ITC Judge Lets Apple Off The Hook in Nokia Patent Infringement Case
The International Trade Commission - or at least one of it's judges - appears to be on Apple's side in the case brought by Nokia, which asserts that the Cupertino, California-based iDevice maker infringed on five key Nokia patents. On Friday, a US trade panel judge ruled in favor of Apple Inc., determining in the early stages of this legal skirmish that technology used in red hot Apple products like iPhones and iPods does not appear to infringe on Nokia's patents.
In the original complaint filed by Nokia, the cellphone maker sought to block the importation of Apple devices that violated the Nokia patents in question. Nokia pointed to specific devices like the iPhone 3GS and iPod Nano as guilty parties. In late 2010, the ITC began its investigation into the charges, which if proven legitimate, could have cost Apple dearly.
But Apple and its products have cleared an important hurdle, as James Gildea, an administrative law judge of the U.S. International Trade Commission, "found that Apple didn't violate a range of Nokia patents." The ITC now has 60 to decide whether to adopt the decision or open it again for further review. Ironically, just yesterday the ITC, according to the Wall Street Journal
, decided "to review a judge's initial decision that Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry haven't infringed on patents owned by Eastman Kodak Co." The ITC has effectively tossed the judge's recommendation and would take up review of the initial patent ruling "it its entirety."
Apple did not offer comment Friday with regard to either action on the part of ITC officials. Nokia, on the other hand, is continuing ongoing efforts to distance itself from Apple to the greatest extent possible. Recently, the popular cellphone maker signed a major deal with Microsoft to bring Windows Phone 7 software to an expansive new fleet of Nokia handsets.
Source: Wall Street Journal