Nokia sics Russian police on blogger with prototype phone

Claiming it's been unable to recover the prototype N8 that journalist Eldar Murtazin previewed earlier this year, Nokia has asked Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs to help get the phone back.

John Paczkowski

Stop me if you've heard this one before. A prominent consumer electronics company has asked authorities to help it retrieve a prototype phone from the journalist who revealed it--prematurely--to the world.

Nokia N8
Nokia N8 Bonnie Cha/CNET

Sounds a lot like the Gizmodo/iPhone 4 prototype debacle, doesn't it? But it's not. This time, the consumer electronics company is Nokia, the journalist is Eldar Murtazin, editor-in-chief of Moscow-based mobile-review.com, and the authorities are the Russian police.

Claiming that it's been unable to recover the prototype N8 that Murtazin previewed unfavorably earlier this year, Nokia has turned to Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs for help.

"We have asked Murtazin for the return of all Nokia property in his possession," Nokia said in a post to the Nokia Conversations blog Wednesday. "As he has declined to reply, we asked the Russian authorities to assist us. We leave it to the Russian authorities to determine the most appropriate course of action."

The company insists its decision to pursue Murtazin isn't a response to his criticisms of the N8, but rather an effort to protect its trade secrets in an increasingly competitive smartphone business.

Murtazin claims he hasn't violated Nokia's trade secrets and says he made repeated attempts to contact the company over the past few months with no success. "Nokia says there has been a trade secret infringement," he wrote in a post to his blog. "But we have never signed any non-disclosure agreements with them and Nokia knows that very well."