Apple and Nokia resolve their patent spat, sign multiyear licensing agreement

Nokia sign
Apple and Nokia have agreed to bury the hatchet — at least for now.

After Nokia sued Apple and filed several complaints against the company in both Germany and the United States earlier this year, alleging that Apple infringed upon Nokia patents, the two parties have settled out of court. Reuters reported that on Tuesday, the lawyers for the companies announced that they had inked a new patent license agreement and business deal.

“(The agreement) moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners,” Nokia’s chief legal officer Maria Varsellona said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, Nokia will receive an upfront cash payment and higher patent revenues from Apple starting from the current quarter, after the previous patent license contract between the companies expires. That’s good news for Nokia, which cut its annual forecast in December for patent and brand licensing in the absence of a new deal.

“We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia,” Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams said in a joint statement from the companies.

No fewer than 32 patents were involved in the lawsuit, related to everything from the display to user interface to software.

In a press release earlier this year, Nokia noted that it has invested over $120 billion in research and development over the last two decades, and owns tens of thousands of patents that cover technology found in smartphones, tablets, computers, and other electronics. The company is alleged that Apple had infringed upon some of those patents.

Apple complained that it was being overcharged for the patents.

“Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products,” the company wrote in its release.

“Through our sustained investment in research and development, Nokia has created or contributed to many of the fundamental technologies used in today’s mobile devices, including Apple products,” said Ilkka Rahnasto, Nokia’s head of patent business, in a statement. “After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple’s use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights.”

The lawsuits were filed with the Regional Courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim, and Munich in Germany. In the U.S., the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas fielded the complaints. Nokia was also in the process of filing further actions in other jurisdictions, the company said.

Article originally published in March 2016. Updated on 05-23-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added in details that the patent dispute has been resolved. 

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