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Nokia and Apple bury patent beef

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Nokia and Apple have settled their patent dispute, with Cupertino handing over an undisclosed lump sum and agreeing to ongoing royalties.

The case has been rumbling on since October 2009, with Nokia taking the action to various courts in the US and Europe, and both companies making formal complaints to the US International Trade Commission. But now they have settled, apparently amicably, with Apple coughing up a lump sum to cover previous infractions and agreeing to pay an ongoing licence for Nokia's patents.

"The financial structure of the agreement consists of a one-time payment payable by Apple and ongoing royalties to be paid by Apple to Nokia for the term of the agreement," says the Nokia press release. "The specific terms of the contract are confidential."

In his blog patent analyst Florian Mueller suggests that this will open the way for Nokia to start extracting cash from the manufacturers of Android handsets, pointing out that they are almost certainly in breach of the Nokia patents for which Apple now holds a licence.

Mueller argues that Apple's payment will be more than a token fee, as Nokia wouldn't have backed down without a significant payoff. That's an argument which is borne out by Nokia's release, which continues: "The agreement is expected to have a positive impact on Nokia's recently revised outlook for the second quarter 2011." ®

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