Nokia iPad Lawsuit


The Nokia iPad lawsuit demonstrates the fact that any company seeking to remain on top of its niche must be innovative.

This is true for any business, whether in the service industry or physical product market. Innovation is the best way to maintain and expand market share. This is why it is important to invest in research and development in order to stave off the competition.

But, this is not always easy. R&D is expensive. And it often takes years to realize the fruits of these efforts.

Products developed through this painstaking effort are often patented to prevent rivals from benefiting from the sweat of their own developers. Patenting allows the developer to recoup the investment made in research of a particular product. Some companies loathe the idea of 'paying the price' and would rather illegally 'acquire' technologies developed by others. This is the gist of the Nokia and Apple lawsuits.

In the recent past, the cell phone market has experienced phenomenal growth. Consumers are increasingly interested in smart phones which allow access to email, interaction with friends on social networks like Facebook and Twitter and a host of other applications from the comfort of their phone.

Smartphone and PDA manufacturers are involved in cutthroat competition to capture the majority share of this emerging market. Nokia and Apple, in particular, have been in fierce competition especially for the US market. Both have registered many patents regarding products they have developed. Lately, there have been allegations of patent infringement.

Apple iPad

The Nokia iPad lawsuit began in May 2010, when Nokia sued Apple for infringing on its patents in the production of its iPad product. The technologies in contention facilitate the reduction in size of the device. And consequently a drop in cost, which translates to higher profits for the innovator/producer.

In a lawsuit filed in October 2009, Nokia alleges that Apple violated at least 10 of its patents, while producing its products. Nokia seeks an application to bar Apple from importing into the US any of its hardware products that are a violation of registered Nokia patents. The alleged products include the iPad3G, iPhone3G, iPhone3GS and the Mac product range.

Unfortunately, this has degenerated into a reciprocation game with Apple responding in December 2009 with a lawsuit of its own alleging Nokia’s infringing on 13 of its patents. During the same month, Nokia alleged that Apple had infringed on another seven patents. Nokia has also gone further to file a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) requesting that Apple be barred from importing the said products. The ITC has already commenced investigations into this matter.

iPad Cases

The Nokia iPad lawsuit does not appear to be the reason for the rumored reports clamoring 'iPad launch delayed.' After the iPad 's release, Nokia broadened its patent fight with Apple to include the iPad.

Nokia is seeking to obtain an injunction to prevent further violation of their intellectual property rights. Their argument is that Apple is likely to continue infringing on their patents resulting in irreparable loss to their business. Nokia has sought to have a jury trial and further seeks that Apple pay damages and interests if found culpable.

In the first quarter of the year, Apple reported significant revenues running into billions of dollars from their Mac product line alone. An injunction would significantly reduce their revenue streams and result in a drop in share value.

So what will come of the Nokia iPad lawsuit?

"I think the Nokia/Apple lawsuits are a lot of noise. At the end of the day, they are both tech-rich companies with tremendous IP and are probably both "borrowing" each others' technology to some extent," said Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall. "My guess is this lasts for years and they both issue some cross licenses to each other," he said.

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