Apple loses patent row to Nokia

Former rubber gumboot maker Nokia has had a bit of good news in its patent row with Apple.

It had sued Jobs’ Mob for ripping off its ideas and had been counter-sued by Apple. The two sides had looked like they would keep various courts in the United States and in Europe busy as the two sides argued over dozens of patents.

However it looks like Nokia has emerged without a judge having to make ruling. Apple will simply write a large cheque to make the Finns go away and promise to pay royalties. The specific terms of the contract are confidential.

Stephen Elop, president and chief executive officer of Nokia, said that he was jolly pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees. He claimed that the settlement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and let it focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.

Patent expert Florian Mueller said that this was the outcome he had predicted. He believed that there was no way that Apple was going to get out of avoiding paying a Nokia tax. It is not clear then why Apple even bothered trying.

Apple is currently taking on the three leading Android device makers, Motorola, HTC and Samsung. This is more of a fight it could either win or do some significant damage to its rivals.

It could however give Nokia a new life as a patent troll. Mueller thinks that Nokia has a new strategy is to increase the amount of cash it makes from its patent portfolio.

“Having proven its ability to defeat Apple, after the most bitterly contest patent dispute that this industry has seen to date, is a clear proof of concept. Other companies whom Nokia will ask to pay royalties will have to think very hard whether to pay or pick a fight,” Mueller wrote in his bog.

To make matters worse, there is a possibility that Android might also infringe on the same patents that Apple did, meaning that Nokia could also sue the big three Android makers.

For this reason, Jobs’ Mob will probably not be too concerned about losing. If Android makers are forced to pay Nokia then it will increase the costs of the software and Jobs’ Mob will win.

In fact they will probably have to pay more than Apple because they don’t bring as much intellectual property to the table as Apple definitely did.