Nokia sues Apple … again

Nokia phones

Nokia claims that Apple has stolen some of its mobile technologies. Image from Flickr.

In the mobile phone market, Nokia and Apple are the two siblings that just can’t seem to get along. Nokia has sued Apple several times. Apple has counter-sued Nokia. At issue? More than 40 billion in online cash loans invested in research and development of cellular technologies. So what is the latest volley in this international debate?

Nokia sues over Apple iPad

The latest Nokia Apple lawsuit is based on the question of 3G technology. Specifically, five separate Nokia patents on the “technologies for enhanced speech and data transmission … and innovations in antenna configurations.”  The design of the Apple iPad uses the technology Nokia believes it designed. Nokia believes that Apple is illegally using Nokia technology without paying licensing or asking permission.

Previous Nokia-Apple lawsuit

This is the second major lawsuit Nokia has filed against Apple. In 2009, Nokia sued Apple for patent violation on Nokia’s cellular telephones. Nokia is hoping to prevent Apple from importing Nokia products to European countries. In response to the 2009 lawsuit, Apple counter-sued Nokia. Apple’s claims against Nokia are also being investigated by the U.S. International Trade Commission. If Nokia wins the lawsuits, Apple may be forced to change the technology it uses in 3G phones and may be barred from importing its older handsets and iPads into Europe. If Apple wins the counter-suits, Nokia may be required to change its technology and will be barred from importing into the United States. Either way, there are billions of dollars of mobile phone market share at stake.

What Apple and Nokia suits mean

The real question that sits in the center of the Nokia and Apple lawsuits is intellectual property. Both Apple and Nokia have spent millions of dollars on research and development. The way United States patent law works is that processes and products can be patented, but programs must be copyrighted. The slightest change in process or product can change a patent. This means that when a company has hired dedicated developers, intellectual property rights must be negotiated. Different countries have differing intellectual property protections, so multi-national companies may be handling dozens of different legal frameworks.

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