nokiaNokia filed a patent lawsuit against Apple today, saying Apple infringed on 10 different patents. The technologies relate to fundamental cell phone features such as the use of the GSM radio network, UMTS (wireless data), security, encryption and local area network standards.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Delaware, is as clear a battle between the old established guard of mobile phones and the new guard as we’ve ever seen. It’s a sign of the changing times in mobile, where the stakes are huge as phone makers chase billions of users.

Apple’s iPhone/iPod Touch platform is closing in on 60 million units sold. That gives Apple the fastest-growing mobile platform in history, and it’s a threat to Nokia, which just reported a $1.3 billion loss in its most recent quarter.

“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.

This is going to be a titanic battle, so it’s no surprise to see Nokia trying to use its patent leverage in the competition with Apple. But it looks like Nokia may run the risk of some bad publicity in trying to squelch innovation and competition via the courtroom.

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