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Apple Seeks To Ban Nokia Imports To US 374

Posted by timothy
from the let's-take-this-outside-the-country dept.
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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Apple Seeks To Ban Nokia Imports To US

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  • by Hungus (585181) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @01:18AM (#30796356) Journal

    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:Worthless patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by mjwx (966435) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @01:33AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

    by siride (974284) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @01:51AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @02:30AM (#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.

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Sunday January 17, 2010 @02:39AM (#30796618) Journal

    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.

  • by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @03:25AM (#30796746) Homepage
    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.
  • by caladine (1290184) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @04:09AM (#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.
  • by Kumiorava (95318) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @04:25AM (#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?

  • by JonathanBoyd (644397) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @08:10AM (#30797676) Homepage

    The patents Nokia is complaining about are required to be licensed under reasonable and not discriminatory terms. Nokia wanted to charge Apple more for licensing than they were charging other companies. Apple was happy to pay the standard fees, but weren't happy to be gouged. Nokia needs to lose this to make sure no-one tries to shut down the possibility of competition again.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @08:10AM (#30797678) Journal

    Yes, that sums it up quite well. Apple has done absolutely nothing to develop the current standards used for mobile communication, while Nokia is responsible for much of the work that went into the GSM evolution standards. The iPhone is a good implementation, but it is building heavily on the work of others. Compared to other phones, the only thing that is novel is the interface, and you will find papers describing almost all of the interface elements in the iPhone written by people outside Apple in HCI journals and conference proceedings over the last decade - some even by Microsoft Research (which I find particularly amusing since they haven't put them into Wince).

    You will find no papers by Apple employees. Apple does not do research. They do product development. There is a big difference: every company in the market benefits from research, while only the funding company benefits from development.

  • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @08:58AM (#30797940)

    But apple buys it's GSM chips from qualcomm who charges extra to cover the patent licensing they have to pay Nokia for.

    NOKIA wants to charge not only the people who make the devices but every company who sells a products with that uses those devices.

    If Dell started selling a GSM adaptor for their laptops and bought those adaptors already made so all that had to be done was to solder it into the motherboards, Nokia wants the to charge Dell for selling those adaptors too.

  • by dunkelfalke (91624) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @10:03AM (#30798358)

    RAND terms are only available for GSM association members. Apple hasn't joined the association so RAND terms don't apply for them.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday January 17, 2010 @10:05AM (#30798374)

    I think you mean "the single GSM chip that gets bolted on to the iPhone to make it talk with the cell tower" where you say "builds heavily on the work of others". The rest of the phone is not the GSM chip.

    Also, that chip us manufactured by Qualcomm, who already licences the patents involved from Nokia and and sells a turnkey chip solution to third party manufacturers so they can make phones. Didn't Apple already pay Nokia by proxy? Or does the cost of buying the chips not include the patent cost, that the chip manufacturer has already paid?

    The "only thing novel is the interface" is *everything* about the phone - there are only so many ways you can make a candybar phone. You can't really innovate there (well, Nokia has tried with that cube phone that folds out and looks odd, but generally you are limited in what you can do). The interface of most phones is *awful*. If you've ever tried to use some of these phones you wonder who on earth designed it. So Apple comes along with a large touchscreen UI with gestures and multi touch and is simple to operate. It is by no means the first, but in a similar way to the iPod (again, not the first mp3 player) it is one of the first UIs to really work well and is actually pleasant and intuitive to use. Again, it is not the only good UI, but it is a very good one.

    If people have already come up with these interface ideas before (and I have no doubt people have thought of them) then why didn't we see them in widescale use on phones and portable electronics (or personal computers) before the iPhone? I'm not disputing that someone in Redmond thought up some cool new UI trick, but if you are suggesting Apple copied it then fair play to them. Some guy describes it in a journal that is open to read (and presumably patents it), and Apple decide to use it. If it's patented, they pay royalties. Isn't that how it;s meant to work?

    If creating really good UIs (note: not perfect, I am not saying that OS X and iPhone UI are perfect, just really good) then why don;t we see more of them, if there are so many people innovating in this area? Apple are very good at combining and refining and making things work and it is disingenuous to claim that they do no innovation of their own.

    Their track history of products suggests otherwise - if these things are trivial and easy, where is the competition?

    Incidentally, the creation of firewire, usb and a few other standards would like to have a word with you about "no research".

  • by sensationull (889870) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @10:33AM (#30798604)
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10302038-37.html [cnet.com]
    http://www.digitaltrends.com/international/missing-prototype-iphone-leads-to-chinese-workers-death/ [digitaltrends.com]
    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/14/211242 [slashdot.org]
    http://timecapsuledead.org/ [timecapsuledead.org]

    Apple has a long history of threatening decenters against its 'grand vision', there have been multiple instances where large chunks of their own support forums have been purged because users were critisizing Apple for their laptops keys melting (suspend issue) or their ipods burning or their laptop power adapters failing or their timecapsule powerbricks dieing after almost exactly a year. All of these took massive user lashback to get fixed inside warrenty in some cases these defective products never were.

    The story of the iPod above retells that in order to get a replacement they had to agree not to reveal that the product had a fault ever. This is the kind of behaviour that is acceptable to you? How many other stories have never been told thanks to Apple raverous lawyers?

    If you think that the arrogance of Apple only exists in my mind then you need to get your rampant fanboyisum in check and read more of the internet than what is released in Apple press releases.
  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday January 17, 2010 @11:14AM (#30798886)

    Apple also contributed to the USB protocol as part of the USB-IF, and were active in the creation of firewire right up to its current inception, not just in 1986 when it was first proposed (Sony and TI also featured heavily in the creation of what eventually became the 1394 standard).

    I know you said it was a good implementation, you also claimed that Apple does "no R&D", which is demonstrably false.

  • by arose (644256) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @11:27AM (#30798988)

    or do you think Qualcomm who makes the iphones GSM chipset doesn't pay nokia?

    It really depends on the terms Qualcomm has with Nokia to make them, doesn't it? They might have an arrangement where paying license fees for parts is the responsibility of the end user device manufacturer. Pure speculation obviously... just like yours.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 17, 2010 @12:18PM (#30799350)

    dividends are not a right to common stock holders
    dividends are double taxed once on the corporate level and another on the personal level (income tax) capital gain is not.
    not all companies pay dividends i believe microsoft has never paid one too.
    stock price usually falls to an amount equal to the dividend pay out.
    there are many types of dividends not just cash like stock splits which apple have done in the past.

    dividends are not always attractive to investors its perfectly normal and very acceptable for a company to never issue any kind of dividends.

    if you like dividends AAPL is not the stock for you.

  • by fbjon (692006) on Sunday January 17, 2010 @05:16PM (#30801826) Homepage Journal
    It has nothing to do with phones. The patents Nokia have are essential to the GSM standard, and are thus licensed for a reasonable price to members of the standards body, which Apple apparently don't want to be a member of. More here. [engadget.com]

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