By Barry Eitel
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) announced Tuesday it will investigate complaints from Nokia that Apple infringed on patents with its famed iPhone.
The Finnish technology company fired the first volley in a massive legal war against Apple last year when it filed 40 lawsuits in 11 countries, ranging from Europe to Hong Kong, against Apple over patents.
The slew of lawsuits name 32 specific technological patents owned by Nokia that it said Apple infringed on.
Specifically, Nokia’s patent complaints cover features like smartphone display, user interface, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding.
It appears the USITC believes the charges are at least worth investigating, although regulators did not say if they would agree with Nokia’s request for a cease-and-desist order.
If the request is approved from Nokia, once the largest manufacturer of cell phones on the planet, Apple’s supply line would be crippled by a lack of imports.
Nokia charged that Apple infringed on patents in building its iPad tablet as well as the iPhone.
“The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablet computers, and components thereof that allegedly infringe patents asserted by the complainant,” the USITC said in a statement. “The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order.”
The two companies have clashed in previous years over smartphone patents, although a deal was reached in 2011 for Apple to license certain Nokia patented inventions in its iPhone.
According to the complaint, the international legal lawsuit was initiated because Apple still uses technologies invented by Nokia and has refused to ink more licensing agreements.
The USITC said it would set a finish date for the investigation within 45 days.
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