ITC staff backs Nokia in patent dispute with Apple

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The staff of the U.S. International Trade Commission has sided with Nokia and said that Apple has not provided enough evidence to establish a patent violation, according to a new memo.



Staff of the ITC is a third-party in the case, and does not necessarily represent a final outcome in the patent lawsuit, as noted by Bloomberg. But it is an early victory for Nokia, which is engaged in a major legal battle with Apple that is expected to last for years.



Nokia has challenged assertions that it infringes on Apple-owned patents related to the iPhone. It is also attempting to convince the commission that Apple's patents are invalid.



Apple has accused Nokia of infringing on 13 patents related to a variety of technologies, including graphical user interface and booting of a handset. Apple has also accused Nokia of attempting to obtain more money from it than other companies, and is attempting to obtain special licensing terms for patents related to open standards.



But ITC staff has determined that "some aspects" of Apple's patents are invalid, while others were not infringed upon by Nokia. Judge Charles Bullock is not, however, obligated to follow the staff's position in his findings, scheduled for release in February 2011.



The ITC trial began this week in Washington, and Apple has asked the commission to block the import of Nokia phones into the U.S. In addition, Nokia has its own separate suit filed with the ITC against Apple, and that trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 29.



The legal battle between Nokia and Apple is just one of a number currently underway in the highly competitive wireless industry. Just last week, Apple countersued Motorola, as each company has accused the other of patent violations.



Earlier this year, Apple also sued HTC, alleging that handsets running Google's Android mobile operating system are in violation of 20 iPhone-related patents. "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it," Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said. "We've decided to do something about it."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented violations, or we can do something about it,"



    Is that REALLY an accurate quote??????



    C
  • Reply 2 of 23
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    Any idea on how a patent that was approved can be invalid? I am clueless on this stuff.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    Any idea on how a patent that was approved can be invalid? I am clueless on this stuff.



    patent clerks are overworked and can't be expected to know everything about everything
  • Reply 4 of 23
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    Any idea on how a patent that was approved can be invalid? I am clueless on this stuff.



    One way would be to show that Apple received a patent for something that someone else has a prior patent for. That can fall apart if Apple's version isn't exactly like the original. Vast improvement is patentable even if it is based on someone else's patent. So say, by way of example, that Nokia patents using a touch screen interface that requires a stylus. But then Apple improves that by patenting a touch screen interface that works with a stylus or just a finger, AND has the ability to read multiple points of contact. Apple has made a new thing and can patent it (a lot of idea patents are superceded in this way by patents of actually technology to make the idea work)



    Another way is to simply to argue that the patent is just an idea. Or that Apple isn't the progenitor of the tech (just the ones to get to the patent office first).



    It's all a complex mess really. In the end the important thing to note is that this is not a legally binding call and the Judge can ignore the ITC. And hopefully Apple has proof of the licensing allegations because that's a key point in their argument. Because one thing that is in patent law is that you have to give equal treatment to all licensees. Which they are saying Nokia did not.



    And it is worth noting that some of these patents are the same ones Nokia was sued over and lost and now they are jointly owned. So if Apple can prove that they paid to the group, and Nokia asked for additional payments, it won't look good for Nokia
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    patent clerks are overworked and can't be expected to know everything about everything



    Put enough of them into a room and eventually one of them will come up with the Theory of Relativity.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    markbmarkb Posts: 153member
    sounds like a pretty big blow for Apple. If the judge follows his staff's reocmmendations could impact a lot more than this case.



    Not happy about this. I think patent law is in a state of utter chaos. I have a couple and work in an environment heavily dependant on them, and am continously amazed at what garbage gets a patent.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,698member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


    Put enough of them into a room and eventually one of them will come up with the Theory of Relativity.



    One has to wonder just how much attention Einstein was giving his job while he was actually working on "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies".
  • Reply 8 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markb View Post


    sounds like a pretty big blow for Apple. If the judge follows his staff's reocmmendations could impact a lot more than this case.



    Not happy about this. I think patent law is in a state of utter chaos. I have a couple and work in an environment heavily dependant on them, and am continously amazed at what garbage gets a patent.



    The judge is independent.. The "staff" is a third party actually..
  • Reply 9 of 23
    They'll settle this out of court like all big companies do. They maybe hostile to each other but they are a business after all and it makes business sense to settle than let a jury do more financial damage not to mention lawyers getting richer.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by markb View Post


    sounds like a pretty big blow for Apple.



