EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.02.18

Qualcomm and AMD Want ‘Innovation’ by Embargo

Posted in Patents, RAND at 1:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pursuing patent deals (patents as a revenue source) by denying rivals even access to the market

Don't block

Summary: Campaigns of patent aggression at USITC (or ITC for short) look for embargoes — the most radical form of patent assertion

THE principal prospect of patents was simple: promotion of innovation. How? Publication. In exchange for what? A temporary monopoly. How would such a monopoly be enforced? Patent taxes? Threats? Lawsuits? Embargoes? It doesn’t say. But the practices evolved or devolved over time. For the objective of innovation to be served it’s not hard to see that complete monopolisation should be actively discouraged. It reduces choice and limits the number of people permitted to work in a certain discipline.

Florian Müller has long written about Qualcomm‘s patent aggression and before the weekend he wrote about its efforts to ban imports by Apple: [via]

A day before an originally-scheduled-then-canceled hearing on a motion by a group of class-action consumers to enjoin Qualcomm from enforcing a hypothetical ITC exclusion order (i.e., a U.S. import ban) against Intel-powered iPhones, Judge Koh has denied the motion without prejudice. One might also say: with an invitation to try again later.

More than a month ago, I analyzed Qualcomm’s opposition and plaintiffs’ reply brief, and wrote that “Qualcomm’s timing-related arguments appear[ed] potentially more interesting to me than the other points it [made].” And indeed, timing was outcome-determinative, for the time being: Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California based her decision on the Supreme Court’s 2013 holding in Clapper, a case in which Amnesty International and others expressed fears over the federal government, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), intercepting communications between U.S. citizens and foreigners in ways that would infringe on some people’s constitutional rights. In Clapper, the Supreme Court declined to see “certainly impending” injury in a “highly attenuated” chain of possibilities, given that multiple decisions that could go either way had to go one particular way (in each case) in order for the alleged injury to materialize. To the Supreme Court, this was just “too speculative,” and Judge Koh identified parallels with the consumer motion against Qualcomm, given that even if Qualcomm prevailed on the merits of one or more patents-in-suit, the ITC might not grant the exclusion order (broad except that it’s limited to Intel-powered iPhones, which does raise competition concerns) in the form Qualcomm is seeking, that the ITC decision would be appealable, and the President could veto it.

A day or so later Müller added this update about antitrust aspects:

Four months prior to the FTC v. Qualcomm antitrust bench trial in the Northern District of California, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has brought a motion for partial summary judgment that has the potential to make a far greater contribution to fair competition in the wireless baseband chipset market than the procedural context (a pretrial motion) suggests. The FTC is asking Judge Lucy Koh to hold that, under certain (F)RAND licensing obligations it entered into when it participated in wireless standard-setting, Qualcomm must licenses its CDMA, UMTS and 4G/LTE standard-essential patents (SEPs) to rival chipset makers (such as Intel).

This is an unusual situation in which a summary judgment motion is legally extremely simple, yet has the potential for truly transformative impact on the marketplace. In most situations where a party is seeking a game changer, reasonably tricky question of law and/or fact are involved. Here, the FTC is just seeking clarification that Qualcomm’s FRAND licensing commitments say what they say.

It has meanwhile emerged, as per Watchtroll, that ITC is leveraged for more embargo attempts and it’s succeeding. AMD has just had something to celebrate; it resorted to embargo tactics against VIZIO, SDI and MediaTek last year. Who’s behind it?

AMD was represented by attorneys Michael Renaud, Jim Wodarski, Michael McNamara, Bill Meunier, Adam Rizk, Marguerite McConihe, Matthew Karambelas, and Catherine Xu, and Aarti Shah, of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo PC.

The AMD complaint alleged violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and was based upon the unlawful importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain graphics systems, components thereof, and consumer products containing the same. The importation in question was asserted to infringe certain claims of the U.S. Patent No. 7,633,506 (“the ’506 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 7,796,133 (“the ’133 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 8,760,454 (“the ’454 patent”); and U.S. Patent No. 9,582,846 (“the ’846 patent”).

Another article, this one by Anton Shilov (veteran writer on hardware matters), says this:

AMD has won a round in its legal battle against makers of TVs at the United States International Trade Commission (US ITC). The Commission found that Vizio and Sigma Designs have infringed one of AMD’s patents covering fundamental aspects of modern GPUs. The ITC ordered to cease imports of some of Vizio TVs to the U.S.

Back in early 2017, AMD filed a lawsuit with the US ITC against LG, MediaTek, Sigma Designs, and Vizio. The plaintiff accused the defendants of infringing three patents covering fundamental aspects of contemporary graphics processing, such unified shaders (‘133), parallel pipeline graphics system (‘506), as well as a graphics processing architecture employing unified shaders (‘454). Furthermore, the complaint referenced an in-progress patent application covering GPU architectures with unified shaders (‘967) and accused two of the said companies of infringing it as well. Meanwhile all the defendants license (or licensed) their GPU technologies from ARM and Imagination Technologies (though, as we reported back in early 2017, it looks like AMD only accuses SoCs based on ARM’s architecture of infringing its patents).

I have some professional background in computer graphics albeit not GPUs (or shaders); the above clearly aren’t software patents (so 35 U.S.C. § 101 does not apply) because processing commands in silicon (the ‘pipeline’) is about accelerating execution of code/signal generation. In the case of Qualcomm we’re looking at standard-essential patents (SEPs) — i.e. patents one cannot avoid stepping on — for the implementation of mobile communication, as per industry standards. There are some software patents in there, but most are not.

What we see here is monopolisation taken to the extreme; one must pay particular companies a lot of money to merely comply or conform to standards or else be barred from import/export. How is that good for innovation? The whole FRAND euphemism does not begin to describe just how unjust that is. There should be no patents in such widely-used standards (whose embrace isn’t merely a choice).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Team UPC, Fronting for Patent Trolls From the US, is Calling Facts “Resistance”

    The tactics of Team UPC have gotten so tastelessly bad and its motivation so shallow (extortion in Europe) that one begins to wonder why these people are willing to tarnish everything that's left of their reputation



  2. The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) Will Spread the Berkheimer Lie While Legal Certainty Associated With Patents Remains Low and Few Lawsuits Filed

    New figures regarding patent litigation in the United States (number of lawsuits) show a decrease by about a tenth in just one year; there's still no sign of software patents making any kind of return/rebound in the United States, contrary to lies told by the litigation 'industry' (those who profit from frivolous lawsuits/threats)



  3. Links 12/11/2018: Linux 4.20 RC2, Denuvo DRM Defeated Again

    Links for the day



  4. Automation of Searches Will Not Solve the Legitimacy Problem Caused by Patents Lust

    The false belief that better searches and so-called 'AI' can miraculously assess patents will simply drive/motivate bad decisions and already steers bad management towards patent maximalism (presumption of examination/validation where none actually exists)



  5. The Federal Circuit and PTAB Are Not Slowing Down; Patent Maximalists Claim It's 'Harassment' to Question a Patent's Validity

    There’s no sign of stopping when it comes to harassment of judges and courts; those who make a living from patent threats and litigation do anything conceivable to stop the ‘bloodbath’ of US patents which were never supposed to have been granted in the first place



  6. Patent Maximalists Will Latch Onto Return Mail v US Postal Service in an Effort to Weaken or Limit Post-Grant Reviews of US Patents

    An upcoming case, dealing with what governments can and cannot do with/to patents (specifically the US government and US patents), interests the litigation 'industry' because it loathes reviews of low-quality and/or controversial patents (these reviews discourage litigation or stop lawsuits early on in the cycle)



  7. Guest Post: EPO Spins Censorship of Staff Representation

    Another concrete example of Campinos' cynical story-telling



  8. Andrei Iancu and Laura Peter Are Two Proponents of Patent Trolls at the Top of the USPTO

    Patent offices do not seem to care about the law, about the courts, about judges and so on; all they care about is money (and litigation costs) and that’s a very major problem



  9. The Patent 'Industry' Wants Incitations and Feuds, Not Innovation and Collaboration

    The litigation giants and their drones keep insisting that they're interested in helping scientists; but sooner or later the real (productive) industry learns to kick them to the curb and work together instead of suing



  10. EPO 'Outsourcing' Rumours

    The EPO advertises jobs in Prague and Lisbon; this leads to speculations less than a year after António Campinos sent EU-IPO jobs to India (for cost reduction)



  11. Links 11/11/2018: Bison 3.2.1 and FreeBSD 12.0 Beta 4

    Links for the day



  12. Pro-Litigation Front Groups Like CIPA and Team UPC Control the EPO, Which Shamelessly Grants Software Patents

    With buzzwords and hype like "insurtech", "fintech", "blockchains" and "AI" the EPO (and to some degree the USPTO as well) looks to allow a very wide range of software patents; the sole goal is to grant millions of low-quality patents, creating unnecessary litigation in Europe



  13. Latest Loophole: To Get Software Patents From the EPO One Can Just Claim That They're 'on a Car'

    The EPO has a new 'study' (accompanied by an extensive media/PR campaign) that paints software as "SDV" if it runs on a car, celebrating growth of such software patents



  14. The Huge Cost of Wrongly-Granted European Patents, Recklessly Granted by the European Patent Office (EPO)

    It took 4 years for many thousands of people to have just one patent of Monsanto/Bayer revoked; what does that say about the impact of erroneous patent awards?



