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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.

    • I believe it was a challenge to the commentors
      on Slashdot to prove that their stated convictions are consistent and non-biased.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by FatdogHaiku (978357)
      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.
  • 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 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.

      • Didn't Rambus win a while ago for doing pretty much the same thing?

        • by Wovel (964431)

          Eventually on appeal they won the fraud charge, but I believe all of their past and future license claims (in the s-dram case) were tossed out. Fraud is a hard crime to prove, does not mean they did not do it.

      • by Superken7 (893292)

        Yes, they are. Samsung is probably being fraudulent, never said otherwise. Not arguing about any legal stuff, just common sense:

        C'mon. Do you really think it is not absurd that someone gets away with the stuff Apple has been claiming from Samsung? They got the exclusivity to produce black devices with rounded corners? I really think that is just as absurd as Samsung trying to block Apple because they use standards. Both are abusing the legal system, IMHO: It's really really absurd.
         

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Wovel (964431)

          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 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheLink (130905)
      What if Samsung only sues those who sue them? Would that meet the 3G "Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory" requirements?
      • 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 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.)

      • Exactly. Taking sides doesn't do any good. Sending letters to your congressman does.

      • Yeah ban patents. Who needs those lazy nerds using their brains? Everyone knows that if you aren't a manufacturer you aren't worth anything.

        Why the intellectual class is the first in line to sell off their only value in society as worthless is beyond comprehension to me...

      • by mvdwege (243851)

        There are most definitely good guys here: Samsung.

        They have actual inventions that are relevant to 3G phone hardware. Apple has silly design patents on obvious shapes.

        Yeah, I'm using a bit of hyperbole, but the point stands: between an actual innovator and a shiny packager there is no moral equivalency.

        Mart

        • There are most definitely good guys here: Samsung.

          They have actual inventions that are relevant to 3G phone hardware.

          ... they have to license under RAND terms.

          Apple has silly design patents on obvious shapes.

          ... they don't have to license.

          Yeah, obviously the good guys are the one not doing what they have to.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @02:54PM (#37529778) Homepage 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.

      As a consumer I expect competition to drive the best products in the market, not the courts. Kinda sick of Apple and their behaviour.

      Same goes for all these other piddly IP suits which ultimately deprive the consumer.

      • by bws111 (1216812)

        So your idea of competition is: company A invests tons of money in developing something useful (like 3G), company B takes company A's invention and adds ROUND CORNERS, and we let the consumer decide how the money is split up? Sounds unfair, stupid, and ultimately about as anti-competitive as you can get.

        • Sure Apple took an unprofitable niche market and turned it into the hottest property in tech today by just adding round corners. Do you guys even listen to yourselves ?

          • by bws111 (1216812)

            I didn't say that anywhere, did I? Nope. What I said was that company B got to avoid a whole bunch of expense by letting company A spend the money and then using their results for free. This lets company B either sell an identical product for a whole lot less than company A, or they can spend a little bit of money making their product slightly better than company A. In either case the consumer is likely to choose company B, even though it was company A that did all the work/invested all the money.

            • If Company A doesn't want that to happen, then they shouldn't try to make what they created a standard.
            • by Wovel (964431)

              Apple is currently paying for a 3G license through Intel. They are not using it for free. As I have already stated, Samsung is committing fraud in a desperate attempt to force a settlement.

          • by mvdwege (243851)

            3G phones have been a hot property for at least ten years. May I point out how absolutely huge the established players like Nokia and Samsung already were before Apple showed up?

            Kudos to Apple for gauging the market correctly and taking a chunk of a very competitive market. But they were late to a party that was already in full swing.

            That some countries with a third world 3G infrastructure didn't notice the party doesn't change those facts.

            Mart

          • 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 PopeRatzo (965947) *

          company A invests tons of money in developing something useful (like 3G), company B takes company A's invention and adds ROUND CORNERS, and we let the consumer decide how the money is split up?

          That's exactly how it's supposed to work.

          This word you use, "developing" is very interesting. By "developing" you seem to mean everything leading up to actually manufacturing and selling the product. Why should a company expect anything at all for "developing" a product? If they can make it, and bring it to market,

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          So your idea of competition is: company A invests tons of money in developing something useful (like 3G), company B takes company A's invention and adds ROUND CORNERS, and we let the consumer decide how the money is split up? Sounds unfair, stupid, and ultimately about as anti-competitive as you can get.

          Imagine how crippling to the consumer electronics industry it would be if someone held patents on Touch Screen, Power Button, Using Software To Control A Device, Back Lighting, etc. and chose to either not licence it or charge an outrageous licence fee.

          That's effectively what we, the consumer, are watching play out here.

          Apple is well aware that they won't hold the market captive with their products forever, so they're attempting to strangle competition through legal means, thus protecting their market domin

    • 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 Superken7 (893292)

        Thank you. Yes, I am not talking about who should win in court. I am just talking about common sense here. I think you portrayed the situation much better than I did.

        Please mod parent up.

  • Samsung == Rambus (Score:2, Informative)

    by tepples (727027)

    "Apple says Samsung smuggled that technology into the 3G standards, disclosing its IP demands later."

