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Apple Says Samsung 3G Patents Violate RAND Requirements 282

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the patents-are-only-ok-when-my-side-uses-them dept.
judgecorp writes "The patent dispute between Samsung and Apple has finally boiled down to clear understandable terms. Samsung says Apple has not been paying it royalties for use of patented 3G technology. Apple says Samsung smuggled that technology into the 3G standards, disclosing its IP demands later. The Dutch court will rule on 14 October." The issue at hand now seems to be whether Apple already has a license to the patents under the 3G "Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory" requirements for patented technology used in the standard. If Samsung really believes Apple needs a separate license, when can we expect them to sue everyone else?
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Apple Says Samsung 3G Patents Violate RAND Requirements

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:38PM (#37529538)

    Why would they sue anyone else? Apple attacked them, they're countersuing. They're under no obligation to sue anyone else and from their history there's no reason to assume they will.

  • Says the company.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Superken7 (893292) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:38PM (#37529552) Journal

    ...who wants to block sales of a device because it has rounded corners.

    The tab ultimately got temporarily banned because of the gallery application: It is not allowed to display thumbnails, that when tapped are displayed fullscreen, where it is then possible to scroll horizontally to the next/previous.

    My point is: Apple is a hypocrite.
    Yes, I know there is no way around RAND patents and that there IS a way around rounded corners, but it's equally absurd.

  • by organgtool (966989) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:44PM (#37529670)
    Here is a comment I already made on another web site about this issue:

    There is something that many people seem to be missing about FRAND patents. While the terms of FRAND licensing agreements are rarely released, it is widely believed that companies that license their patents through FRAND usually require a cross-licensing agreement with the licensee. This makes sense: why should you be forced to allow other companies to license your hard-earned technologies for a relatively low price only to allow those companies to come back and sue the dick off of you? Requiring a cross-license agreement from all licensees sounds extremely Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory to me.

    However, it is also widely believed that Apple wants to license the FRAND patents WITHOUT allowing other companies to cross-license Apple's patents. This belief was bolstered by the fact that the only term of Apple's settlement agreement with Nokia over FRAND patents that was released to the public was the fact that Nokia relented and allowed Apple to license their FRAND patents without a cross-licensing agreement. This made sense in that particular case because most of Apple's patents in the mobile arena are software patents related to elements of iOS. Since Nokia is moving towards WP7 and Microsoft already has a cross-licensing agreement with Apple and indemnifies all hardware manufacturers of WP7, it didn't make sense for Nokia to continue an expensive protracted legal battle with Apple over something that was quickly becoming irrelevant. However, Samsung is in a completely different position from Nokia and they aren't going to give in nearly as easily. Game on!
  • by Wovel (964431) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:44PM (#37529674) Homepage

    Actually it is not equally absurd. By trying to say their technology in the 3G standard is not covered b the 3G license, they are not being absurd at all. They are being fraudulent.

  • Curious (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:47PM (#37529692)

    (posting AC because I'm at work...)

    I'll be very curious to see how the hordes of Apple haters/Samsung cheerleaders spin this as anything even vaguely good. If Samsung successfully strongarms more money out of Apple for F/RAND patents, then the _ENTIRE INDUSTRY_ will be at danger of the same thing which is 100% counter to the core concept of F/RAND patents in industry standard technologies. You may hate Apple (as seems so popular on /. lately); you may hate that they're defending their IP rights (or disagree that they should have been given the right to protect those IP rights to begin with); you may think a lot of things, but I think only a fool would think that Samsung being successful in this effort is a good thing.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:48PM (#37529708)

    My point is: Apple is a hypocrite.
    Yes, I know there is no way around RAND patents and that there IS a way around rounded corners, but it's equally absurd.

    This is a dirty war, there are no good guys. Want to end it ? Ban the munition (patents.)

  • by Wovel (964431) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:50PM (#37529724) Homepage

    In the Nokia case Apple felt their IP was being undervalued and Nokia's overvalued. Cross-licensing is not automatically fair. Saying you hav to let us copy all your products if you want to use the 3G standard, also not fair.

  • by Brannon (221550) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:03PM (#37529886)

    FRAND exists to enable industry standards. Companies agree to subject a subset of their intellectual property to FRAND in order to make that technology part of a standard--those companies get money from licensing fees for those technologies from other manufacturers (who *must* use that technology in order to implement the standard). Some of the licensees might choose to sign cross-licensing agreements in lieu of some of that money, just like they might choose to pay in frequent flyer miles or beer.

    Having some technology included in a telecommunications standard (like GSM/LTE/etc.) doesn't somehow give you free license to every other piece of intellectual property from every licensee. Put simply, owning the patent on some nuance of GSM shouldn't give Samsung the right to make nearly identical copies of iPads. That's not how the system works or has ever worked for anyone ever in the history of mankind ever. It is clearly stupid and if the situation was reversed then you would be screaming bloody murder.

