Nokia sells over 450 patents, some of them deemed essential to GSM, to a patent troll

Sisvel is a company you’ve probably never heard of, and to give you an idea of what they do just read their slogan: “We protect ideas.” Yes folks, they’re a patent troll, which is a defined as a company that buys up patents and then proceeds to bring other companies to court for infringing on said patents. They’ve just announced that they’re acquiring 47 patent families from Nokia, giving them more than 450 new patents that they can add to their arsenal. What’s surprising is that 33 of the patent families, which come in at somewhere over 350 patents, are defined by Nokia as essential to 2G, 3G, and 4G technologies.

“Sisvel has been extremely active in recent years working with the wireless industry to provide simplified access to essential wireless patents on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, or FRAND, conditions. Acquiring the many essential patents in this key portfolio is a very significant step for Sisvel and a testament to Sisvel’s commitment and determination to succeed in this space. We look forward to offering these essential patents on FRAND terms and to continuing our work within the wireless industry.” – Giustino de Sanctis, CEO of Sisvel

Why on earth is Nokia selling patents that are fundamental to the way the wireless networks of today and tomorrow work? According to Wireless Week Nokia pulled in $640 million in patent fees during the 6 months that made up Q2 and Q3 of 2010. Now Nokia isn’t saying how much money they’re going to get from Sisvel, but one can assume that it’s a hell of a lot of cash. Still, is the short term gain worth it? The Finnish handset maker has stopped making their own smartphone software, is in the process of moving all their factories to Asia, and we just found out that they purchased a company that designs feature phone operating systems so they can start from scratch in the low to mid end device range.

What’s Elop up to?

  • Don’t you know?  Patents are the new preferred tool of the Mafia.  So much cleaner than dealing out horse heads.   eeeeigh!

    • Miloskov

      Yeah that CEO of Sesvel or whatever is a sicilian mafia.
      Elop is a SOB, I agree he is destroying Nokia.
      Patents are for the lazy and trolls that dont innovate and do nothing.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, this is a pretty standard move and IMO positive for Nokia.  It
    allows Nokia to free up its own expert personnel resources to work on
    current/future development/IP strategy while taking valuable IP that is
    arguably more mature and using an expert 3rd party to manage the
    associated royalties.  In such a deal, Nokia sells the IP to the Sisvel
    while retaining its own license to use the IP (or even sub-license it at
    will or under preferred conditions).  It might’ve received payments up
    front for the sale of the patents and even certain trigger payments for
    royalties (captured by Sisvel) above certain thresholds.  In any event,
    the deal is more than likely structured in such a way that Sisvel’s own
    financing to acquire the IP has become a big incentive to go out and
    enforce/develop patent royalties across the industry.  Nokia wins by
    getting larger cash influx up front while also having Sisvel as a proxy
    in aggressively developing said royalty streams.  Sisvel brings its own
    network of IP professionals, in terms of commercial development, legal,
    and technical capabilities.  In the end, it’s a win win and a positive
    move by Nokia.

    To note, this is not the first time this has been
    done en masse under Elop.  He also did it in 2H11…in conjuction with
    MS and another IP shop.

    Elop is not “selling off” Nokia with this
    deal.  He’s simply restructuring Nokia’s IP portfolio in order to
    maximize cash flow while simultaneously making better use of his own
    expert assets in house.

    • Agreed – Nokia is smart here. They’ve no doubt secured their own license as part of the deal, so this basically leaves it to Sisvel to waste attorney’s fees and such fighting these patents, instead of Nokia.

  • Allamaericancitizen

    Stefan is obviously an idiot or a ‘shill’ for big companies who are afraid of innovation and don’t have the sense to invent.  (Take Microsoft for example, which pretty much used other people ideas to engage in antitrust activities to gain its dominant market position.) Investors who have the sense and the ‘balls’ to invest in new ideas are essential to encourage innovation and new industries.  Big companies criticize patents held by others, but are the first to slam others with their patents.
    You people make me sick.

    • Skyline909

      That’s exactly the problem Stefan is drawing attention to.  Patent trolls exist for the sole purpose of slamming others with their patents but don’t produce any new ideas.  Your argument is invalid.

  • Thomas Larouche

    I guess selling those patents protect them from this company.
    Pretty sure they received cash AND they are sure not to get sued in the future.

  • ok, then why the hell if they were struggling so damn much waste 8 billion on navteq? 

    also they could have invested that 8 billion into so much other things!!! 

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  • Srinivas Rajkumar

    For the love of god please kick elop… that b**t***t… that guy is destroying Nokia… what are the board directors doin….. 

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