Nokia responds to Google's EU collusion complaint

Nokia responds to Google's EU collusion complaint
Yesterday we reported that Google had filed a complaint with the EU Commission, claiming that Microsoft and Nokia were colluding to drive up the price of smartphones that compete with Windows Phone handsets. Google alleged that 1,200 patents were transferred to Canadian patent troll MOSAID for the express purpose skirting FRAND obligations and allowing for lawsuits against competing phone makers.

Nokia released a terse response today, stating that they are transferring patents all the time, and that all deals (including the MOSAID patent transfer) requires the acquiring companies to uphold any and all FRAND agreements on standards-essential patents. Nokia referred to Google’s complaint as a “waste of the commission’s time.”

Nokia also goes on to characterize Android as having “significant IP infringement issues”, although it should be noted that all mobile products have these "problems" – it’s just that some companies have enough offensive patents as to thwart lawsuits, while Google doesn’t (or did not until recently, they’ve gone on quite the patent purchasing spree the last 12 months).

Here is Nokia’s statement in full:

“Though we have not yet seen the complaint, Google’s suggestion that Nokia and Microsoft are colluding on intellectual property rights is wrong. Both companies have their own intellectual property portfolios and strategies and operate independently.

Nokia has made regular patent divestments over the last five years. In each case, any commitments made for standards essential patents transfer to the acquirer and existing licenses for the patents continue. Had Google asked us, we would have been happy to confirm this, which could then have avoided them wasting the commission's time and resources on such a frivolous complaint.

"We agree with Google that Android devices have significant IP infringement issues, and would welcome constructive efforts to stop unauthorized use of Nokia intellectual property. Nokia has an active licensing program with more than 40 licensees. Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license."

Nokia’s statement may be short on details and long on bluster, but Nokia hasn’t seen the complaint yet, so they can’t be expected to have a point by point response. You also can’t blame them for wanting to defend themselves right away, since silence could be taken as a sign of guilt. It will be interesting to see what, if anything comes of this.

source: Reuters via The Verge



1. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Protest too much?

2. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

That was quick. Well said, Nokia. Hopefully the commission will throw the case out

4. denied911

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2012

It have to go to court, nokia isn't saint nor microsoft or google, someone have to do something about it

11. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

That isn't the point. Google is pulling an apple, trying to bully through courts instead of negotiations. Yes, Nokia and Microsoft do strongly protect their own patents (as they should, or risk losing them and the royalties from), but if you research this particular incident, you'll see that Google is overstepping itself this time. I'm more than happy to be the first to defend Google, but only when they are in the right, same for anyone or anything else. Heck, I'd even defend apple if they had something legit to defend (but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that)

18. denied911

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2012

nokia recently is bulying, Microsoft is bulying most of android manufacturers, Apple is bulying many companys, so excuse me but you are full of it, And you only hate google, why? you love your WP phone so much that you want whole world to use only that?

20. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Negotiate with a known prostitue(Nokia,..MS female property)?, come on, you sound like Orcale and their crazyiness. you know as well as anybody who can read that MS and Nokia with Apple is trying to attack android, but yet, you refuse to face the truth spilling all kinds of sillyness, NOKIA would been dead long time ago if MS did not pump funds into that broke Wh=re. then to send her after Android & Google, let's be honest.

3. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Google shouldn't be worried about WP. They should to worry about Tizen most. Sure WP is a contender but if Tizen kicks off to good start and big oems start moving to Tizen, Google won't have anything to contend with. I see fate and reason for Google buying Motorola. With Tizen around the corner, Motorola maybe their only main bread and butter.

10. eDiesel

Posts: 142; Member since: Mar 17, 2012

You have no clue on how big of a giant Google is. Android is going nowhere anytime soon.

13. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Yes Google is a giant. Facebook is also a giant. Look at RIM. Solomon Brothers was also a giant. Giants fall hard. Tizen could be that tripwire for Google. Tizen is not some little collaboration with Intel and Samsung. Its an investment with other huge companies as well. Even sprint signed.

5. Penny

Posts: 1871; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

From what I can tell, not all mobile products have "significant infringement issues," as suggested by the author of this article. They do all have some, maybe, but some have decidedly more than others. Nokia and Microsoft don't go on the offensive to prevent IP lawsuits against them, they do it because they have been in the industry a very long time and own a lot of essential patents. I can't help but picture Google (in relation to Android) as a company that took a lot of shortcuts to get their products out quickly. I am sure that Google was aware that it would run into many potential lawsuits with the way they were developing their products, but decided that absorbing the impact of these lawsuits was a better option than figuring out workarounds in the areas in which they infringe. Yes, I am sure that many people on here will argue that it does not infringe, other companies are simply bullying Google. I think that would be a rather naive outlook, and you would have to ignore the fact that other companies have been in the industry so long that it would simply be a matter of logic that Google borrowed many solutions from the companies that came before it.

6. denied911

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2012

ue will decide if they infringe or not, you don't know the half of it

12. Penny

Posts: 1871; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Sigh... You're right, I don't know even half of the facts. That's why I try to make clear the fact that these are my personal views with qualifiers like "From what I can tell," "I can't help but picture," and "I think." But, whatever. I still stand by the logic that if a company enters an industry in which there are many technology standards already in place, they will have to adopt a substantial number of the standards because it would take a significant amount of time to find alternative solutions of equal reliability. Innovations in technology usually build upon previous technologies, they don't start from scratch.

14. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

Actually, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, RIM, all of them have lost or settled literally dozens of lawsuits related to mobile over the last decade. Whether you choose to believe it or not it's quite literally impossible to make a mobile product without infringing on patents. The traditional way it's handled is to not sue new platforms until they find success, and then when there is money to be made you sue, settle (usually out of court), and then prevent future litigation between the two companies by cross-licensing patent portfolios (for example, there are numerous parts of RIMs tablet version of BB10 that violate patents held by HP that they acquired from Palm...but HP isn't going to bother suing them unless RIM finds some success first). Of course you only engage in that strategy if suing is likely to work for you - if the company you are thinking of suing actually holds far more patents than you do in fields you compete in, you will skip the lawsuits and attempt to negotiate a cross-licensing agreement right away - possibly even offering to pay the other company for the privileged. Google didn't take any more shortcuts to Android than Apple, Microsoft, or RIM has. But the mobile platform wars have an unusually high level of consumer lock-in, where once a customer invests in a platform (and its apps) they don't like to switch. And Microsoft, which is filthy rich, is also at a serious threat of not even getting to participate in mobile in a significant way, while Google has committed the sin of not having a lot of patents with which to retaliate with. As a result of those variables a ton of money is being thrown around by everyone to try and do anything they can to get a current advantage with consumers during the rapid growth phase, because once the market hits saturation in another 18 months, it will be much harder to shift. That's why all companies involved value injunctions over any amount of damages. And none of that really refers to standards-essential patents - it's just the reality of making a mobile product in the current business climate. In theory standards essential patents shouldn't be much of a barrier at all, because most everyone has to pay them. This case in the article is about whether Microsoft and Nokia worked together to create a whole new round of lawsuits against Android by shuttling those patents to a third party that could then preferentially sue Android OEMs while not collecting royalties from non-Android OEMs. If they did that they'll be in a world of hurt. If they didn't, then Google is either just wrong, or is trying to create some cover for Samsung and Motorola, which have engaged in lawsuits over standard essential patents that have also raised questions at the EU, albeit in totally different ways.

16. Penny

Posts: 1871; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I appreciate your clear and thorough explanation Scott, and I'm inclined to agree with your analysis of the industry and the role litigation plays in it. Retracting my rather careless and erroneous use of the word "standard" when talking about patents, my basic point was that more established companies like Motorola, Nokia, and Microsoft have richer patent portfolios in this area, and therefore it would be hard for any entrant, Google included, to avoid stepping on people's toes. Like you said, that doesn't mean that Motorola, Nokia, and Microsoft don't infringe on patents (inadvertently or otherwise) while making their devices, but they likely have more solid ground to walk on.

23. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

Then we're in agreement - you're absolutely correct that Google was more or less destined to run afoul of patents without having enough of their own to negotiate a "cease-fire". And it's cost them many billions of dollars to try and solve.

21. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Penny what about Motorola?, they and Palm are part of the grandfathers of mobile phone, so since google brought Motorola, you should consider Google as a mobile grandfather of Cell phone. And If i was Google I would ask Samsung & HTC to share IP, then hire 100 people to do nothing more then to go thru our (Motorola-Samsung-HTC) IP's and completely launch attacks on MS/Nokia/Apple until they surrender.

22. Penny

Posts: 1871; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I included Motorola in Comment #16. I agree that the purchase of Motorola greatly benefits Google in the way of patents as Motorola is basically THE original player in the cell phone industry. Regardless of where Google stands right now in relation to patents, I was expressing my sentiments on how Google entered the industry, how any company entering an industry like this will find it difficult to avoid infringing on patents. Whether MS and Nokia transferred patents to MOSAID with the instructions to launch offensive attacks or with instructions to simply manage the patents and any resulting litigation, I do not know. I don't think it is necessarily for offensive purposes though.

15. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Well said, Penny. Pretty much any recent newcomer has to "stand on the shoulders of giants", be it Google, apple, a lot of the new Chinese OEMs, etc. A simple request to use a patent with appropriate royalties would resolve most of these issues

7. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

If Nokia had chose Android over windows, would we even be in this situation??? Microsoft pulls the strings for Nokia which is still a company that is failing down hill and won't stop rolling. Even their $100 smart phones won't save them. They should just cast away the same way Palm has so the real big boys play hard ball.

9. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Sorry 1rst quarter was the big fall and the Nokia lumia 900 wasn't even out yet! That includes the 710 and 610 all yet still needs to go live in many countries. We'll see what 3rd and 4th quarter says. Maybe surprising.

19. denied911

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2012

can't denied, it will be very intersting

8. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Friday office party over at PA? Nothing new posted in like 3 hours...

17. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

"Had Google asked us, we would have been happy to confirm this, which could then have avoided them wasting the commission's time and resources on such a frivolous complaint." - This part caught my attention. Let's not forget Nokia did win a patent lawsuit with Apple which has already been settle.

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