Apple Settles iPhone Patent Lawsuit with Nokia

The two year patent lawsuit battle between Nokia and Apple has finally ended with Apple agreeing to pay Nokia an unspecified amount in licensing fees. The agreements brings to a close all of the patent related legal claims from both companies, and both sides are dropping their International Trade Commission complaints, too.

As part of the settlement, Apple is paying Nokia a lump sum, along with ongoing royalty payments. Nokia isn’t saying how much money Apple is shelling out in the deal, or how long the iPhone and iPad maker will be paying licensing fees.

Apple v Nokia: In the canApple and Nokia settle their patent claims

Stephen Elop, Nokia president and CEO, did say he’s glad the patent lawsuit has been settled.

“We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees,” he said. “This settlement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

Nokia filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in October 2009 over claims that the wireless technology the company uses in most of its products, such as the MacBook and MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad, violate patents the cell phone maker owns. Apple fired back with its own lawsuit against Nokia in December that same year for allegedly violating several patents it owns.

Both companies also filed complaints against each other with the ITC.

Apple’s General Counsel and senior vice president, Bruce Sewell, underscored the tension between the two companies when he commented “Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours.”

While the settlement lets Apple free up some of its legal resources for other court battles, Nokia stands to be the big winner as it moves forward with its patent licensing hunt.

“The fact that Nokia has demonstrated its ability to defeat Apple — after the most bitterly contested patent dispute that this industry has seen to date — is a clear proof of concept,” said Florian Mueller at Foss Patents. “Other companies whom Nokia will ask to pay royalties will have to think very hard whether to pay or pick a fight.”

Nokia’s good news may turn out to be bad news for Android phone makers, too. “Given that Android is in many ways a rip-off of Apple’s operating software, Android-based devices are highly likely to infringe on largely the same Nokia patents that Apple now felt forced to pay for,” Mr. Mueller said.