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EU regulator warns Nokia not to become a patent troll

Will keep a close eye on it
Mon Dec 09 2013, 13:37
patent troll road sign

FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia has been warned by EU regulators not to "behave like a patent troll" following Microsoft's acquisition of the company's devices business.

Joaquín Almunia, European Commission VP in charge of competition said on Monday that while he had approved the $7.2bn sale of Nokia's devices business to Microsoft, there is a danger that Nokia will take advantage of its vast patent portfolio.

Speaking at an event in Paris on Monday, Almunia said, "Since Nokia will retain its patent portfolio, some have claimed that the sale of the unit would give the company the incentive to extract higher returns from this portfolio.

"These claims fall outside the scope of our review. When we assess a merger, we look into the possible anti-competitive impact of the company resulting from it. We cannot consider what the seller will do. If Nokia were to take illegal advantage of its patents in the future, we will open an antitrust case - but I sincerely hope we will not have to.

"In other words, the claims we dismissed were that Nokia would be tempted to behave like a patent troll or - to use a more polite phrase - a patent assertion entity.

"You can rest assured that we are watching this space very carefully. DG competition will hold patent trolls to the same standards as any other patent holder," he added.

Almunia's concerns follow Nokia's patent victory over HTC in UK court last week.

Last Tuesday a UK judge ruled that Nokia could assert a ban on the HTC One Mini and HTC One Max smartphones, ruling that HTC infringed Nokia's EP0998024 patent, described as a "modular structure for a transmitter and a mobile station". µ


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