Apple and Nokia settle patent licensing lawsuit

Terms of the deal will result in the two firms collaborating on future projects.
Written by Danny Palmer, Senior Writer

Nokia sued Apple, claiming the firm had infringed 32 patents of its patents.

Image: HMD Global

Nokia and Apple have reached a deal over patent licenses and business collaboration following an intellectual-property dispute in which the Finnish firm took legal action against the iPhone maker in European and US courts.

Nokia filed lawsuits with regional courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich in Germany and the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming 32 patent infringements on technology including displays, display, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets, and video coding.

However, now the two companies have settled all litigation related to their intellectual property dispute and have agreed a multi-year patent license, the financial details of which haven't been disclosed.

Under the agreement, Nokia will provide Apple with certain network infrastructure products and services while Apple will resume selling Nokia digital health products in its online and retail stores, with the two firms looking to collaborate on future digital-health initiatives.

The terms of the deal will also lead to executives from Nokia and Apple regularly meeting to ensure "the relationship works effectively and to the benefit of both parties and their customers," the two companies said in a joint statement.

"This is a meaningful agreement between Nokia and Apple," said Maria Varsellona, chief legal officer at Nokia, responsible for Nokia's patent licensing business. "It moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners working for the benefit of our customers."

Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, said: "We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia."

According to the terms of the deal, the value of the agreement will be reflected partially as patent licensing net sales in Nokia Technologies and partially as net sales in other Nokia business groups, such as Nokia's IP/Optical Networks business.

Nokia is set to follow its existing practices for disclosing patent licensing revenue in its quarterly announcements and the company expects revenues for the agreement will start to be recognized in the second quarter of 2017.

Due to what's described as an "up-front cash payment from Apple", Nokia will provide a comprehensive update of its capital structure optimization program in conjunction with its third quarter 2017 results.

The two companies are on good terms now, but when Nokia launched the lawsuit, Apple accused the Finnish firm of undertaking an "illegal patent transfer scheme in full force", adding that Nokia's "cell phone business dying".


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