Nokia Oyj (NOK) said it filed patent- infringement lawsuits against HTC (2498) Corp., Research in Motion Ltd. and ViewSonic Corp. in the U.S. and Germany over inventions in mobile devices including phones and tablets.
One complaint was filed against HTC at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe U.S. patents. HTC and ViewSonic were sued in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, while all three companies were named in German lawsuits. Nokia said in a statement it claims infringement of 45 patents in all.
Nokia, which lost its 14-year title as world’s biggest seller of mobile phones last year to Samsung Electronics Co., is trying to expand revenue from its patent portfolio. The company’s royalty income is on pace to reach 500 million euros ($658 million) a year, Chief Financial Officer Timo Ihamuotila said last month.
Six of the patents asserted in the new round of litigation were also part of a global fight Nokia waged with iPhone maker Apple Inc., (AAPL) said Mark Durrant, a spokesman for Nokia. The two companies settled their dispute a year ago, with Apple agreeing to a one-time payment and royalties.
The patents in the new round of litigation cover hardware inventions for dual-function antennas, power management and multimode radios, and software features including application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of e-mail attachments on a mobile device.
“Many of these inventions are fundamental to Nokia products,” Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Espoo, Finland-based Nokia, said in the statement. “Though we’d prefer to avoid litigation, Nokia had to file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed.”
Nokia has linked up with Microsoft Corp. to make Lumia smartphones that run on the Windows Phone platform, which competes with Google Inc.’s Android operating system. HTC, based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, makes phones for both Android and Windows Phone. The suits in Delaware target the HTC Flyer tablet and a range of smartphones including the HTC Sensation 4G, Vivid, and Inspire 4G.
Nokia and HTC have been partners in fighting patent- infringement claims by IPCom GmbH, a licensing company that obtained mobile-phone patents from Robert Bosch GmbH in 2007.
HTC said it has licensed Nokia patents that relate to industry standards on wireless technology since 2003.
“We are waiting to receive a complaint and won’t have any comments until our legal team has received and reviewed it,” the company said in a statement. In its own statement, ViewSonic said it was aware of the legal action and “we are taking appropriate measures to protect our interests.”
RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, developed its own operating system for its BlackBerry phones. Marisa Conway, a spokeswoman for RIM, said the company doesn’t comment on litigation.
ViewSonic, based in Walnut, California, makes tablet computers that run on Android. In the case against ViewSonic in Mannheim, Germany, Nokia claims infringement of four patents that relate to industry standards on 3G and Wi-Fi technology, Durrant said. None of the others are for inventions that are essential components of standards, he said.
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