ITC Will Investigate Apple
The US International Trade Commission said it is going to investigate Apple
based on a complaint that was filed by Nokia in late December. This latest move indicates that the long-running conflict between the two mobile phone heavyweights is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
In its complaint, Nokia had charged Apple with infringing seven of its patents that affected pretty much all of Apple's phones, portable devices and computers. As a remedy, Nokia asked the ITC to order Apple to stop importing and selling the offending products. Apple, in mid-January, counterattacked by asking the ITC to investigate Nokia, saying that the Finnish phone giant had infringing Apple's
patents. The ITC has not yet responded to Apple.
The two companies also have declared war on each other in the US court system. Nokia filed a patent infringement suit against Apple in the US District Court in the state of Delaware, and Apple countersued, charging Nokia with infringing 13 Apple patents.
The ongoing battle is considered by most observers to be an elaborate negotiating tactic between the two firms about licensing fees on the Nokia patents in question. Apple says Nokia wanted unreasonable fees, and a cross-license for Apple's various iPhone device patents. Nokia , for its part, says that all it wants is fees that it says are past due for its patents. Many other smartphone makes already pay fees to the Finnish manufacturer.
The ITC is supposed to complete its investigation within 45 days. Once the investigation is done, six judges on the ITC's review board will make an initial ruling on the case. That initial determination is then to be reviewed by the full commission, which will make the ultimate decision on granting Nokia's request, in effect halting Apple's ability to sell anything to anyone.