Nokia and Kyocera Settle Patent Spat

The two handset giants have made amends after almost two years of legal battles over patents related to mobile phone and wireless networking infrastructure technologies.

Handset makers Nokia Corp. and Kyocera Wireless Corp. have ended their long-running patent dispute in favor of a new agreement through which the mobile device makers will license each others technologies.

Late Tuesday, the two companies announced that they have signed a licensing agreement that officially terminates their previous patent claims, which had been brewing since February 2004.

The firms said the new licensing agreement resolves all pending litigation between the two companies with no further contingencies.

At issue between the firms were a number of patented technologies held by each company related to designs for devices using various wireless communications standards.

Under the specific terms of the deal, Kyocera Wireless, the U.S. subsidiary of its Tokyo-based parent, is now licensed under Nokias core wireless handset technology patents, and some additional patents relating to the CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access), PHS (Personal Handyphone System) and PDC (Personal Digital Cellular) standards.

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As part of the deal, Kyocera will pay royalties to Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, for all Kyocera mobile phone and wireless networking module products based on CDMA technology.

In turn, Nokia is now licensed under all of Kyoceras essential wireless patents, and some additional patents that relate to all Nokia mobile phone, module and infrastructure products.

While CDMA is still the dominant wireless handset standard in the United States, some experts believe that the European-invented GSM (Global System for Mobile) Communication will someday take over in North America.

CDMA, invented by San Diego-based Qualcomm, is estimated to currently be used by some 500 million consumers, mostly in the Americas and Asia, while GSM has 1.6 billion users globally, according to the GSM Association.

However, some industry watchers contend that W-CDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access) will also become a more prevalent standard before GSM becomes dominant.

According a to recent survey released by the GSA (Global Mobile Suppliers Association), the number of W-CDMA devices on the market is expanding rapidly, with 272 handsets and related products currently on the worldwide market, compared with only 108 products just one year ago.

W-CDMA devices promise much faster data speeds than traditional CDMA technologies, allowing for voice, data and video communications at up to 2M bps.

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