Nokia, Lenovo end global SEP dispute with licensing deal


Rory O'Neill

Nokia, Lenovo end global SEP dispute with licensing deal

Michael Vi /

Nokia and Lenovo have settled a global patent dispute over video compression technology, ending litigation that spanned across multiple continents since 2019.

Lenovo has agreed to pay a balancing sum to the Finnish technology developer, although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The parties have also reached a cross-licensing agreement as part of the settlement.

Nokia first sued Lenovo for patent infringement in 2019, citing 20 video compression patents that it said were essential to the H.264 standard used in smartphones and computers. The dispute saw lawsuits filed in the US, Brazil, India, and Germany, which have now all been resolved as part of the settlement.

Throughout the case, the Chinese electronics manufacturer claimed that Nokia had failed to disclose its patent rights over the relevant technology while the H.264 standard was under development. According to Lenovo, this rendered the “allegedly standard-essential” patents unenforceable. This argument formed the basis of a Lenovo countersuit in California, filed in December 2019.

A court in Munich ruled in Nokia’s favour last September, finding that Lenovo had infringed one of the patents, and ordered an injunction against the Chinese company. The order was subsequently stayed by an appeals court in November.

Lenovo had claimed the order was stayed as it was unlikely to survive on appeal, while Nokia remained bullish about having the sales ban upheld.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Lenovo,” said Nokia Technologies president Jenni Lukander, adding: “The agreement reflects Nokia’s decades-long investments in R&D and contributions to cellular and multimedia standards. We appreciate, and very much respect, the constructive spirit Lenovo brought to our negotiations and look forward to working together to bring further innovation to their users around the world.”

John Mulgrew, Lenovo’s chief IP officer, said: “Our agreement with Nokia reflects the value of both Nokia’s technology leadership and Lenovo’s continued investment in 5G innovation.  The global accord struck will enable future collaboration between our companies for the benefit of customers worldwide.”

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Nokia, Lenovo, SEPs, video compression, patents, infringement, electronics, smartphones, H.264