Linked by bowkota on Tue 7th May 2013 21:44 UTC
Legal "The European Commission has accused Motorola Mobility of abusing its standard-essential patents against Apple in Germany. The Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to the company over a misuse of its GPRS patents, which has seen Motorola pursue injunctions against Apple products instead of properly licensing the technology."
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RE[8]: Comment by shmerl
by Tony Swash on Wed 8th May 2013 10:39 UTC in reply to "RE[7]: Comment by shmerl"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

You're STILL skipping over the part where Apple/Microsoft willingly stole Motorola's technology without a license. Just because the licensing talks aren't concluded yet doesn't mean you can just steal the technology!



OK - so the situation is this: Motorola voluntarily offers up some key patents to be licensed in a FRAND framework. This means that the patents become accepted as industry standards and thus become fundamental and essential for the operation of all modern mobile phones. Being part of a FRAND framework means that Motorola has formally committed to always offering licenses, for those patents to anybody who wants them and who is willing to pay, in a fair and non-discriminatory fashion, i.e it will not withhold a license if one is requested and it will not charge a particular licensee more than anybody else is paying just to gain competitive advantage.

Those FRAND commitments (to be fair and non-discriminatory) are precisely what allows any technology owned by one company to become accepted as an industry standard, it is the very basis of the way standards are set, because it insures that once established as a standard the owners of the patents will not abuse their position to seek competitive advantage.

Along comes Apple and it starts making phones that kick Motorola's ass in the market place and it says can we please have a fair and non-discimnatory license so we can pay you a fair and non-discimnatory license fee for using your standard essential patents without which our phones will not work. And Motorola says to Apple 'f--k off, you can't have a license and you must stop using our patented technologies, without which you cannot make a working phone'.

Apple then has a choice. It can stop making phones and call it's lawyers or it could decide to continue to make phones and call it's lawyers. The first option allows the blatant abuse of FRAND by motorola to succeed and option two does not.

And you think Apple is the villain for taking the second option?

Jeez Thome what happened to you, how did your ethical perspective become so warped? Does dislike of Apple trump all other ethical considerations? How can anyone remotely defend what Motorola did?

How can you one day write about the evils of IP and patent law and the wonders of openness and then the next day use weasel words about the evils of technology being stolen to defend an utter abuse of a FRAND standard just because the victim of the abuse is Apple?

Edited 2013-05-08 10:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: Comment by shmerl
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 8th May 2013 10:58 in reply to "RE[8]: Comment by shmerl"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Or, and this is more likely considering how this industry works, Motorola asked for cross-licensing patents with Apple, and Apple refused. Cross-licensing is normal in this industry, and since Apple refused, prices went up. The same happened with Apple/Nokia, which later got settled under pressure from Microsoft.

Apple didn't want to cross-license its patents, and as such, Motorola initiated a price hike. Seems very reasonable to me.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[10]: Comment by shmerl
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th May 2013 11:33 in reply to "RE[9]: Comment by shmerl"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Maybe they thought different.

Apple or any other company isn't under any obligation enter a cross patent deal nor is Motorola or any other company then allowed to ask unreasonable prices for SEPs.

Motorola broke the law and got a warning from the EU. The rest is irrelevant.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[10]: Comment by shmerl
by Nelson on Wed 8th May 2013 12:03 in reply to "RE[9]: Comment by shmerl"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

FRAND means FRAND. Not FRAND if you offer me a patent in exchange.

Any way you slice it, a large amount of Motorola's patent portfolio is effectively worthless from an injunction seeking POV. The only thing they'll really do if they keep dicking around is get Google into even more regulatory trouble.

Motorola should, and probably will end up taking a license from Microsoft. There's just no other recourse. They are not an effective defensive play, they certainly have no offensive patents, and are really the last major OEM hold out left.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[10]: Comment by shmerl
by Tony Swash on Wed 8th May 2013 13:25 in reply to "RE[9]: Comment by shmerl"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Or, and this is more likely considering how this industry works, Motorola asked for cross-licensing patents with Apple, and Apple refused. Cross-licensing is normal in this industry, and since Apple refused, prices went up. The same happened with Apple/Nokia, which later got settled under pressure from Microsoft.

