Nokia settles with HTC, adds to Patent War Chest

After two years of litigation in seven countries involving more than fifty of Nokia’s non-essential patents, Nokia announced a global settlement with HTC that should conclude all patent litigation between the two companies, but add to fears that Nokia is transforming itself into a formidable patent troll.

The announcement came this past Friday, just days after Nokia scored its fourth victory over HTC in a German court (three in the past two months) and days before the U.S. International Trade Commission was scheduled to review a preliminary ruling finding HTC infringed two of Nokia’s U.S. patents.

Although Nokia and HTC have a “long standing” agreement concerning licensing of Nokia’s patents that are deemed essential for practicing industry standards, Nokia has been battling with HTC over non-essential patents since Nokia fired the first shot in 2012, followed by victories in England, Wales, Munich, Mannheim and the U.S. Continue reading

10 Tips for Drafting Bullet-Proof Settlement Agreements

Few contracts bring as much satisfaction as a well-crafted settlement agreement, for its ability to fully and finally resolve a dispute and bring lasting peace. To ensure that your settlement agreements meet those objectives, here are ten tips to consider.

1. Who is being released? The party being released (Releasee) will generally seek a release of not just itself but its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, agents and so forth. Provided the Releasor agrees to such language, it should be included in the release provision (e.g., “Releasor hereby releases, waives and forever discharges…”), not in the first paragraph of the agreement after the name of the Releasee, as that would complicate matters, making the subsidiaries and affiliates parties to the agreement.

2. What is being released? To ensure broad coverage, the Releasee will usually want to include detailed recitals of the facts, claims and allegations leading up to the settlement, then state something like this: (all claims and liabilities relating to such matters shall be known as the “Dispute”). It’s then a simple matter to release all claims concerning the Dispute. Of course, the Releasor should make sure that any unsettled disputes are expressly excluded. Continue reading

10 Tips for Successful Negotiations

Perhaps no skill is more valuable for attorneys than the ability to negotiate well. Whether one is concluding a commercial or corporate agreement, resolving disputes over defects or patents, or reaching a deal with a client or colleague, strong negotiation skills will always come in handy. Here are 10 tips to consider.

1. Collabortive v. Competitive. In a collaborative approach the parties seek a win-win solution through cooperation, sharing information and creative problem-solving. A competitive or win-lose approach, involves threats, manipulation and withholding of information. Collaboration is usually preferable, particularly if the parties are present or potential business partners, but sometimes a competitive approach may be appropriate.

2. Assess the Issues Beforehand. Before commencing negotiations, list your issues and your counterpart’s issues and prioritize them. Are some issues linked? Can or should they be linked? What areas of common ground exist? What concessions might be available for each side? What are some reasonable proposals? How badly does each side need an agreement? Continue reading