07.23.17

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patents Roundup: Cisco and Arista, MP3 Liberated, and ‘Phone (Patent) Tax’ Estimated

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Phone and USPTO

Summary: Some of the very latest reports about patents in the US and how these impact the market (costs, availability, and viability of Free/Libre Open Source software)

THE patent landscape in the US is changing. It’s changing for the better (for inventors/creators, not for lawyers who prey on them). Today we’d like to share a few of the latest headlines, then go a little further back in time and document the improvements as noted so far this summer.

Cisco and Arista

CRN has just published this article about the latest twist in a case that was mentioned here the other day (we had been covering it for much longer than that [1, 2, 3, 4]).

When patents reduce the choice that exists for people to choose from in the supposedly free market, what does that tell us about those patents? We have long argued that this case demonstrates the pitfalls of the ITC and this article explains why:

The contentious legal battle between networking rivals Cisco and Arista Networks continues to rage on as the International Trade Commission (ITC) Thursday upheld its decision to ban the importation and sale of some of Arista’s networking products into the United States.

Shares of Arista stock traded down more than 3 percent at $151.81 Friday afternoon after the ITC denied the vendor’s request to lift the ban.

Cisco Senior Vice President, General Counsel Mark Chandler said the ITC send “a strong message to Arista that its corporate culture of copying” must stop.

So they exert financial control/pressure over smaller rivals. Using patents that still aren’t fully tested (the ITC’s scope of assessment is limited). See this financial report titled “Arista Sags: Q3 ‘Uncertainty’ Rises with ITC Setback, Says Wells Fargo” and think what would happen if Cisco’s patents turn out to be invalid or inadequate for justifying such an embargo. Would there be compensation? No.

Consequences of giants like Cisco using patents to embargo their rivals’ products may, in some people’s mind, seem justified. But how about going through a proper process in a court, potentially with appeals, before applying such blanket bans? What is happening to due process in this age of ITC gun-jumping?

MPEG-LA Becoming More Obsolete as MP3 Gets Liberated

MPEG-LA is a subject we last tackled yesterday. Having run out of ‘MP3 tax’, MPEG-LA is currently trying to obtain rights to a tax on life (or genome). In the mean time, MP3′s ‘liberation’ so to speak (from software patents) means that browsers add MP3 support as a matter of standard; even lesser-known browsers:

Chromium, the skeletal open-source browser at the core of Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave and a few other browsers will receive support for the automatic playback of MP3 files.

“We have approval from legal to go ahead and move mp3 into non-proprietary codecs list,” said a project manager tasked with managing Chromium’s multimedia components.

Until now, Chromium — and indirectly Chrome — has supported various audio formats such as OGG, FLAC, Opus, WAV, PCM, and others.

We previously criticised Mozilla for playing along with MPEG-LA; for video compression formats many of the same problems remain.

The ‘Phone Tax’

According to ip.finance [found via Francisco Moreno/Keith Mallinson], “Apple is paying a total of between $12.50 and $25.00 per iPhone in fees for licensing from all cellular patent licensors. That is equal to between two percent and four percent of iPhone prices. Licensing fees as a percentage of consumers’ total cellular expenditures over a smartphone’s approximate two-year service life, including operator service fees averaging around $40 per connection per month in the US, for example, are considerably lower.”

No wonder such phones have become so grossly overpriced.

We rarely come across these numbers. Various figures from Qualcomm and BlackBerry (to be covered separately later today) shed light on how much patent tax is paid for the hardware alone; Another new report (published this morning) speaks of “when licensors come knocking” and there’s a portion of it that deals with Motorola‘s Microsoft dispute as follows:

The issue of standard patent licensing has been litigated heavily in other sectors, with the most notorious case stemming from Microsoft’s use of a Motorola-owned WiFi standard for use in the Xbox 360 gaming console. Motorola demanded Microsoft pay them 2.25 percent of the $399 retail price of the system, which translated to between $8 and $9 per console sold.

When the parties couldn’t reach an agreement, Microsoft sued Motorola in 2010 for breach of contract tied to the patent under requirement that standard patent holders must negotiate with a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory pricing for the license. Three years later, a federal judge ruled that Motorola violated the pricing requirement and determined Microsoft pay Motorola 3.471 cents per unit sold. Microsoft sold 84 million Xbox 360s, paying Motorola roughly $2.9 million for the WiFi license, as opposed to the nearly $700 million they would have owed under Motorola’s initial demand. However, the litigation became so nasty, and international, that Microsoft ended up paying $400 million to move a manufacturing facility out of Germany.

We wrote a lot about that at the time. The main concern was, the supposedly reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) pricing made Free software inadequate a choice. RAND (or FRAND), unlike with a Z (for zero cost) would be inherently not compatible with the endless, cost-free distribution of software among peers. This is especially a problem when it comes to software because software, unlike hardware (device/gadget), need not involve manufacturing and shipping costs. Thankfully, however, software patents are on the demise in the US — a subject we’ll deal with in our next post.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  2. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  3. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  4. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  5. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  8. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  9. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  10. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  11. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)



  13. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11



  14. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  15. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"



  16. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)



  17. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Jimmy Zemlin Loves Microsoft

    It’s funny, isn’t it? Lying for a living and sucking up to the liars pays off; you get to plunder actual Linux users while leaving Linux morally and financially bankrupt



  19. Links 24/11/2021: PHP Foundation and Flatpak Criticisms

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 23, 2021



  21. Links 24/11/2021: Rust Crisis and Team UPC Still Faking 'Progress'

    Links for the day



  22. Links 23/11/2021: New GNU Parallel and Memories of David H. Adler (Perl, Raku)

    Links for the day



  23. In Light of Fast-Accelerating Deterioration -- Sometimes Weaponisation -- Getting Off the World Wide Web (to the Extent Feasible) Makes You Saner and Less Susceptible to Manipulation, Lies

    Almost no sites are speaking about it (probably because they have no presence on the Internet except on the Web), but it's time to motivate more people to get off the Web, for their own good and for society's sake...



  24. Black Friday SPAM on the World Wide Web: A Reminder That the Web is a Dying Platform, Languishing Due to Marketing and Misinformation

    The junk that overruns the Web this 'Black Friday' week (consumerism 'on steroids') is a good reminder that the Web isn't healthy for the mind anymore; it's mostly spying on people, trying to compel them to buy particular things or vote a certain way



  25. Microsoft-Led Misinformation Campaign About Germany and Munich Reminds Us That Microsoft Hates and Actively Undermines GNU/Linux Adoption

    Regarding the latest moves to GNU/Linux in Germany we have 3 points to make



  26. Links 23/11/2021: Libreboot 20211122, Deepin Linux 20.3, Amazon Linux 2022, and Mabox Linux 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 22, 2021



  28. Links 22/11/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 3.1.11, Microsoft 'Extends' Mesa for Windows

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft's GitHub is Hugely Toxic and It Censors Critics of Corporations or People Sceptical of Those in Power

    Sociopaths have taken over GitHub and control over GitHub (by Microsoft) is being shamelessly misused, just as we’ve warned all along; GitHub is social control media/network for code, asserting control over projects and developers by means of censorship and other sanctions



  30. EPO Staff Engagement Survey Predates the Pandemic and Provides False Assumptions for EPO Policies or Policy-Setting

    The EPO ticks a box for "surveying the staff", but is it actually listening? Is that done often enough? It was last done almost 3 years ago...


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts