Nokia first sued Apple in October 2009 alleging that the iPhone infringed on ten of their patents - and Apple humbly replied with a countersuit of their own two months later. In April 2010, Patently Apple covered Intel's developer conference in a report titled "Apple's iPhone in Intel's Crosshairs." In that report we pointed to how Intel focused on a partnership with Nokia concerning MeeGo, a software platform to take on Apple's iPhone OS along with Microsoft's future mobile phone platforms and so forth. There's no doubt that in order for MeeGo to be successful, Nokia must at least appear to be both yesteryear's pioneer and tomorrow's visionary in the mobile arena. Yet the future visionary angle is one that Apple has claimed for themselves. During Apple's iPad Special Event in January, Steve Jobs stated the following: "Apple is a mobile devices company: That's' what we do. By revenue, Apple is the largest mobile devices company in the world, now. It's amazing." He went on to point out that Apple was larger than Sony's mobile devices business… that it was bigger than Samsung's mobile devices business and "by revenue, it's even bigger than Nokia's mobile devices business, with all of the handsets that they sell." Yeeees, the war between Nokia and Apple is as much about psychological marketing warfare than it is about patents. It's going to be a very long drawn out public war for the minds of consumers for years to come. Yet in the short term, this report covers the patents that Nokia is claiming Apple is infringing on.
Nokia claims that the Apple iPhone, Apple iPhone 3G, Apple iPhone 3GS, and iPad 3G infringe on Nokia patents and demands a trial by jury.
Overview of the Patents-In-Suit
The patents-in-suit are a reflection of Nokia's research and development and achievements in the world of mobile communications. One patent allows for better transmission of speech and data by providing a modulator with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Another patent facilitates design of applications that use positioning data. The remaining three patents represent Nokia's achievements in the area of antenna design. These patents provide antenna configurations that improve performance and save space, allowing devices to do more in less volume.
The Modular Patent
Exhibit A: The 345 Patent is directed to a modulator with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Wireless communication devices, such as mobile phones, include one or more modulators that modify a carrier wave in order to transmit data. One of the most important characteristics of a modulator is its signal-to-noise ratio. Transmissions with a high signal-to-noise ratio are more likely to be received, offering a better experience to users. The 345 Patent provides a high signal-to-noise ratio while reducing the number of filters needed to do so. For more detailed information on this patent, see Granted Patent 6,373,345.
The Positioning Patent
Exhibit B: The 696 Patent relates to providing a centralized interface for applications running on a mobile device to obtain position data. The 696 Patent allows, for example, for application developers to make use of existing positioning capabilities, without having to write as much code for their applications. The availability of applications with positioning capability, as allowed by the 696 Patent, provides for a better user experience. For more detailed information on this patent, see Granted Patent7,558,696.
The Antenna Patents
Exhibit C: Antennas commonly have multiple sections, such as a reference or ground plane, a feed section, and one or more resonating regions. The 083 Patent relates to an antenna design in which the feed section components interact to form a transmission line. The 083 Patent allows for improved antenna characteristics, including an increased impedance bandwidth with limited, if any, loss of efficiency. These characteristics, in turn, allow for better communication and a better user experience.
Exhibit D: The 894 Patent is directed to an antenna design integrated into a system connector. The 894 Patent reduces the space needed for an antenna, allowing tighter integration of components and smaller, more compact mobile phones.
Exhibit E: The 431 Patent is directed to an antenna arrangement for a mobile station. The 431 Patent allows for an internal antenna with greater performance by creating an antenna assembly space free of the printed circuit board. The increased space allows for design of slimmer devices and improves the antenna characteristics, including a broader impedance band and better radiation efficiency. These characteristics, in turn, allow for better communication and a better user experience.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent noted above that is not directly linked, simply feed the individual patent number(s) provided into this search engine. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Update March 26, 2011 8:50 AM - Another Nokia vs Apple Case
The United States International Trade Commission ruled on March 25, 2011, that Apple did not violate 5 Nokia Patents as was alledged in a filing on January 28, 2010. The five patents and respective claims that were not violated by Apple Inc are noted below:
6,924,789: Claim 5
6,895,256: Claims 1 and 16
6,834,181: Claims 1-6 and 8
6,518,957: Claims 1, 10-13 and 25
6,714,091: Claims 1-12