Nokia Corporation's announcement today that it has settled a long-standing patent dispute with Apple Inc. is good news for Washington's Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, which had been battling a subpoena from Nokia's attorneys in the case.
The dispute over smartphone technology patents played out in Delaware, but Nokia had been trying to enforce a subpoena in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to depose Sterne Kessler attorneys over work they did for Apple.
Today, Nokia’s attorneys notified U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins that they were withdrawing (PDF) the subpoena in light of the settlement. The terms of the settlement are not being released, but in a statement, Nokia said Apple has signed a patent license agreement and would be making a one-time payment and future royalties payments to Nokia.
Nokia is being represented by Patrick Flinn of Alston & Bird in Atlanta, who had declined to comment. Sterne Kessler attorney Byron Pickard, who represented his subpoenaed colleagues, also declined to comment.
The settlement doesn’t end Stern Kessler’s subpoena woes, however. On Friday, the firm filed in D.C. federal court to quash (PDF) another subpoena in a separate patent dispute Apple is facing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. In that case, Eastman Kodak Company is suing Apple over alleged patent infringement relating to camera functions and other computer processes.
Unlike Nokia, which specified four Sterne Kessler attorneys it wanted to depose, Kodak didn’t direct its subpoena (PDF) to any one attorney. Kodak wants the firm to talk about work it did representing Apple in a patent reexamination with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Making many of the same arguments it did in fighting Nokia’s subpoena, Sterne Kessler is claiming that information protected by attorney-client privilege would come out in a deposition, and also that much of the information Kodak wants is available in notes on Apple’s interactions with patent officials.
Pickard and fellow Sterne Kessler attorney David Cornwell are representing the firm against Kodak’s subpoena; Pickard declined to comment. K&L Gates is representing Kodak in the New York case. Kodak spokesman Gerard Meuchner confirmed that the firm will also handle the litigation in Washington.