    Where have I heard that one before? [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851)

      It's not the same, it's different.

      Just because you own IP that's in a standard doesn't necessarily mean that you should have to give up your rights to use it defensively. In this case Apple brought this BS on themselves when they filed that questionable lawsuit that could best be reduced to Samsung's product having a similar shape to the one that Apple sells.

      Also, Samsung is only targeting Apple at this time and there is no reason to believe that Samsung won't stop with Apple. Rambus OTOH, went way beyond u

      • Also, Samsung is only targeting Apple at this time and there is no reason to believe that Samsung won't stop with Apple.

        What reason is there they will, altruism ? Best-case scenario you have the sword of Damocles hanging over all of their competitors, no way that isn't going to lead to back-room dealing at best and all out patent wars at worst.

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          I guess they just want a cross-licensing deal so they can start selling the galaxy range again.

        • What reason is there they will, altruism ?

          Mutually assured destruction, obviously. If you sue someone, they sue you back, you both spend millions on litigation and end up worse off than if you had just negotiated a cross-license or reasonable royalties in the first place.

          By contrast, Apple asked for this by firing the first shot.

      • by Wovel (964431)

        Actually it means precisely that. Apple is paying to license 3G through Intel. Samsung can not then turn around and say that does not cover their part of the Standard.

  • Are they hoping that, should Samsung fall, all the other Android phone manufacturers will immediately settle?
    • Apparently, as compared to other smartphone manufacturers they are swinging for the fences. What Apple apparently doesnt realise is their ususal tactic of long expensive litigation to starve out the other company wont work, as Samsung makes about TWICE that of apple worldwide.
      • Do you have any source for that? From what I can tell Samsung made 16.5 trillion won = 14.0745 Billion US Dollars Apple posted profits of 3.38, 3.07, 3.25, and 4.3 billion during 2010 = 13.977 Billion US Dollars. Those numbers are very similar and I do believe a chunk of Samsung's profits came from selling LCDs to Apple (so a bad relationship could easily hurt Samsung's profits while likely not costing apple that much more)

        Sources: http://www.bgr.com/2011/01/28/samsung-reports-q4-earnings-revenue-and-i [bgr.com]
      • by Wovel (964431)

        Apple makes more than twice their profit and has about 4 times their cash. Or are you asserting that Samsung will stop paying their bills and fight Apple with money from the top line.

  • 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!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wovel (964431)

      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.

      • 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.

        But saying that you have to let us copy all your technologies if you want to use rounded corners or a touch screen is fair?

        If Apple thinks the exchange is unfair then they're free to make products with rounded corners and no 3G and require Samsung to make products with 3G and no rounded corners and see which one succeeds in the marketplace, but you don't get to be a hypocrite and say that competitors have to license their stuff to us but we won't reciprocate.

    • 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 so

      • 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 aaarrrgggh (9205)

          In theory, Samsung has created (part of) a standard, so they make a little bit of money off of a lot of people... because it is a standard. Apple in this case has not tried to create a standard; they have actually tried to prevent their way of doing things from becoming a standard. They want to reap a lot of money on fewer units than they might if they made it a standard.

          They learned a lesson a couple years back licensing their OS...

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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 b

      • 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.

        True. But if everyone has chosen cross-licensing agreements except Apple, how much are those cross-licensing agreements worth to Samsung? Shouldn't they be able to extract the equivalent value of those cross-licensing agreements?

        For example, if you're selling your old car for $2000, isn't it fair and reasonable to at least expect $2000 worth of beer?

    • Keep in mind, you can have patents and not choose to license them.

      The issue with Samsung and Nokia, is that they have patents that were included in a "Standard". Usually, when you do this you have to adhere to FRAND terms. If not, this basically would give a company a monopoly on that technology. They could charge whatever they wanted and use the patents to prevent rivals or competition from being "standards-compliant".

      So here you have a company that has patents, that are not part of any standard, and are r

      • by mvdwege (243851)

        No, what we have here is the same as in Apple vs. Nokia: Apple trying to buy into the FRAND terms by offering their patents for crosslicensing, and then going home and taking their ball with them when the members of the consortium correctly point out that rounded corners and questionable multitouch patents are not a fair price for actual innovations in hardware.

        Mart

  • That's it. I really don't have anything else to say.
  • by i_b_don (1049110)

    Samsung is being treating everyone who ISN'T suing them in the same non-discriminatory manner.

    d

  • 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.
    • You can only design register things that have no function and are not needed for compatibility. The German case has to be based on design features that are not a necessary part of a tablet. In fact, Apple will need to prove that their design features add no value beyond aesthetics.
  • 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.
  • > when can we expect them to sue everyone else?

    This seems like FUD to me. Samsung and Apple are in a deathlock. It doesn't matter who started it. Samsung may well sue the hell outta everyone in existence, but until they go after, say, HTC, my money is that they're holding onto the patent for defensive purposes. In other words, there's no special reason to assume Samsung is going to go after other manufacturers until, well, they do. If I'm wrong, lawyers will get a little richer.

    • by Wovel (964431)

      Using a FRAND patent defensively is discrimination and I believe a fraud against the standards body.

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