Finnish startup Jolla made a few waves last week when it announced it was planning to develop, produce, and sell new Meego-based hardware. In an interview with ItViikko, Jolla CEO Jussi Hurmola says that the company, made up primarily of ex-Nokia employees, has received significant support from Nokia. Hurmola says Nokia is "sharing" some MeeGo patents with Jolla, and revealed that the startup was assisted by Nokia's Bridge program. Nokia Bridge was formed last year to assist employees that are at risk of being fired to set up their own companies. It offers training, funding, and help forming business partnerships.
It's unclear how much help Nokia has provided Jolla so far, or which patents the recent agreement covered, but Hurmola told ItVikko that he "would definitely like to thank Nokia." He added that "Nokia and Jolla have a good and open relationship." We've reached out to Nokia for clarification on two points: whether it has funded Jolla through its Bridge program or simply offered advice and training, and whether any of the patents relate to the Swipe UI (an integral part of the N9's user experience). We'll update the article as and when we hear back.
Update: ItViikko has now retracted Hurmola's statements on patents and says that, contrary to its earlier article, "Nokia has not assigned patents to anyone that has left the company... We apologize for the error."
Nokia has given us the following statement.
“We’re proud of the support from our Bridge program to start-ups founded by former Nokia people, but we have not gifted Nokia patents to any of them, including Jolla.
We can’t comment on the details of any license agreement which may exist between the companies.
Jolla has said that it will sell new MeeGo-based smartphones with Jolla technology including its own brand new UI.”