Microsoft and Nokia deal could put an end to Apple patent feud

The much vaunted deal struck today between Microsoft and Nokia is causing waves throughout the mobile industry.

However, one aspect could prove to have a large affect on Nokia and Apple in particular is the impact on patent disputes.

According to intellectual property activist Florian Mueller, writing for his blog, the deal that will see Nokia using the Windows 7 OS in its phones could go towards ending the ongoing patent feud between Nokia and Apple.

Nokia, which is believed to have around 11,000 patented inventions, takes its intellectual property very seriously, and it is thought that the firm is likely to step up leveraging of IP, which could mean increased activity on the enforcement action front.

This would not be great news in the laborious and costly tit-for-tat battle between Apple and Nokia, which can be viewed in greater clarity here, before the dispute spirals out of control.

But with Microsoft backing Nokia, the Finnish company is in a stronger position to enable a cross licensing deal and effectively call a ceasefire, says Mueller.

Mueller believes that Nokia has found a much stronger ally in Microsoft than it would have in Android in terms of the strategic importance of intellectual property rights, which could provide a better platform from which to settle its dispute with Apple.

Florian contends that IP is Android’s Achilles heel, stemming largely from Google’s own patent portfolio weaknesses, while Microsoft is in a more stable position.

Apple is already involved in disputes with other Android device makers HTC and Motorola, so Nokia would have continued to be in the firing line had it partnered with Google.

Mueller notes that it has been a long time since Apple and Microsoft crossed swords with a patent dispute, and the two, to an extent, rely on each other. While Apple has often shouted about patents regarding touchscreen interfaces with Nokia, Microsoft may be able to provide for Nokia.

In the long run it will make sense for both to stop attacking each other and focus on Android instead.