There's yet more patent absurdity abroad in the world today with the news that struggling Nokia of Finland is declaring a global patent war and is simultaneously suing HTC of Taiwan, Research in Motion of Canada and ViewSonic a US-based TV manufacturer, claiming that they are jointly and severally in breach of 45 of its patents. The cases have been filed in Delaware in the US and, strangely, Dusseldorf in Germany. Martyn Warwick reports.
In a statement Nokia claims the three companies have violated its IP as they made "unauthorised use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed."
These innovations and technologies refer to hardware as well as software and cover items as diverse as antennas, RF, power management systems, data encryption, navigation, email, navigation, app stores, menus and displays. So far there's no reference to herrings, reindeer or cloudberries, but give it time.
Nokia's top legal eagle, Louise Pentland, says, “We have already licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies. Though we’d prefer to avoid litigation, Nokia had to file these actions to end the unauthorised use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed."
She added, "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."
The news about the law suits came just a couple of days after figures were published showing that Nokia actually makes more money from licensing some of its IP to Apple than it does from its much-vaunted but poorly-selling Lumia handsets.
Nokia lost the plot some time ago. It dumped Symbian, ignored Anroid and threw in its lot with a with a much-criticised mobile OS from another company. And they wonder why consumers are shunning Nokia phones. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Nokia is getting pretty desperate.
The trouble is that the patents system is so convoluted, arcane, and downright broken that it is all but impossible for any one company to design, manufacture and sell any new model of smartphone without being accused by some other company of stealing 'n' number of patents and finding itself embroiled in a drawn-out, hugely expensive and utterly distracting court case. It's either that or roll-over and make extortionate payments to the presumed patents owner. Now that's easy money.
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