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06.28.13

Apple and Microsoft FRAND Battles Against Google’s Android Revisited, Apple’s Patent Chief is Out Amid Blowback

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and Apple trademarks

Summary: A little update on Apple’s and Microsoft’s patent battles against Android/Linux

Google bought a part of Motorola, essentially inheriting some lawsuits over the future of Android when it comes to patents. This means that Google now has this dispute with Microsoft and another one with Apple. “It’s been relatively quiet in the Western District of Washington over the past couple weeks,” say the FRAND boosters, “as Motorola and Microsoft move forward toward an August jury trial on Microsoft’s RAND-based breach of contract claims.”

“Apple tried embargoing Android products, instead ending up with its own products embargoed.”FRAND has become a joint Microsoft-Apple strategy for taxing Android. Apple is still suing, publicly escorted by Microsoft for support. Now it turns out that Apple’s patent chief is leaving and he may have been the person behind this whole litigation strategy. Apple was previously dealing with patents on a defensive basis, but in 2009 it turned offensive, starting with threats against Palm [1, 2, 3]. The following year it started suing. Here is a case of Apple being sued. In this case, the US “Supreme Court declines to hear Mirror Worlds’ appeal, putting to rest the long-running patent infringement case.”

More interestingly, when it comes to Apple as the aggressor, it turns out its patent chief played a major role. The aforementioned article says that he “played an increasingly high-profile role at Apple in recent years as lawsuits began to mount. Last year, he testified on Apple’s behalf in its patent infringement litigation with Samsung.”

It also says that “he warned late Apple CEO Steve Jobs and then-COO Tim Cook in 2010 that Samsung’s smartphones may infringe on the iPhone’s patents.”

According to this article about the judge in this high-profile case, there is something to be learned from public debates:

Want to know what U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh really thinks about patent litigation?

Companies demand too many do-overs; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office behaves like no other federal agency; and the recent suggestion in a New York Times op-ed that lower court judges have the power to make so-called patent trolls pay for vexatious litigation is unfair and misleading.

Judge Posner weighed in on this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] as he dismissed Apple’s claims, denying the embargo strategy that Apple had conceived. Watch Apple scrambling to undo what the ITC embargo against Apple would cause. As Groklaw puts it, “the ITC early in June ordered an injunction and a cease and desist order against some of Apple’s products, on a complaint from Samsung that Apple was refusing to pay anything at all for a FRAND patent of Samsung’s. The shock waves from that were heard throughout the patent universe. And now Apple is trying to block it from happening. Both Apple and Samsung have filed written submissions with the USTR, as The Essential Patent Blog reports. The President of the United States can undo that ITC injunction order based on the public interest, and Apple is asking the Office of the United States Trade Representative, as the President’s representative in such matters, to do exactly that…”

“With Apple’s patent chief out of the company, perhaps a rethink of this misguided litigation strategy is imminent.”This is funny. Apple tried embargoing Android products, instead ending up with its own products embargoed. Instant karma! And watch Apple’s workers in China “looking to reduce reliance on Apple” (but “diversifying into R&D, software patents and e-commerce”). According to this, people who actually manufacture Apple-branded devices are seeing a dip in demand for Apple, an overrated and overpriced brand. Linux/Android is the cause, hence all those patent lawsuits. With Apple’s patent chief out of the company, perhaps a rethink of this misguided litigation strategy is imminent. One can hope so.

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