Nokia, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, took on the iconic iPhone on Thursday by suing US rival Apple for infringing 10 Nokia patents on mobile phone technology.
"The patents cover wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption and are infringed by all Apple iPhone models shipped since the iPhone was introduced in 2007," Nokia said in a statement.
Nokia said it had filed the complaint against Apple on Thursday with the Federal District Court in Delaware in the United States.
Nokia earlier this month posted its first quarterly loss in a decade amid falling sales. Analysts said the poor results were partly due to the growing popularity of Apple's iPhone and RIM's Blackberry over Nokia models.
"By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia's intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation," Ilkka Rahnasto, deputy head of Nokia's legal department, said in the statement.
The company stressed that it had spent 40 billion euros (60 billion dollars) in research and development over the past two decades.
"The ten patents in suit relate to technologies fundamental to making devices which are compatible with one or more of the GSM, UMTS (3G WCDMA) and wireless LAN standards," Nokia said.
Analysts noted it was not the first time a mobile device maker started a court battle against its rival to protect its valuable patents.
"This does not come as a surprise. Nokia has likely been negotiating with Apple since it revealed the iPhone and has failed to reach an agreement," Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight, told AFP.
"They (Apple) have sold dozens of millions of phones, and if they haven't paid the patents it could be a several billion euro deal or at least hundreds of million euro deal," analyst Greger Johansson from Redeye explained.
The Finnish firm's net loss in July-September was 559 million euros and its sales shrank by nearly 20 percent to 9.8 billion euros on a 12-month comparison.
Nokia last week said its share of the global mobile device markets remained flat at 38 percent, but in smartphones like the iPhone its market share dropped to 35 percent in the third quarter from 41 percent in the previous quarter.
Industry specialists said Nokia had failed to improve its smartphone selection to attract customers to choose Nokia models instead of iPhone or Blackberry.
(c) 2009 AFP
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