Launched in October 2009, the patent war between Nokia and Apple, which has seen attacks and counterattacks, has finally been resolved through a licensing agreement for an undisclosed amount.
Finnish group Nokia launched their first attack against Apple in October 2009, a few days after the group announced poor financial results, with a lot of people concerned that Nokia may not be able to compete with Apple and their emblematic top of the line Smartphone.
Moving the battle to the legal domain, Nokia accused Apple of exploiting a certain number of their patented technologies relating to 3G and wireless technologies in their mobile products, without paying the corresponding royalties.
Apple didn’t take long to reply by counter attacking through the filing of complaints with the ITC (International Trade Commission), with this action threatening to block the sale of each brands product on US soil. If such an action proved successful by Nokia, this could great ramifications for Apple, but not so much for Nokia who only has 4% market share in this region.
In the meantime, the complaints between the companies increased (often launched by Nokia) who increased the number of in question patents in case some of them were found to be invalid.
A friendly agreement reached to avoid a worsening situation The situation started to become rather complicated as complaints were being filed in different courts, with some filings being changed before they had been reviewed by the ITC. Preliminary decisions in this case indicated that a quick decision, going in either direction, would be very unlikely.
Facing a certain number of unknowns, as is often the case with such lawsuits, Nokia and Apple have finally reached an agreement which will end all legal proceedings, notably in front of the ITC.
Apple has given in and has accepted topay licensing rights to Nokia for the intellectual property that they have used. Apple will pay a settlement fee to Nokia for all patent violations recorded before the law suit, followed by regular licensing payments made by Apple for the on-going use of the technologies. The amounts in question remain confidential.
While not having been able to directly compete with the iPhone, whit is a small victory for Nokia who will nevertheless indirectly benefit from Apple’s mobile products. The Finnish manufacturer has spent significant amounts in Research and Development over the last 20 years – more than 40 billion Euros, which has led to them filing 10 000 patents. The use of such technologies by other companies helps to provide them with return on their investment.
Apple’s use of these patents and the corresponding licensing fees will surely help Nokia who is currently going through a difficult period after having lost their place as the largest Smartphone developer in the world to Samsung… while Apple could also move past them in the third quarter of this year.