Apple and Nokia preparing for their legal scramble this week

Apple and Nokia preparing for their legal scramble this week
Grab more popcorn, people, the Apple-Nokia dogfight is about to get started. Apple is actively preparing its legal team with the help of lawyers specialized in tech patent infringement lawsuits, who have worked on high-profile cases with Microsoft, Intel and Broadcom. There is even a guy who has carried out pharmaceutical litigations. The cases are filed at the International Trade Commission, and the trial starts this week.

Nokia is accusing Apple of infringing on a broad range of its patent, and Apple has filed a countersuit that Nokia is, which is unlikely to hold much water, as already analyzed. To put it in perspective, we'll quote Lyle Vander Schaaf, an attorney at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione in Washington, who works preparing cases for the commission. “Usually you have one 800-pound gorilla going after a new entrant. Here you’ve got 800-pound gorillas fighting each other.”

Such cases often end with companies being forced to exchange intellectual porperty, so Apple accuses Nokia that it is actually trying to get in on the proprietary technology used in the iPhone, but should come up with their own ideas instead. Knowing how the Broadcom lawsuit brought it $891 million from Qualcomm over four years, and Oracle got $1.3 billion from SAP recently, these tech cases end up with serious money exchanging hands. Apple sits on $40 billion in cash, and we are sure Nokia would love some of that to compensate for its diminishing profit margins since the first iPhone got introduced. Whichever the case, it is certainly going to be entertaining.

Apple, in its turn, is doing the same thing, but trying to stop Android's proliferation via the International Trade Commission. Cases have been filed there against HTC and Motorola, for patent infringement on Apple's IP. The HTC trial is scheduled to begin in February. Android's market share hovered around 26%, compared to Apple's 17% in Q3 of this year.

It seems that the tech lawyer field is certainly not affected by the financial crisis, and a lot of litigators will walk away with fat paychecks. If we, as consumers, will benefit from all these lawsuit, is very murky at the moment.

source: BusinessWeek

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