Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, was sued in Germany for an estimated 12.5 billion euros ($18.5 billion) over the next 20 years by IP-Com GmbH & Co. KG for allegedly infringing cell phone patents.
IP-Com claims that Nokia is violating eight patents that IP- Com bought from Robert Bosch GmbH last year, and that the Pullach, Germany-based company is entitled to receive a sum equivalent to 5 percent of Nokia's sales for 20 years, IP-Com Chief Executive Officer Christoph Schoeller said by telephone today.
Using that formula, he estimated the annual amount that IP- Com is claiming at 625 million euros. IP-Com's complaint, filed in a regional court in Mannheim, argues that in case of non- payment, Nokia should be forced to stop making phones that rely on the patents.
Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said today it had been negotiating to acquire rights to the patents since Bosch sold its mobile telephone unit in 2000. The patents include technology for subscriber identity module cards, which allow cell phone numbers to be transferred to other phones.
``Nokia will defend itself vigorously,'' Anne Eckert, spokeswoman for patent issues at Nokia in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News today. ``All of the patents are invalid and not infringed,'' she said.
Nokia filed its own case against Bosch, alleging the ``discriminatory'' pricing of patents, on Dec. 6, and was notified of IP-Com's lawsuit the next day, Eckert said.
``We want to be offered similar terms to other handset manufacturers,'' said Eckert, adding that Nokia was offered the patents at a higher price than competitor Samsung Group.
IP-Com would not disclose how much it paid to buy approximately 1,000 of Bosch's patents. Its claim for annual compensation of 625 million euros from Nokia over two decades is ``fair, realistic, and non-discriminatory,'' Schoeller said.
Nokia's Eckert disagreed. ``The number claimed by IP-Com is an example of completely unrealistic expectations and does not reflect commitments to standardization organizations and Nokia,'' she said.
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