Nokia on Wednesday filed an amicus brief in support of Apple's ongoing effort to secure a permanent injunction banning the sale of Samsung's Galaxy S devices.
In her December ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh rejected Apple's request, stating the Cupertino-based developer needed to prove Samsung not only infringed on the patents in question, but that said patents were "important drivers" of demand for the 26 Samsung devices Apple wants banned.
The iPhone maker immediately appealed, arguing the bar had been set too high and that even the most watertight case could never meet the burden of proof mandated by the court. Nokia decided this week it agrees.
In a stunning reversal, the Finnish outfit now apparently believes that Judge Koh's requirement for a "causal nexus" would create a compulsory licensing system and that failure to grant Apple an injunction would cause "wide-ranging damage to the United States patent protection landscape."
Curiously, this conviction did not prevent Nokia from itself suing Apple for patent infringement in 2009.
Most industry analysts were at least a little taken aback by the news. While an injunction against Galaxy S devices would obviously be a boon for Apple, there's no clear consensus on what the impact would be on Nokia.
Further, the brief itself is sealed, and Nokia has only offered vague, lofty explanations as to what its intention might be.
"Nokia has recently been involved in numerous U.S. patent lawsuits, as both a plaintiff and defendant," Nokia attorney Keith Broyles wrote in the company's filing. "Nokia is thus both a significant patent owner that might seek an injunction to protect its patent rights, and a manufacturer in an industry in which patent owners routinely issue threats of injunctions of patent infringement."
Essentially, Nokia is framing itself as a defender of innovation - joining its onetime arch nemesis in solidarity against the evils of patent infringement. Whether that position is credible remains to be seen.
It's worth noting no other companies have filed similar motions.