Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 20:04 UTC
Legal "As was widely expected, the Federal Trade Commission announced this morning that it has reached a settlement agreement with Google, bringing the commission's antitrust investigations into the search giant to a close. Two different areas of Google's business were being explored: the way it prioritized search results, and the way that Google had sought injunctions against devices that were thought to have infringed upon standards-essential patents from Motorola." Would have loved to see the FRAND system crumble, though. Let the patent mess explode - to change the system, we need disruption, not appeasement.
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I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 21:06 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

Now that the FTC has defanged Google, there will be a lot less patent aggression. Not because each side came to an amicable agreement, but because Apple and Microsoft have essentially won.

Google has had its patent arsenal almost obliterated by this ruling, and has turned Motorola into a $12 billion dollar paper tiger. There is nothing that Motorola can strategically do anymore to shield Android from its impending patent destruction.

How can Google reasonably counter sue Microsoft or Apple now? This is a game changer.

At the end of the day, clear heads prevailed and the FTC finally stepped in and put the monopolistic abuse of Standard Essential Patents to rest. Today should be seen as a win for the industry as a whole, and vindication for the players that actually play the game correctly by licensing and taking licenses at FRAND rates.

It is poetic justice to see Android getting its taste of bad medicine, the blatant disregard for intellectual property was disgusting and appalling.

I'm sure, as usual, that Groklaw didn't see this coming ;) .

If you combine this, with the $1 billion verdict, and the fact that Apple's injunction requests are more likely than not to be instituted after appeal and you have a terrible situation for Google.

Reply Score: 0

RE: I think you got your wish
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 21:20 UTC in reply to "I think you got your wish"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You couldn't be more wrong.

This FTC settlement essentially brings an end to certain types of industry standards. The FTC has just told the industry: "don't bother with FRAND patents, because when a company just implements your patents without paying, you can't take them to court". This is a free pass to disregard FRAND patents entirely, making them, essentially, meaningless.

In other words, you won't be getting a return on your investment in complicated wireless standards. Mobile telephony was invented and implemented by many companies - chiefly Motorola and Nokia - and they paid god knows how much to get this done. The FTC has just swooped in, and made all their investments worthless, because they (the companies) no longer have any means to enforce their patents when the negotiation phase breaks down - as it has with, say, Apple and Samsung.

Now tell me - who is going to hand over their patents to a standards body under a FRAND scheme when that means everybody can just take their patents at will?

Exactly: nobody.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 21:26 UTC in reply to "RE: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

FRAND doesn't specify a price, it doesn't even have to be cheap, it just has to be consistent. Something Motorola was refusing to do to Microsoft.

People have been using FRAND as advertised for years, and it was only until recently, when Google asserted SEPs that it became an issue.

The rest of the industry has accepted FRAND and plays by the rules. Your interpretation of this is primitive.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

FRAND doesn't specify a price, it doesn't even have to be cheap, it just has to be consistent.


Nope. FRAND terms are never consistent. Specifically in the wireless industry. Cross licensing and being a member of a standards body have major impact on "consistent" part.

The rest of the industry has accepted FRAND and plays by the rules.

So far, only Apple hasn't played by it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Fri 4th Jan 2013 14:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


Nope. FRAND terms are never consistent. Specifically in the wireless industry. Cross licensing and being a member of a standards body have major impact on "consistent" part.


I think "major" is a gross exaggeration on your part. It varies slightly due to a variety of factors, but it never deviates greatly from the norm.

What Google and Motorola were doing, specifically to Microsoft w.r.t the Xbox 360 was disgusting. They should be deeply ashamed.


So far, only Apple hasn't played by it.


What are you talking about? Apple has plenty of SEPs that it decidedly does not use in an aggressive manner.

Edited 2013-01-04 14:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

What are you talking about? Apple has plenty of SEPs that it decidedly does not use in an aggressive manner.


He's referring to the common act of cross-licensing. Cross-licensing was the norm in the industry, but Apple refused to play ball - see the Nokia case, see the Samsung case. Apple doesn't want to cross-license, so Nokia and Samsung raised their prices.

I still don't see what's wrong about that.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Fri 4th Jan 2013 14:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

As I've said, Apple did want to cross license. That's why their Wisconsin court determination on FRAND was tossed out.

