Daimler and Nokia have announced that they have agreed on a patent licensing contract. Under the agreement, Nokia will supply mobile technology to Daimler in return for payments of an unknown amount. The parties have agreed to end all pending proceedings with this settlement. This also includes the complaint Daimler filed against Nokia with the European Commission. The parties have agreed not to disclose the details of the agreement, in particular the amount of Daimler’s payments to Nokia.
The agreement draws a line under years of patent disputes between the two companies in numerous courts. According to media reports, “economic reason” ultimately provided the motive for ending the expensive disputes. According to the reports, Nokia expressed a similar opinion. Only the technology supplier Continental, which was also involved in the disputes, expressed dissatisfaction – the compromise has now blocked the possibility of “conclusively clarifying urgent technical questions”, as they say. This means that “once again we are faced with economic and legal uncertainty” in the use of technologies that are considered the de facto standard, explained Helmut Matschi, who heads the Vehicle Networking and Information business unit at Continental.
Nokia had accused Daimler to violate its patent EP1671505, which describes data transmission methods. According to Nokia, this patent is of central importance for the production of mobile phone uplinks using the 3G (UMTS) standard; Daimler should have licensed the corresponding technology. Apparently, the mobile phone generations 4G and 5G were also affected.
Daimler uses such TCUs from several suppliers. In this context, the technology suppliers Continental, Valeo, Gemalto and Bury had declared some time ago that they had applied to Nokia for corresponding licenses but had not received any. For this reason, they submitted antitrust complaints to the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Competition more than a year ago, according to media reports.