Nokia and RIM End Patent Dispute

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Posted 4 years ago

2012 has been a year of patent disputes, and while there is no end in sight in the ongoing battle between Apple and Samsung, a little further down the competition chain, Nokia and RIM have decided to end their battle over Wi-Fi technology and enter into a patent licensing agreement.

RIM recently seen its decision to fight the patent issues with Nokia backfire, when an arbitration tribunal found the Canadian company to be in breach of contract; this opened the door for Nokia to file actions against RIM in the US, UK, and Canada, as TNW reported back in November.

Whether RIM is still hurting from that loss, or Nokia has decided to no longer wants to waste time fighting a company that it does not regard as real competition, the two have agreed on a deal that sees “all existing patent litigation” dropped.

“We are very pleased to have resolved our patent licensing issues with RIM and reached this new agreement, while maintaining Nokia’s ability to protect our unique product differentiation,” says chief intellectual property officer at Nokia Paul Melin in a company press release.

“This agreement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

The drawn up agreement includes a one-off fee and on-going payments, all of which are “from RIM to Nokia”. With the deal in place Nokia has said it will withdraw all “pending actions in the US, UK and Canada related to a recent arbitration tribunal decision.”

The deal is similar to the one that Nokia signed with Apple in 2011, with Cupertino continuing to pay royalties to the Finnish company. No financial terms of the payments have been disclosed by either company, and nor are they likely to be; however, we can definitely gather from this that, like Apple, RIM is the big loser here.

Nokia says it has invested €45 million in research and development over the last two decades and has built the “wireless industry’s strongest and broadest IPR portfolio, with around 10,000 patent families.” These patent assets are of some value to Nokia, and this has been made evident by the company’s stance on defending them. Settlements have been reached with Apple and RIM, it remains to be seen whether the two other companies being sued by Nokia – Viewsonic and HTC – also bow to the pressure.

– Anthony Carter

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