They wanted a broader FRAND cross licensing trial. Again, this ties into the whole "knowing what you're talking about" bit.

You seriously see only the facts you want to see.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: I think you got your wish
by MOS6510 on Fri 4th Jan 2013 14:57 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: I think you got your wish"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Seriously: Why don't you apply for an editorial position at OSNews? You're insightful, know what's going on and the last few days you seem to have an awful lot of spare time.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I think "major" is a gross exaggeration on your part.

My "major" comes from knowledge of working in the industry for the last 7 years. And yes, it is major.

What are you talking about? Apple has plenty of SEPs that it decidedly does not use in an aggressive manner.

By "playing by the rules" I mean that Apple has been the biggest new player to say no so normal terms, like wide cross-licensing. And cross-licensing is very common in the wireless industry.

Reply Score: 2

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

This is what those companies were told when they signed up to be a part of the standard in the first place.

The FRAND "system" is not even a part of US law... or rather... it's only a system insofar as it's a contract and contracts are governed by each nation's laws.

Trying to claim that no one will participate in establishing standards because the legal system is, just now, actually aligning with the intentions of FRAND contracts used by international standards body is pure fearmongering nonsense.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Furermore its worth noting that Motorola isn't the "FRAND" victim everyone thinks they are.

In exchange for their R&D efforts on the wireless standards, they AGREED to license their patents at FRAND rates. Again agreed. Its a bylaw of the committee they belong to.

Moto doesn't make peanuts off of their FRAND patents, every implementer of the standard must take a royalty bearing license from Motorola.

I think Google's frustration will be that they paid billions for a company that isn't currently making any amount of money (Their patent revenue cant cover their other losses) and has had its remaining useful patents rendered useless.

Most of Moto's patents to begin with were already licensed, and the few that weren't were the ones they tried to be aggressive with.

From the outset, I and others on this site said that their use of FRAND would blow up in their face and were continuously modded down into oblivion because of it.

Well what do you know.

Reply Score: 2

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

"Now tell me - who is going to hand over their patents to a standards body under a FRAND scheme when that means everybody can just take their patents at will?"

This is either willful ignorance or blatant lying. No one can "just take a patent" because of today's agreement. Hell, it's become enormously difficult to get an injunction on a non-standard patent.

What we are moving towards is: you cannot prevent any one company from using a standard (a good thing) but, through the legal system, you can receive equitable remuneration for your contributions to that standard if someone refuses to pay a privately negotiated rate.

Edited 2013-01-03 22:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

you cannot prevent any one company from using a standard (a good thing) but, through the legal system, you can receive equitable remuneration for your contributions to that standard if someone refuses to pay a privately negotiated rate.


Eh, you seem to be missing something here. The FTC has just made it abundantly clear that it does not want companies to sue for infringement of FRAND patents after the infringing party refuses to pay up. Something similar is happening in Europe with Apple and Samsung. This essentially makes them meaningless, since if a FRAND patent holder can't sue for infringement, what else is he going to do when an infringer refuses to pay up? Stomp his feet?

Edited 2013-01-03 23:33 UTC

Reply Score: 1

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Eh, you seem to be missing something here.


I am missing something, but it's not in the FTC agreement or recent EC action. It's here and places like groklaw that are delusionally pro-Google, anti-Apple, or anti-patents (but somehow SEP patents are important for them, can't make sense of it.)

The FTC has just made it abundantly clear that it does not want companies to sue for infringement of FRAND patents after the infringing party refuses to pay up. Something similar is happening in Europe with Apple and Samsung.


Complete and utter nonsense. There's nothing in the US or in the EC that remotely suggest that there should not be remuneration, or litigation to be remunerated, for SEPs. You are conflating injunctions with getting paid for patents and/or suing. This is complete, utter hogwash. Not being able to ban a product is not equivalent with not being able to sue to get paid for patents.

Again, simply consider the situation Apple is in with non-SEPs. They actually have jury verdicts for infringements but have lacked success getting injunctions. Does their lack of success getting injunctions imply their patents aren't legally enforceable (even after they have been legally validated and awarded)? Merely suggesting that preventing injunctions for SEPs is equivalent to dissuading any lawsuit for SEP patents implies complete idiocy -- either on the part of the suggester or the audience he/she's attempting to dump it on.

