Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 2nd Nov 2013 17:24 UTC
Legal

Apple, Microsoft, and others, a little over a month ago in a letter to the EU, warning that the EU's new proposed unified patent law could lead to more patent trolling:

To mitigate the potential for abuses of such power, courts should be guided by principles set forth in the rules of procedure to assess proportionality prior to granting injunctions. And PAEs should not be allowed to use injunctions for the sole purpose of extracting excessive royalties from operating companies that fear business disruption.

Yesterday:

A new front opened today in the patent wars between large technology companies, as a consortium that owns thousands of patents from the Nortel bankruptcy auction filed suit against Google and other manufacturers alleging infringement. Rockstar, which is owned jointly by Apple, Blackberry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony, filed suit in US District Court in Texas. In addition to Google, the consortium has alleged infringement by Asus, HTC, Huawei, LG, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE.

They're not just scumbags - they are lying scumbags.

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RE[6]: You forgot Google
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 3rd Nov 2013 00:17 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: You forgot Google"
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

You're talking in circles. The ITC was very clear: Samsung did not violate any FRAND commitments during the negotiations. Yet, Apple did not agree to any licensing fee. So, the ITC hands out a ban.

The president overruled the ITC not because Samsung failed any FRAND commitments - he overruled because a ban based on SEPs should not happen.

So, the course of events is that Samsung and Apple were negotiating, that Samsung was making proper FRAND offers, but that Apple refused to accept, despite the offers being FRAND. So, a deadlock.

Apple fanatics believe that the FRAND system means that Apple can just take whatever standards essential technology it wants, and that FRAND patent holders cannot do anything about it. The precedent that has been set here is clear: Apple can continue to use standards essential technology without paying a single dime, since Samsung has no means to stop them. Apple can drag out the negotiation forever - something they've been doing for years now.

With this, the FRAND system has effectively ceased to operate, since *even if Apple refuses proper FRAND terms, there's nothing a SEP holder can do to force Apple to accept them*. This is a very dangerous precedent.

Edited 2013-11-03 00:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[7]: You forgot Google
by mkone on Sun 3rd Nov 2013 10:30 in reply to "RE[6]: You forgot Google"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

The ITC ruling is a red herring. The European Commission found Samsung to be breaking competition rules in the EU because of their abuse of FRAND patents.

The abuse of FRAND patents is more insidious than anything Apple has done.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: You forgot Google
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 3rd Nov 2013 10:54 in reply to "RE[7]: You forgot Google"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Simple question.

Company A violates company B's SEPs. They enter negotiations. Company B offers proper FRAND terms. Company A refuses to accept them, but continues to violate the SEPs. What is company B to do?

According to Apple fanatics, the US president, and the EU, company B cannot do anything at all. Company B is not allowed to sue over SEPs, is not allowed to ask for an injunction, is not allowed to do anything at all whatsoever.

This effectively means that the FRAND system has collapsed, because there is no possible way for SEP holders to punish companies unwilling to accept proper FRAND terms. Company A has found a loophole in the system: it can violate SEPs without any fear of repercussions, and without ever having to pay a single licensing fee.

If you do not understand the dangers of these recent developments, let me spell it out for you. First, it will make companies more reluctant to contribute patents to standards setting processes, because that would mean anyone can employ the loophole and just violate them for free. In turn, this will discourage companies from working together on grand, multi-corporational projects like wireless communication standards.

This is going to come back to bite us in the ass.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: You forgot Google
by Shadowself on Sun 3rd Nov 2013 18:34 in reply to "RE[6]: You forgot Google"
Shadowself Member since:
2013-11-02

You're talking in circles. The ITC was very clear: Samsung did not violate any FRAND commitments during the negotiations. Yet, Apple did not agree to any licensing fee. So, the ITC hands out a ban.

The president overruled the ITC not because Samsung failed any FRAND commitments - he overruled because a ban based on SEPs should not happen.


So it seems you're the one talking in circles. SEPs and FRAND are inseparable. You absolutely CANNOT have one without the other. AND the ITC did NOT rule that Samsung's demands follow the spirit of FRAND rules or that Samsung's demands follow their commitment to the legal contract that Samsung has with the standards body.

The reality, which you choose to ignore, is that the ITC refused to do their homework. The ruling by the ITC ignored (or, at best, the regulators were just unaware) of the facts presented in multiple cases about the world. It is somewhat amazing that you choose to ignore the full facts and exactly what was in the ruling on the band and the ruling that overturned the ban.

So, the course of events is that Samsung and Apple were negotiating, that Samsung was making proper FRAND offers, but that Apple refused to accept, despite the offers being FRAND. So, a deadlock.


It has been very well documented in multiple court cases that Samsung was NOT making proper FRAND demands. It is also well documented that Apple did offer to pay FRAND fees. (Hell, at one point Steve Jobs flew to Korea to try and negotiate the issue personally.) As I've mentioned elsewhere here, Samsung was demanding that Apple pay as much as 12 times what others were paying to Samsung for those licenses PLUS Samsung wanted a cross licensing deal that included Apple's non SEP, non FRAND patents. Those are in the court records of multiple cases. Why do you try to dispute that?

Apple fanatics believe that the FRAND system means that Apple can just take whatever standards essential technology it wants, and that FRAND patent holders cannot do anything about it. The precedent that has been set here is clear: Apple can continue to use standards essential technology without paying a single dime, since Samsung has no means to stop them. Apple can drag out the negotiation forever - something they've been doing for years now.


This issue has absolutely NOTHING to do with "Apple fanatics". It has to do with upholding the FRAND rules. Samsung has been smacked down in multiple countries -- not just the U.S. -- for attempting to abuse SEPs and demanding non FRAND licensing fees. Samsung is facing a possible fine in the EU because of this (so is Google).

With this, the FRAND system has effectively ceased to operate, since *even if Apple refuses proper FRAND terms, there's nothing a SEP holder can do to force Apple to accept them*. This is a very dangerous precedent.


Even the Obama Administration's ruling that killed the import ban explicitly stated that Apple had to pay Samsung FRAND fees on Samsung's SEPs. The Obama Administration upheld the system. What it stopped was Samsung's attempt to leverage SEPs for improper market control.

If Samsung were to come to court and say, "We are charging AAA, BBB, CCC, DDD, EEE, FFF, etc., etc. companies the following fees for these patents. Apple refuses to pay what we are charging everyone else.", then Samsung would have a very clear and strait forward case in the courts. Samsung would win. Apple would have to pay. Samsung has NOT been doing that. They have, as has been well documented, demanded fees that were NOT in line with the FRAND requirements.

Personally, I believe that a separate licensing authority must be set up for each standard. They did this with MPEG. Each company using the MPEG standard pays a fee to the MPEG-LA. That group then distributes the relevant fraction of the overall fee to each license holder. Everyone pays the same. It's an international standard that is fair and open to all for the exact same fees. Companies are then one step removed from the standards licensing process. There is no realistic means of abuse. Everyone pays the same and everyone with a relevant SEP gets their fair share. DONE.

All standards bodies should move to this system.

Reply Parent Score: 0