Nokia Gets Partial Review of ITC Patent Case Against Apple

Nokia Oyj (NOK), the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, won a partial review of the U.S. International Trade Commission patent case it lost to Apple Inc. (AAPL) in March.

Infringement claims against Apple over two of the five patents decided on by an ITC judge will be reviewed by the full six-member commission. The ITC will let stand the rest of the finding that Apple didn’t violate three other Nokia patents, according to a notice by the Washington-based agency today.

The ITC said it would focus the review on the meaning of specific terms in two patents. Espoo, Finland-based Nokia is seeking to block U.S. imports of the iPhone, one of two cases it lodged against Cupertino, California-based Apple with the ITC.

One of the patents under review relates to a way to improve the quality of speakers and antennas while keeping them small. The other is for reducing the space and energy consumed by having a camera on the phone, according to the complaint.

The two mobile-phone makers have been in litigation since October 2009, when Nokia filed a lawsuit accusing Apple of infringing patents and demanding royalties on the millions of iPhones sold since the device’s introduction in 2007. The Finnish handset maker said in March it has 46 patents asserted against Apple in civil lawsuits and ITC complaints.

At stake is the global market for portable devices, where Apple reaped more than $38 billion in sales for the iPhone, iPod and iPad during its financial year ended in September. That compares with about 28.8 billion euros ($40.5 billion) for Nokia’s devices and services businesses in the same period.

Apple Claims

Apple has its own claims against Nokia before the ITC, which has the power to halt imports of products that violate U.S. patents, and in federal court. Its ITC claims were split into two cases, with results expected June 24 and Aug. 5. Apple also has pending allegations in civil court accusing Nokia of trying to strong-arm Apple into providing access to proprietary iPhone technology.

Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, declined to comment. Officials with Nokia didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

The case is In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices, Including Mobile Phones, Portable Music Players and Computers, 337-701, and the newer Nokia case is In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices, Including Mobile Phones, Mobile Tablets, Portable Music Players and Computers, 337-771, both U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

Apple’s cases are In the Matter of Mobile Communications and Computer Devices, 337-704 and In the Matter Of Certain Personal Data and Mobile Communications Devices and Related Software, 337-710.

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Allan Holmes at aholmes25@bloomberg.net

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