We’ve discussed Apple’s ongoing litigation with Samsung here and here involving Apple’s design patents and trade dress.  This litigation is a battle being fought within a bigger international war between major technology companies, and illustrates how design rights can be a useful weapon within a well-rounded legal arsenal.

Within this context, today comes word that Apple and Nokia have agreed to a settlement of all patent litigation between the companies.  The agreement includes a one-time payment and ongoing royalties to be paid by Apple.  Though specific amount and length details of the settlement agreement are not disclosed, the amount of the settlement has been reported to be large enough to materially improve Nokia’s quarterly earnings.

This litigation began in October 2009 when Nokia filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple alleging that the wireless technology used by Apple in products such as the MacBook and iPhone violate patents owned by Nokia.  Apple responded with its own lawsuit against Nokia in December 2009 for allegedly violating several patents owned by Apple.  Both companies also subsequently filed complaints against each other in Europe (as with Apple and Samsung) and in the ITC (detailed here).

Although no design patents appear to have been involved in the litigation between Apple and Nokia, Apple had asserted infringement claims against Nokia related to patents directed to user interface technology.  See, for example, Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 6,239,795 (“Pattern and color abstraction in a graphical user interface”). 

Figs. 2D and 2E of U.S. Patent No. 6,239,795

Tags: Apple Samsung