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Nokia Hit with Antitrust Lawsuit

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May. 23 2019, Published 8:31 a.m. ET

Nokia’s patent business brought $413 million in revenue

Nokia (NOK) has been sued in the United States for allegedly conspiring to inflate patent license rates, according to a report by Reuters. The suit was filed by German auto parts supplier Continental Automotive Systems, which accused Nokia, a company known as Avanci, and two other patent holders of coordinating to charge exorbitant rates for access to patents pertaining to 2G, 3G, and 4G wireless technologies.

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Nokia owns a large portfolio of patents. It’s one of the companies in the running for 5G patent deals. In an apparent attempt to undercut the competition, Nokia has priced its 5G patents competitively. While Qualcomm (QCOM) can charge as much as $16.25 per device, and Ericsson (ERIC) can charge up to $5 per device for patents pertaining to 5G, Nokia capped its 5G patent rate at $3.5 per device. Nokia’s patent licensing division generated $413 million in revenue in the first quarter.

Qualcomm and Apple settled after years of legal tussle

Nokia isn’t new to patent disputes. It won $137 million from BlackBerry (BB) after it prevailed in a patent dispute with the Canadian smartphone pioneer.

Still, the latest Nokia lawsuit brings to mind the nearly two-year legal tussle between Qualcomm and Apple before the companies finally agreed to settle their differences last month. Apple had accused Qualcomm of overcharging it for patent licenses, leading to the companies suing and countersuing each other in multiple jurisdictions. But the Qualcomm-Apple settlement appeared to cost Intel Corporation (INTC). Shortly after the companies announced their settlement, Intel said it was closing down its business focused on producing wireless chips used in mobile devices.

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