    But the situation isn't reversed, because Apple owns technology on multiple standards (firewire, thunderbolt, etc.), you never see them insisting on cross-licensing in order for someone to implement those standards.

  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:11PM (#37529978) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, I have a feeling that Apple is probably legally correct here.

    And you know what? I don't give a shit. I want them to lose anyway. But lose in such a way that only Apple loses, and that Samsung can't then go after companies that have been playing fair. (If there are any. Are there any?)

    The bottom line is that Samsung patented actual, real, physical technology. Apple patented rounded corners and taking existing PC interfaces and replacing "point" with "touch." (Also, please note that multitouch doesn't even enter into the patent Superken7 is talking about - it's talking about taking the existing thumbnail interface that exists in a million photo applications, and instead of clicking on photos, tapping on them.)

    So while I expect Apple is probably legally correct, all that means is that the law is clearly wrong and needs fixing - at least as far as preventing "existing technology, but with touch! / on a phone!" type patents.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:13PM (#37530002)
    With the community design in the EU there will be only one maker of any particular shape of thing. Only Apple iPads unless it isn't a tablet. Everyone will be robbed of stylish clothing because there will be only one maker of each shirt, pant, dress, skirt, blouse, gown, etc. The fashion industry will come crashing down. Furniture makers will have only one design of each piece of furniture because someone else will already have all other possible designs protected. Books and book covers. Cutlery. Plates. Everything you can think of will have only one design from one maker. People will stop buying because there won't be any choice. This law is a suicide pill for an economy. It's patently absurd.
  • by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:15PM (#37530034)

    No – that would be very discriminatory... RAND is specifically supposed to stop companies offering crappy terms to companies they don't like much (or are being sued by).

  • by arbiter1 (1204146) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:22PM (#37530156)
    Is the fact apple lied to a German court and submitted doctored images to keep the galaxy S off store shelves. So now Samsung decided to play the court game to and Apple is now crying foul of the rules they used in the game.
  • by organgtool (966989) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:32PM (#37530316)

    Having some technology included in a telecommunications standard (like GSM/LTE/etc.) doesn't somehow give you free license to every other piece of intellectual property from every licensee.

    Perhaps not. But do you honestly think it's Fair or Reasonable for Samsung to license the technologies that allow an iPhone to perform its basic functions for a relatively low price while Apple is able to block sales of Samsung's devices over the look of the plastic casing?

    But the situation isn't reversed, because Apple owns technology on multiple standards (firewire, thunderbolt, etc.), you never see them insisting on cross-licensing in order for someone to implement those standards.

    Apple is free to license their technologies however they please. If they choose not to require cross-license agreements, then that is their choice. And it is Samsung's choice on how they license their technologies. The question you should be asking is this: if other companies have agreed to cross-license their patents to Samsung then how would it be Fair if Apple didn't?

  • by FatdogHaiku (978357) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:33PM (#37530334)
    Even patent trolls start out with one victim... If they took on everyone they would face a mass of lawyers and use up a lot of resources fighting many adversaries at once. If they sue one large corporation and prevail, the next victim is more likely to settle... I'm not saying Samsung is a troll, but if they do only sue ONE infringer I think it might hurt them in court... you either defend you IP or you don't. Then again they could sell licenses cheap the the corporations they choose not to sue.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:36PM (#37530396)

    The words Free, Reasonable, Non-Discriminatory oblige them to not single out Apple for any reason, especially one so vindictive as a countersuit.

    Apple is suing Samsung for copying their designs. There are many designs and Apple has chosen theirs, most other tablet makers have also chosen their own. Samsung, however, has decided against that and chosen to use Apple's. Violating their FRAND obligations is not a valid defense on Samsung's part. Coming up with their own designs is.

  • by Terrasque (796014) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @03:38PM (#37530422) Homepage Journal

    How do you Apple apologists argue with this [businessinsider.com] and this [computechgadgets.com]?

  • by Ironhandx (1762146) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @04:05PM (#37530958)

    That actually is it.

    Everything apple sells is due to a good marketing department, not due to the product itself.

    My old Galaxy S blew the iPhone 4 out of the water. My Galaxy S2 crushes my Galaxy S. In both features and usability.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @04:18PM (#37531202)

    Perhaps not. But do you honestly think it's Fair or Reasonable for Samsung to license the technologies that allow an iPhone to perform its basic functions for a relatively low price while Apple is able to block sales of Samsung's devices over the look of the plastic casing?

    But that is why it is part of a "standard". If there was no promise that it would be offered on FRAND terms, it simply would not be part of the standard and Apple would not be using it.

    The entire reason the standard exists in the form it is in, is because it was agreed that all the underlying technologies would be available under FRAND terms. If there was no such agreement before, either the "standard" would not exist (and so very few/nobody would be using those technologies) or the standard would exist but use other technologies.

