FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia has filed a number of lawsuits in the US and Germany claiming that smartphone makers HTC, RIM and Viewsonic have infringed several of its patents.
Nokia issued a statement on its web site today saying that although it would "prefer to avoid litigation", it had to file these actions "to end the unauthorised use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed".
Nokia said its rivals have infringed 45 patents in total, dealt with across various lawsuits covering what it says are "proprietary innovations", that is, hardware features like antennas, radios, and power management.
Software features such as multitasking, navigation, app stores, retrieving email attachments on a mobile phone, conversational message display, dynamic menus, and certain types of data encryption are also covered by its patents.
Nokia's actions include a complaint to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) against HTC, as well as lawsuits against HTC and Viewsonic in Delaware US District Court and against HTC and RIM in the Regional Court in Dusseldorf, Germany and against all three companies in the Regional Courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany. It's certainly not doing things by half.
Nokia's chief legal officer Louise Pentland said in a company statement, "Many of these inventions are fundamental to Nokia products. We'd rather that other companies respect our intellectual property and compete using their own innovations, but as these actions show, we will not tolerate the unauthorised use of our inventions."
It emerged on Monday that Nokia makes more money from licensing its patents to Apple than it does selling Lumia phones. However, the news that Nokia is suing its rivals differs slightly from the firm's now-settled litigation with Apple, which involved several standards related patents that were required to be licensed under so-called 'FRAND' guidelines.
Perhaps Nokia is jumping on the "we'll take you to court because we can" lawsuit bandwagon for publicity reasons. Either that, or because it genuinely needs the damages it might win. Judging by its financial figures for the first quarter that reported a €1.34bn loss, the latter wouldn't surprise us. µ