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Apple concedes Nokia victory in longtime patent wars
[June 17, 2011]

Apple concedes Nokia victory in longtime patent wars

(Connected Planet Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) By Michelle Maisto A satisfied Nokia has emerged the victor of a longtime legal battle with Apple that produced more patent-infringement countersuits and complaints than most anyone could keep track of.

On June 14, Nokia announced that Apple has agreed to make a one-time mea culpa payment, in addition to paying on-going royalties.

The specific terms of the agreement, including the damage of that one-time payment, are under wraps. The one-time payment will be significant enough, Nokia said in a statement, to positively impact its 2011 second quarter, which it has revised its outlook for.

"We are pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees," Nokia CEO and President Stephen Elop said in the statement. "This settlement demonstrates Nokia's industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market." The win, which really isn't so surprising, may also open up further revenue opportunities, suggests Technology Business Research Analyst Ken Hyers.

"When you stop and think about it, it's not surprising that a company new to the mobile phone business (Apple) with a ground-breaking device introduced only four years ago, might have 'borrowed' some ideas from the company that was once the leading smartphone manufacturer and which has been in the business for decades," Hyers told Connected Planet in an email.

"Nokia has always been aggressive about defending its IPR [intellectual property rights], and will, I believe, become much more aggressive in doing so as revenue from other sources (like mobile phone sales) slow," Hyers added. "Perhaps patents will become a key revenue source going forward for Nokia something that will be increasingly important as smartphone revenues continue to fall." Nokia and Apple have also agreed to withdraw their respective complaints to the U.S. International Trade Commission. Presumably, they'll also withdraw the complaints filed in U.S. district courts, and Apple will do the same for the suit filed in the United Kingdom in September the most recent swat in a tit-for-tat that kicked off with Nokia's Oct. 2009 accusation that the Apple iPhone was infringing on 10 Nokia patents related to GSM, UMTS and WLAN standards.

"By refusing to agree [to] 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 of Nokia's legal division said at the time.

By December Apple had fired back, accusing Nokia of infringing on 13 Apple patents and offering a snide remark of its own "Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours," courtesy of Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell.

For more than a year, more of the same followed.

Nokia's June 14 announced in which it added that it has invested approximately 43 billion Euro in research and development, resulting in an IPR portfolio of more than 10,000 patent families frees up Apple to get back to other matters, like the business of iCloud (CP: With iCloud, Apple changes definition of 'cloud' to fit own needs) and its proposed new Cupertino campus (CP: Apple proposes spaceship-like building and green campus on former HP site).

Nokia, which is hurrying to release its first Windows Phone devices before year's end, certainly has plenty to keep it busy, perhaps the least-known of which is its interest in graphene a "super material" that measures one atom thick and is reportedly the strongest material ever tested.

In a post today on the Nokia Conversations blog, there's a video and more details on how Nokia imagines graphene (hello, new patents!) may change not only smartphones but the world.

© 2011 Penton Media

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