Nokia changes tactics as it seeks to negotiate with car makers over technology royalties while avoiding a European Commission competition probe
Nokia has temporarily halted legal action against carmaker Daimler as it seeks to bring the company into mediation talks over a patent licensing dispute.
The move comes as Nokia seeks to avoid a European Commission investigation into its patent licensing practices related to the increasingly critical areas such as self-driving cars and navigation systems.
Daimler, as well as Bury Technologies, Continental, Valeo and Gemalto had filed a complaint with the Commission earlier this year about Nokia’s fees for patents related to car communications.
Nokia has launched 10 court cases against Daimler in Germany over alleged patent infringements, while Daimler has filed its own lawsuits against Nokia.
But Nokia said on Monday it was halting pending legal action, after having offered independent mediation last week.
“To ensure there is time for this mediation to be successful, we have unilaterally chosen to postpone the pending hearing on 10 December in Germany,” Nokia said in a statement.
“We trust that Daimler and its tier 1 suppliers will now engage in these meaningful efforts to reach settlement. There is more to gain for all if we work together.”
European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Nokia’s move was a step forward.
“This is why we think it is a good thing that they now try mediation at the International Chamber of Commerce,” she told reporters, according to Reuters. “It would be a good thing if there could be a mutual understanding.”
Nokia also said it would negotiate licensing fees directly with car parts makers instead of Daimler, something requested by Daimler and other carmakers.
The situation echoes a dispute between carmakers and Qualcomm, which is appealing a competition decision against it by the US’ Federal Trade Commission.
In that case, carmakers have also disputed Qualcomm’s policy of negotiating only with them rather than with parts manufacturers.
Earlier reports had indicated the European Commission had indicated in October it could launch a probe into Nokia.