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Judge Suggests Apple, Motorola Should Play Nice 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-litigation-to-yourself dept.
sl4shd0rk writes "Federal Judge Richard Posner seems to be a man who gets the screwed up patent system in the U.S. As Apple pressed for more injunctions against Motorola regarding alleged patent infringement, Judge Posner has stressed the two companies should just 'get along' and pay each other royalties. A jury trial set to start last week was cancelled when Posner ruled that neither side could prove damages, and grilled Apple's legal team saying an injunction against Motorola would be 'contrary to the public interest.' Furthermore, as Apple tried to plead its injunction case concerning four patents, Posner called the U.S. patent system 'chaos' and said an order barring the sale of Motorola phones could have 'catastrophic effects.'"
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Judge Suggests Apple, Motorola Should Play Nice

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  • Finally (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vskye (9079) on Friday June 22, 2012 @03:08AM (#40408593)

    A judge that gets it. A refreshing change for once.

  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Informative)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash AT omnifarious DOT org> on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:24AM (#40408923) Homepage Journal

    He's the judge that really adroitly handled the Microsoft antitrust trial, then flubbed it by speaking to the press about the trial before it was over. That gave Microsoft the grounds for an appeal (and subsequent 'slap on the wrist' punishment) based on him 'not being impartial'. Which was bunk, but his mistake gave the appearance, and that was enough.

    But, overall, I've seen his name come up a few times, and I've been generally pretty pleased with how he's handled cases.

  • Re:Finally (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:13AM (#40409115)

    Wrong judge. That was not Posner.

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

    by haploc (57693) on Friday June 22, 2012 @07:24AM (#40409631) Homepage

    He's the judge that really adroitly handled the Microsoft antitrust trial, then flubbed it by speaking to the press about the trial before it was over. That gave Microsoft the grounds for an appeal (and subsequent 'slap on the wrist' punishment) based on him 'not being impartial'. Which was bunk, but his mistake gave the appearance, and that was enough.

    That judge was Thomas Penfield Jackson.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 22, 2012 @07:42AM (#40409717)

    "Exclusive use of the granted patent allows us to recoup the cost of the research spent on making this product, allowing us to work on future products".

    You won't agree with that (and I don't really), but a court will (and has).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @08:12AM (#40409871)

    And that's absolutely fine. The license terms Apple want are for people who contribute to the patent pool. Apple don't want to contribute to that patent pool like the others, but still wants the same deal apart from that payment.

    The FRAND payment is cash plus put your patents in the pot.

    And everyone else is paying it.

    Apple don't want to. Why should they get a cheaper rate than anyone else?

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 22, 2012 @10:06AM (#40410941)

    You're arguing semantics. I offered an opinion and a question - that's the point of a discussion, no? I'm asking why, not proclaiming that they can't.

    Here's a scenario for you.

    A: I slipped over on a wet floor, it's the store's fault

    B: How is it the store's fault?

    A: They didn't have a sign up warning me.

    B: I see, well I'd suggest that you watch your step in future, but I agree that the store should put up a sign - perhaps they hadn't noticed yet?

    The question does not mean "you are not allowed to assign blame".

    I'm also not sure how I can have a "pretend moderate" voice. Either I'm being moderate or I'm not? Do you see me raging and cursing at anyone?

    You're claiming "Apple don't want to pay that price [the licence cost of a FRAND patent]" - but on what grounds? Do you have a citation on that? They were in negotiation with Nokia for years over the value of cross-licenced patents to come to an agreement. There was certainly never any indication that they "didn't want to pay" - they just want to pay what's fair.

    As far as lawsuits with Motorola and Samsung over FRAND patents, well that's where the water gets murky. For some reason both Samsung and Moto seemed totally fine with Apple's payment to use the 3G patents, right up until they needed a stick to beat them with, then all of a sudden "ooh, they are infringing on this patent, and haven't paid for it!". Funny that. I'm not sure how they can only partially have paid to use the 3G patents. If they have not paid for one, then they must also be in violation of all of them. Apple uses pretty standard 3G radios and chipsets - if it took Samsung 5 years to determine that there was one patent that Apple didn't pay for (given that they've been licensing their part of the 3G pool for years) then I have to wonder what on earth they were doing for all that time? Surely not holding one back that they could use in the event they got sued? How blameless of them! The alternative is extreme incompetence on Samsung's part. I'm not sure what's worse.

    The 3G patent pool does not require that "you put patents in the pool" in order to licence what is currently in there (and this is what we're discussing here). If it did then the 3G standard would be meaningless, since the patent pool would continue to grow. What happens to older devices if new "essential" patents are added to the pool? The 3G FRAND patents are set the way they are to ensure interoperability across all the different cellular manufacturers, otherwise there would be chaos. The pool is static, containing the patents necessary for the standard to work.

    Just for completeness, I am aware that different licence conditions are possible for FRAND patent pools, but that in general they are used when an industry standard is involved, so they tend not to grow (in terms of patents) once the standard is set, unless that standard is extended.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @11:20AM (#40411957)

    DISCLAIMER: I do not know if the poster you are calling out is factually correct in this situation(Apple wants the same FRAND license deal as those with patents in the pool).

    If he is factually correct though you need to stop calling him wrong. This is how FRAND patents work. FRAND doesn't guarantee the same exact deal for everyone licensing a patent but does dictate that each deal must be fair and comparable to other licensing deals. Circumstances, however, can be taken into account.

    Simply:
    I have a major patent in the pool for some standard, your company has a major patent for that standard, too. We decide to just draw up a contract allowing us to use each others' patents with no money changing hands.
    Another company wants to use both our patents. They have no patents in the pool. Do we have to license our patents to this third company for free since we didn't charge each other money in our licensing deal?
    No. That would be stupid. We come to a separate deal with that third company, probably for money. As long as our terms are fair we don't have to compare it to the deal between our two companies. That is a separate case.
    If a fourth company comes along in the same boat as 3(wants to use our patents, has no patents of their own in the same pool) then we must give them a deal comparable to what we gave the third company. We can't charge them 2,000 times as much because we don't like the CEO. That is the nondiscriminatory part. Not "everyone gets the exact same licensing terms".

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