ITC backs Nokia in Apple lawsuit

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has publicly backed Nokia in its fight against Apple, saying that the courts should rule that Nokia did not infringe Apple’s patents.

The trial began on Monday and involves a bitter dispute between Nokia and Apple, who have sued and counter-sued each other since 2009. Apple is also suing Motorola and HTC, two of the main supporters of the rival Android platform.

Apple is claiming that the Symbian and S40 operating systems violate its patents. Instead of wanting financial remuneration, which is usually how these patent cases go, it wants a complete ban on imports to the US of devices utilising the operating systems, which is certainly something the endangered Symbian doesn’t need.

Nokia accused Apple of infringing 10 of its patents in October 2009 with the case expected to go to trial on November 29. This latest lawsuit is Apple’s bitter response, with Apple also claiming Nokia has participated in antitrust practices and has breached its contract.

The “evidence will not establish a violation”, said investigative staff from the ITC during a pre-hearing statement, according to the Wall Street Journal. Their recommendation is that Nokia should be found innocent of patent violation, as many of the patents are invalid or have not been infringed.

However, the ITC did recommend a ban on infringing Nokia products being imported to the US if the court decides that the company did indeed violate Apple’s patents.

The court’s decision is expected in February 2011.