Battle between smartphone giants and their patents resurface

Nokia has filed lawsuits against Blackberry-maker RIM in three countries as the smartphone patent wars erupt again, with Ericsson having reportedly filed a suit against Samsung.

The Finnish phone giant and RIM have come to “loggerheads” over standards-essential patents (SEPs) the pair have licensed to each other since 2003, which allows phones to connect to Wi-Fi networks, the Guardian reported today (Wednesday).

A Nokia spokesperson said: “In 2011, RIM sought arbitration, arguing that the licence extended beyond cellular essentials. In November 2012, the arbitration tribunal ruled against RIM. It found that RIM was in breach of contract and is not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia.

“In order to enforce the Tribunal’s ruling, we have now filed actions in the US, UK and Canada with the aim of ending RIM’s breach of contract.”

RIM could end up shelling out millions of pounds during the arbitration and enforcement because every BlackBerry has Wi-Fi capability. The company is already struggling, having made a financial loss for three successive quarters.

Although Nokia could be within their rights to enforce a sales ban on RIM it is an unlikely route. The Finnish handset giant resolved a similar dispute with Apple in June last year by agreeing a one-off payment and per-handset royalties on the iPhone.

Ericsson’s battle with Samsung centres on their inability to reach a licence agreement for two years over a separate set of SEPs.

Posted in: Mobile

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