Apple & Nokia Bury Patent Hatchet With Secret Settlement

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – In an unexpected move, Nokia and Apple settled their patent dispute Tuesday morning, bringing resolution to a case many industry experts believed would drag on for years.

Apple and Nokia dropped the lawsuit filed in federal court last December and announced the signing of a multi-year patent license in a joint statement issued Tuesday morning.

“This is a meaningful agreement between Nokia and Apple,” said Maria Varsellona, Nokia’s chief legal officer responsible for the company’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.”

The agreement spells out how the companies will collaborate, with Nokia providing network infrastructure product and services to Apple, while Apple will resume carrying Nokia digital-health products at its store and other retail outlets.

Nokia and Apple will also explore further business relationships centered on digital-health equipment, according to the statement.

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

In December, Apple sued two patent companies affiliated with Nokia – Acacia and Conversant – accusing them of engaging in anticompetitive behavior by jacking up the prices for basic technology used in cellphone technology.

“Unable to compete with innovative companies such as Apple – which had developed a revolutionary hardware and software platform – Nokia quickly transformed itself,” the complaint stated. “It changed from a company focused on supplying cellphones and other consumer products to a company bent on exploiting the patents that remain from its years as a successful cellphone supplier.”

At the time, Apple said Nokia enlisted the services of patent-enforcement companies in an attempt to eat into competitors’ profits and extract profits from its patent portfolio.

Many industry analysts saw the lawsuit as another iteration of the Apple-Samsung patent fight that dragged through federal courts for years before finally reaching the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

However, Tuesday’s announcement proved those predictions wrong.

“This agreement will strengthen our collaboration,” said Basil Alwan, president of Nokia’s IP/Optical Networks business.

The financial terms of the settlement and ongoing agreement are confidential, according to both companies, but Nokia will receive an up-front cash payment from the Cupertino-based technology giant, with additional revenues throughout the life of the agreement.

Nokia said the value of the agreement is not solely relegated to patent licensing, but will help the company garner dollars in other aspects of its corporate structure.

Nokia’s stock rose 6 percent in trading on Tuesday.

The Finnish-based company is 150 years old and has a long history in the telecommunications industry.

Apple, the largest company in the world, recently exceeded the $800 billion mark for market capitalization, the first company to do so.

 

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