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HELSINKI (Reuters) - The world's top cell phone maker Nokia Oyj on Thursday charged Apple with infringing Nokia patents in its iPhone.
Nokia dominates the global handset market but it has lost some ground to new smartphone entrants like Apple which entered the market with its iPhone in mid-2007.
The 10 patents in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. state of Delaware, relate to technologies fundamental for devices using GSM, UMTS and/or local area network (LAN) standards, Nokia said.
"Nokia's enormous patent portfolio doesn't make this a big surprise but it could have severe repercussions for Apple and its component supplier," said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber. "Once again intellectual property has become the secondary battleground in a highly competitive mobile phone market."
Last year, Nokia ended a more than three-year legal battle with U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm which spanned three continents and involved more than a dozen separate cases. "It's too early to tell, but it's likely to be a drawn out battle. We have a hard time seeing a material risk to either company," said Avian Securities analyst Matthew Thornton.
"They're both big companies, they have lots of cash and they can fight it and in the end I don't really see a dramatic impact to Apple's financial profile."
Legal battles over as many as 10 technology patents can easily take several years.
The patents cover wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption and are infringed by all Apple iPhone models shipped since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, Nokia said.
Nokia said 40 main handset vendors have licensed its technologies, but it has not reached agreement with Apple.
"By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia's intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia's innovation," Ilkka Rahnasto, Vice President for Legal & Intellectual Property at Nokia, said in a statement.
Apple Inc shares trading in the U.S. dipped on the news and were 0.34 percent lower at $204.21 by 1715 GMT (1:15 p.m. EDT). Nokia shares closed in Helsinki 0.3 percent lower at 8.82 euros.
Apple was not immediately available for comment.
Additional reporting by Gabriel Madway in San Francisco; editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Karen Foster