Litigation Settlement With Apple a Sign of Things to Come 7/21/12
In June 2011, after nearly two years of litigation, Nokia and Apple finally reached a licensing agreement that required Apple to make a one-time payment ($500m) to Nokia followed by ongoing royalty payments for the duration of the agreement. While the exact royalty payments are unknown due to the agreement being sealed, this legal victory was less about an influx of capital from Apple and more about proving the power of Nokia's patent portfolio against the wealthiest company in the world.
According to renowned intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, by defeating Apple in what he referred to as the most bitterly contested patent dispute in the history of the industry, Nokia is set to file suit against the world's many Android developers and manufactures as the Android device copies a majority of the patents and technology found in the iPhone. "This is also very significant with a view to Android. Given that Android is in many ways a rip-off of Apple's operating software, Android-based devices are highly likely to infringe on largely the same Nokia patents that Apple now felt forced to pay for. "
To this end, on May 1, 2012 Nokia filed a total of 11 patent infringement lawsuits against three companies; leading Android manufacturer, HTC, in addition to fellow mobile competitor RIM and visual technology designer View-sonic. This claim alleges that collectively these three companies infringe on a total of 45 Nokia patents relating to a variety of technologies. In comparison to the Apple litigation, Mueller states that this lawsuit will take much less time and should result in a higher per phone revenue, "I think these disputes won't take as long as the Nokia-Apple battle-and on a per-device basis. HTC and ViewSonic will likely end up paying significantly higher royalties than Apple, which brought more IP of its own to the negotiating table." The legal standing of Nokia in relation to Android manufactures is also helped by the cross-licensing agreement the company established with Motorola in 2010, which precludes Google from using the numerous patents it acquired from Motorola against Nokia or allowing any of its subsidiaries to use them in legal cases with Nokia.Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant, stated in an interview following the litigation announcement that this marks a change in licensing strategy for the company, "This is why we have flagged this as a next step for us. Our activity to date has been primarily focused on licensing our essential patents and we have around 40 licensees for them (and of course, we also have licensees to standards essential patents from many other companies). "These actions are primarily around implementation patents, which represent the majority of the patents in our portfolio."