    Not really.



    EVEN IF we assume that the reporting is accurate (BIG assumption) and EVEN IF the judge follows the staff recommendation, look at what they said:



    "But ITC staff has determined that "some aspects" of Apple's patents are invalid, while others were not infringed upon by Nokia."



    SOME aspects are invalid - which means that SOME aspects ARE valid.



    SOME were not infringed.



    There's nothing there that says that Nokia is completely innocent - EVEN IF we make the big assumption that the report is factual.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    I'm seeing an "apple news trend" today:

    - Apple appears to be losing legal decision.

    - Apple hires new lawyers.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Has anyone been able to find the actual 'pre-hearing memo' issued by the USITC? If so, could you please post a link?



    I am unable to find it on ITC's (slow-as-molasses) website.



    I am surprised that Susan Decker, the Bloomberg reporter does not care to provide the link in her story (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-1...one-trial.html)
  • Reply 13 of 23
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    SOME aspects are invalid - which means that SOME aspects ARE valid.



    SOME were not infringed.



    I think you're reading it wrong. Other, more neutral, news sources are reporting it as SOME aspects are invalid and THE REST were not infringed.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    Lets be honest if apple did not give us the iphone Nokia and all the others will still be offering us crappy phones with ever smaller keys for testing a poor internet experience.

    I feel that judging by some of the patent violations that apple have been forced to pay out and there

    very sparse content relating to what there claiming for apple should be able to sue the rest of manufactures for an obvious copy cat phones.



    Some patent violations the thinkers have not even produced a viable product.

    The patent violation should only be judged as proven if the violated has a proven product .



    I could go on moaning but hey .

  • Reply 15 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    One has to wonder just how much attention Einstein was giving his job while he was actually working on "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies".



  • Reply 16 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    I think you're reading it wrong. Other, more neutral, news sources are reporting it as SOME aspects are invalid and THE REST were not infringed.



    yeah, but people are forgetting also that:



    - this is just an *opinion* by the ITC

    - that the ITC while a third party, is far from unbiased.

    - that it's the job of those in the ITC to minimise the effects of these kinds of disputes on trade



    Apple was asking for all Nokia phones coming in to the USA to be stopped (banned) for a protracted period of time. The fact that the ITC is saying that there is no support for a blanket ban, and that instead only a few individual models should be blocked, is really no surprise at all.



    Did anyone really expect the ITC to think it was a good idea to ban trade from such a large corporation as Nokia, country-wide, for a long period of time? This isn't really even news looked at that way.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    I think you're reading it wrong. Other, more neutral, news sources are reporting it as SOME aspects are invalid and THE REST were not infringed.





    Quote:

    But ITC staff has determined that "some aspects" of Apple's patents are invalid, while others were not infringed upon by Nokia.



    You are always welcome to cite those other news sources btw.. just sayin'
  • Reply 18 of 23
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • Reply 19 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    yeah, but people are forgetting also that:



    - this is just an *opinion* by the ITC

    - that the ITC while a third party, is far from unbiased.

    - that it's the job of those in the ITC to minimise the effects of these kinds of disputes on trade



    1) Their opinions are taken very seriously by judges (just as the FTC's views on antitrust are only an 'opinion').



    2) If there is a bias, that would be towards a US firm, no? (ITC is a part of the US government).



    3) How did you conclude (and where did you find data) that the job of ITC is to '.....minimise the effects of these kinds of disputes on trade'!?
  • Reply 20 of 23
    Quote:

    Apple was asking for all Nokia phones coming in to the USA to be stopped (banned) for a protracted period of time. The fact that the ITC is saying that there is no support for a blanket ban, and that instead only a few individual models should be blocked, is really no surprise at all.



    Did anyone really expect the ITC to think it was a good idea to ban trade from such a large corporation as Nokia, country-wide, for a long period of time? This isn't really even news looked at that way.



    That's just something all companies ask for in these cases. Nokia also asked for a ban on iPhones being imported.



    All things considered bit of a blow to Apple, but better for consumers. Apple may have a right to a lot of the technology in the iPhone, but imagine if the keyboard and mouse had a patent that was enforced, or the same with how you drive a car. Whete would the world be if these things had to be different with every manufacturer.
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