This week, Apple is squaring off against Nokia Oyj, before the International Trade Commission. The dispute, in which each side alleges intellectual property violations, is also a precursor to Apple patent battles with Motorola Inc. and HTC Corp.
A unit of Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola filed an ITC complaint against Apple in October, alleging it infringed 18 patents. In response, Apple filed a case claiming the Droid and other Motorola smartphones are using Apple intellectual property without permission.
Apple has hired some of the nation's top patent lawyers as outside counsel. They include Robert Krupka of Kirkland & Ellis, who negotiated a 2005 settlement in which Apple agreed to pay $100 million to Creative Technology Ltd., maker of the Zen music player; William Lee of WilmerHale in Boston, who successfully represented Broadcom Corp. in its fight against Qualcomm; and Matt Powers of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, who successfully defended the patent on Merck & Co.'s biggest product, the $4.7 billion-a-year asthma drug Singulair.
Apple has also hired former chief IP counsel for Sun Microsystems, Noreen Krall as an in-house attorney.