Apple faces one less legal fight after agreeing a deal with Nokia, which is said to move them from “adversaries in court to business partners”.

The two signed a multi-year patent licence agreement covering a variety of elements, chief among which is the ending of a raft of recent litigation. The vendors did not disclose full details of the patent deal, but revealed in a joint statement Nokia will receive an up-front cash payment from Apple and ongoing revenues during the term of the deal.

Nokia initiated legal action in December 2016, alleging that some Apple products infringed 40 patents covering displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding. At the time, Ilkka Rahnasto, head of Nokia’s patent unit, said the action followed several years of negotiations with the US vendor.

The heat was turned up in January, when the US International Trade Commission opened an investigation into Nokia’s claims.

The settlement will see Nokia provide unspecified network infrastructure products and services to Apple which, in turn, will resume sales of Nokia’s digital health products through its retail outlets.

Foes to friends
Moving forward, the companies also plan to explore potential areas of collaboration in the field of digital health, while top executives will hold regular meetings.

Maria Varsellona, chief legal officer at Nokia responsible for its patent licensing business (pictured left), hailed the agreement as “meaningful” and said it “moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners working for the benefit of our customers”.

Apple COO Jeff Williams was similarly bullish: “We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia.”

While the Nokia spat is now resolved, Apple still faces a legal fight with chipset vendor Qualcomm covering royalty payments from manufacturers employed to produce Apple devices.

Qualcomm alleges Apple is withholding payments to its manufacturers, which they owe to the chipset company, but Apple hit back in its own legal filing claiming Qualcomm is overcharging for its silicon.