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Nokia still has a patent business

Apple and Micrsoft royalties prop up Nokia's balance sheet

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Nokia may have been dethroned in handset sales supremacy but in terms of reaping in royalties, the vendor continues on a sweet ride.

According to Nokia’s Q1 results for 2012, the vendor estimates that the current annual IPR royalty under its smart phone and mobile devices business unit income run-rate is approximately €0.5 billion.

It is unclear how much if these royalties are coming directly from the ongoing spoils of Nokia’s victory with Apple last June, but it would be assumed the lion’s share would be Apple derived.

Last year Nokia nailed a two-year patent dispute with Apple which included an undisclosed one-time payment and ongoing royalties to the Finnish handset maker.

Nokia had around 46 patents disputes against Apple which had been lodged with the U.S. International Trade Commission. Nokia had also demanded royalties on the millions of Apple iPhones sold since the device’s introduction in 2007.

Under the agreement Apple could license some of Nokia’s patents, including those that were considered core to industry standards on mobile phones. Nokia’s initial claims had included technology for wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption.

In the first financial results after the royalty victory, Q2 2011, Nokia declared around €430 million in IPR royalty income. At the time Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said the figure “validated during Q2 that Nokia understands how to take advantage of our strong intellectual property portfolio. We are well positioned to defend against intellectual property claims and to ensure that other industry participants are properly licensed.”

Meanwhile, in its Q1 2012 results Nokia reported loses it in its Devices & Services unit were partially offset by a positive contribution from Nokia Siemens Networks and the receipt of a quarterly platform support payment from Microsoft.

The agreement with Microsoft includes platform support payments from Microsoft to Nokia in addition to software royalty payments from Nokia to Microsoft. In the first quarter 2012, Nokia reported receiving a quarterly platform support payment of US$ 250 million (€189 million).

“Over the life of the agreement, both the platform support payments and the minimum software royalty commitments are expected to measure in the billions of US Dollars. The total amount of the platform support payments is expected to slightly exceed the total amount of the minimum software royalty commitments,” Nokia said in its quarterly report.

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