In the latest round of mobile industry patent lawsuits, struggling handset maker Nokia has filed several patent-infringement suits against HTC, Research In Motion (RIM), and ViewSonic in the United States and Germany. But even in this lawsuit-happy environment, Nokia’s actions are bold and sweeping: The company is claiming no fewer than 45 different patent violations.
"Many of these inventions are fundamental to Nokia products," Nokia Chief Legal Officer Louise Pentland said in a statement. "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."
The suits involve four separate legal actions: One is against HTC with the US International Trade Commission (ITC); a second suit is against HTC and ViewSonic in the Federal District Court of Delaware; a third is against HTC and RIM in the Regional Court in Dusseldorf, Germany; and a fourth is against all three companies in the Regional Courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany.
With 45 patents in contention, it’s not surprising that the list of allegedly infringing technologies is likewise a long one.
"Nokia proprietary innovations protected by these patents are being used by the companies to enable hardware capabilities (such as dual-function antennas, power management, and multimode radios), as well as to enhance software features including application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption, and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device," a Nokia statement notes.
To date, Nokia hasn’t been particularly aggressive in protecting its patents. Instead, it has pursued a licensing strategy, and the firm claims that more than 40 companies are licensing its patent portfolio. Among them is Apple, which signed up to license Nokia’s patents last June after Nokia sued in 2009. Apple paid a reported $600 million for its previous use of Nokia patented technology.