You'll never guess who just won a major court case.
Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, has just lost a court ruling over a patent dispute that could have dire consequences. Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone company, defeated Daimler in a German court, which sided with it over how to license mobile-telecommunications technology.
According to Bloomberg, this ruling is significant because it "goes to the heart of how technology" is licensed in this regard. With victory in hand, Nokia can now potentially stop Daimler from selling vehicles in its native Germany. However, Nokia would have to post collateral of about $8.3 billion in case Daimler wins on appeal. In all likelihood, Nokia won't pursue a sales ban but it definitely has the upper hand - for now.
"We cannot understand the verdict of the Mannheim court and will appeal," Daimler said in a statement following the ruling. "The facts show that Daimler and its supporters in the case aren't willing to take a license," the court made clear in a statement. It's vital to know that European automakers require this mobile technology to enable e-connectivity, such as in the cabin of the upcoming Mercedes S-Class. Nokia obviously provides that service, but it wants to charge fees per car as opposed to granting automakers a license to use its components.
All of Daimler's vehicles, from the entry-level Mercedes A-Class to the $161,000 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door 63, rely on this tech. The repercussions of this case are so big in Germany and potentially elsewhere, that even some of Daimler's suppliers supported it.
The rest of the auto industry is also paying close attention because mobile connectivity has become a key feature in new vehicles. Nokia has sued Daimler three separate times in Germany over its mobile tech patents, one of which has been dismissed. A ruling over whether the other two are valid is pending.
"Today's finding is a major endorsement of the long-term engineering work by innovators at Nokia and the important principle that innovators should receive a fair reward," said Jenni Lukander, president of Nokia Technologies. "We hope that Daimler will now accept its obligations and take a license on fair terms."
There's no word yet when Daimler will file its appeal though it's expected to do so fairly soon. There's just too much at stake for it to drag this out.