Nowhere near as aggressive as rival market-leading smartphone manufacturers Samsung and Apple in its patent-related legal battles, Huawei has agreed to pay Nokia undisclosed licensing fees for use of unspecified intellectual property without a fight.
Focused on a long overdue US expansion of its increasingly popular mobile device roster, as well as boosting an already robust European retail presence, China’s top smartphone vendor doesn’t want any judicial trouble.
Meanwhile, Nokia is looking to make money wherever it can after seeing its own mobile phone business crumble into dust. The faltering Finnish giant’s brand is now in HMD Global’s hands, staging a slow revival of sorts.
Aside from an extensive collection of standard-essential patents covering technologies that help OEMs save battery life, improve radio reception and keep the number of hardware components as low as possible, Nokia continues to dabble in digital health. Of course, telecom infrastructure remains its central area of expertise, though profits slumped recently in that department.
Hence, this new Huawei deal feels like a win-win, boosting the licensor’s revenue stream and further proving how seriously the licensee takes its world domination plans. The agreement includes a non-recurring catch-up payment, followed by recurring “multi-year” fees estimated by analysts at close to $120 million a year.
Beyond the numbers, what makes this a big deal for Nokia is that it follows similar “partnerships” with Samsung, Apple, LG and Xiaomi. Basically, you can’t be a successful global smartphone vendor these days without Nokia’s patent licensing blessing.