Nokia today joined the perpetual smartphone "patent wars" by launching a sweeping patent attack against HTC, Research in Motion and Viewsonic.
Nokia today launched a "massive patent attack" against HTC and Research in Motion (RIM), two of its main smartphone vendor rivals, as well as television maker ViewSonic, ZDNet reports.
In efforts to “protect its innovations and intellectual property,” Nokia has filed around a dozen patent dispute claims to regional U.S. and German courts, as well as sending one complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
A statement from Nokia said it has “licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies”, but HTC, Research in Motion, and ViewSonic are not among them.
Nokia has said that 45 patents are involved in one or more of the disputes, and that the patents are "propriety technology that covers both hardware and software features." Nokia claims that the patents are not industry-standard. More specifically, Nokia said the patents relate to “application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device.” You can find the full list of patents here, including both U.S. and European patents, from FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller.
Nokia tends to "avoid litigation," though it had to “file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed.” There are currently 11 separate cases in four courts worldwide, with one case in the U.S. International Trade Commission.
The case submitted to the U.S. International Trade Commission is targeted at HTC, and it appears to be "the most serious of all mentioned cases." Nine patents were cited. HTC seems to be Nokia's primary target in this process. Nokia has also filed disputes against HTC and Viewsonic, the television maker, in the U.S. District Court of Delaware, citing 9 more patents and 15 patents, respectively. Two cases against HTC and RIM were filed in the German Regional Court in Dusseldorf. All three companies are being sued in Germany's Regional Courts in Mannheim (where Motorola today won a patent dispute against Microsoft) and Munich, with the total number of cases filed worldwide just shy of a dozen.
“We will not tolerate the unauthorized use of our inventions,” concluded Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Nokia, according to ZDNet.
Nokia has remained relatively inactive in the ongoing, global "patent wars." CNET notes that Nokia has been the target of many patent claims. Nokia and Apple agreed on a deal that saw Apple license a "vast number of patents" from Nokia. Two years before that agreement was reached, Nokia had sued Apple for patent infringement.
Nokia, the Finnish smartphone giant, recently lost the top spot in global cellphone market share for the first time since 1998, according to IHS iSuppli, marking a major milestone in the company's decline in recent years in the face of increased competition. Nokia's move to join the "patent war" shows just how desperate the company has become.