Nokia dangles mediation carrot in front of Daimler over license dispute

Legal action has been paused in the hopes of reaching some form of resolution.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Nokia has temporarily halted legal proceedings against Daimler in a last-ditch attempt to reach a resolution before court action. 

As reported by Reuters, on Monday, the Finnish telecoms giant is pursuing Daimler, a German multinational automaker, for licensing fees related to technology crucial for smart and modern car navigation, communications, and automation. 

The Nokia-Daimler lawsuits, in which both companies have filed complaints against each other, relate specifically to vehicle communication. 

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Nokia has alleged that Daimler has used patents in its portfolio without negotiating licensing terms and payments, a common practice employed by patent holders to permit other businesses to use protected intellectual property and designs. 

Rather than fight multiple lawsuits in court, Nokia has proposed independent mediation, postponing a planned court hearing due to take place on December 10. 

A company spokesperson told the news agency, "We trust that Daimler and its tier 1 suppliers will now engage in these meaningful efforts to reach settlement," adding that, "there is more to gain for all if we work together."

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There is potentially more at stake, however, than a fight over one portfolio. The European Commission (EC) has been poised to launch an investigation into Nokia's licensing practices on the basis of a previous complaint submitted by Daimler. 

"Fair and non-discriminatory access to these standards for all users of the essential patents for telecommunications standards is a key prerequisite for the development of new products and services for connected driving," Daimler said. 

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager approved the mediation efforts, saying that "mutual understanding" would be of benefit to the companies. 

In April, the EC published an antitrust complaint levied at Daimler, Daimler and VW (Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche) which accused the automakers of colluding to restrict the development of clean-air emissions technology.

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Nokia posted Q3 2019 earnings in October including revenues of €5.686 billion with diluted earnings per share of €0.01, or €0.05 non-IFRS. The company slashed its 2019 and 2020 outlooks and announced plans to pause dividend payments. Share prices plummeted by 24 percent at the time of the financial results' release. 

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