This essentially makes them meaningless, since if a FRAND patent holder can't sue for infringement, what else is he going to do when an infringer refuses to pay up? Stomp his feet?


Please show me a single action, document, or ruling that even suggests there is a movement to prevent any litigation or remuneration for SEP patents. You can't. The only thing affected is injunctive relief (which has become difficult to get whether or not the patent is standard essential anyway).

Edited 2013-01-03 23:52 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yup, you're right - this is indeed solely about injunctions. My mistake.

I still maintain it'll have ba chilling effect, though, just not as much as my first comment suggested. FRAND patents have just become less powerful, and thus, less attractive - just not as much as I thought in my first comment.

It is also still ridiculous that a company like Apple has not paid Samsung a single dime for the use of its FRAND patents these past years, and yet, Samsung is ordered to pay a huge sum for a few ridiculous design and software patents. That's not very conducive to innovation - and this FTC settlement has only strengthened that silliness instead of counter it. Arguing that's a good thing is Apple-focussed instead of consumer-focussed.

Edited 2013-01-03 23:57 UTC

Reply Score: 1

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Your mistake was ever thinking that standards patents were powerful. They have always been less powerful than non-SEPs. I don't understand how (again) the pro-Google, anti-Apple, anti-patent crowd could ever fool themselves into believing otherwise. It is very clear to the rest that something that must be offered to all comers on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms would be less powerful than something that can be unfair, unreasonable, and discriminatory. This is simple logic.

Nothing was weakened today but the already thin bubble some delusional folks have cloaked themselves in.

It's ridiculous that Samsung violated Apple's patents for 3 years without any right to do so, never mind without paying them. I think it's far, far, far, far less ridiculous that Samsung hasn't been paid for something that they were demanding a price an order or magnitude greater than what they deserved, for something they pledged they would never deny access to, when Apple has again and again pledged to ultimately pay them a fair rate for what can be determined to be valid and standard essential patents.

Again, let's raise another example. Nokia sued Apple for SEPs and there was not a single peep. Why? Because they didn't ask for an injunction. They didn't demand an absurd rate that no one else is paying.

I don't see anything particularly pro-Apple about supporting the logical interpretation of what FRAND SEPs should be. (Again, I was perfectly fine with Nokia's conduct during its SEP litigation with Apple, and perfectly fine with the end result as well.)

Edited 2013-01-04 00:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Of course, but the discrepancy is simply too large - you, too, have to admit that, right, despite your pro-Apple stance? Or do you think it's beneficial to innovation that rounded corners and crazy software patents can block entire products and lead to billions of dollars in damages, while Apple can just freely take whatever it wants from Samsung's FRAND patents without having to pay a dime - for years now?

Is that fair? Is that beneficial to innovation?

Edited 2013-01-04 00:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Nokia sued Apple for SEPs and there was not a single peep.


Not really. There were a lot of peeps. It wasn't until Microsoft stepped in that things got settled. Nokia wanted access to Apple's patents in a cross-licensing deal, but Apple refused.

Edited 2013-01-04 00:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Fri 4th Jan 2013 00:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Apple has never said it doesn't want to pay for Samsung's SEPs. It only wishes to have the right to appeal any court determined FRAND rate if it is in excess of what it believes to be reasonable.

Microsoft on the other hand has agreed to be bound by whatever the court decides.

It is also worth noting that Samsung/Moto is still opposed to the courts having a say at all. They just wanted stipulations which were not favorable to Apple/MSFT in the event that the Judge ruled in favor of Apple on setting FRAND rates anyway.

Edited 2013-01-04 00:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 23:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Uh, no. The FTC stated that you cannot seek injunctive relief for SEPs if the defendant has agreed to take a license but you just disagree on the terms, then it will go to arbitration.

They didn't make SEPs useless for persuit of unwilling parties, they just made it harder to abuse SEPs as Moto and Samsung have been doing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 23:05 UTC in reply to "RE: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

If your insane logic is true (that FRAND is on the way out) then I guess you should be happy because according to your last sentence you "Would have loved to see the FRAND system crumble" and it will make the "patent mess explode".

