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Nokia and Apple settle intellectual property lawsuits, become partners

Finnish communications giant Nokia and US tech behemoth Apple announced on Tuesday that they have settled all of their litigation and signed a patent license and a business cooperation agreement. The announcement saw Nokia Corporation's share price rise by more than 6.7 percent by 1:15 pm Finnish time on Tuesday.

Apple withings valvontakamera.
Apple iPhone and a Withings-branded security camera. File photo, 2015. Image: AOP

Apple and Nokia say that they have settled their respective patent and intellectual property lawsuits and counter-lawsuits and will become business partners again. In a joint press release issued Tuesday the companies said that Nokia will provide Apple some of its network infrastructure services and products.

Details of the agreement are confidential, but the companies said Nokia will receive an up-front cash payment from Apple, with additional revenues during the term of the agreement.

The business news agency Reuters reported that analysts had expected the legal dispute to continue and were surprised by the quick resolution.

Nokia's chief legal officer in charge of patent licensing, Maria Varsellona characterised the agreement between Nokia and Apple as "meaningful."

"It moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners working for the benefit of our customers," Varsellona said in the release.

The companies say that Apple plans to return Nokia's digital health products (previously branded under the name Withings) to its retail and online stores.

As the tech companies were suing and countersuing in patent courts around the world, in December 2016 Apple pulled all Withings-branded health accessories from its retail sales outlets, including devices such as wireless blood pressure monitors and smart body analyzers.

Nokia acquired the medical tech device firm Withings in the spring of 2016. Apple and Nokia also plan to look into further digital health product development, according to Reuters.

The companies said that top Nokia and Apple executives will meet regularly to "ensure that the relationship works effectively and to the benefit of both parties and their customers."

Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams added: “We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia.”

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