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @04:44PM (#37531578)
    And you're surprised? They got a free ride by hijacking BSD to use in their desktop OS. They're using Intel processors after bashing them as inferior for more than a decade. I'm at a loss trying to think of any hardware that is truly innovative that Apple actually created themselves. I'm sick of hearing about how if I had an iPhone I could read my favorite books or video chat. I was doing that on my WM phone back in the 90's. Apple has absolutely no problem blatantly copying other people's ideas and portraying them as 1) their own creation 2) exclusive to Apple 3) a new technology when in fact all three are false.

    My biggest problem with Apple is that they are so very deceptive in everything they do. Their ads 'infer' things that are untrue, insult competitors using false statements, and rely upon the ignorance of the general public to peddle their platform.

    General public: Yes you can connect your non-iPhone to a TV. You can do it without a proprietary "Apple box" and most of the time over the air using open standards supports by many new TVs. Apple would have you believe you need to buy hundreds of dollars of proprietary hardware to do this, and the stupidest part is that Apple could do it without requiring the proprietary hardware, they just want to shaft you at every opportunity.

    Apple users: Grab your socks.
  • by peppepz (1311345) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @05:10PM (#37531978)

    If that's not blatant copying*, I don't know what is.

    My opinion:
    (1) is just a joke comparing photoshopped pictures of something that looks like 2004 rugged laptops with windows 7 desktops attached on them, against the 2010 iPad. A more serious comparison would have included something like the 2008 Archos tablets [example [anythingbutipod.com]], as that would reveal that indeed tablets existed years before the iPad.

    (2) is a power adapter; it's found in lots of products besides the Apple ones. And even if Samsung copied it, I don't think people buy Apple gadgets because of their power adapters. My iPod didn't even come with one.

    (3) is a picture taken in a Samsung shop in a small city in Sicily. I doubt that the clerks running that shop have any connections to the Samsung headquarters in South Korea, where Samsung's hardware designers are supposedly busy copying Apple products after they're done designing the chips that actually make them work.

  • by Wovel (964431) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @05:27PM (#37532236) Homepage

    Kind of. The funny thing is, Apples claims are pretty accurate. Samsung is using their advance and intimate knowledge of apple products to replicate them. I don't really care, but it is delusional to believe they are not doing it.

  • by Vintermann (400722) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @05:40PM (#37532440) Homepage

    > Sure Apple took an unprofitable niche market and turned it into the hottest property in tech today

    So what if they did? Just because your marketing (let's face it: that's an essential and the decisive factor) opened up a new market niche, doesn't mean you're entitled to keep that market niche for yourself. Rounded corners or not. Apple fanboys seem to think that because Apple "was there first" and opened up that market niche, they're morally entitled to keep it forever.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @06:07PM (#37532778)

    Kind of. The funny thing is, Apples claims are pretty accurate. Samsung is using their advance and intimate knowledge of apple products to replicate them. I don't really care, but it is delusional to believe they are not doing it.

    News flash: tablets were around long before Apple. What would expect a "tablet" to look like? A tire iron?

    Apple did not invent: tablets, smart phones, color icons, rounded corners, or much of anything else.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @06:16PM (#37532894)

    > Even patent trolls start out with one victim

    Oh please. Apple is no "victim."

    Apple is a scummy patent troll, and I hope they sued out of business.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @07:08PM (#37533400)

    Of course it does - the reason it exists is to facilitate useful standards. What's the point of a standard if one company can dictate its use? This is why things like GSM and 3G that are required for a standard communication system have RAND terms applied to them - so that if a company wants to put forward a patented tech for the standard, they can't do so for anti-competitve reasons; everyone who wants to build a cellphone that works on the GSM system pays the same amount to use the patents that went into the GSM spec.

    In this case, anyone who wants to build a device with 3G capability has to pay the same amount of money (or equivalent if cross licensing) as anyone else. If Samsung are claiming that *only* Apple are not covered by the 3G RAND licensing that they have already paid, then they are not playing by the RAND rules. In other words, if they are arguing that the patent in question that they are accusing Apple of violating is a necessary part of the 3G standard and that the current RAND agreement for 3G patents doesn't cover it then everyone else who makes a 3G compatible device is also not covered so Samsung would be obligated to either sue (or negotiate) with all of them to pay the same price or agree that it was already covered under the licenses already paid for.

    When it applies to a standard like this, the terms apply to all of the players involved. If Bob Smith decides to make a cellphone, he pays the same as Apple, HTC, Microsoft, Sony etc for the right to use the GSM/3G standard.

    Samsung can't selectively enforce a patent with a single party and simultaneously claim that patent is a part of a standard covered under RAND terms - it's either not an essential part of the spec, or they have to sue everyone for violating (or settle with everyone for the same amount).

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