Perhaps because there is not really any use in wasting energy fighting down rather than up the competition chain, today the beleaguered handset maker Nokia announced that it has settled all of its patent disputes with the equally challenged BlackBerry maker RIM. Nokia had different claims against RIM, and it looks like RIM is coming out the net loser here: Nokia says that it is getting a one-off, as well as ongoing, payments from the Canadian company. It is not making any payments to RIM. They are not disclosing the financial terms of those payments.
Both handset makers were once leaders in the mobile world, but largely because of the rapid rise of Apple and Google’s Android OS, both have fallen from those positions.
Once the long, undisputed leader in mobile handsets, Nokia earlier this year it lost that crown to Android handset maker Samsung, which like Nokia makes a high volume mix of feature and smartphones. In Q3 of this year, it was still a strong number two overall but the signs are not good for growth ahead.
Nokia has sold off a lot of its patent portfolio and assets in the last couple of years as to cut costs, raise cash, and reorganize/realign, but nevertheless it notes that it has over the years invested some €45 billion in research and development and owns some 10,000 patent families. Those patent assets are currently proving to be some of the most valuable at the company.
Nokia has put some time into defending those patents. Among its lawsuits have been at least two against RIM, including one in May that also involved ViewSonic and HTC; and most recently a case against RIM at the end of November to enforce arbitration.
RIM, meanwhile, has also suffered at the hands of Apple and Android handset makers. It once led smartphone handset sales in many markets, including the influential U.S. market but that share has rapidly declined. But currently it is distant third in worldwide smartphone sales, after Samsung and Apple.
RIM has also spent some time filing legal claims against other companies. Those have included Samsung (over a phone name); Kik (over messaging service patents); Motorola and Good Technology. But it’s not clear that it’s ever filed a legal action against Nokia.
It’s slowly trying to get its house in order. Yesterday its quarterly results indicated that it is continuing to narrow its losses, and although revenues are still declining the did meet analysts’ expectations.
More to come. Release below.
Nokia and RIM enter into new patent license agreement
RIM payments to Nokia settle all legal actions between the companies
Espoo, Finland – Nokia has entered into a new patent license agreement with Research In Motion. The agreement will result in settlement of all existing patent litigation between the companies and withdrawal of pending actions in the US, UK and Canada related to a recent arbitration tribunal decision.
The financial structure of the agreement includes a one-time payment and on-going payments, all from RIM to Nokia. The specific terms of the agreement are confidential.
“We are very pleased to have resolved our patent licensing issues with RIM and reached this new agreement, while maintaining Nokia’s ability to protect our unique product differentiation,” said Paul Melin, chief intellectual property officer at Nokia. “This agreement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”
During the last two decades, Nokia has invested approximately EUR 45 billion in research and development and built the wireless industry’s strongest and broadest IPR portfolio, with around 10,000 patent families. Nokia is a world leader in the development of handheld device and mobile communications technologies, which is also demonstrated by Nokia’s strong patent position.