Nokia today posted Q1 earnings that show the Finnish company still trying to recover from a fast-declining legacy handset business. But in the meantime, it is continuing to play another card in its hand, that of patents and intellectual property licensing. This is an area that will bring Nokia €500 million ($653 million) in revenues this year, CFO Timo Ihamuotila said in Nokia’s earnings call today. And CEO Stephen Elop says the company is on the hunt for more.
Asked by one analyst on the call whether we may see more IP revenues in the pipeline, here’s what Elop had to say:
“It is very important to protect what we’re doing and make sure people [who profit from using that IP] are paying their fair share,” he said. “I can’t comment on specific vendors, but when there is a significant shift in vendor market share, when you see those shifts, that tends to create significant opportunties. We we are watching where we can take advantage of that, and we’ll be watching that closely.”
Nokia, which owns some 10,000 patent families, already has licensing deals in place with over 40 companies, including some big ones like Apple (visualization of what that means here) and BlackBerry (nee RIM).
It also has patent cases in play against HTC and Viewsonic.
Google, BlackBerry and others earlier this month came out in solidarity advocating limits for so-called patent trolls, companies that seem to exist only to sue and demand royalties on patents. But in reality, many suits are also being brought by larger tech companies like Apple and Google itself. In that sense, Nokia is not unique. But while it may not be the world’s biggest handset maker anymore, Nokia has a lot of IP from when it still was, and that could be one way to help level the playing field.
The company’s stock is down 12% currently in trading.