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Apple view of patent issues versus Nokia not shared by ITC staff

In a way it’s not news, because we said it weeks, if not months, ago – that Apple is unlikely to get any change out of Nokia over claims that it infri

By PETER WHITE

Published: 4 November, 2010

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In a way it’s not news, because we said it weeks, if not months, ago – that Apple is unlikely to get any change out of Nokia over claims that it infringes on its patents. However the fact that this was written this week in a pre-hearing memo from the International Trade Commission in the US, is perhaps news. To kick off what most people are calling a trial, with a verdict, may sound strange, but this is generally the way of the ITC, to weigh earlier argument and pronounce on the outcome, a little like the European Commission does.

So now the chances of Apple obtaining an injunction blocking the tiny number of Nokia devices which ship in the US, is highly unlikely. The other way around however, has not yet been addressed, and neither have the multiple disputes that Apple has with other handset vendors. We think they are all likely to go against Apple and create something of a royalty reverse, something that won’t change the overall financial equation of Apple’s a jot, but will distract senior management attention from the job in hand.

The ITC memo suggested that some parts of the Apple cited patents were not infringed, while others weren’t valid and the ITC Judge will release his findings in February. The pre-hearing report can be overturned by the judge on a point of law, but represents a strong body of expert opinion. Even after the judge reaches a conclusion he can still be overruled by the commission’s leadership. The whole process is expected to take until the end of June.

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