Nokia’s Patent Business team has enabled businesses globally to build on Nokia innovations and contributions to industry standards.
Jenni Lukander, who started in her role as President for Nokia Technologies in August 2019, is responsible for Nokia’s licensing business and oversees their patent portfolio, the licensing of technologies that get installed into mobile devices, and the licensing of the Nokia brand.
This enables other businesses to build upon Nokia innovations, as its mobile technologies are built on open industry standards.
“We’ve been at the heart of developing cellular technology starting from 2G, 3G, 4G, and now 5G, and in the future 6G, so that is what we do and we contribute much of our innovation to those standards which are then available for other companies to use.”
The benefits of implementing Nokia technologies
“When these companies then implement these cellular standards, they benefit off the technologies that we have contributed to the standards setting, which enables many businesses to buy licences from us and enter the market,” said Lukander.
However, other technologies that Nokia licenses – such as audio technologies – help improve products from other companies and make them more competitive.
According to Lukander, Nokia has been dominant in the licensing space.
“We haven’t faced any major challenges in the licensing space. Quite the opposite – we’ve been one of the most successful companies in the industry,” said Lukander.
However, as in any business commercial deals can be difficult – “But it’s business as usual and it’s something that we are here to tackle and resolve every day,” she added.
Through brand licensing, Nokia also creates value for companies who don’t have a brand themselves, and it is diversifying its brand licensing business further.
Product categories that Nokia are exploring include smartphones, Smart TVs, and optical technologies for applications such as medical imaging.
Since December 2016, HMD has driven the return of the Nokia brand to smartphones – a venture which Nokia is proud to see.
“HMD is a credible player and also a good partner for Nokia. We have been very happy to see the Nokia brand return to smartphones through the collaboration with HMD.”
“They’ve done really well and built great momentum with their devices. In fact, I think this year alone they’ve introduced nine new devices, so we are very happy with that collaboration,” said Lukander.
Nokia Smart TVs
Nokia has also partnered with Flipkart to launch their smart TVs in India, which are set to debut in December.
According to Lukander, Flipkart is a partnership they are piloting for India and Nokia will see what the future brings for other countries.
Suitable partners must be found before taking further steps in any category, however.
“For us it’s important that these partners fit in with the Nokia image, and we want to work with such partners that we trust and feel will be a good fit.”
Commercialisation of innovative technologies
Nokia recently collaborated with Innventure to commercialise ABM satellite technologies from Nokia Bell Labs, and earlier in the year operated a similar deal with GE Licensing on optical technologies for applications such as medical imaging.
“We have a massive patent portfolio – somewhere around 20,000 individual patented inventions – which is a result of R&D of many years, and when you look at the portfolio some of the technologies relate to the cellular standards that will be licensed out in the patent licensed deals.”
“We use some of these patents to protect our own product businesses that we are in, but then we also have some fundamental inventions coming today that actually have a use case outside of what Nokia might be working on or where we might be active in carrying out our own businesses.
Nokia first started working with GE Licensing on Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) technology, which proves the capacity of optical fibre.
They’ve used it in their own products, but it also has a use in medical imaging, as you can make thinner and more user-friendly fibre products for endoscopy use cases.
The collaboration with Innventure – a company that works with startups and looks for companies and technologies that they see have future growth potential – is similarly about satellite technologies and how to make satellite systems more efficient.
Carien Pretorius is a guest in Helsinki, Finland, made possible by the Finnish Embassy in Pretoria.