Five years after Apple and Nokia settled a lawsuit, the tech giants have again locked horns over patents with Apple filing an anti-trust lawsuit against third-party companies Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) that act on Nokia’s behalf, and the Finland-based firm suing Apple directly.
“We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “Unfortunately, Nokia has refused to license their patents on a fair basis and is now using the tactics of a patent troll to attempt to extort money from Apple by applying a royalty rate to Apple’s own inventions they had nothing to do with.”
The legal action by Nokia and Apple appear to mark a revival of the “smartphone patent wars” that began five years ago, when Apple filed a series of patent infringement cases against Samsung Electronics around the world, with wins and losses on both sides.
Nokia was the world’s leading mobile phone maker from 1998 until 2011 when it bet on Microsoft’s Windows mobile platform, which proved to be a flop. Analysts say the company failed to grasp the growing importance of smartphone apps compared to hardware.
It sold its unprofitable handset unit in 2014 for some $7.2 billion to Microsoft, which dropped the Nokia name from its Lumia smartphone handsets.