Watching you continuously have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to patents is funny, it really is.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I was hoping for the current FRAND system to crumble to let the patent system explode with lawsuits - which is different from this ruling discouraging companies from participating in FRAND schemes in the future.

Watching you continuously have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to patents is funny, it really is.


Ah, the personal insults, your go-to strategy. I was wondering when you'd bring it out again!

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 23:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I was hoping for the current FRAND system to crumble to let the patent system explode with lawsuits - which is different from this ruling discouraging companies from participating in FRAND schemes in the future.


It would have the same eventual effect. If what you say is correct, but its not.

If people are discouraged from participating in FRAND, then we'll see future standards and standards committees release patent encumbered haphazard standards which should have the same overall effect.

However, I don't think this is particularly true, because there exist mechanisms to prevent this in practice like defensive patent pools that could be easily incorporated into SSOs.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I think you got your wish
by linux-lover on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 21:24 UTC in reply to "I think you got your wish"
linux-lover Member since:
2011-04-25

You must be delusional to believe software patents have any benefit to the industry or that they should even be allowed.

They only allow Google, Microsoft, Apple et al. to annihilate competitors.

Any ruling that demands license fees for software will always be bullshit.

Software is written, writing is protected by copyright.
Software is at it's core is mathematics and logic, neither of which are patentable.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Thu 3rd Jan 2013 21:29 UTC in reply to "RE: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Thankfully, what you think does not matter, because it runs contrast to reality.

I don't care about your philosophical views on patents, because they are largely irrelevant to this discussion. Software patents exist, and you must play by the industry rules or face the consequences.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I think you got your wish
by kckc on Fri 4th Jan 2013 09:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I think you got your wish"
kckc Member since:
2011-01-06

Industry rules, what are those? Some imaginary rules that you dreamt off last night?

Reality is that there are only government rules. We can think what we want about patents, but they are enforced by government and nobody else. No amount of reasoning will make government change the rules they see beneficial to them.

All the talk about what is fair and what is not, is waste of time. The name of the game is money and power.
The industry will play by any rules as long as they can make profit. And the government will change the rules to benefit domestic economy as much as they can (and favor domestic companies as much as they can).

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Fri 4th Jan 2013 14:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Industry rules [set by the Government].

Congrats, your paragraph arguing semantics was made useless in one sentence.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I think you got your wish
by Tractor on Sat 5th Jan 2013 02:17 UTC in reply to "RE: I think you got your wish"
Tractor Member since:
2006-08-18

FRAND patents doesn't mean software patents. These are completely unrelated issues.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I think you got your wish
by JAlexoid on Fri 4th Jan 2013 13:53 UTC in reply to "I think you got your wish"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Now that the FTC has defanged Google, there will be a lot less patent aggression.

Less!?!?!?!! Were you in a cave for the last 2 years? Google has not started a single patent lawsuit and got to have one only via Motorola acquisition.

This means that there will be a lot more patent battles, less FRAND based ones. But Apple is being defanged by USPTO as well and Germany is still a total mess.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I think you got your wish
by Nelson on Fri 4th Jan 2013 14:08 UTC in reply to "RE: I think you got your wish"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Less!?!?!?!! Were you in a cave for the last 2 years? Google has not started a single patent lawsuit and got to have one only via Motorola acquisition.

This means that there will be a lot more patent battles, less FRAND based ones. But Apple is being defanged by USPTO as well and Germany is still a total mess.


Yes. Less. Google will not be able to fight back with SEPs. If there is no ability to fight back, there is no fight. Only submission.

They have been backed into a corner in general, albeit a more attractive corner that some (like Microsoft) would have wished the FTC to paint them, but a corner nonetheless.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Yes... We've seen how Google "fell in line" when Oracle struck.

Reply Score: 2

Show them how it's done
by bowkota on Fri 4th Jan 2013 12:04 UTC
bowkota
Member since:
2011-10-12
RE: Show them how it's done
by Valhalla on Fri 4th Jan 2013 13:24 UTC in reply to "Show them how it's done"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

I wonder how much Microsoft spent on lobbying for this FTC investigation:

http://readwrite.com/2013/01/03/googles-ftc-settlement-is-an-epic-f...

Reply Score: 2