Apple Inc. (AAPL) Finds an Unlikely Ally Against Samsung: Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NOK)

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, even if they’re also my enemy.

That must be the stance that Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) is taking with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), even though the iPhone is largely responsible for Nokia’s fall from grace over the past few years. Like other incumbents, Nokia underestimated the iPhone and saw unit shipments crater as a result, but let bygones be bygones. It’s time to unite against a common enemy: Samsung.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Reinforcements
Amid Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s global war with its South Korean frenemy, the iPhone maker was seeking a permanent injunction in the U.S. on 26 different Samsung products that were found to be guilty of patent infringement. In December, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh denied this request since the company needed to prove that the infringing features were directly responsible for consumer demand of the guilty products.

Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) has now filed a brief backing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s attempts to block various Samsung products, saying that Koh was in the wrong to deny the injunction. The Finnish smartphone maker is trying to stand up for broader patent protection rights, since it owns over 10,000 patent families. Even though Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) isn’t directly involved, it says its interest is to “advocate for patent laws” that aim to protect intellectual property while also fostering and encouraging innovation. The company has no position on any other issue within the case.

Who is the bigger threat?
While both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung have risen to become the top two smartphone vendors in the world, largely at the expense of Nokia, Samsung is a much bigger threat to Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK). In the broader mobile phone market (including feature phones), Samsung famously dethroned Nokia as the top vendor last year — a title that Nokia enjoyed for 14 years.

Here are IDC’s estimates on total mobile phone shipments in 2012.