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12.15.12

MPEG Cartel Stabs Apple in the Back

Posted in Apple, Patents at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Knife in hand

Summary: Apple, which promoted MPEG tax, is the latest to be trolled by the proxies

Mozilla recently surrendered to the MPEG cartel, which Apple was promoting to raise costs and slow down the evident demise of iDevices. Firefox is no longer worth endorsing (I use Konqueror and Rekonq myself). It is part of the FRAND (flat fee) assault on Free software — a strategy which Microsoft and Apple try to use against Android too:

Judge Lucy Koh has issued her first post-hearing order [PDF] — regarding Apple’s brief [PDF] on non-jury issues (waiver, equitable estoppel, unclean hands, and unfair competition) which it lodged against Samsung in connection with two Samsung FRAND patents. She decided not to decide. This is a blow to Apple’s anti-Android FRAND strategy.

Interestingly, Will Hill found out that Apple too is now being smacked down by the MPEG cartel. To quote him:

MPEG-LA owned patent troll MobileMedia is in the news for winning a silly patent lawsuit against Apple in Delaware. Techrights called them out a month ago, and Groklaw has been watching for years.

http://techrights.org/2012/11/13/mobilemedia-ideas/

Here we see that they are a Microsoft/Sony proxy and the harm done by passing Nokia’s patents around to trolls. Previously, it was revealed that MobileMedia is owned by MPEG-LA, which Steve Jobs foolishly supported when he threatened the good people responsible for Ogg Theora.

/***** Bloomberg ********** “We’re not in the litigation business” and just want to license the patents, Horn said. The patents in the suit were originally owned by Sony and Nokia, according to court filings. Horn said one patent is for the camera phone and others cover call handling and call rejection. He said MobileMedia has a portfolio of about 300 patents. MobileMedia Ideas told Judge Robinson in a court disclosure statement that 10 percent or more of its stock is owned by Nokia Corp., Sony Corp. of America and MPEG LA, a patent-licensing authority * http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-13/apple-infringes-three-patents-with-the-iphone-jury-says.html ***/

Here we see how little consideration was put into the trial. I’m all for speedy justice, but I doubt the jury had a clue.

/**** ComputerWorld *********

A federal jury in Delaware has found Apple’s iPhone infringes on three patents held by MobileMedia, a patent-holding company formed by Sony, Nokia and MPEG LA. The jury’s verdict in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware was announced on Thursday and came after a seven-day trial and just a day of deliberations

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9234686/Apple_39_s_iPhone_found_to_infringe_Sony_Nokia_patents ****/

Way back in 2010, PJ pointed out that MobileMedia was MPEG-LA and that, ” it’s good to remember that the possibility of MPEG-LA suing over patents isn’t a theoretical, so when you see discussions about which is technically better, H.264, which MPEG-LA licenses, or Google’s newly open sourced and patent-licensed-freely VP8, just consider what really matters with a standard and what kind of folks are behind H.264 and what the future could hold.”

/*** The Prior Art [2010] ***** There’s nothing new or unusual about a patent-holding company tossing a few lawsuits against the wall to try to wring some cash out of the smartphone industry, which has lately become crowded with lawsuits filed by holding companies and competing companies alike. What is unusual is who owns MobileMedia: MPEG-LA, the private company that oversees a total of eight patent pools covering important digital video standards-MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 being the most common-used in DVD players and pretty much every other device that supports digital video. Contributors to those pools, whose contents MPEG-LA has licensed to literally hundreds of companies, include Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic, Sony, and Cisco subsidiary Scientific Atlanta (see full list). MPEG-LA’s CEO Larry Horn also heads MobileMedia. **** http://thepriorart.typepad.com/the_prior_art/2010/04/mobilemedia-ideas-v-apple.html#more **/

I missed this excellent Techrights article from 2010 which detailed the threat to Theora and why it mattered.

http://techrights.org/2010/05/05/canonical-h-264-licence/

I think it’s funny that this has come back around to bite Apple.

If I find time to cover it before I leave for Xmas (11 days away, starting Monday), then I will do a thorough post about it. This requires further research and cross-referencing.

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