Panel Says Apple Did Not Infringe Nokia Patents

Apple Inc won a round in its patent battle with Nokia on Friday as a U.S. trade panel ruled that the U.S. company did not violate any of five Nokia patents.

In its complaint, Nokia asked the court to bar the importation of Apple devices that infringe Nokia patents, citing in particular the iPhone 3GS mobile phone and iPod Nano portable music player.

Apple's shares closed up 1.9 percent at $351.54. Nokia shares ended 0.3 percent lower at 5.97 euros before the decision was released.

Judge James Gildea, of the International Trade Commission, which hears many patent cases, said in his initial determination that Apple did not violate the Nokia patents. The complaint had been filed in December 2009.

The next step will be for the entire commission to either uphold or throw out Gildea's decision. The target date for that decision is August 1, 2011.

The two companies are suing each other over patent issues in a variety of venues in the United States and Europe. The ITC is popular because it can bar the import of infringing devices. Companion suits are often filed in district court to win financial damages.

Apple's iPhone and devices running on Android have carved out a large chunk of the lucrative and quickly expanding smartphone market, in large at the expense of Nokia, which has stuck mainly to its old workhorse Symbian software.

In addition to the iPhone 3GS mobile phone and iPod, the complaint was also directed at other iPhones, the iPod Touch, and iPod Classic portable music players, as well as the iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, Mac Book, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air computers.