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GLOBAL – Having been in the business for quite a while, it’s no secret that Nokia spends big bucks on research. Over the last two decades, we’ve invested more than 43 billion Euros in research and development. As part of the results from that investment, we own more than 10,000 patent families. These patents include many which have been declared essential to wireless communications standards, as well as others which define innovative ways of implementing modern mobile communications devices and services.

Breaking that down a little, the portfolio includes patents that cover technologies that are used by your current and future phones, whatever brand they may be. For example, we have declared the following numbers of patent families as essential to the relevant standards:

  • GSM: more than 320
  • WCDMA  (UMTS / 3G): more than 430
  • LTE/SAE; more than 300
  • CDMA2000; more than 160

The whole world benefits from this research and little of the modern mobile landscape would exist without it. As part of the process of defining these communications standards, many companies declare patents as essential and, in doing so, commit to license those patents to others who wish to use them on  reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. And as well as licensing our essential patents to other companies, we take licenses to their patent families as well, and we have the right to be offered those on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms too.

But we don’t just put in all this time and money to be nice. Like every other part of the business, R&D has to make a contribution. This can happen in several ways:

  • It can lead to us developing new, market-leading products: the first GSM phone, the first GPRS phone, the first smartphone, the first cameraphone, the first mobile phone with a QWERTY keyboard, the first phone with video calling and the first – wait and see…
  • It might be supported by grants from international bodies, like the Graphene Flagship program we introduced last week.
  • Some of our inventions we keep to ourselves, to create competitive advantage.
  • And sometimes we license some of our patents to other companies, so that they can make products that work on the relevant standards. More than 40 companies have licensed some of our patents, with a new customer joining their ranks just last week, as you may have read elsewhere.

So this is why we have to protect our intellectual property vigorously. Nokia VP for Intellectual Property, Paul Melin, told us:

Research is Nokia’s life-blood. But it is also an investment, contributing significant sources of income, one way or another. And it’s absolutely our right to be able to benefit from that investment.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

image credit: scanlime