Nokia Deal Gives Microsoft Patent Protection, Not Weapons

By Ryan Davis (September 3, 2013, 8:08 PM EDT) -- By acquiring Nokia Corp.'s handset business Monday, Microsoft Corp. will be shielded from patent suits by the companies Nokia already had licensing agreements with, but because it didn't buy Nokia's patents outright, it can't use them as weapons against smartphone competitors, experts say.

The $7.2 billion Microsoft paid for Nokia's smartphone operations includes $2.2 billion for a 10-year, non-exclusive license to practice Nokia's patent portfolio. The $5 billion cost of acquiring the handset business also assigns to Microsoft many of Nokia's existing patent licenses with rivals like Qualcomm Inc. and Google Inc.'s Motorola Mobility LLC.

Microsoft, a newcomer to the hardware...

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