Nokia, Apple courtroom showdown to wait until mid-2012

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The legal battle over mobile technology patents between handset makers Apple and Nokia will likely drag out for years, with both companies looking for a court hearing to be held in 2012.

The trial date with the U.S. International Trade Commission was revealed in a court filing obtained by Reuters this week. It noted that the date raises "the spectre of a prolonged legal struggle."

When the battle between the two giant companies began last fall with Nokia suing Apple over alleged patent violations, some said if Apple countersued, the battle between the two Goliaths could last two or three years. Sure enough, only months later, Apple filed a countersuit against Nokia, accusing the Finnish company of its own list of patent infringements.

In January, the ITC agreed to investigate Apple over the complaints lodged by Nokia. Weeks later, the U.S. commission announced it would also investigate Nokia over Apple's claims.

Reuters noted that Apple originally accused Nokia of infringing 13 patents the Cupertino, Calif., company owns. However, the suit has since been revised to remove four from the list.

Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray has said he believes Nokia seeks a 1 percent to 2 percent royalty on every iPhone sold. That would amount to about $6 to $12 per handset in compensation for intellectual properties related go GSM, 3G and Wi-Fi.

While Nokia first provoked Apple with a lawsuit last fall, Apple recently began its own patent-related pursuit against handset maker HTC earlier this month. The iPhone maker filed a suit with the ITC accusing HTC of infringing on 20 patents related to the handset's user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. Some believe the lawsuit is meant as an indirect attack against Google's Android mobile operating system.

The ITC has been busy with Apple lately. The U.S. commission is also investigating a complaint from camera maker Kodak, which has accused Apple of infringing on patents related to the previewing of images and processing them at different resolutions. Kodak believes Apple's iPhone infringes on those inventions.