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Nokia has just announced that it is commencing patent litigation against HTC, Research in Motion and Viewsonic in the US and Germany. It's claiming that a number of its patents are being infringed and has registered complaints with the ITC and courts in Delaware, Dusseldorf, Munich and Mannheim. Espoo's legal chief Louise Pentland has said that while the company currently licenses its FRAND patents to "more than 40 companies," it had no choice but to lay some courtroom smack-down on the named offenders. It appears that after losing its global market share crown and billion-dollar losses, the company is finally going on the offensive with its deep patent portfolio. You can judge that for yourself when you read the official line after the break.

Update: We've received some clarification from Nokia on what exactly is on the docket here. "Four of the patents asserted against Viewsonic in Mannheim are standards essential. The rest against Viewsonic and all against HTC and RIM are implementation patents, not declared essential to any standard and so we have no obligation to grant licenses."

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Nokia takes new steps to protect its innovations and intellectual property

Espoo, Finland - Nokia has filed claims in the United States and Germany alleging that products from HTC, RIM and Viewsonic infringe a number of Nokia patents.

"Nokia is a leader in many technologies needed for great mobile products," said Louise Pentland, chief legal officer at Nokia. "We have already licensed our standards essential patents to more than 40 companies. Though we'd prefer to avoid litigation, Nokia had to file these actions to end the unauthorized use of our proprietary innovations and technologies, which have not been widely licensed."

Nokia's actions include a complaint to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) against HTC, suits against HTC and Viewsonic in the Federal District Court of Delaware, US, against HTC and RIM in the Regional Court in Dusseldorf, Germany and against all three companies in the Regional Courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany. In total, 45 Nokia patents are in suit in one or more of the actions.

Nokia proprietary innovations protected by these patents are being used by the companies to enable hardware capabilities such as dual function antennas, power management and multimode radios, as well as to enhance software features including application stores, multitasking, navigation, conversational message display, dynamic menus, data encryption and retrieval of email attachments on a mobile device.

"Many of these inventions are fundamental to Nokia products," Pentland concluded. "We'd rather that other companies respect our intellectual property and compete using their own innovations, but as these actions show, we will not tolerate the unauthorized use of our inventions."