Nokia takes a bite out of Apple

Nokia has announced the settlement of a long-running patent spat with Apple. Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will pay an undisclosed lump sum as well as ongoing royalty payments for its use of patents Nokia claims belong to it. Both parties have agreed to withdraw their respective complaints to the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

The ITC has become an increasingly popular stage on which telecoms competitors have sought to hammer-out IP-related grievances; the Commission has the power to effect import bans on disputed products. Apple has previously sought such bans on Nokia and HTC devices.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said in a statement that the settlement “demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.” Elop added that, over the past 20 years, Nokia had invested approximately €43bn in research and development resulting in the generation of “over 10,000 patent families.” According to Nokia, the agreement is “expected to have a positive impact on Nokia’s recently revised outlook” for the second quarter of this year, which projected a break-even on non-IFRS operating margins for devices and services.

An Apple spokesman confirmed that “all of our current lawsuits” had been dropped, but “not the majority of the innovations that make the iPhone unique.” The legal challenge from Nokia dates back to October 2009, when the Finnish device maker claimed that Apple was hitching a “free ride” on Nokia technologies with every iPhone since 2007. Among the disputed patents were ones covering wireless data, security and encryption technologies and speech coding. At the time the claim was filed, Nokia said that it had licensing agreements with over 40 companies and that Apple alone had refused to pay up.

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