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Government Patents Apple

DoJ Investigating Samsung For Patent Abuse 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the might-as-well-investigate-somebody dept.
sl4shd0rk writes "Good news for Apple, bad news for Samsung. Yesterday, Apple filed legal papers with the International Trade Commission citing a Department of Justice investigation into whether Samsung is misusing its 'Standards essential' patents in ways which violate antitrust law. Apple claims Samsung has violated commitments to license its essential patents to competitors on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Or, more specifically, Samsung is 'using certain patents as a basis for improper legal actions that seek to block the sale of competitors' products.' The article says Google (because of its recent acquisition, Motorola Mobility) is under the same scrutiny."
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DoJ Investigating Samsung For Patent Abuse

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  • Says Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Terry Pearson (935552) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:51PM (#41756999) Homepage Journal
    Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black!
  • not even (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:58PM (#41757103) Journal

    This is almost comedy - apple is going to try to claim what samsung proved *apple* did in the lawsuit against samsung which it has now basically lost? Talk about trying for a third attempt to stop your competition through abusing the legal system. Outlined here: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20121022054044954 [groklaw.net]

    summary is that Apple:
    sued samsung, claiming samsung abused patents ("charging too much!") while simultaneously abusing patents and encouraging people to use windows phones (hello antitrust!) and anyone other than google. This should set the DOJ off onto investigating *apple/ms/oracle*.

    Not only is that hilariously pot -> kettle, but also it doesn't mean the DOJ is investigating anything.

  • Re:Says Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:00PM (#41757127) Homepage

    Just another move in the on-going patent wars. Apple must ultimately lose, or we are all screwed.

  • Re:not even (Score:5, Insightful)

    by starworks5 (139327) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:02PM (#41757157) Homepage

    Not even sound jurisprudence will get in the way of crony capitalism, the higher you get in the appeals process the more it appears to be a kangaroo court.

  • Re:not even (Score:5, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz (2515578) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:26PM (#41757497)
    A Patent Troll will buy them and sue everyone else all over again. That's how the system works.
  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:35PM (#41757663)

    Samsung wants the product banned because it uses an international communication standard that cannot be implemented without a technology that Samsung invented that everyone else is paying royalties for but Apple refuses to do so, claiming the price is too high and not even attempting to negotiate.

    FTFY.

  • Re:not even (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:37PM (#41757699)

    It's determined by their inclusion into a published standard which has rules about FRAND licensing of all included patented works. Apple's patents aren't part of such a standard and not subject to FRAND rules. What was hard about that?

  • Re:Says Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cederic (9623) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:55PM (#41757981) Journal

    So for the record, Apple really isn't abusing standards essential patents like Samsung/Motorola.

    I wasn't aware that Samsung were abusing standards essential patents at all.

    My understanding is they're willing to licence them on fair and reasonable terms. Apple on the other hand insist on using them without licencing them.

    charging absurd rates

    So Samsung want $6 (per phone) for patents essential to the very nature of a device, while Apple want $30 (per phone) for patents that should never have been fucking granted in the first place.

    While you're right about absurd rates, I'm not sure you realise just who is trying to charge them.

  • Re:not even (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:56PM (#41758001)

    Whats so hard to understand that FRAND requires apple to negotiate, and they decide not to then they can still be held for not having a license for that tech.

  • Re:not even (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:11PM (#41758217)

    What determines a patent on a standard requiring RAND licensing? It would seem that 'pinch to zoom' and 'slide to unlock' have become de-facto standards for touch-screen devices. How is it that trivial patents like those can be used to block sales of a device when a patent that controls the basic functioning of a device must be licensed to precisely those competitors that are abusing the trivial ones? And you can't even block sales of the devices when the infringer refuses to strike a RAND deal...

    Easy.

    A standards body, like IEEE, 3GPP, etc., decide they want a new standard. Ethernet (yes, there are patents on all parts). WiFi (plenty to go around). 5G, Codec. whatever. They get together industry to help them produce the new standard. Industry presents their technology, and they hash out what will make it and what doesn't. As a condition for having the technology included in the new standard, all related patents to use that technology must be FRAND licensed. Otherwise you get a really broken spec where competitors cannot implement the standard because the companies refuse to license.

    It's also a big game of political football - technologies that are great may be shunned and inferior ones used because the company with the inferior technology greased more palms. It's pretty lucrative.

    Basically a patent is FRAND licensed if it's used in a standard for that standard only, because you can't implement the standard without that patent.

    Apple needs ot license Samsung patents in order to produce a phone because Samsung put their technology into the celluar spec, probably LTE or 3G, and you cannot build a phone without those patents (implementing the standard automatically violates the patent).

    However, the other things like pinch-to-zoom and slide-to-unlock (if valid), are not part of a standard (there's no standard for "smartphone" that everyone has to follow). You could tap a sequence of numbers to unlock (say, entering a PIN code). You could require the user press the power button three times to unlock, etc.

    An de-facto standards aren't standards - Microsoft doesn't have to license you the Office patents to implement something that reads Office documents (which they provide), even though Office is a defacto standard in business. Well, they do for their XML standard (because they submitted it as a standard), but not for say, the .doc format.

    TiVo's got the same thing - they have a bunch of core DVR patents that if you implement one, you pretty much have to license it, but they don't have to.

    As an aside, a lot of standards also have licensing bodies where you can acquire a license to every patent for one fee without having to talk to any of the participants - MPEG has MPEG-LA to license you all the patents used for a video codec, I think the IEEE has one as well for Ethernet and WiFi. 3GPP doesn't (which means if you want to build a phone, you have to talk to everyone).

  • Re:Says Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cederic (9623) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:27PM (#41758421) Journal

    Samsung however did agree to license certain patents at a fair price

    I'd say 2.4% is a very fair price, especially when being asked to pay up to 40% for far less valuable patents.

    I'm not emotionally attached, beyond being fucked off with Apple's bullshit behaviour. I just happen to swear all the fucking time.

  • Re:Says Apple? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:37PM (#41758547)

    Again, YOU miss the point. There was no abuse. No one was denied those patents. Apple wasn't denied those patents. They just thought $6 for actually useful and complex patents are way too high. Then they turn around and say that their obvious application of plugins to search and ease-in animations to scroll is worth $30. Hypocrisy much?

  • Re:Says Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GoatCheez (1226876) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @07:19PM (#41759577)

    Samsung however did agree to license certain patents at a fair price, and they are trying to charge some vendors (who compete more aggressively and charge them a lot for patents, e.g. Apple) significantly different terms than others

    I was under the impression that the vendors that got lower prices did so because of cross-licensing agreements.

    Samsung: "Oh, you want this FRAND patent but don't want to pay $6? Okay, well how about you license us the technology for your patent xxxxx, and we'll lower the rate to $1"

    Normal Vendor: "That sounds reasonable. Patent xxxxx is trivial compared to your standards essential patents. Deal."

    Apple: "NO WAY! We don't want to pay a dime!"

  • Re:Says Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @09:15PM (#41760369) Homepage

    So, Apple just has to pay Samsung the FRAND licensing fee, which they are refusing to do. I hear it is just a couple of bucks per phone. Everybody else pays that to Samsung, or an equivalent value in cross-licensing other patents.

  • Re:not even (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LodCrappo (705968) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @11:24PM (#41761105) Homepage

    "innovation oozing out of every pore"

    what innovation? outside of the RDF, Apple's devices contained nothing but existing technology, much of which in fact was invented by the very companies they are now abusing the legal system to harm.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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