Withings products are back on Apple Store shelves following the settlement of a patent lawsuit between Apple and Withings parent company Nokia. The announcement comes with a suggestion that the two companies could be working together on a digital health project now that their relationship is restored.
"This is a meaningful agreement between Nokia and Apple," Maria Varsellona, chief legal officer at Nokia, said in a statement. "It moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners working for the benefit of our customers."
In December, Nokia filed a number of complaints against Apple in Germany and the United States alleging that Apple products infringe on Nokia patents ranging from software, display, chips and more. The suit called back a 2011 settlement in which Apple purportedly agreed to a license covering some Nokia Technology patents, but subsequently declined Nokia’s offers to license other patents that are used in Apple products.
Apple responded by pulling products from Withings (which Nokia had acquired six months prior) from its stores. While it couldn't be confirmed at the time that the removal was a response to the litigation, Nokia's announcement of the settlement -- and of the restocking of Withings products -- seems to confirm that it was. As we reported at the time, Apple made a similar move in the past against Fitbit.
The settlement details aren't being disclosed, but it includes Apple licensing some Nokia patents and making an up-front payment to the company as well.
The most interesting part of Nokia's announcement is the company's assertion that "Apple and Nokia are exploring future collaboration in digital health initiatives". We've reached out to Apple and Nokia for details on this future collaboration and will update if we hear more.
But the suggestion is interesting, as Apple has seemed lately to get more and more bold about its under-the-radar digital health efforts. Apple CEO Tim Cook has recently been spotted wearing, and talking about, a prototype wristworn glucometer. The company is also apparently working on an app for Parkinson's diagnosis and two potentially FDA-cleared cardiac devices.
Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, said in a statement that Apple "look[s] forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia".