Nokia, Lenovo shake hands on patent deal

Companies put their patent‑infringement battles behind them, but only after Lenovo agrees to make a net balancing payment to Nokia.

Ken Wieland, contributing editor

April 9, 2021

2 Min Read
Nokia, Lenovo shake hands on patent deal

Nokia has announced that it has struck a "multi-year, multi-technology patent cross-license agreement" with Chinese PC maker Lenovo.

The deal, which involves Lenovo making a net balancing payment to Nokia, means that all pending patent litigation and other proceedings between the two parties – in all jurisdictions – is dropped. Financial details were not disclosed.

Nokia and Lenovo have been at legal loggerheads with each other since at least 2019, with the Finnish supplier filing lawsuits against the Chinese firm in various countries, including Germany and the US, over alleged infringement of some 20 patents in relation to video compression standard H.264.

Figure 1: Settle down: Lenovo and Nokia have finally come to terms over their long running patent dispute. (Source: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash) Settle down: Lenovo and Nokia have finally come to terms over their long running patent dispute.
(Source: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash)

Things got so heated in Germany that a Munich court, after ruling that Lenovo infringed on one of Nokia's patents, ordered a recall of the PC maker's products from retailers.

Lenovo appealed the decision, claiming Nokia was in the wrong by not licensing its tech according to so-called FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.

An unnamed Lenovo source cited by Reuters at the time said Nokia was "demanding a highly-inflated global royalty rate that is more than 50 times what Lenovo believes is reasonable and appropriate."

FRANDs, not enemies

Top execs from both companies lavished praise on each other after rubber-stamping the deal.

"We appreciate, and very much respect, the constructive spirit Lenovo brought to our negotiations and look forward to working together to bring further innovation to their users around the world," said Jenni Lukander, president of Nokia Technologies.

She added that the agreement "reflects Nokia's decades-long investments in R&D and contributions to cellular and multimedia standards."

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The mood of John Mulgrew, Lenovo's chief intellectual property officer, seemed just as conciliatory.

"Our agreement with Nokia reflects the value of both Nokia's technology leadership and Lenovo's continued investment in 5G innovation," he said.

"The global accord struck will enable future collaboration between our companies for the benefit of customers worldwide."

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— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Ken Wieland

contributing editor

Ken Wieland has been a telecoms journalist and editor for more than 15 years. That includes an eight-year stint as editor of Telecommunications magazine (international edition), three years as editor of Asian Communications, and nearly two years at Informa Telecoms & Media, specialising in mobile broadband. As a freelance telecoms writer Ken has written various industry reports for The Economist Group.

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