iPhone vs. the world: Four Apple patents shot down by staff, 24 to go

November 4, 2010: 10:57 AM ET

Reports of a big win for Nokia in its patent fight with Apple may be premature.

Florian Mueller, who has forgotten more about high-tech patents than most of us will ever know, says we should take with a grain of salt what Bloomberg, Reuters and the IDG News Service are reporting about Apple vs. Nokia, the patent trial that opened Monday before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington.

The ITC staff has recommended (and the judge is likely to rule) that Nokia (NOK) shouldn't be found liable for violating four of Apple's (AAPL) patents, a development that was reported as a big win for Nokia by all three news services.

It is a setback for Apple, says Mueller, but only a minor one. These are just four of dozens of patents with which Apple has sued Nokia, HTC and Motorola (MOT) -- the last two proxies for Apple's larger battle against Google (GOOG) and its Android operating system.

Moreover, the four patents that the ITC staff has ruled on are far from the most important ones. As Mueller writes in his FOSS Patents blog:


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