Every time I hear about these patent cases I cannot help but shake my head at how far the patent system has come from its purpose. The latest example was spotted by CIO.com where Nokia is petitioning a California court to enforce the terms of an arbitration award completed in Stockholm, Sweden. According to Nokia, RIM "is not entitled to manufacture or sell products compatible with the WLAN standard without first agreeing with Nokia on the royalty to be paid for its manufacture and/or sale of subscriber terminals compatible with such standards." In other words Nokia claims that RIM agreed to not sell any of their current phones or tablets.
This whole disagreement stems from a deal RIM made with Nokia in 2003 licensing Nokia’s patents related to wireless devices. Nokia then performed a crafty move together with Sony creating a new company, MobileMedia Ideas LLC to manage certain patents from both companies. This MMI company then proceeded to sue RIM with Nokias patents. In the arbitration RIM argued that these patents were covered in previous agreement though the arbitration tribunal did not find in their favor.
CIO.com was kind enough to list the US patents that Nokia/MMI is suing over:
- 5,479,476, which covers user-adjustable modes for phones
- 5,845,219, which covers call alert during silent mode
- 6,049,796, which covers real-time search on a personal digital assistant
- 6,055,439, which covers a cellphone user interface
- 6,253,075, which covers call rejection
- 6,427,078, which covers a small, handheld workstation.
All of those seem like wireless patents to me still it blows my mind what companies can get patents for. We will let you know how this one plays out.