“There are companies that are patent trolls, that don’t participate in the creation of technology, or they secretly acquire them. Nokia’s not one of these companies. They’re pretty up front about the patents they own,” noted Jason Schultz, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the UC Berkeley School of Law. “They’re probably not trying to put Apple out of business…but force Apple to play the same game that every other phone company has to play.”
Apple analyst Gene Munster thinks Nokia is looking to extract a royalty payment of 1 percent to 2 percent of every iPhone sold from Apple, which would be about $6 to $12 per phone. With 34 million iPhones sold to date, that would be $204 million to $408 million in back payments Apple would have to pay if Nokia were successful in court. There’s also the added risk of something called “willful infringement.” Basically, if Apple were to be found in violation it’d have to pay three times the amount of whatever the judgment won by Nokia.
Apple could settle out of court, or it could try to show that Nokia either doesn’t own the patents or that they’re not valid in this case, both of which would be difficult, said Schultz.
“Invalidating 10 patents is a lot, that’s like running the Boston Marathon. It’s really hard to do. You might get one, two or even five,” he said. “But 10 is a lot.”