Nokia and RIM settle patent dispute

A one off payment and a new licensing agreement has seen the dispute end between the two mobile heavyweights

Nokia and Research in Motion (RIM) have settled their disputes over patent licensing, bringing a halt to numerous legal actions due in 2013.

The two mobile manufacturers have a history of licensing patents to one another, signing a cross-license agreement in 2003 for standards-essential cellular patents.

However, in 2011 the BlackBerry maker claimed the patents had gone beyond these essentials and wanted to renegotiate a deal with Nokia, leading to a long arbitration process.

In November, the arbitrator ruled in favour of Nokia, saying RIM was in breach of contract for manufacturing and selling WLAN (wireless local area network) products without first agreeing royalties with the Finnish firm.

As a result, Nokia came out all guns blazing and told the press it was launching legal action against RIM in the UK, US and Canada.

In a surprise move today, Nokia released a statement saying a new agreement had been reached between the companies and all legal action was going to be dropped.

“Nokia has entered into a new patent license agreement with Research In Motion,” it read. “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.”

Paul Melin, chief intellectual property officer at Nokia, said his firm was “very pleased to have resolved our patent licensing issues with RIM and reached this new agreement,” adding the key issue had been  “maintaining Nokia's ability to protect our unique product differentiation."

We contacted RIM for comment on the settlement but it had not returned our request at the time of publication.

The news comes on the same day as RIM's latest financial results, which showed a 47% drop in revenues compared to the same quarter in 2011. 

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