Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 15th Aug 2011 12:04 UTC
Google Okay once again I'm breaking my own one-week time-off from OSNews due to, you know, taking a break and being too busy with other things, but this one is big - very big. Also, only the second time in OSNews history we've used the 'breaking'-tag. Google has just announced it is going to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion (more here). While providing Google with a dedicated mobile phone business, it also gives Google ownership of one of the most valuable mobile technology patent portfolios in existence. Update: Responses from the Android ecosystem are positive. HTC: "We welcome the news of today's acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem." Sony Ericsson & LG: "We welcome Google's commitment to defending Android and its partners."
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I also read that those patents are FRAND ("Fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory") by law, as they were deemed vital to commerce. Which means that the patent owner is forced to license them at a reasonable, non-discriminatory price. The patent holder can't deny the license to anyone or jack up the price for a particular party. So how does one sue over such patents? If Google claims Apple is violating a FRAND license, then Google would be simply forced to license the patent to Apple at a reasonable price, and at the same rate they would charge anyone else. That's not going to scare Apple the least bit.

There is nothing to prevent Google from putting the MMI patents into a community cross-license pool, lets call it the "Android" CCL pool for the sake of argument, which would work similar to the WebM CCL pool.

This is, after all, consistent with Google's behaviour pattern with patents in the past. Buy a company and use its patents to protect everyone who wants to co-operate against those who want to extort money.

Members of the Android CCL pool could use the patents from the pool for zero cost, as long as they did not sue each other over any patents in the pool.

Non-members of the Android CCL pool would have to pay a license fee. Regardless if a given patent is FRAND or not, if a non-member uses it and does not pay a fee, then the patent holder can still sue the non-member.

This would still be fair and reasonable, yet it would still allow makers of Android devices who were members of the CCL pool to make their Android products free of royalties, with no threat of having to pay any bogus extortion taxes.

Edited 2011-08-16 23:24 UTC

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