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Nokia pens patent deal with Xiaomi with view to work together on areas like VR and AI

Tyrone Stewart

NokiaNokia has signed an agreement with Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi to cross-license the pair’s patents. The deal also sees Xiaomi acquire unspecified patent assets from the Finnish communications company.

Under the wide-ranging agreement, Nokia will provide network infrastructure equipment to Xiaomi and the duo will work together on building IP transport solutions – as well as working to explore collaboration in areas such as internet of things (IoT), AR, VR, and AI.

“Xiaomi is one of the world's leading smartphone manufacturers and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with them,” said Rajeev Suri, president & CEO of Nokia. “In addition to welcoming such a prominent global technology company to our family of patent licensees, we look forward to working together on a wide range of strategic projects.”

Xiaomi formed a similar partnership with Microsoft last year. In that instance, Microsoft sold around 1,500 of its patents to the smartphone manufacturer as part of a long-term partnership – which also included patent cross-licensing and an agreement from Xiaomi to ship its phones and tablets with Microsoft software pre-installed.

Microsoft, of course, used to own Nokia’s handset business – before selling it for $350m to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, in May 2016. It is unclear how many, if any, of the patents crossover between Xiaomi’s deals.

“As a company seeking to deliver more exciting technological innovations to the world, we are excited at the opportunity to work more closely with Nokia in future,” said Lei Jun, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi. “Xiaomi is committed to building sustainable, long-term partnerships with global technology leaders. Our collaboration with Nokia will enable us to tap on its leadership in building large, high performance networks and formidable strength in software and services, as we seek to create even more remarkable products and services that deliver the best user experience to our Mi fans worldwide.”

Nokia has had patent problems of its own. It was recently involved in a long-running dispute with Apple over patent infringement. The pair agreed to settle the dispute in May – agreeing that Nokia would provide Apple with ‘certain network infrastructure product and services’, while Apple resumed the carrying of Nokia digital health products.