Nokia may have sold its smartphone line to Microsoft, but it held on to one of the crown jewels: its brand. The Finnish company has the world's 98th most valuable name at around $3.2 billion and plans to profit by licensing it to other companies, along with its technology and patent portfolios. In a presentation (PDF) Nokia Technologies President Ramzi Haidamus said that the company is free to lend its name to any non-phone products, as long as "the brand is relevant." There was no mention of the companies it may work with, but Haidamus said that the product would need to look like it was made by Nokia.
Because of its deal with Microsoft, Nokia is restricted from using its name on feature phones for another ten years, but is free to brand smartphones after 2016. Meanwhile, Microsoft stopped using the Nokia brand in favor of Lumia starting with the new Lumia 535. However, Nokia said that it has no plans to enter that market directly. Instead, it would license its brand to third-party smartphone companies and work with them to make the best use of it. Nokia also wants to market its technological expertise along with its extensive patent portfolio -- for instance, it added 914 new patents in 2014 alone.
Haidamus was quick to point out that while the Nokia name is valuable, he's keen to capitalize on it soon, as its lustre will diminish rapidly. If he's right, we may soon see that Microsoft left the most valuable part of the company on the table -- the Nokia name itself.