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Apple Seeks To Ban Nokia Imports To US

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the let's-take-this-outside-the-country dept.

The Courts 374

Hugh Pickens writes "Cnet reports that the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Nokia has escalated, with Apple moving to block imports of Nokia cell phones to the US by filing a complaint with the International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency that examines issues including unfair trade practices involving patent, trademark, and copyright infringement. In December, Nokia filed its own complaint with the USITC alleging that Apple infringes seven Nokia patents 'in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers' and sought to ban imports of Apple's iPhone, iPod, and MacBook products. Responding to Apple's latest move, Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant told Bloomberg that 'Nokia will study the complaint when it is received and continue to defend itself vigorously. However this does not alter the fact that Apple has failed to agree appropriate terms for using Nokia technology and has been seeking a free ride on Nokia's innovation since it shipped the first iPhone in 2007.' An ITC investigation is a lengthy process, but it's possible that Apple and Nokia might reach some sort of settlement as suits continue to escalate between the two companies."

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Sue first, ask questions later (3, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796350)

Is it really cheaper to sue for peace? I mean, can't the legal teams for both companies see this down the road and come to some sort of mutual agreement in advance? It'd sure save a lot of time and money, not to mentioning freeing the courts a bit. Why is it acceptable policy to sue instead of discussing?

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796354)

Lawyers need to get paid, and this is the process by which they are paid.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (0, Flamebait)

Hamster Of Death (413544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796358)

What colour is the sky in your fantasy world?

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796402)

Blue, why do you ask?

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796462)

Beacuse this discussion is a MacFag SlapFight.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (0, Troll)

Peter Nikolic (1093513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796790)

Yea why dont Apple just get the fuck out and FOAD do the world a BIG favour it nowt but crapware anyhow someone needs to send in a few gallons (UK version there bigger) of hungry maggots the will soon leave the Apple riddled with holes and festering away.

Not that i don't like Apple or anything you understand of course i just cant stand them and think their Gear sucks bigger than anything else i have ever seen scuse me whilst i puke gawd the apple is rotten

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797076)

Nokia shareholder, much? ;)

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796364)

They need to just fucking cross license the patents like they always end up doing. Stop feeding the animals (Lawyers).

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796578)

They need to just fucking cross license the patents like they always end up doing. Stop feeding the animals (Lawyers).

That is exactly what Nokia has been trying to do, but Apple doesn't agree to the terms (which are same for every other manufacturer too). And since Apple is infringing patents and doesn't agree to the standard cross licensing, they can't do other than sue.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796818)

And since Apple is infringing patents and doesn't agree to the standard cross licensing,

What's your evidence of this? Nokia alleges that its patents are being infringed, but that doesn't mean it's true. Same in reverse. Does the fact that Apple has alleged that Nokia is infringing its patents mean it is true?

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796858)

That's what the case will decide?

Nokia has a good history when it comes to patents (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30797026)

Because every other company has agreed to Nokia's terms. I doubt that this would have happened if their claims were without merit. In addition, Nokia has no history of patent trolling. They spend massive amounts of money to research and are responsible for many of the most important inventions related to mobile data transfer. In addition, they license all their patents rather reasonably to all the competitors. Companies like Nokia are why the patent system exists.

So, when Apple suddenly decides not to pay any licensing fees, I trust Nokia a whole lot more.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797032)

Given the amount of patents granted nowadays and their scope, I think it's almost certain that any product infringes on at least some of them, the only question being which ones specifically. This rises some interesting questions about the viability of the patent system itself, as we approach singularity and technological progress goes ever faster.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (1, Insightful)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797094)

Dude, you missing the point....

You have this very large mobile phone market. A lot of companies are in it. It's a closed knit group where everybody tries to collectively protect their common business. Everybody has patents and everybody is sharing them. Simple.

Then Apple joins in... They think that they are somehow more important than everybody else. They say "fsck your patents cross-licesensing! We are going to take over this little market of all of you!".

This is not nice. I don't care who's violating who's patents... Nokia just needs to win this. Period.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (3, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797038)

That is exactly what Nokia has been trying to do, but Apple doesn't agree to the terms

That is exactly what Apple has been trying to do, but Nokia doesn't agree to the terms.

Disagreement works both ways, unless you believe a priori that one side is right, and we're not going to be able to tell from some news story (on Slashdot, no less!) whether the many patents in question are valid. Good excuse for a flamefest though.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (3, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797192)

Other companies didn't seem to have issues with Nokia's terms, though ?

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (3, Interesting)

Hungus (585181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796386)

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796406)

There was this guy 2000 years ago who got nailed to a tree for saying stuff like that.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (2, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796408)

Won't someone please think of the lawyers?

