Nokia today filed another patent lawsuit against Apple, signaling a willingness to keep fighting the iPhone maker in court while it prepares a fresh smartphone strategy.
The new complaint involves seven patents and comes days after a judge ruled in favor of Apple in a similar case. At issue now are patents covering multi-tasking operating systems, data synchronization, positioning, call quality, and the use of Bluetooth accessories. The patents cover tablet and computer devices, as well as phones and music players.
“Our latest ITC filing means we now have 46 Nokia patents in suit against Apple, many filed more than 10 years before Apple made its first iPhone,” said Paul Melin, Nokia’s vice president for intellectual property.
Until Nokia manages to field a credible challenge to the iPhone — and that may not be until next year, when the first fruit of the Nokia-Microsoft partnership is expected — the Finnish company seems content to gun for royalty checks. And an ideal outcome for Nokia would be better than any check: the trade court responsible for patent enforcement could theoretically block Apple devices from being sold in the U.S. if they were found to be infringing.
Legal disputes between Apple and Nokia are also being waged in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. Each side accuses the other of infringing on an increasing number of patents.
They’re not the only companies engaged in legal battles over patents. Lawsuits have become yet another way for tech companies to compete outside the marketplace, and with an estimated 1,000 patents involved, smartphones are rife with opportunities for legal challenges. Microsoft recently sued Barnes & Noble, alleging software patent infringement, in a move seen as a swipe at Google’s Android OS, which is used on Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader.
Microsoft also sued Motorola on similar claims involving Motorola’s Droid handsets.