by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
licensing, patent troll, patents

microsoft, nokia

What's Left Of Nokia Poised To Become A Giant Patent Troll

from the that's-not-a-good-thing dept

One of the more glossed over parts of Microsoft buying large parts of Nokia was that it was actually a two-part transaction. It spent $5 billion on Nokia's mobile phones unit and then another $2.18 billion to license Nokia's patent portfolio. Many reports just summarized this as Microsoft spending $7.2 billion to buy Nokia. But the licensing tidbit is interesting -- and potentially concerning, as it leads to quite reasonable speculation that the emptied shell of Nokia is about to become a massive, annoying patent troll.

There's no doubt that the company has a variety of important mobile device and mobile data patents. The license with Microsoft lasts for ten years, but there's nothing stopping Nokia from going after others. Yes, many key players already have licensing deals in place, but there are always more targets to go after, especially in such a dynamic and innovative arena. And, without having to worry about patent nuclear war being pointed back at Nokia, potentially harming its own phone business, you'd have to imagine that the company will be more willing than ever to aggressively try to squeeze money out of others.
Nokia has been deterred from asserting its patents too aggressively by the risk of retaliation by competitors. Nokia’s rivals have patents of their own, and if they felt the Finnish company was making unreasonable demands, they could have filed patent infringement lawsuits themselves.
Without that deterrent, Nokia has plenty of incentives to become an incredibly annoying and disruptive patent troll.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 9:13pm

    No comments !!!

    If your not getting the comments, you are not getting the page hits, therefore not getting MONEY !!!!..

    Do you noticed the chilling effect your abuse of copyright POWER has had on your web site ??

    Not really connecting with fans or giving them a reason to buy !!! (buy is the same as visit for you)..

    Seems you alone do not have what it takes to get the page hits, it's the comments that makes people want to come here.

    And now you censor comments, with the idea that it somehow makes you look better.. You can say what you like and if someone might disagree with you. You abuse power to stop them.

    But the price is the failing of your web site, so have you chosen power over profit and policy ?

    Or is it simply because you have some power, and are unable to handle it responsibly ??

    Either way, the words coming out of your mouth do not match your actions.
    No one is going to believe you are against censorship, and for free speech when your actions clearly show you want to abuse free speech, freedoms in general AND ABUSE CORSORSHIP for your own gains!! at the expense of TechDirt..

    So much time and effort to build some kind of reputation, and you are willing to destroy it because you want to abuse what little power you have.

    Few people can handle power, you appear not to be one of them.

    How many days/years will this power be "HELD FOR MODERATION", so you can CENSOR IT.. Or will it simply NEVER APPEAR ????

    At least you might read it! But I think your love of power is greater than your love of truth and free speech.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 9:21pm

    Another lame re-write -- of someone else's sheer speculation.

    Why not at least object to actualities? -- The $658 million Nokia is said to currently get from royalties. Let's just heavily tax such unearned income as was done not long ago, and most of the problem is solved.

    Dilbert's view of Techdirt:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Scott Yates (profile), Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:19pm

    Obvious troll is obvious

    That is all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Josh Trenser, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 10:34pm

    I wonder what will Microsoft do with this company!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Some Guy, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 11:03pm

    The word 'troll' is an ugly term. Let's call them 'patent buddies' instead. Or maybe 'innovation buddies' is better. We'll put Marketing on it. Now Microsoft can finally make great phones! Oh, and sue people who make great phones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2013 @ 11:21pm


    And here is the kicker: If they are successful at the suing, they won't even have to make that great of a phone to compete! If a market is too flooded with patents in a specific field, it is without a doubt a factor hampering innovation. If you have to gain 3 or more licenses before you can use patent x, the value of taking patent x is low. Not to mention that patents are not even close to the same as innovation, but the value of doing the research on non-patentable innovation is even worse...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 12:06am

    And the difference now compared to when Nokia offloaded patents to Mosaid for trolling is...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 1:49am

    Re: Obvious troll is obvious

    The hilarity of it all? If unearned income were to be as heavily dealt with as he constantly gripes in proposal, his beloved copyright wouldn't have nearly half as much teeth in enforcement.

    out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Pragmatic, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 3:34am

    Re: Re: Obvious troll is obvious

    Yep, since license money isn't EARNED money. It's a passive income from doing something once and stopping others from using or copying it without permission.

    EARNED income is when you have to do something every time you want to get paid. It's the difference between having a job and merely collecting rent.

    How come OOTB doesn't understand that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Xploding_Cobra (profile), Sep 11th, 2013 @ 3:36am

    Is it just me or does out_of_the_blue seem to have a gigantic kindergarten crush on Masnick?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Xploding_Cobra (profile), Sep 11th, 2013 @ 3:40am

    Re: Re: Obvious troll is obvious

    As much as I see OOTB as a total troll, what due process was being enforced that OOTB obviously hated?