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796430)

They have been thinking of the lawyers, who else do you think about when your suing someone? (aside from your legal victim)

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (4, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796420)

Is it really cheaper to sue for peace? I mean, can't the legal teams for both companies see this down the road and come to some sort of mutual agreement in advance?

Do you not think Nokia has been negotiating with Apple from the moment they released the iphone (3 years), they finally got sick of the delay tactics and went to the courts. This is a bit of tit for tat on Apple's part.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796520)

Hahahahahahahah.. wait, you think the lawyers are going to seek what's best for their clients instead of what good for them? As a lawyer, you want your clients to charge into battle and sue as much as possible.. that way the lawyers get paid a lot more. If they settle quickly and avoid litigiousness... the lawyers get paid way less, so instead they promise victory and glory.. at $5000/hr.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796666)

It doesn't matter, lawyers want legal fees, a "peaceful" resolution will never be in the lawyer's best interest. At least this way, it allows the option to fight it out in court where the real $$$ are.

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796698)

Lawyers want to make money, not save money...

Re:Sue first, ask questions later (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796748)

frosty piss

Apple Counter files against Nokia not files (5, Informative)

Hungus (585181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796356)

In all fairness, this is a response to Nokia's filing last month to ban Apple imports. So so far it has been:

Nokia sues Apple
Apple counter sues Nokia

Nokia seeks to ban Apple Imports via ITC
Apple responds by seeking to ban Nokia imports via the ITC

info from Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ao_5HVbD_IRM [bloomberg.com]

Re:Apple Counter files against Nokia not files (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796618)

Yeah, just like the summary says on the second line...

The thing is, Nokia has all the rights to do that since Apple keeps infringing their patents and doesn't even agree to cross license patents like every phone manufacturer does. This is just Apple being childish and trying to kick back in tears.

Re:Apple Counter files against Nokia not files (3, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796808)

Other than the part where Nokia wanted more money and more patents from Apple than from other manufacturers, of course. Somebody might be acting childish, but it sure isn't Apple.

can people declare if they own shares (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796934)

Every single pro or anti post needs a declration stating if they own either apple or nokia shares.

Otherwise youre statements of "Apple is god, they are inocent" are defensive and self interest based.

I own neither.

Re:Apple Counter files against Nokia not files (0, Troll)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796678)

Yeah, it's almost like they're competing for something.

Mmm, Nokia should sue Apple (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797018)

For copying it's legal moves.

Worthless patents (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796378)

When will the US patent system be reformed? The patents that the article references are

The 10 patents it accuses Apple of violating are related to making phones able to run on GSM, 3G, and Wi-Fi networks

which sounds like a trivial thing to patent to begin with. How again are patents really contributing to the general good?

Re:Worthless patents (5, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796404)

which sounds like a trivial thing to patent to begin with. How again are patents really contributing to the general good?

Because patents actually do spur innovation and research. The US patent system is broken, do not assume that patents are useless because people use them wrong. It's like saying a car is useless because some people cant drive properly. Nokia is at the forefront of cellular hardware R&D, they are hardly the patent trolls Apple fanboys are making them out to be.

Re:Worthless patents (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796432)

How do patents contribute to innovation? Do you believe that a patent-less society would be less innovative?

Re:Worthless patents (5, Informative)

siride (974284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796466)

The idea behind patents is that you will release the knowledge behind your product or design to the public ("patent", being the opposite of "latent" means something along the lines of "out in the open") in exchange for a temporary monopoly during which time you can recoup the costs of development. Taking the risk of developing a new technology is thus incentivized because you can be assured that your product won't be ripped off and sold for cheap, preventing you from making any profit (or just breaking even) off of what could have been a potentially expensive period of R&D beforehand. That's why it makes sense to have patents.

It doesn't make sense to patent trivial things, or have patents that take a long time to expire. These squash innovation because they prevent *others* from using new technologies to make even newer technologies. There has to be a balance between slowing innovation slightly and making sure that innovation is not a huge risk.

Re:Worthless patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796508)

Thing is, most innovation involved in electronics and software is trivial. I can, accidentally, stumble upon dozens of patents just by spending a weekend developing a mobile phone application. Patents should legitimately require non-obviousness, and the main way of ensuring that is by banning software patents. There are so very, very few legitimately non-obvious software patents that discarding them will do no harm -- those companies can rely on trade secret laws to maintain the secretive nature, or, in extremely rare cases of legitimate usefulness, require licensing agreements to be signed before the full details of the technology are made known to select persons or companies.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796672)

You could stumble on these things now, certainly. Somebody already put in the hard work to make them possible, then easy.

