Fellow blogger Mike recently discussed ("Microsoft Acquires Nokia Handset Business and Licence-Related Patents"), here, the high-profile acquisition by Microsoft of Nokia's handset business. Permit me to offer my own view of certain aspects of this blockbuster transaction. To remind readers, Microsoft paid 3.79 billion EUR for the mobile phone and smart devices business units plus certain support assets and activities (the business "itself") and an additional 1.65 billion EUR for a 10-year non-exclusive licence (subject to possible extension in perpetuity) to use certain Nokia patents. I scratched my head and did a lot of on-line digging in search of a previous example where multiple billion dollars were paid for a non-exclusive licence, but my efforts came up empty. Whether or not these licence arrangements, having regard to the sums paid, are indeed without precedent, the more interesting question still remains: what do we make of these licence arrangements, given that the previous mega-patent transactions of recent years have focused in whole, or nearly in whole, on the acquisition of patent ownership of large patent portfolios? Two reports of this transaction offer somewhat different perspectives.

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