Apple has responded to a patent claim against it with a counter-attack, accusing mobile phone maker Nokia of violating 13 of its patents. The counter-suit pits two of the device industry's biggest names against each other in a high stakes court battle.
In October Nokia sued Apple over 10 mobile phone-related patents it said the company had infringed . The computer and iPhone maker has now hit back with a claim that Nokia is infringing 13 Apple patents.
Nokia claimed in October that it would not be possible to make a phone that worked on standard or third generation mobile networks without using technology covered by its patents.
"The ten patents in suit relate to technologies fundamental to making devices which are compatible with one or more of the GSM, UMTS (3G WCDMA) and wireless LAN standards," said a Nokia statement at the time. "The patents cover wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption and are infringed by all Apple iPhone models shipped since the iPhone was introduced in 2007."
"The basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for," said Nokia vice president Ilkka Rahnasto. "Apple is also expected to follow this principle. By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia's intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation."
Apple now claims, though, that the patented technology is not essential to the standards underpinning those networks and that even if they are Nokia is in breach of obligations to allow others reasonable access to it.
"Apple denies that the Nokia Asserted Patents are essential to any standard, but to the extent that they are construed by the Court as essential, Apple asserts that Nokia is obligated by commitments it made to Standards Setting Organisations … to license those patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminator terms," said Apple's counter-suit.
It went on to say that Nokia is already using some technology covered by Apple-owned patents and that the company tried to "obtain access to Apple's intellectual property".
"Nokia needs access to Apple's intellectual property because Nokia has copied and is now using that patented technology," said the suit. "Nokia chose to copy the iPhone, especially its enormously popular and patented design and user interface."
"Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours,” said Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell.