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Celebrating the global World IP Day

Telecommunication network above city

Today we celebrate the global World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. This annual celebration highlights the importance of a balanced IP system, to recognize and reward inventors and creators for their work and ensure that society benefits from their creativity and ingenuity. In the case of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs), IP rights ensure that innovators can protect their ideas while sharing them openly with others. In turn, implementers can use these inventions in their own products and services without having to risk their own substantial investments in standards development. This enables implementers to invest their R&D spend elsewhere, fueling further innovation and the development of new products and services for consumers.

This is something that we at Nokia refer to as the virtuous circle of IP licensing – a wheel that has been turning for many years, powering innovation. It all begins with a creative idea by one of our world-class inventors. But there are also many others contributing to the process where an idea becomes an asset that ultimately enables us to invest in the next generation of innovation. Let’s have a closer look at how all this happens.

Nokia is an innovation powerhouse

Since 2000, Nokia has invested around €150 billion in R&D. Last year alone, our global R&D investment was more than €4.3 billion. We carry out advanced research across the company, and our engineers have defined many of the major enabling technologies – from mobile communication to video streaming – used all around the world. Nokia is a leader in global standards development, with our standardization experts holding more than 100 board member and other senior positions across all key standardization bodies.

As a result of our decades-long commitment to research and standardization, we own one of the broadest and most valuable patent portfolios in the world. Of our around 20,000 patent families over 6,000 are declared as essential to the 5G standard. In addition, our portfolio covers cutting edge inventions for multimedia, device, and network technologies. Last year our patenting experts filed a record-breaking 2,300 new patent applications, enabling us to constantly renew our portfolio.

Every year, our inventions are implemented into over a billion new devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, smart TVs, streaming devices, connected cars, IoT devices, and more. So, it is no exaggeration to say that entire industries are built on Nokia’s patented technologies.

A team effort

Our standardized inventions are available to other companies. In return we seek fair compensation for the use of our technology.

Our licensing experts engage and negotiate with licensees to conclude licensing agreements. And our technical experts help demonstrate the value of our inventions to the licensees’ products. The royalties from patent licensing agreements are re-invested, along with other substantial investments, in further R&D conducted by Nokia engineers.

Unfortunately, when all other means have been exhausted, we must sometimes resort to legal action to protect our innovation from unauthorized use. This is when our legal team steps in.

The virtuous circle of IP licensing is a team effort. There are also economists, market analysts, lawyers, finance, policy and advocacy, communications and other professionals all working together to manage and protect our assets. This ensures that Nokia can continue to contribute to the development of the next generation of standardized technologies, including 5G-Advanced and 6G. 

IP licensing fuels innovation

Global standardized technologies have enabled tremendous innovation, consumer choice and industry growth. Thanks to these standards, products manufactured by different companies can communicate seamlessly with each other across country borders. New market entrants can develop interoperable products without making the massive investments required to develop the standards in the first place. SEPs are a key component in this ecosystem, enabling companies to share their innovation openly while receiving fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) compensation in return.   

Nokia is both an inventor and an implementor of other companies’ technologies, and we believe in the FRAND licensing of SEPs, that strikes a balance between the needs of those who develop and contribute technologies to open standards and those who implement them. This creates a level playing field that allows everyone to adopt the latest advanced technologies for their products and services. And keeps the wheel of innovation turning.

Without Nokia’s – and other standardized technology developers’ – patented inventions, making a mobile phone call or streaming a video would not be possible. We would not have all the smart devices and applications and the possibilities for remote collaboration, education and, for example, healthcare, that we do today.

So, a very big thank you to all the inventors and other professionals working in the virtuous circle of IP licensing! The World IP Day may only occur once a year, but the impact of IP is part of our lives every single day.

Collette Rawnsley

About Collette Rawnsley

Collette Rawnsley is Nokia’s Head of IP Policy & Advocacy. She is driving Nokia's regulatory strategy and engaging with decision and policy-makers globally to promote and protect the value of Nokia’s IP assets. Collette has extensive experience of providing strategic advice and guidance on regulatory matters across the EU and beyond, especially concerning standard essential patents and FRAND licensing.

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