Nokia launches patent offensive, sues HTC, RIM and ViewSonic

By Lee Kaelin on May 3, 2012, 12:00 PM

Struggling Finnish phone maker Nokia propelled itself in the ongoing mobile patent wars after it filed multiple lawsuits in two different continents during a single day against HTC, Research in Motion and Viewsonic, alleging they infringe on a total of 45 different patents.

"Nokia proprietary innovations protected by these patents are being used by the companies to enable hardware capabilities such as dual function antennas, power management and multimode radios, as well as to enhance software features including application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device," Nokia wrote in a statement yesterday.

First they filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) against HTC accusing the Taiwanese firm of infringing on nine of its patents, asking for the HTC Sensation 4G, Inspire 4G, another eight smartphones and two tablets to be banned from sale in the US, according to PC Pro. This move was then followed up very quickly with further lawsuits against HTC and Viewsonic in the Federal Court of Delaware.

If that wasn't enough to contend with, multiple lawsuits were also filed against HTC and RIM in the Regional Court of Dusseldorf, Germany. Nokia then filed lawsuits against the three aforementioned tech firms in the German Regional Courts of Mannheim and again in Munich.

"It's clear that HTC is the primary target, ViewSonic a secondary one, and the assertions against RIM are less aggressive," Florian Mueller, a patent expert, wrote on Foss Patents blog. "Nokia [has] demonstrated that it means business when it starts patent lawsuits." Mueller's blog post also has a complete breakdown of all of the patents Nokia accuses the three firms of infringing.

HTC refused to comment on the suits until its lawyers read the filings, but did point out that it has been a licensee of Nokia's essential wireless patents since 2003, and is waiting to receive any complaint. RIM and Viewsonic didn't respond to requests for further comment.

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