Apple didn't want to cross-license its patents, and as such, Motorola initiated a price hike. Seems very reasonable to me.


It appears that your dislike of Apple has completely corroded your moral, ethical and intellectual integrity.

No company is under any moral, ethical or legal compulsion or requirement to license it's intellectual property.

Motorola voluntarily offered it's IP to be the basis of an industry telecoms standard through a FRAND commitment and as a result it's IP was adopted across the industry via FRAND licenses.

When Motorola, now a division of Google, decided to refuse Apple a FRAND based license it was in breach of it's moral, ethical or legal commitments. If Motorola/Google did indeed demand a cross license to Apple's IP as the cost of issuing a license to FRAND encumbered IP then that was clearly and completely morally, ethically or legally wrong because it was seeking to use a FRAND patent as a lever in order to gain competitive advantage.

Apple are clearly and completely morally, ethically or legally in the right to request a standard FRAND license and refuse any demanded higher than usual payments or cross licensing.

The bankruptcy of your position on all this and it's staggering hypocrisy can be clearly illustrated by a simple thought experiment in which the roles are reversed. Imagine an alternative world in which Apple owned patents which it had offered for many years via a FRAND commitment and which as a result had become widely adopted and essential for the basic functioning of any modern handset. Then Google launches a new handset the sales of which take off like a rocket and Google asks Apple for a standard FRAND patent, but Apple refuses and demands that Google to give it a license to Google's core search and Adsense patents, presumably so that Apple could build a competing search engine. I find it hard to believe that you would come out in support of Apple in those circumstances.

Thom - principles are all well and good but if you rigorously profess them, particularly in public, you really have to stick to them.

This case could not be more morally, ethically or legally clear cut.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[9]: Comment by shmerl
by TechGeek on Wed 8th May 2013 11:26 in reply to "RE[8]: Comment by shmerl"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Except you have your facts wrong. As we have seen in previous Apple IP lawsuits, like Nokia, Apple didn't come to Motorola and ask to negotiate the rates. They just started using the patents. Motorola had to approach them. And Motorola offered the same rate to start with that they offer everyone, 2.5%.

Now, no one ever ends up paying that amount, its just a starting point. And no one else in the phone industry has had any problems getting a license. Now, Apple and Microsoft enter the scene and all of a sudden there are problems.

Motorola only sues Microsoft after Microsoft sues Motorola over Android. Microsoft has been using the technology for years. That doesn't make Motorola look very aggressive. Motorola sues Apple to get its license fees, which Apple refuses to negotiate on. Even when Apple has clear chances for neutral remediation in IP lawsuits, they chose not to pay up. Yeah, why would Motorola ever have to sue?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[10]: Comment by shmerl
by Nelson on Wed 8th May 2013 11:59 in reply to "RE[9]: Comment by shmerl"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Both Apple and Microsoft have agreed to take a license at reasonable court determined rates, why is this not good enough for Motorola?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[10]: Comment by shmerl
by jared_wilkes on Wed 8th May 2013 19:05 in reply to "RE[9]: Comment by shmerl"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Likewise, it can be said that Apple's had no problem paying for SEP patents from anyone but Motorola and Samsung. (The minor dispute with Nokia was settled.)

Anyone arguing for negotiation based on cross-licensing is missing the forest for the trees. Implicit in such an argument is that the 2.25% rate is fair. That is, any reductions in that rate are conditioned on other covenants of similar value.

Also, people keep claiming that Motorola always offers this rate and it always ends in a successful negotiation. There is zero evidence of this. Motorola's own testimony as to other parties who are paying a 2.25% rate (Motorola doesn't argue that this is an unfair but only opening negotiation's tactic, they still, to this day, claim it is a fair rate) could only show 4 instances all were fundamentally flawed in that they did in fact bundle in other deals which would inherently value these particular patents at a lesser but unknown rate and/or were only agreed upon in order to end litigation. There is no evidence of Motorola actually agreeing to license these patents at these rates to anyone, before or after negotiation, without factors that cannot weigh on a FRAND negotiation interfering.

Edited 2013-05-08 19:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2