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The Courts Google Patents Apple

Apple Suit Against Motorola Over FRAND Licensing Rates Dismissed 249

chill writes "A suit by Apple claiming that Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, is seeking unreasonably high license fees for the use of patents on wireless technology has been thrown out by a judge in Madison, Wisconsin. Last week, Apple told the court it would pay up to $1 per device for a license to Motorola patents covering cellular and Wi-Fi technologies. Motorola Mobility was arguing for a royalty payment of 2.25 percent on each device." From the article: "'At the final pretrial conference, I asked Apple to explain why it believed the court should determine a FRAND rate even though the rate may not resolve the parties' licensing or infringement disputes,' Crabb wrote in an order on Friday. 'I questioned whether it was appropriate for a court to undertake the complex task of determining a FRAND rate if the end result would be simply a suggestion that could be used later as a bargaining chip between the parties.'"
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Apple Suit Against Motorola Over FRAND Licensing Rates Dismissed

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  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:01PM (#41888737) Journal

    I do not understand why the same company which sued others over some lousy rounded corners refuses to pay royalties over others' patents?

    If I expect others to pay me over some lousy rounded corners I expect myself to play the same game - and will pay the royalty I owed to others when I use their patents.

    At least, that was been taught to me by my elders.

    Maybe Apple Inc has other kinds of "elders" - one who expect others to pay them while refusing to pay others.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:04PM (#41888767)

    Because Apple made it's billions stealing other people's ideas, and it would really cut into their profits if they had to pay to use the ideas they're appropriating.

  • by slew ( 2918 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:14PM (#41888871)

    Apple: All your ideas are belong to us.

    What more to understand?

  • by tofubeer ( 1746800 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:21PM (#41888941)

    If Motorolla didn't want to license things for a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rate then they should not have made the patent part of the standard. They chose to have it as part of the standard so it is subject to FRAND licensing.

    Apple didn't make "rounded corners" part of a standard (nor did they actually sue over them). They are under no obligation to license that IP at all, let alone at a reasonable rate.

  • by arbiter1 ( 1204146 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:25PM (#41888975)
    the longer apple fights this, the more $ per device they will have to dish out as track record showing apple's refusal to make a deal will hurt then in FTC/court's eye's.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:25PM (#41888979)

    If Steve Jobs were alive, he'd have RDFed the judge into agreeing with him.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:27PM (#41888989)

    Apple has the same understanding of property as a cat - once they pee on it, it's theirs. It doesn't matter where an idea came from, once they pee on it/put in a iThing, it's forever Apple's property. It's unreasonable to them to pay anyone for anything they own/peed on, so the only possible value that would constitute FRAND to them is free.

  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:27PM (#41888993) Journal

    Apple didn't make "rounded corners" part of a standard

    Apple didn't make rounded corners - period; many others did that way before them. The stupid patent office shouldn't have issued patents on such silly things to Apple. And Apple should've been decent enough not to sue others over such trivial pathetic matters.

  • Smart judge. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:29PM (#41889009)

    How many judges would have spotted that suit for the Trojan horse it is? This one did, and we are all grateful for it. No, she's not going to get famous for holding The Next Apple Trial, and that's great. For once, we have a judge who just wants to do her job. And she's a judge who knows that her job isn't to generate bargaining chips in commercial contracts negotiations.

    Thank you Judge Barbara Crabb for telling Apple that asking Mommy for permission after Daddy already said no isn't going to work.

  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:33PM (#41889063) Journal

    apple doesn't have much FRAND patents but they have a lot of non-FRAND patents that others want.

    What? You mean those stupid patents on rounded corners and arranging icons in a row? Others may want such 'features' but they ought not have been allowed to be patented in the first place.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:35PM (#41889081) Homepage

    Motorola did offer to license at a FRAND rate. This is normally followed by a negotiation (based on things like is the licensee offering a license to important patents in return), but Apple declined to negotiate. Note that "FRAND" does not mean "whatever rate the licensee wants to pay".

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:50PM (#41889217)

    Apple was a thug long before Steve Jobs declared thermonuclear war, but Jobs was a master at concealing that. Tim Cook isn't. This is one of several reasons that it is just wonderful for the rest of us that Tim Cook now runs Apple.

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:03PM (#41889329)

    apple doesn't have much FRAND patents but they have a lot of non-FRAND patents that others want.

    That is not clearly true at all. It is more accurate to say, Apple says it has a lot of patents that others want. Case in point: the bouncing scroll patent. Invalidated. []

    My feeling: Apple has a bunch of junk patents but is skilled at gaming the courts.

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:27PM (#41889573)
    So making the phone look good is more important than making the phone a phone? Do iPod Touch's outsell iPhones?
  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:32PM (#41889607)
    But their offer is an implication their devices willfully infringe the patents. They're refusing to pay the $1 per device on the millions of devices they agree infringe on Motorola's patents but have already sold and profited from.
  • by Grieviant ( 1598761 ) * on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:06PM (#41889815)
    The "some that might argue" that are fools ignorant of the communications technology in cellular phones. Apple abuses their FRAND free ride on the significant communications R&D that has taken place over the last 20 years and tries to gouge everyone else on artsy fartsy design and software patents that wouldn't exist without the complicity of clueless patent examiners.
  • by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:23PM (#41889933)

    Apple's being a whiny, greedy child and deserves to be punished for infringing on legit IP they NEED to make a smartphone/tablet/etc...

