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Apple vs. Nokia vs. Google vs. HTC 159

Lanxon writes "Wired has published a lengthy investigation into the litigation underway among some of the world's biggest cell phone manufacturers, and what it means for the industry of patent lawsuits and patent squatting. 'According to a 2009 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, from 1995 to 2008 non-practising entities [patent trolls] have been awarded damages that are, on average, more than double those for practising entities. Consider Research In Motion's 2006 payout of over $612 million to Virginia-based patent-holding company NTP, to avoid its BlackBerry network being shut down in the US. As part of the settlement, NTP granted RIM a licence to use its patented technology; it has subsequently filed lawsuits against AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon.'"
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Apple vs. Nokia vs. Google vs. HTC

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  • by dgr73 ( 1055610 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:14AM (#32191630)
    The article describes the Nokia Apple patent suit/countersuit situation as a mexican standoff. This has been discussed ad nauseum already here on slashdot and I think it's hardly that. Unless you call one person pointing a water pistol and another aiming a cannon a mexican standoff.

    Assuming both sides claims are deemed to have merit and both refuse to pay licensing fees, Nokia has to think of another implementation for some GUI elements, hardly a gargantuan task. However, if Nokia wins, Apple has to reinvent mobile technology, then get all the networks to support their new implementation.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan ( 662132 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:45AM (#32191908) Homepage

    Patent trolls are a problem for big companies that have lots of money. Trolls have nothing to do with HTML5 not being able to recommend a video codec, and they've nothing to do with worries about how Microsoft will use their patents on .doc, XML, or Mono. Some trolls *do* practice their invention, like the mp3 guys that made a packet from trolling - and as a side-effect, completely insignificant to them, forced GNU/Linux distros to omit mp3 support.

    To solve the social problems caused by software patents, we have to abolish them - tweaking the numbers to reduce the problems of mega corporations is not *our* job.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:57AM (#32192022)

    Apple can have the GSM patents on the RAND when they agree to be part of the patent pool other GSM operators are in: where they pay by sharing their patents.

    Apple doesn't want to pay the fee.

    Why should Apple get a bye on it?

  • by chowdahhead ( 1618447 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:38AM (#32192450)
    We don't know the details of the terms, but we do know from the complaint filed in Delaware that Nokia offered to license the technology based on either a per patent fee or one fee for the pool, in addition to interest. Reportedly, it was Apple that offered cross-licensing using UI and multitouch patents as compensation, presumably in place of fees and fines. Nokia rejected this, likely because these patents probably don't have much intrinsic value and could be invalidated as they are based on software implementations. The handset business is a lucrative one, and Apple has made billions from the technology developed by companies like Nokia and Motorola, apparently without contributing anything back to it. It's a difficult situation because we need private companies to research and develop revolutionary technology, and we need unified standards that all competitors can implement, but that's capitalism and that necessitates that companies become compensated for millions or billions USD of private capital spent in the process.
  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @10:17PM (#32203124)

    That's the point: Nokia offered to license the patents under RAND terms to Apple (the same terms they offer other companies, including those that don't have so many GSM-related patents such as Samsung/LG/HTC), and Apple refused to pay. This is the reason Nokia sued: Apple wanted to use their patented technologies without licensing them.

    To be a bit more precise, Apple paid for the RAND patents as everyone does but Apple did not pay for Nokia's patents not covered by the RAND agreement but proceeded to use them anyway. Nokia kindly asked Apple to pay for two and a half years before filing.

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