The second time you do something, it's obvious. The first time, not so much. Antipatent people seem to forget that.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

LS (57954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796822)

Yeah but the people patenting a specific technology usually aren't the same people that put in the hard work to make that specific technology possible - all that hard work is actually an ecosystem of countless technologies to create an environment for that one further step forward. And most of the truly foundational work was done by governments and universities that didn't patent their work (at least until recently, because of patent trolls such as yourself).

Re:Worthless patents (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796614)

Which brings up a question of how to measure innovation objectively. Should one count inventions per year (what is an "invention")? Products per year? And then there are other factors, some of which can easily make the impact of patents insignificant. A war, an economic crisis, an ecological disaster, or a bad educational system may slow down the research or halt it altogether. An easy access to natural resources, the main one being energy, or a political system which protects free speech will probably greatly increase the rate of innovation. If one cannot adequately measure how the rate of innovation changes with respect to the patent term, then there can be no rational argument for having a patent system at all, since the costs are real and can be calculated directly.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796936)

Innovations per person-year. One person, working for one year, to produce one innovation, is a single "point." This accurately reflects the costs of employing multiple inventors and also the time it takes to produce the innovation.

Using this as a baseline for calculation, you can compute revenue per share per innovation point, which, for a privately held company, is proportional to revenue / employees / ( innovation / employee / year ) == revenue * year / innovation. Assuming that a year's worth of development is roughly equivalent between companies, this means that what you are looking for is the amount of revenue per innovation. On its face, this seems to imply that longer patent terms are preferable since they maximize the revenue derived from each innovation before competition intervenes. Some other argument is necessary to show that shorter patent terms are beneficial to the inventors. For the inventors, fiscally, it's really hard to make a case for shorter patent terms.

The social benefit of innovation is a different story, which can't be so easily encoded in a simple equation. I think we need to look to countries where, on the whole, inventor satisfaction and public satisfaction are both in a reasonable balance, and emulate whatever that system happens to be. There's just no way to define it any more concretely than that.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796938)

That's why it makes sense to have patents.

Eh, no, that's just the patents proponents theory.

Developing new technology always carries an incentive in and of itself, as it (presumably) cuts costs or offers desirable features, thus spurring revenue. The fact that it'll get ripped off is irrelevant; either you do it, or someone else does it and your product won't get sold as it's always a step behind. As long as you keep release cycles short enough and matched with R&D you recoup your investment through first mover advantage.

Granting patents on top of the first mover advantage merely slows development down; if you don't have to innovate to keep ahead of the competition, then why bother? Much more comfortable to sit back and collect royalties.

That's why it doesn't make sense to have patents.

So there you have two theories. In the absence of empirical evidence, and as long as you believe free market competition is the most efficient market, mine wins on basis of least interference.

So, have any actual empirical evidence to back up the theory that we get more innovation from lack of competition? Most economic growth does not seem to be dependent on IPR enforcement, and in fact current rates around the world seem to indicate the opposite.

Re:Worthless patents (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30797256)

Developing new technology always carries an incentive in and of itself, as it (presumably) cuts costs or offers desirable features, thus spurring revenue. The fact that it'll get ripped off is irrelevant; either you do it, or someone else does it and your product won't get sold as it's always a step behind. As long as you keep release cycles short enough and matched with R&D you recoup your investment through first mover advantage.

That is only true for technology that is cheap to develop. Technology that cost really much to develop, can be relatively cheap to reverse engineer. This is definitively true for medicins.

If there were no patents on medicin, the one creating the medicin would have only a few months to recoup costs, before identical copies were sold, much cheaper.

Granting patents on top of the first mover advantage merely slows development down; if you don't have to innovate to keep ahead of the competition, then why bother? Much more comfortable to sit back and collect royalties.

The problem with that, is that in many fields, development is so quick that there is just a short period of time to collect royalties. Check the timespan between VHS and DVD, and the timespan between DVD and blueray.

The incentive a company not holding the patent for the current technology has, is to be the one collecting royalties and not the one paying royalties on the next technology.

The incentive on the company holding the current patent is not as big, but they to want to collect the royalties on the next technology.

That's why it doesn't make sense to have patents.

In which you are wrong. There is a good reason for having a patent system. That said, there are many problems with the ways things are, and not necessarily because of the patent system in it self.

1 Patent lawyers granting patents for technology that shouldn't be patentable. Not a problem with the patent system, but with the people working with the patent system.

2 Patent trolls. In many cases, companies who don't produce anything, but holding plenty of patents. Acting as maffia. Partly a problem with the patent system, partly a problem with other things. Changing the patent system, so that a patent is only valid, as long as it is used would fix a large part of the problem.

3 Patent system only protects large companies and only hits on small companies. A problem with the legal system in general. In this case, there are two major companies. This will settle with minor costs to the loser, thus not making it a risk to violate patents. Cross licensing will occure in the end.

The small companies can't afford to violate a patent on the other hand, it also can't afford to defend a patent either. The only reasons for a small company to get a patent, is to make sure that they themeself can continue to produce their invention without being sued and to collect royalties from small enough companies and honest enough large companies.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

Otis_INF (130595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797220)

Taking the risk of developing a new technology is thus incentivized because you can be assured that your product won't be ripped off and sold for cheap, preventing you from making any profit (or just breaking even) off of what could have been a potentially expensive period of R&D beforehand. That's why it makes sense to have patents

In theory that sounds great. In practice however, the competitor can rip your innovation easily by building it a bit different and patent that too (as it's not 'the same'). The result is 2 patents for practically the same thing. If more competitors do that, we end up with a lot of patents for the same thing and nightmares waiting to happen.

In theory the competitors have to license the technology patent by the inventor. In practice they don't want to pay and try to work around it. If by patenting your own 'slightly different' approach is possible, they'll do it.

So in practice what you said is not going to work. True, the inventor likely has more costs than the 'me-too' product producer but they won't gain it back because the competition won't license their tech.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

icsx (1107185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796752)

Well, think of it this way:

You invent something, patent it and you can license your invention to others and thus gain money. If you do not have chances to do a patent, as soon as you publish what you did, others will copy your invention and you actually lose more money than you could have gained in the first place.

This here actually encourages people to do something that they can get paid from. Without patents, you can still be excited but as soon as the thing goes out of the pipeline, your out of the game. Others step in and thats not fun.

Re:Worthless patents (3, Insightful)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796440)

Nokia is at the forefront of cellular hardware R&D, they are hardly the patent trolls Apple fanboys are making them out to be.

Nobody is accusing Nokia of being a patent troll. Everybody knows that Nokia is an actual company that does actually sell products.

Nokia's alleged abuse of patent law comes from them trying to charge Apple more than the going rate that it charges to Motorola or Samsung or RIM for the same tech. That's just anti-competitive, plain and simple.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

increment1 (1722312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796486)

Charging one entity more than another is not anti-competitive behavior.

For reference of what is actual anti-competitive behavior, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-competitive_practices [wikipedia.org]

Companies usually only resort to patent warfare when they are otherwise doing poorly. Additionally, in some sense, Nokia is duty bound to pursue their patents against Apple in order to maximize shareholder value.

Re:Worthless patents (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796582)

Nope, it's not anti-competitive. What it is though, is in violation of RAND terms, which nokia signed up to when they let their patents become part of the GSM standard.

Re:Worthless patents (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796624)

The issue is about a lot more than just about GSM standards. Among others, theres patents about usability and interfaces, not just about GSM.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

icsx (1107185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796844)

This is not a case where a company is doing poorly not it is Nokia's duty really to pursue this matter. However, it's in their best interests as if you do not defend your patents, you could lose them completely.

Re:Worthless patents (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796514)

More than likely the percentage talks broke down and they are taking it to court. Nokia just went thru this with another big cell player Qualcomm (who nokia accused of charging more than the going rate). It has nothing to do with one or the other using the other inventions. It is just about money. They settled with qualcomm for a big chunk of money going to qualcomm. Which means 'we could go to court and drag it out for years but would loose in the end'.

Apple is playing a shaky game. As Nokia is one of the 800 pound gorillas in that market. It sounds like Apple is trying to get a 'favored' status rate. These guys will not do that as it ends up costing them with other people they charge. They have things in the contracts like 'if someone else gets a lower rate you get the same rate'. Nokia will fight tooth and nail not to go below a certain rate. This magic number is never said outside of boardrooms but everyone knows who is paying what anyway...

Re:Worthless patents (4, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796592)

1) If nokia is an 800lb gorilla, Apple is King Kong – Nokia's market cap is $50bn, apple's is $190bn.
2) Apple isn't trying to get favoured rates, they're trying to get the same rates as everyone else as dictated by RAND terms.

Re:Worthless patents (4, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796726)

If nokia is an 800lb gorilla, Apple is King Kong – Nokia's market cap is $50bn, apple's is $190bn.

True. But when it comes to phones, Nokia is the 800lb gorilla and Apple is Zippy the Chimp. [zippythetvchimp.com]

Why do I say this?

Nokia can conceivably stop Apple from selling a GSM phone, if they are successful. Apple will have to change the iPhone to run on CDMA networks, such as Verizon's here in the US. But the world-wide market for GSM phones is much larger than the market for CDMA phones. This will limit how well iPhones will sell outside of the US and hurt Apple's revenue dramatically.

In short, Nokia can do a fair amount of damage to iPhone sales.

In return, what can Apple do to Nokia? Stop them from selling phones? I doubt it. Nokia sells plenty of different kinds of phones. They may be able to lop off the top-end phones, but that's about it. I also assume Nokia makes plenty of money off of their patents, so Nokia wouldn't be hurt too badly if Apple stopped them from selling the N97. So if Apple prevails, Nokia may have to make some minor changes to their products, but that's about it.

