Apple and Nokia settle patent dispute and sign new deal
Nokia trading up as much as 8% to highest since February 2016 following announcement
Nokia will receive an upfront cash payment and additional revenues from Apple starting from the current quarter. Photograph: Reuters
The companies said on Tuesday that Nokia would receive an upfront cash payment and additional revenues from Apple starting from the current quarter, without giving details. Analysts said the revenue was likely to be far higher than a previous deal.
Nokia shares, which fell in December when the patent dispute was announced,jumpsed as much as 8 per cent in early trading and later closed 6 per cent higher.
“We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia,” Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams said in a joint statement from the companies.
A previous patent licence contract between the companies expired last year, and both sides took legal action in December. Apple complained of being overcharged and Nokia responded by accusing Apple of violating technology patents.
In the absence of a new deal, Nokia cut its annual run-rate forecast in December for patent and brand licensing sales to €800 million from €950 million previously. In its latest quarterly report released in April, Nokia stopped giving an annual run-rate forecast altogether.
“[The agreement] moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners,” Nokia’s chief legal officer Maria Varsellona said in a statement.
New business deal
Analysts were surprised by the relatively quick resolution, as they had feared a protracted legal dispute.
“For Nokia, it’s good news they got this out of the way, but we still have to wait for details about the financial impact,” said OP Equities analyst Hannu Rauhala.
“The previous annual rate was €150 million, so I assume this to be more, around €500 million.”
Under the new business agreement, Nokia said it would provide network products and services to Apple while Apple would resume carrying Nokia’s digital health products in its retail and online stores. The firms will also look into further collaboration in digital health, Nokia said.
Rauhala said Apple might have been willing to settle with Nokia as the US company’s patent battle with chipmaker Qualcomm has escalated.
Inderes analyst Mikael Rautanen said Nokia’s aim to expand its sales of network equipment sales beyond telecom operators to global internet and technology giants may also have played a part in the resolution of the dispute.
Patent royalties represent only a sliver of Nokia’s overall revenue, more than 90 per cent of which comes from telecoms network equipment. But licensing payments are highly profitable and the network business is suffering an industry-wide slump.
Nokia’s patents cover technology that reduces the need for hardware components in a phone, conserves battery life, increases radio reception, helps in recovering lost phones and enables voice recognition, among other features.
Once the world’s dominant cellphone maker, Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft in 2014 to focus on its network business and large portfolio of mobile device patents.
Nokia’s total sales in 2016 were about €24 billion.