By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
December 11, 2009

Two giant smartphone manufacturers mix it up in a Delaware federal court

Fifty days after Nokia (NOK) sued Apple (AAPL) for allegedly stealing its intellectual property, Apple has returned the favor.

Nokia’s suit, filed in October, claimed Apple was infringing on 10 patents Nokia holds on the integration of GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN — technologies at the heart of Apple’s iPhone.

In a press release issued Friday morning, Apple claimed in turn that Nokia has infringed on 13 of its patents. Digital Daily has posted a list of the disputed patents, as well as the company’s 78-page filing. (Download it here.)

“Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours,” said Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell in a prepared statement.

His words echoed Nokia’s rhetoric, when it charged Apple with trying to get a “free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.”

“The basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for,” said Nokia vice president Ilkka Rahnasto at the time. “Apple is also expected to follow this principle.” (link)

Apple shares closed at $194.67 down 1.76 points (0.9%) for the day. Nokia gained $0.25 (1.99%).

Below the fold: Excerpts from Apple’s suit:

“In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone a ground-breaking device that allowed users access to the functionality of the already popular iPod on a revolutionary mobile phone and Internet device. The iPhone is a converged device that allows users to access and ever expanding set of software features to take and send pictures, play music, play games do research, serve as a GPS device and much more … The iPhone platform has caused a revolutionary change in the mobile phone category.

“In contrast, Nokia made a different business decision and remained focused on traditional mobile wireless handsets with conventional user interfaces. As a result, Nokia has rapidly lost share in the market for high-end mobile phones. Nokia has admitted that, as a result of the iPhone launch, “the market changed suddenly and [Nokia was] not fast enough changing with it.

“In response, Nokia chose to copy the iPhone, especially its enormously popular and patented design and user interface …

“As Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s executive Vice President and General Manager of Multimedia, stated at Nokia’s GoPlay event in 2007 when asked about the similarities of Nokia’s new offerings to the already released iPhone: “[i]f there is something good in the world, we copy with pride.” True to this quote, Nokia has demonstrated its willingness to copy Apple’s iPhone ideas as well as Apple’s basic computing technologies, all while demanding Apple pay for access to Nokia’s purported standards essential patent. Apple seeks redress for this behavior.”

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