That's why Nokia is the 800LB Gorilla.

That said, much like Apple licensing the Mac UI to Microsoft, Nokia's "mistake" was agreeing to RAND terms.

Re:Worthless patents (1, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796796)

That's why Nokia is the 800LB Gorilla.

Not when your "Zibby the Chimp" has enough cash on hand to buy a controlling interest Nokia and fire the gorilla.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

icsx (1107185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796846)

Make that happen and i'll high five you. I dare you.

Re:Worthless patents (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796914)

The only loser in that situation would be the chimp who would be left almost broke with negligible ROI, if they fire the gorilla. The fired gorilla walks away with a wad of cash.

Of course in the real world, no company is stupid enough to buyout an almost equally sized company over a bunch of patents that could be settled for pocket change.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796956)

Regardless of this particular tissy, the idea that Apple would be interested in owning any significant portion of Nokia is laughable. Unless the iPhone starts making up an ENORMOUS chunk of their business, it just isn't explainable to the shareholders why Apple, a computer company ever since its inception, has become a major owner of a company whose purpose is the manufacturing of a wide variety of wireless phones. It doesn't make sense (although it could in the future, I don't think we're anywhere near that at this point)

Re:Worthless patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30797030)

You do realize Apple are now "Apple, Inc.", not "Apple Computer, Inc."?

Re:Worthless patents (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797244)

You do realise that over a third of apple's profits are derived from iPhones, almost a second third from iPods, and less than a third from computers?

Re:Worthless patents (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797044)

Despite the best efforts of the UK, there is actually some regulation of that kind of thing here in Europe.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

zsimic (548446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796566)

How do patents spur innovation? Care to elaborate?

Re:Worthless patents (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796660)

The proper questions are "by how much?" and "what is the benefit to consumer, in dollars?", and the answer better include some sound statistics.

Re:Worthless patents (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796478)

Nokia wants the patents for multi touch cross licensed. These patents are even more trivial than GSM, 3G and Wi-Fi. Personally I am with Nokia on this one. I respect the ability to profit from being first with multi touch. However I cannot believe it is possible for Apple to sit on these patents without licensing them to anyone.
I am with Nokia on this one and I hope it forces Apple to cross license some of its more obvious patents.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796572)

Nokia wants the patents for multi touch cross licensed. These patents are even more trivial than GSM, 3G and Wi-Fi.

Really. They may be trivial to implement now because others have done the work to produce them, but designing the transmitter and logic board to accurately connect a cell phone to a cellular network is not trivial. Neither is a multitouch capacitive screen. Go design something and when I copy your design scheme or buy a prefab piece of equipment don't come whining when I call the implementation trivial.

Re:Worthless patents (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796816)

Producing a multitouch capacitive screen may not be trivial, but CONCEIVING of one is, and that's all it takes to get a patent.

Patents are not awarded for manufacturing capabilities you've achieved, they're awarded for ideas you've had.

Re:Worthless patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30797064)

I don't think Apple designed the screen? I think they're from some German company.

Having said that, I work for Nokia so you know my bias.

Re:Worthless patents (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796908)

The 10 patents it accuses Apple of violating are related to making phones able to run on GSM, 3G, and Wi-Fi networks

which sounds like a trivial thing to patent to begin with. How again are patents really contributing to the general good?

Trivial? Wow? You realize Nokia originally developed all this technology. You wouldn't have mobile phones without Nokia today.

What is wrong with patents (4, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796510)

The summary is a good example of a situation when patents really shine at what they are: a handbrake on innovation. Consumer has nothing to gain if a capable competitor is excluded from the marketplace like that. Leading companies will invest in RnD, patents or not, mostly just to keep up with the state of the art, but also because when (by chance), their engineers invent something truly novel and useful, they will have weeks, months, or may be even years before competitors reverse-engineer their product and learn how to build it cheaper. It is clearly not worth for the public to pay the patent enforcement and monopoly taxes unless the patent law strongly boosts the rate of innovation (and even then, is there really a point?).

And we have no evidence whatsoever that the patent system of any kind increases the rate of innovation (the technological leap of the last 400 years is probably mostly due to the fossil fuels, and we are in for another boost, due to the Internet, the holy Grail of communication). We but we have clear examples of monopolistic behaviors, where the cost to consumer can be directly calculated, like in every case when a cheaper competing product is barred from the market.

The reasonable thing to do would be to start decreasing the patent term, while measuring how it affects the rate of innovation. I would not be surprised to see that it doesn't.

