Nokia accuses Apple of infringing 32 of its patents

Apple has refused to negotiate for licenses for the H.264 video codec and other Nokia technologies, the company alleges

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has filed lawsuits against Apple in Germany in the U.S., alleging that the smartphone giant has infringed 32 of its patents, including the widely used H.264 video codec.

The patent infringement lawsuits, filed with the Regional Courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich in Germany and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, cover patents related to displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets, and video coding, Nokia said Wednesday. 

Nokia is planning to file more lawsuits in other jurisdictions, the company said in a press release.

The eight patents covered in the Texas lawsuit, filed Wednesday, are related to the H.264 Advanced Video Coding standard approved by the International Telecommunication Union, according to Nokia's complaint. 

Apple products using the H.264 video codec include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch, Macs, and Apple TV, Nokia said in its complaint.

"Despite all the advantages that have been enjoyed by Apple, Apple has steadfastly refused to agree to license Nokia's H.264 patents on reasonable terms," Nokia's lawyers wrote. "Dozens of companies have licensed Nokia’s patents for use in their products ... Apple, however, refuses to pay Nokia's established royalty rates."

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the lawsuits.

As part of the ITU standards process, Nokia agreed to grant licenses for the H.264 decoder on reasonable and nondiscriminatory, or RAND, terms, the company said. However, the ITU standard covers only the decoder, and not the encoder, the complaint said.

Nokia has offered Apple a license for the encoder technology on RAND terms, but Apple has refused to pay, the company asserted. 

"Nokia has negotiated in good faith and made substantial efforts to enter into a license agreement with Apple on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms," its lawyers wrote.

Nokia research has contributed to "fundamental technologies" used in Apple products, Ilkka Rahnasto, head of Patent Business at Nokia, said in a press release. "After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple's use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights."

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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