may have a real case. And, the US government will be bound to investigate.
post #25 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

Normally a product is not considered an import in a multinational companies home country. Lawyers always try to spin things, but the ITC probably doesn't really have the ability to ban the iPhone in the US... It might be able to ban one of the chips inside the iPhone though...

It does have that ability, have a search for Qualcomm, and Broadcom
post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Doesn't matter where he's from. He has a point. (I had also said this in a post a few days ago).

It does, why is it no okay for a European company to make money using a commerical advantage, over an American company?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Anti-dumping charges can be brought if products are sold at less than cost, and that can be shown to adversely affect a firm or industry in the US. GPS nav cannot cost zero to produce and distribute. Thus, if Nokia and Google are giving it away for free, it must be, by definition, below cost.

The affected firms may have a real case. And, the US government will be bound to investigate.

They are not selling it for less than cost, as you need to buy the damn phone in the first place. No different than buying a stand along GPS unit.
post #27 of 93
Nice timing eh?
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post #28 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

How hard would it have been to actually go to the ITC site to see what the heck they say about this rather than parroting some analyst?

"By instituting this investigation (337-TA-701), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC's Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC's six administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission."

http://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news.../er0125hh2.htm

Good point. Being a rumor site I think we expect these postings to be inaccurate, but it would be nice to see more people do their homework (unless you want to lose readers). That is why I stopped reading Slashdot. Too many postings that were bogus because they were not researched.
post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

It does have that ability, have a search for Qualcomm, and Broadcom

If only government law was as inflexible as laws of nature...
post #30 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyler View Post

This is insane, Nokia cannot build a quality product anymore so instead of trying and doing things the way capitalism is supposed to work you sue the person you are losing market share to. What a bunch of bs, the USA should not allow Finnish companies to sue our companies, Nokia is a bunch of morons in my opinion who are just making the world worse for everyone else, companies should compete with one another and if one cannot make a better product than the other one they should close down their business because they failed, Nokia sees they are going to have to do that and then some idiot lawyer says hey lets sue the big guy now who is Apple and maybe we can get some money. Nokia = Scam Artists!!!

What ever happened to Trolltech and QT. I thought that was Nokia's way forward for smart phones... Speaking of Trolltech... maybe Nokia should change their name. Sounds like the perfect name for a Patent Troll.
post #31 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyler View Post

the USA should not allow Finnish companies to sue our companies,

You are kidding, right?
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post #32 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Doesn't matter where he's from. He has a point. (I had also said this in a post a few days ago).

Anti-dumping charges can be brought if products are sold at less than cost, and that can be shown to adversely affect a firm or industry in the US. GPS nav cannot cost zero to produce and distribute. Thus, if Nokia and Google are giving it away for free, it must be, by definition, below cost.

The affected firms may have a real case. And, the US government will be bound to investigate.

They are definitely not selling below cost. Apple just reported 40% margins. You seem to be looking at this backwards. BTW, free is not by definition below cost. There are other ways to make money on a product. In Googles case, they are funded by advertising. They are not using anticompetitive practices to run someone out of business just to raise prices later.
post #33 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

What ever happened to Trolltech and QT. I thought that was Nokia's way forward for smart phones... Speaking of Trolltech... maybe Nokia should change their name. Sounds like the perfect name for a Patent Troll.

Maybe you should look at some tech sites outside of Apple.

And, just to make sure I have this correct, if you have some patents, and you are not Apple, you are a patent troll?
post #34 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by surferfromuk View Post

Analcyst more like!

post #35 of 93
over at PatentlyApple.com.

Those patents are virtually locking all competition out of the upcoming smartphone innovation/tablet/touch screen areas of computer advancement.

Nokia wants exorbitant retribution fees for licensing their pooled patents knowing they are screwed in the upcoming battle of innovation.
post #36 of 93
They're both probably infringing on each other's patents and simply can't agree who's infringing more on who's patent or whether they are equally infringing on each other's patent. Ie. they can't agree who should pay who. So they're fighting about it, and the one who fights best will probably win.
post #37 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

over at PatentlyApple.com.

Yeah, that sounds like a neutral site...
post #38 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

Yeah, that sounds like a neutral site...

What does being neutral have anything to do with it?

It's a site that reports on Apple's latest patent applications and granted patents.
post #39 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

What does being neutral have anything to do with it?

Going by most of your posts, nothing at all.
post #40 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

Maybe you should look at some tech sites outside of Apple.

And, just to make sure I have this correct, if you have some patents, and you are not Apple, you are a patent troll?

Well, it kind of depends how this things has played out behind closed doors. None of us really know. But say it played out like this:
1) Apple tried to license the usual Nokia tech at whatever price everybody else pays.
2) Nokia said they want to cross-license.
3) Apple (who has been burned before with cross-licensing, which licensed wholesale theft), said no, just give us your usual rates.
4) Nokia names a egregious price.
5) Apple said fine, we'll do our own clean-room version and bypass your patents.
6) Now Apple thinks they have a clean-room version, Nokia believes it still infringes.

If that's how it played out, then there is a certain kind of patent-trollishness going on.

The problem is, even after the lawsuit begins, it's not like any of us will have been edified. All we'll be able to do is hear two sides, and make arbitrary decisions about where the truth is (like: the truth is probably in the middle... which is not the case if one side flat-out lies and the other tells the truth... SCO, for an example of that).

One thing, though. Apple does not have a reputation for just outright stealing other people's tech and trying to get away with it. Mainly because they know how badly that would fail. I suspect my scenario above is pretty close to how it played out up to this point. How it plays out from here is anybody's guess. The lawyers will make money, and there will be some people who feel robbed. That's all we know for sure.
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