Apple expands iPhone patent war with Nokia to U.K.

Counters with newest maneuver in year-long infringement claims against iPhone

Apple this week added to its attack on Nokia over patent violations by filing a lawsuit in the U.K., alleging multiple counts of infringement.

"Apple's action is an unsurprising development, which seems designed to put pressure on the ongoing dialogue between both companies," said Nokia spokeswoman Laurie Armstrong.

The lawsuit, filed Monday with the U.K. High Court of Justice Chancery Division, was not immediately available.

According to Armstrong, Apple's complaint was based on nine patents already at issue in the multiple lawsuits playing out in U.S. federal courts and regulatory agencies.

The patent dispute between Apple and Nokia began almost a year ago, when Nokia claimed Apple infringed 10 of its patents related to wireless technologies used in the iPhone. Apple countersued in December, charging Nokia with violating 13 of its patents.

Also in December, Nokia followed its first lawsuit with another that alleged Apple infringed seven additional patents.

Those cases are on hold while the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) investigates separate complaints from both Apple and Nokia, which have asked the agency to bar their rival from importing infringing products. The ITC has approved both Apple's and Nokia's complaints, but has not yet ruled on either.

On Thursday, an Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the U.K. lawsuit, and instead referred to the company's Dec. 11, 2009, statement, issued when it counter-sued Nokia. At the time, Apple's general counsel, Bruce Sewell, said: "Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours."

Nokia's Armstrong said much the same today.

"[This newest lawsuit] changes nothing in the fundamentals of the matter, which are rooted in Apple's refusal to respect Nokia's intellectual property and attempt to free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation," she said.

Last May, Nokia extended the patent battle to the iPad when it alleged that Apple's tablet violated five Nokia patents.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

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