Re:What is wrong with patents (0, Flamebait)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796538)

their engineers invent something truly novel and useful, they will have weeks, months, or may be even years before competitors reverse-engineer their product and learn how to build it cheaper.

But what about the multi touch patent, which this seems to be about. There are a thousand ways it can be implemented, the issue is about detecting two or more fingers on a screen at the same time.

I have a clever way of installing a bell on my bicycle. Should I be able to patent that, because I was the first person to think about it?

Re:What is wrong with patents (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796688)

Actually, being rewarded for being the first to come up with something is what patents are all about. I'm sure you knew that and you were just begging the question, but one can never tell around here. Slashdot is rife with misunderstanding and people who honestly believe that everything someone else did is easy and obvious, as ridiculous as that point of view is.

Re:What is wrong with patents (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796576)

You must not understand where all the radios in your cell phones were designed. The fact that most companies don't have to think about designing their own radios frees them up to do other things (a la the iPhone).

Re:What is wrong with patents (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796722)

The .coms wanted decades of revenue streams from what was to be short term protection.
They bribed, bought, stole and rigged elections in the US until they got the laws passed and got biology/pharma added too.
The little creative person is shut out. Multinationals seal up an area for their tech for many decades. They then swap amongst their peers and supply fabs.

Apple is just trying not to appear weak (4, Insightful)

NimbleSquirrel (587564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796528)

The reality is that, globally, Nokia is the larger company with a larger patent portfolio and has been in business far longer than Apple. Apple may have some key patents, but Nokia certainly have more in relation to mobile phone technology. The first patents at issue were ones necessary for GSM operation: without them, no GSM phone. It seems Apple, for whatever reason (possibly to maintain the secrecy of the iPhone development), decided not to sort out licensing before releasing the iPhone. This could be bad for Apple, if Nokia can prove in court that Apple deliberatly infringed on the patents to get the iPhone to market. Sure, Apple is arguing that license terms were not FRAND (as required by the GSM Association), but disagreement with licensing terms is not an exemption to put a product on the market.

Going to the USITC is simply the next step in this legal tit-for-tat. The seven patents at issue in Nokia's filing to the USITC (involving camera, antenna and power management technology) were different to the original ten patents it sued for in October (involving GSM and wireless technology). Apple countersued in December for thirteen patents. I have yet to see if Apple's USITC filing involes the same thirteen patents. If it does, Apple's USITC filing could be thrown out to avoid a situation of double jeopardy. If it doesn't it would be interesting to see what patents are in Apple's USITC filing.

It seems that Apple is trying to force a settlement out of Nokia, but Apple have for more to lose in this situation. Sure, there is a possibility of a ban on Nokia phones in the US, but most of Nokia's market lies outside the US. It is hard to tell what will happen next, but if a settlement is going to happen it won't be soon. I wouldn't be surprised if Nokia's next step is to take the fight international, with a filing in the EU. I can't help feeling that Apple may come out of this battle worse off.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (2, Interesting)

mab (17941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796598)

Shouldn't the company that produces the GSM chip sets be paying?

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (2, Insightful)

Kumiorava (95318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796884)

Only if they are contractually obligated to pay for GSM licensing fees. Most likely not, they let the customers to take care of these issues. In any case that debacle would be between Apple and GSM chipset manufacturer, Nokia isn't concerned about how Apple phone is made.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796608)

What I find very strange about this whole business is that this is two stories in a row on slashdot where I've seen people say how Nokia is actually the bigger company, and yet Nokia's market cap is less than one-third of Apple's. Does anyone have an explanation for this? Is it something as simple as Nokia shareholders trying to prop up the stock price, or is it idiots who looked at the companies a decade ago -- or who heard some line on some idiotic finance show about Apple being smaller -- and they stick to that idea regardless of the fact that it's completely untrue? Really, at this point I have no shares in either company, and am just curious why this delusion about Nokia persists.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796628)

market cap != company size

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (2, Interesting)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796714)

Nokia has more employees, but Apple makes more money. Nokia sells tons more phones, but Apple has a hell of a lot of other lines. Overall, Apple looks to be in better shape. It's fairly hard to compare companies using a general metric like size since there are so many factors. Seems like Apple is healthier in general, although Nokia is "bigger" for whatever that means.

Looking at valuation, Apple could probably buy Nokia if they decided to, but that's not in the least bit likely. Apple's not big into the low end.

So far as the story goes, obviously this is just negotiation tactics.

What surprises me is that Apple is responsible for licensing the radio patents. It's not like they build the radios, they just buy them and integrate them. Seems like Broadcom or whoever they use as the radio vendor would have to handle that. I don't know the details of the case, though, so I'm really just talking out my ass here.

Overall I'd say they should suck it up and license the damn things, even though Nokia wants those precious multitouch patents. It's pretty clear Apple is infringing.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (1)

prayag (1252246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796806)

Looking at valuation, Apple could probably buy Nokia if they decided to, but that's not in the least bit likely. Apple's not big into the low end.

Nokia is as big as apple in terms of total assets. They are equal in terms of annual income and bigger in terms of revenue. Nokia equally matches Apple in terms of finances and has more employees. Just because Apple has more presence in US, doesn't mean it can just buy it out.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (3, Interesting)

icsx (1107185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796834)

Nokia is Bigger. They have more employees because they do a hell of a lot more things than just design stuff and marketing. They have their own factories in which the phones are built. Apple just gives money to some chinese company to make their own iPhone and puts a hefty pricetag on the top. It's much easier to do 1 phone than 1+49 others. Nokia could sell out their factories and limit their company's agenda to management, R&D and marketing but that would be just stupid at the scale which they are now. They controll everything from top to bottom, Apple has control over only the things that are on top. Apple is far from the leading top from mobile phones and has a lot to learn.

Why would Apple would even want to buy Nokia? It's not like there's 50,1% of shares free out there on the market, waiting for someone to buy them off. Even hostile takeover isn't possible.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (3, Informative)

caladine (1290184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796876)

The radio vendor Apple uses (Infineon) already licenses the patents in order to build their baseband chips. However, if you read the terms of the licenses, they aren't (and I can't remember the actual term) "follow-on" licenses. Meaning anyone that uses those chips also has to license the appropriate technology in order to use them. Apple and Nokia are playing the usual game. Apple wants too much for the "precious" multi-touch patents, and Nokia just wants to do what most companies do in the industry. Set up a cross-licensing agreement and be done with it.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796920)

Your view is stereotypical US worldview, which downplays market stability the company has acquired, especially on non-domestic markets, to quite a bit. This illusion is also the reason why Apple stocks are so overvalued and Nokia stocks are not doing very well. US investors, with their understandably but still pointlessly narrow worldview affect both companies' value more than it would make sense.

I think future of Apple is actually very much more unpredictable than that of Nokia. It's also a giant gamble to let so profilic licensing negotiation regarding so essential function of their main product to escalate to the court level from Apple's part.

What I expect that has been going on is that Apple would have tried to offer cross-licensing deal, offering subportion of their UI patents for GSM/3GPP essential patents of Nokia, knowing that this would make Nokia fear that other essential patent owners would see it as aversion from FRAND practices, and potentially even put Apple stronger position in requiring cross-licensing deals from other GSM IP owners. Anyway, Apple has nothing to lose if it tries to make GSM IP owners fight with each other and thus weaken them in comparison to itself. It's primary goal might be changing or breaking the whole FRAND practice of GSM patents, obviously for its' own benefit. What it doesn't have is capability to dispute the essentialness of the selected Nokia patents. In this regard, it's really a gamble; even in Nokia-Qualcomm dispute, Nokia minimized its losses to paying some licensing fees when the dispute was on.

What I fear, as someone that's reasonably close and dependent on Nokia R&D ecosystem, is that Nokia has itself stepped too far from FRAND practices and Apple really has something to claim on that front. I don't believe Nokia lawyers are as much idiots as Apple bosses are bigots; but somehow this situation has occurred. It would be nice to know how, but unlikely to happen for several years...

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30797082)

Personally I think Apple is overrated as far as innovation goes. They basically just have a really slick marketing dept. but I don't know why they would be over valued...AAPL trades at 30x earning while NOK trades at 60x earnigs. So NOK look much overvalued comparatively. On the other hand would I go long on AAPL? Probably not. I don't really like AAPL from a business practices stand point they are no better than Microsoft. And their tech is only marginally better.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (5, Informative)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796746)

According to Wikipedia, Apple has 35,000 employees worldwide. Nokia has over 128,000. It has 39,350 employees just in research and development. When over 30% of your employees are in R&D, you're going to take your patents very seriously. In that sense, Nokia is much bigger than Apple. But I can see your point WRT market cap. Apple has a lot of money to throw around.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796810)

Not to mention Nokia ONLY develops phones but Apple has to make laptops, mp3 players, "iSlates" and whatever other white crap they're selling this season. So after the gigantic marketing dept. is subtractred and the chinese sweatshops that actually make the shit the total employee Apple actually has for research is disturbingly small. Another American company trying to dominate by stealing other people's work and using slick marketing.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796986)

Not to mention Nokia ONLY develops phones but Apple has to make laptops, mp3 players, "iSlates" and whatever other white crap they're selling this season.

You might want to have a look at what Nokia actually develops before limiting it to just phones.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (4, Informative)

Kumiorava (95318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796932)

Biggest reason why Apple has so much money to throw around is the fact that Apple doesn't pay any dividends and lets the money sit on low interest accounts. Nokia has been a good dividend payer for years and will do so, as any mature company should. Right now market cap for Apple is huge, but it's based on future prospects with no dividend policy. I really don't know how the investors are going to get their money out of Apple. Are Apple investors waiting for LBO or liquidation? I mean regular buy and hold investor should get money back somehow from a successful company, right?

are you kidding? (1)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796786)

Nokia might have more employees and sell more phones, but Apple makes more money - in fact they could buy a controlling interest in Nokia with their cash-on-hand and fire Durrant's ass on the spot.

Re:are you kidding? (1)

B47h0ry'5 CuR53 (639887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796878)

Hahaha, and that you think makes more business sense than just licensing the patents (tens of billions vs tens of millions of $$)? I'm sure Apple stockholders are glad that you aren't running the company.

Re:are you kidding? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797160)

Except you can't just buy stocks, someone has to be willing to sell them - and if word got out that Apple was trying to buy out Nokia to get rid of the patent trouble Nokia shares would explode - and Apple would be in big problems with international trade organizations since that move would imply they think they are in trouble.

If Apple where to lose patent cases in US and/or EU they might have money right now, but that would go bad real fast.

Disclaimer: I'm a HTC fanboi.

Re:Apple is just trying not to appear weak (2, Funny)

rve (4436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796870)

You forget that Apple has fanboys, and Nokia does not. Nokia might as well settle now, apologise, pay an undisclosed sum and retreat from the American market again.

Patent regime became rotten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796584)

There are patents for very minute parts of various systems, so many working systems like, say, a measly iPod, touch on whole lotta patents, held by various parties.

So, inevitably, it becomes lawyers' game. My army of lawyers can annihilate your army of lawyers. You're a two-bit player without a lawyer army? You're not qualified to play the patent game.

The small-scale inventors with brilliant idea to benefit by the patent regime is a myth.

One can argue that's the case with all things legal, and I am not sure I disagree.

Haha. (2, Funny)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796602)

Apple is posturing. Trying to take Nokia on in the mobile phone arena patent domain is like Bill Gates trying to fight Klitschko in a heavyweight boxing title. Apple will get destroyed. They really should just rush to settle.

Re:Haha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796630)

Thank you captain obvious!

Re:Haha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30797238)

like Bill Gates trying to fight Klitschko in a heavyweight boxing title.

I am interested in your ideas and would like to subscribe to your cable network

Standing ground (2, Insightful)

icsx (1107185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796730)

Does Apple really think they can do a mobile phone to the market in few years without violating any of Nokia's iventions done in the past 20 years that are patented? They think they do but reality is different. This is just Apple's response to get better negotiation grounds and with luck, they get a Judge who has Apple laptop to the case. Only then Apple has chances to win 1 round but only lose at the end at the higher court level.

This can only end in one way... (1)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796780)

Apple and Nokia merger a reality on Mon 15 Nov 07:25AM
Posted by ****** on Mon 15 Nov 07:25AM
from the war-becomes-love dept.

know the courts (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30796926)

Oh, please. This is standard procedure in a lawsuit. Since the judges almost always try to get the parties to settle, you don't start with a reasonable demand, you start with the maximum the law allows for, because the other party does the same. Then you meet in the middle.

IANAL but I've done a number of corporate lawsuits, on both sides (suing and being sued). This is just how it works. If you actually get your initial demand, you'd be as surprised as everyone else.

Gawd Apple Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30796992)

And they just continue to suck worse every time I read about them. Unfortunately, when they get their nose bloodied from this fight, it'll be back to picking on little guys again.

Arrogant Apple Strikes Again! (1, Flamebait)

sensationull (889870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797086)

Apple's arrogance shines through again as they deny that rules apply to them. They are quite happy to crush people, products and companies for even mentioning Apple in a less than positive light but refuse to accept that other companies have rights to. Nokia made more of the sodding iPhone than Apple did in terms of R&D and now as usuall are getting bitchy that people are actually expecting them to play by the rules. Something they have mostly avoided or lawyer mobbed their way out of until now.

I hope that Nokia epicly crushes Apple on the legal front to finally put Apple in its place for once. Chances are though that the usual Apple chroneisum will triumph when the standard issue iPod equiped, narrow minded US legal system gets its incompetant mitts on it.

I agree that they should take it to the EU, not that I usually support the EU's special brand of crazy that gives them liscence to print money from other peoples accounts (Intel, Microsoft) but it would be fantastic to finally see Apple being held to the same standard as everyone else. Hell the EU even questioned the mighty iTunes, maybe this time they will actually take action.

Apple are the bad guys here. (2, Insightful)

Exception Duck (1524809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30797222)

This is just a feeling I have, but somehow the evil American corporation is more likely then the evil Finnish corporation.

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