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Apple Settles With Nokia Over Patent Dispute

Nokia today announced that they have reached a settlement with Apple over a complex web of patent disputes between the companies that have been keeping both companies (and the courts) busy since 2009. The settlement involves a one-time payment as well as on-going royalties to be paid to Nokia by Apple – the size of the fee and royalties is undisclosed, as is the length of the agreement.

We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees,” said Stephen Elop, president and chief executive officer of Nokia. “This settlement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market. - Nokia Press Release

As FOSS Patents relays, the settlement of this dispute will free up precious resources for both companies – Apple in particular will need them whilst it battles three of the big Android device makers; Motorola, HTC and Samsung. The win for Nokia against Apple will be somewhat of a precedent for future potential patent battles, particularly given the veracity with which Apple had displayed in attempting to ‘win’ this lawsuit. In particular, it is very likely that Nokia will soon go after Android device makers and it is questionable whether they would fare any better than Apple did.

The price isn’t disclosed but FOSS Patents gives a brief opinion how sizeable it could be:

Theoretically, it could be a symbolic amount, but that’s very unlikely. I’m sure Nokia had to go down from its maximum demands because otherwise there wouldn’t have been a settlement. But the deal structure is very telling: a combination of a payment for past infringement as well as running royalties is a clear indication that there’s serious money in this for Nokia.

Updated: Could Nokia be earning €8/$11.50 for each iPhone sold? Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents thinks it is ‘plausible’ - in which case Nokia would be raking in something like $200m from today’s settlement.

[Via FOSS Patents, Picture via Engadget]

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