RIM reaches patent peace with Nokia -- at a cost

Beleaguered BlackBerry maker RIM will make a one-time payment to Nokia to settle existing cases, and will also make "ongoing payments" for the right to use Nokia's patents.

Nokia and Research In Motion have settled all of their patent disputes, but the BlackBerry maker appears to have landed on the wrong side of the deal.

Nokia announced today that it has agreed to a deal with RIM that will end all patent infringement litigation between the companies. RIM has agreed to make a one-time payment to Nokia to settle the cases. Going forward, RIM will give Nokia "ongoing payments" for the right to use its patents.

The battle between RIM and Nokia dates back to 2003, when the companies signed a licensing agreement that allowed RIM to use some of Nokia's standard-essential patents, and vice versa. In 2011, RIM sought arbitration in Sweden, requesting that Nokia's WLAN patents be included in the original deal. The company reasoned that the WLAN intellectual property should be included in any agreement related to standard-essential patents.

During the arbitration process, Nokia argued that RIM's use of the wireless networking technology in its products violated its patents and requested that the BlackBerry maker pay it royalties. RIM acknowledged that it used WLAN in its products, but reportedly believed that the use was covered under the initial contract.

Last month, a Swedish arbitrator ruled in favor of Nokia , likely paving the way for this agreement.

Neither Nokia nor RIM disclosed the cash value of their agreement. They also declined to say which patents were included in the deal. However, they made clear that all patent litigation across the U.S., U.K., and Canada has been ended.

"We are very pleased to have resolved our patent licensing issues with RIM and reached this new agreement, while maintaining Nokia's ability to protect our unique product differentiation," Paul Melin, chief intellectual property officer at Nokia, said today in a statement.

According to Nokia, it has spent approximately 45 billion euros ($59.4 billion) on research and development over the last 20 years.

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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