Apple and Nokia have been engaging in legal battles for a couple of years. In 2009, Nokia filed a patent infringement suit against Apple, and since then, both companies have been at each others throats with various suits and complaints.
Basically, Nokia has said that Apple was infringing upon its patents, and Apple was saying that Nokia was infringing upon it's patents. A few months ago, a judge had ruled that Apple had not violated any of Nokia's patents, but then Nokia quickly filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC), claiming that Apple infringes upon additional Nokia patents in "virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, tablets and computers".
Now, the two companies are settling. In an announcement, Nokia said that it has signed a patent license agreement with Apple, which will result in settlement of all patent litigation between the companies, including the withdrawal by Nokia and Apple of their respective complaints to the ITC.
The agreement includes a one-time payment payable by Apple and on-going royalties to be paid by Apple to Nokia for the term of the agreement, though the specific terms are being kept confidential.
"We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees," said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop, . "This settlement demonstrates Nokia's industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market."
During the last two decades, the announcement says, Nokia has invested nearly EUR 43 billion in research and development and built one of the wireless industry's strongest and broadest IPR portfolios, with over 10,000 patent families. It also notes that the agreement is expected to have a positive financial impact on Nokia's recently revised outlook for the second quarter 2011 of around break-even non-IFRS operating margin for Devices & Services.
Apple has not put out an announcement on the subject, but AllThingsD did obtain a statement from the company, confirming the agreement's legitimacy:
"Apple and Nokia have agreed to drop all of our current lawsuits and enter into a license covering some of each others’ patents, but not the majority of the innovations that make the iPhone unique. We’re glad to put this behind us and get back to focusing on our respective businesses.”
Nokia has big plans in the mobile space, having recently partnered with Microsoft and the Windows Phone operating system.