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China Approves Microsoft's Nokia Deal, but Expresses Patent Concerns

Microsoft is required to continue licensing its standards-essential patents.

Microsoft said Tuesday that the Chinese government has approved the company’s planned purchase of Nokia’s handset business, with certain conditions.

As a condition of the deal approval, Microsoft is required to continue licensing its standards-essential patents as well as 200 patent families that are deemed necessary to build an Android smartphone. There are also restrictions on how and when Microsoft can seek an injunction for alleged patent infringement.

No biggie, says Microsoft, which noted that the requirements basically fit with its current patent licensing practices anyway.

“It has never been Microsoft’s intention to change its existing patent licensing policies as a result of this transaction, so while we disagree with the concerns expressed by [the Chinese Ministry of Commerce], the conditions imposed will not impact our future licensing practices,” Microsoft said in a statement to Re/code. “In reaching its decision, [China] concluded after its investigation that Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families that are necessary to build an Android smartphone.”

The company had originally planned to close the Nokia deal by the end of last month, but said in March that it would take until April as it awaited final approval in some parts of Asia.

“We are very pleased with this important decision, a critical step forward in allowing us to close the transaction with Nokia,” deputy general counsel David Howard said in a blog post.

This article originally appeared on

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