Patent Licensing Firm Peddles More Than 6,000 Nokia Patents

SAN FRANCISCO - Patent licensing firm Aqua Licensing is selling 6,069 patents and 734 patent applications that it purchased from Nokia. Many of the patents were developed by Alcatel-Lucent prior to Nokia’s $17.1 billion acquisition of that company in 2015. The intellectual property for sale covers many different technology segments including software-defined networking (SDN), MPLS, mobile core, and radio access networks like 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G.
According to Aqua, the patents are available for cash, in whole or in part, on a first-come basis. Interested parties don’t have to buy the entire portfolio, but Aqua said it will not break up patent “families.”
Aqua added that about 82 percent of the patents originated from Alcatel-Lucent assets while 15 percent came from Nokia’s services and technology business.
Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant told SDxCentral that Nokia sold the patents as part of its plans to optimize the company’s patent portfolio.
When Nokia purchased Alcatel-Lucent two years ago for $17.1 billion, many speculated that much of Alcatel-Lucent’s appeal was based on its vast patent portfolio, which was estimated to be worth between $155 million to $696 million.
But maintaining patents is an expense for companies because they have to pay licensing fees to keep them. These costs can become a burden, particularly if companies aren’t planning to use those patents in any technology they are developing or if they are not “essential” patents, which means the patent is part of a standard.
Nokia appears to know how to make the most of its patents. The company benefited from its resolution of its recent patent dispute with Apple. Nokia announced in May that it had resolved a multiyear intellectual property dispute with Apple and would become a supplier of IP networking gear to the company in addition to receiving a cash payment.
That cash payment, which was reported in the company’s second quarter earnings call, was responsible for a sizable jump in its operating profit. Nokia reported a second quarter operating profit of $669.3 million, a 77 percent increase from a year ago. In addition, net sales were up 1 percent year-on-year to $6.53 billion.