Earlier this year, Nokia sold the majority of its handset business to Microsoft, but held on to its roster of patents. Because of this, a European regulator has warned Nokia to avoid becoming a patent troll, something that has been an issue for companies in increasing numbers. The warning came from the European Commission’s head of competition.
According to the Associated Press, the European Commission’s Joaquin Almunia spoke of the Microsoft and Nokia business matter in Paris earlier today. Says Almunia, he approved the massive acquisition in acknowledgement that Nokia could end up trying to “extract higher returns” on the patents portfolio that it kept, essentially making itself into a “patent troll, or to use a more polite phrase, a patent assertion entity.”
Almunia went further than giving the company a warning, saying that if Nokia does begin to act in such a fashion, he will hit it wit an antitrust case, giving the company some deep incentive to keep itself in check. Patent trolls have caused tech companies problems on a regular basis that can prove very expensive, and recently in late October, a bipartisan bill cropped up that could put an end to the fee hunting.
It was just last week that the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia was given the go-ahead by the European Union, representing the last bit of red tape that needed to be wrapped up after the Department of Justice had issued its own approval. The approval from the EU came sans any conditions, and the business deal is now free to finish up at a decidedly more unbridled rate.