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Once a Handset Superpower, Nokia Still Commands a Potent Weapon

  • Patent licensing dispute with Daimler has spooked car industry
  • Wireless companies pushing for umbrella pricing model
The Nokia Oyj Executive Experience Center stands in Espoo, Finland.
The Nokia Oyj Executive Experience Center stands in Espoo, Finland.Photographer: Roni Rekomaa/Bloomberg

A good decade after Nokia Oyj’s mobile-phone business suffered a fatal blow at the hands of the iPhone, the Finnish company is still feeding off a lucrative asset that it salvaged from the wreckage.

Nokia retained a catalog of thousands of wireless communications patents that is steadily growing thanks to a thriving research operation. Now an attempt to change how those patents are monetized has led Nokia into court with Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars.