EU to Nokia: Don't be a 'patent troll'

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he's concerned Nokia might try to leverage its patent portfolio for its own legal good.

The European Union had strong words for Nokia on Monday: Don't turn into a "patent troll."

Speaking at a conference on Monday, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that while he's fine with Microsoft acquiring Nokia's devices and services unit, he's concerned that the mobile maker's decision to hold on to patents and attempt to generate more value through those could create a troublesome scenario.

In his discussion with reporters, Almunia said that he's concerned Nokia might "behave like a patent troll or, to use a more polite phrase, a patent assertion entity," according to the Associated Press. He also warned Nokia that if it attempts to use its patents like a troll, he'll waste no time launching an antitrust case.

Nokia has one of the most valuable patent portfolios in the mobile industry. So far, the company successfully has defended alleged infringing patents across Europe. Although the company has not said that it would use its portfolio to attack other companies and generate revenue, the strength of its intellectual property could leave it open to do such a thing, Almunia argued.

CNET has contacted Nokia for comment on Almunia's comments. We will update this story when we have more information.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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