    I'm all for bagging on trolls but at least use a plausible reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Leonardo Balliache (profile), Sep 11th, 2013 @ 4:29am

    Another mistake of Steve Ballmer

    The financial world is full of blunders on procurement issues and for Microsoft this has been a terrible mistake. Purchased a business that was very wrong from the point of view of competition. And they can not do anything to improve it. The fierce competition between Apple and Samsung will continue to set the mobile market for long.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 5:02am

    Who are they going to go after?

    Apple's already paid off Nokia to the tune of half a billion dollars. Who's left? Google and Samsung? I can't imagine these guys haven't already made patent agreements.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Ninja (profile), Sep 11th, 2013 @ 5:04am

    Or maybe they could stop being stubborn and enter the Android market too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 5:38am

    Can't Nokia be sued for violating patents years ago?

    Can't other phone companies counter sue for Nokia's phones violating their patents for years, even if Nokia isn't selling or making them anymore?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 7:08am

    Nokia will still own the remains of Nokia Seimans Networks (NSN) - Now Nokia Solutions and Networks, which produces advanced network equipment for cellular networks. It is also a profitable business on it's own.

    As I understand it, patent trolls do not own and operate a business that produces anything (useful).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 11:33am

    Breaking News: "Nokia has sold some stuff to Google, a possible consequence of which is that Nokia might someday sue someone over a patent. We will keep you apprised if this ever happens. Moving on to other news, the NSA....."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Sep 11th, 2013 @ 11:57am


    More like 'Now Microsoft can finally make mediocre phones, and sue anyone who makes great phones'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Matti, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    What remains of Nokia is supposed to be focused on

    1) Nokia Solutions and Networks
    Formerly known as Nokia Siemens Networks, one of the top three largests companies in Data & Telecommunications equipment/networks companies.

    2) Here Maps, Which is quite largely adopted. Used by quite a number of car manufacturers, Amazon, etc.. etc...

    3) Advanced technologies i think it was called. Basically R&D. Searching for future tech for the company to focus on.

    4) Licensing of their Patent portfolio.

    There is obviously the Possibility of patent trolling, but i would see that as an distant possibility since their Portfolio is already widely adopted, their other points of focus are profitable also.

    I'm guessing that they wanted to keep the portfolio -well for the half a billion it brings yearly obviously, but also - for some future plans yet to be revealed? Perhaps jumping on the Jolla wagon when the waiting period is over?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2013 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Thank you for correcting "Google" to "Microsoft".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    staff, Sep 12th, 2013 @ 7:15am

    more dissembling by Masnick

    “patent troll”

    infringers and their paid puppets’ definition of ‘patent troll’:

    anyone who has the nerve to sue us for stealing their invention

    This is just spin control by large infringers to cover up their theft.

    The patent system now teeters on the brink of lawlessness. Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to stop or pay”. It’s a pure red herring by large invention thieves and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. Their goal is to legalize theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals and their puppets who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so. To them the only patents that are legitimate are their own -if they have any. Meanwhile, the huge multinationals ship more and more US jobs overseas.

    It’s about property rights. They should not only be for the rich and powerful -campaign contributors. Our founders: Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others felt so strongly about the rights of inventors that they included inventors rights to their creations and discoveries in the Constitution. They understood the trade off. Inventors are given a limited monopoly and in turn society gets the benefits of their inventions (telephone, computer, airplane, automobile, lighting, etc) into perpetuity and the jobs the commercialization of those inventions bring. For 200 years the patent system has not only fueled the US economy, but the world’s. If we weaken the patent system, we force inventors underground like Stradivarius (anyone know how to make a Stradivarius violin?) and in turn weaken our economy and job creation. Worse yet, we destroy the American dream -the ability to prosper from our ingenuity for the benefit of our families and communities. To kill or weaken the patent system is to kill their futures. Show me a country with weak or ineffective property rights and I’ll show you a weak economy with high unemployment. If we cannot own the product of our minds or labors, what can we be said to truly own. Life and liberty are fundamentally tied to and in fact based on property rights. Our very lives are inseparably tied to our property.

    Prior to the Supreme Court case eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the eBay decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back into the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all patentees, large and small.

    Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Obvious troll is obvious

    The point isn't whether any due process is enforced. The point is that in any event where following due process would hinder the operations of OOTB's beloved corporations, he'll be on it like a rabid attack dog. Pausing to consider fair use, pointing out the illegalities of antipiracy enforcement operations - hell, just noting that what's done isn't really by the book is enough to get him going. He hates the involvement of anything that might mean less RIAA money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 1:16am

    Re: more dissembling by Masnick

    Ronald J. Riley just hates it when due process is enforced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 1:55am


    The funny thing is you are voluntarily giving Masnick money every time you rant.

    You're a fucktard, darryl, and you're not even good at it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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