  15. Links 10/11/2018: Mesa 18.3 RC2, ‘Linux on DeX’ Beta and Windows Breaking Itself Again

    Links for the day



  16. Unified Patents Takes Aim at Velos Media SEPs, Passed From Patent Aggressor Qualcomm

    The latest endeavour from Unified Patents takes aim at notorious standard-essential patents (SEPs), which are not compatible with Free/Open Source software and are typically invalid as per 35 U.S.C. § 101 as well



  17. Stacked Panels of Front Groups Against PTAB and in Favour of Patents on Life/Nature

    So-called 'panels' where the opposition is occluded or excluded try to sell the impression that greatness comes from patent maximalism (overpatenting) rather than restriction based on merit and rational scope



  18. With Patent Trolls Like Finjan and Blackbird Tech out There, Microsoft in OIN Does Not Mean Safety

    With many patent trolls out there (Microsoft’s Intellectual Ventures alone has thousands of them) it’s not at all clear how Microsoft can honestly claim to have reached a “truce”; OIN deals with issues which last manifested/publicly revealed themselves a decade ago (Microsoft suing directly, not by proxy)



  19. Links 9/11/2018: Qt 5.12.0 Beta 4, Ubuntu On Samsung Galaxy Devices, Rust 1.30.1

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft is Supporting Patent Trolls, Still. New Leadership at USPTO Gives Room for Concern.

    New statements from Microsoft's management (Andersen) serve to show that Microsoft hasn't really changed; it's just trying to sell "Azure IP Advantage", hoping that enough patent trolls with their dubious software patents will blackmail GNU/Linux users into adopting Azure for 'protection'



  21. EPO Stacking up Buzzwords (4IR, AI, Now SDV) to Compel Examiners to Grant Patents on Algorithms

    Instead of looking for ways to better obey the law and comply with the EPC, President Campinos is creating new loopholes, further lowering patent quality in order to fake 'growth'



  22. EPO Needs to Publicly Apologise for Granting Bogus/Fake Patents to Aggressive Companies Like Monsanto (Now Bayer)

    Admission of patents being granted in error and/or against public interest may be a step towards acceptance that there is a problem; EPO management, however, keeps quiet about it



  23. The Death of the UPC is Only a “Tragedy” for Patent Trolls and Their Facilitators

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) will likely never exist (ever); it's not hard to see who stands to lose from this demise of the UPC (before it even started)



  24. The António Campinos Private/Secret Meeting With ILO Officials a Slap Across the Face to Employees of the European Patent Office

    European Patent Office injustice prevails; the new President, António Campinos, is merely trying to cover up the abuses of the person who lobbied to put him in charge



  25. Links 7/11/2018: Unreal Engine 4.21 Released, Cinnamon 4.0 Preview, Rcpp 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  26. Techrights Turns 12, Upcoming Server Migration

    As we approach our 25,000th blog post we also prepare for migration to a new dedicated server



  27. US Litigation Office: Former Judge From the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Leaves the Office as Another Litigator Enters as New Deputy Director

    Nathan Kelley is leaving and Laura Peter is joining the USPTO; That means one patent judge less and a new Deputy Director who used to work for what some call a "patent troll"



  28. European Software Patents: From AI to Blockchains and Now... Self-Driving Vehicles

    The leadership which comes after Battistelli is even worse when it comes to patent scope and patent quality; it seems to mimic China's low standards, which include patents on algorithms



  29. Guy Ryder (ILO) Should Meet Staff Representatives, Not Corrupt Team Battistelli

    The perception of ILO complicity is being reinforced in light of new revelations about private meetings that exclude actual staff representatives (such as SUEPO, whose officials are themselves the subject of ILO appeals)



  30. Links 7/11/2018: Fifteen Years of Fedora, ReactOS 0.4.10

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts