By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Nokia said on Friday it was working to end a row with Germany’s Daimler and other firms which have complained to the EU antitrust regulators about the level of fees charged for technology patents from the Finnish company.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the Finnish telecoms equipment maker had submitted a proposal for resolving the patent licensing fee row, but did not give details.
The offer could pre-empt any move by the European Commission to open an investigation and remove the threat of fines if the firm was found to be abusing its position. One source said the commission has indicated in October it could launch a probe.
Tech companies and the car industry have been at loggerheads over royalties paid on technologies used in navigation systems, vehicle-to-vehicle communication and self-driving cars, areas increasingly in focus with the development of electric vehicles.
Daimler, German electronics firm Bury Technologies, German car parts maker Continental, France’s Valeo and chipmaker Gemalto, now part of Thales, have complained to the Commission about the fees demanded by Nokia for patents that are essential to car communications.
“Nokia continues to work toward constructive ways to resolve commercial disputes related to licensing of our standardised cellular technologies,” Nokia said in a statement, without mentioning any specific proposal to end the row.
“Our goal is for those technologies to be widely adopted across many different industries, to benefit consumers and customers around the world,” it said in an email to Reuters.
Daimler declined to comment specifically on Nokia’s proposal but a spokeswoman said: “We want clarification on how essential patents for telecommunications standards are to be licensed in the automotive industry. Nokia so far refused to comprehensively and directly license our suppliers.”
“Fair and non-discriminatory access to these standards for all users of the essential patents for telecommunications standards is a key prerequisite for the development of new products and services for connected driving,” she said.
The Commission declined to comment.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Edmund Blair)