    Well, complaining about somebody being a fanboy and falling right in the other camp. Unless you give more numbers, it may very well be that Apple has a good case. Motorola could very well have set a very high price for "everybody" knowing that all its best buds would not have to pay anyway. That's not even very advanced, that's just a classic trick.

    Anyway, any new player need to ask authorisation via licensing/exchange to all its competitors because they all hold mandatory patent and are all in bed together. Is that supposed to be good thing ? I can't believe how people on slashdot are happy to accept patents as long it is used against Apple.

  • by JimCanuck ( 2474366 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:36PM (#41890001)

    i'll get modded down but the way FRAND works is the rates are usually a few cents per device and you cross license any FRAND patents that you have as well.

    FRAND patents are typically a % of either manufacture or retail costs of the device, in any industry.

    Apple's original argument was the 2.5% was too "expensive" for a iPhone they want to retail for $600 verses the same 2.5% that HTC pays for their $50 disposable phones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:47PM (#41890073)

    I don't think you understand what FRAND is or what the licencing terms are. You pulled a stupid statement out of your ass by suggesting that it's normal to only pay a few cents per device if there is no cross licencing.

  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @12:19AM (#41890229)

    Moto offered a price. Apple thought it was too high and refused to negotiate. Then they sued. They asked the court to set the rate. The court was skeptical, thought the bargaining should be between the companies, but was will to go to trial anyways. Then Apple told the court that Moto should be bound by the court's decision, but that if the rate was too high, Apple would NOT be bound to the decision. Oh, and whatever the rate is, Apple only wants it to apply going forward. All the past patent violations should be free. The court dismissed the suit with prejudice.

    Which part was Apple treated unfairly? The initial offer? Apple should go to eBay and sue every seller with a high "Buy it Now" price. Is it unfair to Apple to ask them to pay for years of past violations?

    It is true that Apple uses the Moto-licensed Qualcomm MDM6610 chips in the iPhone 4S (which was explicitly excluded from Moto's suit in Germany), but why would that license apply to other iPhones that aren't using the MDM6610 chips (the iPhones that Moto actually sued over)? Or is that unfair to Apple, too?

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @02:51AM (#41890873)

    Not really, they don't make their own baseband chips, they buy from someone else who makes them and has been part of that R&D effort over the last 20 years.

    I hear what you're trying to say, but its just not true since they mostly use Qualcomm's chips.

    While I don't agree with patents like Apple is using in general, I'm still kind of with Apple on the Samsung thing as it was CLEARLY intended to look like an iDevice in its original form.

    Apple's patent shit does piss me off in that I realize one of the reasons I dislike Android's 'feel' is because Apple patented the bounce back UI feeling thingy at the end of scrolling. When I tried the Nexus 7 I found it extremely frustrating as I was used to the iOS feel of scrolling and thought it was really retarded of Android to not do the same ... until I found out they couldn't.

  • by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:59AM (#41891147)

    While I don't agree with patents like Apple is using in general, I'm still kind of with Apple on the Samsung thing as it was CLEARLY intended to look like an iDevice in its original form.

    That's not clear at all. It was designed to look like a modern fashion phone. It could equally have been designed to look like an LG Prada, and in fact, given the extra buttons and Samsung logo, the Samsung phones are much closer to that than an iPhone. The iPhone was clearly also designed to look a bit like a Prada. The fact that the two are similar does not have to mean that there is any direct design link whatsoever.

    The key thing to understand is that some level of copying is legitimate here. Car gear shifts all look identical so that you can use them easily. Phones dialpads look similar so you can dial in the same way. Modern monitors mostly have the buttons hidden in the bottom right so they look cool but you can still find them. All of next years clothes will have the set of colours which are currently being shown by the top designers. Part of this is functional and part of this is trying to define expectation through a common look.

    Everyone copies and that's okay. It wouldn't be okay if the products were indistinguishable, but they weren't. Apple had a registered design. They could expect protection of that, and Samsung didn't use it. Apple could expect copyrights to mean Samsung would not to do a literal copy of their design and they did not. Anything more is just sour grapes.

  • by Fjandr ( 66656 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @05:27AM (#41891477) Homepage Journal

    That's the point. It's not a phone, just like the iPhone would not be a phone without the patents that Apple is refusing to pay more than a pittance for.

    They asked massive amounts for patents which are not essential to making a phone. It stands to reason that the patents required to make it a phone are worth at least a tiny bit more.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @05:45AM (#41891531) Journal

    And this people is why America is doomed. On a tech site, filled supposedly with nerds, someone actually claims that in a piece of high tech equipment, design is more important for usefulness then the tech inside that allows it to do what it is supposed to do. Yes, rounded corners are more important for a phone then the tech that makes it able to make phone calls...

    Oh, I am fully willing to accept that siddesu is just a moron who doesn't know anything about the patents in question but still, this is supposed to be a tech site. Claiming $30 bucks for design vs $1 for vital tech... it is clearly insane. Only managers who spend more on advertising then on development think that. Don't worry if it works, we just sell it with more advertising. It is actually lethal and has been proven so before, the first rise of the Japanese car industry happened over Detroit just adding more fins rather then innovating.

    People don't read the full specs...

    Yeah because when you are buying a phone, being able to make phone calls with it, that is just details. It is the styling! You might not be able to use it but damn, does it look good!

  • by gentryx ( 759438 ) * on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @11:29AM (#41893895) Homepage Journal
    You're laughing, but here in Germany the GEMA (fills in for the RIAA in Germany) is charging the educators at Kindergartens for the songs they sing with the kids.

Forty two.