Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Jul 2011 21:16 UTC
Legal I've been sitting on this item all day. Technically, it's about patents and the like, and even I understand I've been beating this dead horse so often it almost looks like it's alive. However, this is an interesting opinion piece by Craig Hockenberry, long-time employee at The Iconfactory, one of my favourite software development houses - these guys breath software and beautiful design, and employ one of my favourite artists, David Lanham. The gist of his story? Software patents are killing the independent developer scene.
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JAlexoid
Member since:
2009-05-19

HTC pays MS a patent license fee off ever single Android phone they make, not only those that end up in US.(That is not really provable, due to the associated NDA that comes with the license agreement. But Bloomberg is a good source of info for me.)

When I see the price of an HTC phone in the store in my own country(that does not have any software patents valid) I see a price with that patent licence included.
Now, Taiwan, is not one of the countries with software patents, neither is China. None of the phones in my store have ever been to US, they are not made by an American corporation and they are not sold in a location where US law applies.
So why the hell does the phone have that license fee included? It's basically abusing the US system to force a US patent down my throat.

I said it once and I'll say it again - Even Lodsys is more ethical than Microsoft at this point. Lodsys asks royalties only on US sales.

Reply Parent Score: 3

rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

HTC pays MS a patent license fee off ever single Android phone they make, not only those that end up in US.(That is not really provable, due to the associated NDA that comes with the license agreement. But Bloomberg is a good source of info for me.)


So this is speculation?

When I see the price of an HTC phone in the store in my own country(that does not have any software patents valid) I see a price with that patent licence included.


Do you have the list of patents involved? Are you sure they are all software patents? Would it be ok if they were all hardware patents?

So why the hell does the phone have that license fee included? It's basically abusing the US system to force a US patent down my throat.


If these are not legitimate patents or if they can't legitimately be enforced where you live perhaps your ire should be directed at HTC? They're the ones charging you and it's not like they're some small fly by night company that can't afford a law suit.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

rhavyn,

"If these are not legitimate patents or if they can't legitimately be enforced where you live perhaps your ire should be directed at HTC? They're the ones charging you and it's not like they're some small fly by night company that can't afford a law suit."

I already brought this up not long ago. The example I used was the Thompson mp3 patent consortium. They charge the same unit fee to everyone for the whole portfolio, without regard to which country you operate in. If you are liable for even just a single patent in your country, then you still have to pay for the whole portfolio.

I don't think this type of patent bundling is all that unusual. I'm certainly not privy to private agreements between HTC and MS, but chances are the settlement is worldwide. Otherwise HTC might be liable for even further MS patent extortion fees in other countries.

The fee is ridiculous, but HTC doesn't have much choice if it wants to keep doing business. You know this comes at the cost of lower R&D investment and higher consumer prices.

Reply Parent Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

So this is speculation?


Speculation coming from Bloomberg and a lot of other, unaffiliated, news outlets.

If these are not legitimate patents or if they can't legitimately be enforced where you live perhaps your ire should be directed at HTC? They're the ones charging you and it's not like they're some small fly by night company that can't afford a law suit.


They are not legitimate in Taiwan, China and my own country.
I am complaining to HTC about it. And as a person not too far of from business, I can understand why they caved in - loss of the whole US market is not worth it for them. That does not mean I condone it or even think it's remotely ethical on Microsoft's part.

It's similar to Intel demanding payments from PC makers for each PC manufactured, regardless of the type of CPU used. Intel just got busted for that.

However, if HTC goes to court on this Microsoft will any result be in all legal right to block them from selling any phones in US.

Given what patents MS asserted over B&N and Moto, I can safely bet that this is about software patents.

* - Something screams that you're American.

EDIT: And as I maintained for a quite some time now - Even Lodsys is more ethical today than Microsoft. LODSYS! They are limiting the power of their patents to US only and not using US market as a bait.

Edited 2011-07-16 13:48 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3