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Wall Street Journal - "Nokia's Patent Battleground"

Alexander Poltorak, Chairman and CEO of GPC, was quoted extensively in a Wall Street Journal article about the lawsuit between Nokia and Apple ("Nokia's Patent Battleground", April 5, 2011 - subscriber login required). Dr. Poltorak comments on several aspects of the Nokia and Apple litigation in the following excerpts from the article.

On the fact that Nokia has amassed over 10,000 patents:

"Patents play an important role in this war of ecosystems," said Alexander I. Poltorak, chairman and chief executive of U.S.-based General Patent Corp., which represents clients on intellectual-property enforcement matters and licensing. "Therefore, the courtrooms became part of the playground, not just the marketplace. It's a new reality."

General Patent Corp. represents independent innovators, universities, and small businesses and has no client relationship with Apple or Nokia. Nokia's portfolio of patents has given it a strong position through patent litigation to capture part of the revenue lost to its market competitors, Mr. Poltorak said.

On the implications the Nokia/Apple fight may have on the Microsoft and Apple rivalry:

"One cannot help wondering if the latest round [of suits between Apple and Nokia] is not a proxy for a fight between Microsoft and Apple, which are rivals as well," Mr. Poltorak said.

On his predictions for the current case:

In terms of likely outcomes, Mr. Poltorak noted that companies most often reach a license agreement that grants access to their respective patents accompanied by a cash payment to reflect the imbalance in their patent positions. "Since Nokia has more than twice as many patents as Apple, it is only logical to expect that if the companies reach a settlement agreement, it might be accompanied by a payment by Apple to Nokia," he said.

Alternatively, the two companies could continue to lock horns at the ITC and district courts in the U.S. and Europe. "The reason they file parallel proceedings in the ITC and federal district courts is that these courts, unlike ITC, have the power to award past damages," he said, which can reach back only six years prior to filing a law suit. The amount of royalty or license payments and damages are rarely made public.

Read full article on the Wall Street Journal website (subscribers only - login required)