A U.S. trade panel today ruled that Apple did not violate any of five Nokia patents. Reuters reports that the patents were for electronic devices, including mobile phones, portable music players, and computers. Judge James Gildea of the International Trade Commission said in his initial determination that Apple did not violate the Nokia patents; the next will be for the commission as a whole to either uphold or throw out Gildea’s decision. The target date for that decision is August 1.
Nokia first filed suit against Apple in October 2009, claiming that the iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents; Apple filed a countersuit claiming patent infringement in December. The lawsuits were followed by a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) complaint from Nokia near the end of the year, alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.”
The ITC launched an investigation into Nokia’s claims against Apple in late January of 2010; it announced a similar investigation into Apple’s claims against Nokia in February of that year. In March, a federal judge in Delaware signed an order halting litigation between Nokia and Apple pending resolution of the companies’ respective claims with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC); Nokia then sued Apple again in May, alleging that the iPhone and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G infringe on five of its patents. The ITC case between the two companies is ongoing, but ITC staff issued a pre-trial memo stating that Nokia shouldn’t be found liable of infringing upon Apple’s patents. A report from November 2010 indicated that Apple has been bolstering its legal team ahead of key battles with Nokia, as well as HTC and Motorola; since then, Nokia has filed new patent complaints against Apple in Europe, while Apple has filed a lawsuit against Nokia in the U.K., claiming that one of Nokia’s European patents for scrolling technology on a touchscreen device is invalid.