11.06.12

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Apple Loses Battle Over Smartphones Patent Tax (or FRAND)

Posted in Apple, Patents at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple snipers

Summary: Apple’s desire to impede Android through FRAND wars is meeting opposition in US courts

APPLE, the company which along with Microsoft refuses to pay business tax like everyone else, is trying to tax Android using FRAND. Carlo Piana says, “Still think FRAND are the way forward to patents in standards? Think better.”

This lawyer, Piana, speaks about reports like this one. Apple failed.

The anti-Android lobbyist, Microsoft Florian, tries to distract from the news, but everyone agrees that the news is loss for the anti-Android (Motorola and Google) camp. Mass-mailing journalists the Florian way clearly has not worked. As one site put it:

A federal judge in Madison, Wis., on Monday threw out a suit by Apple Inc. claiming that Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility is seeking unreasonably high license fees for the use of patents on wireless technology.

The suit is part of a world-spanning battle between Apple and Google, whose Android software powers the smartphones that compete with Apple’s iPhone. Google bought Motorola Mobility, a once pioneering maker of cellphones, this summer to gain control of its patents and gain leverage against Apple in its court battles.

Even the Microsoft booster who did a lot to promote the patent agenda of Microsoft covered the news, not just the opposite side, e.g. Groklaw with this analysis and IDG with a fairly objective report. It says:

A highly anticipated patent infringement case between Apple and Motorola Mobility was dismissed Monday by a federal court judge in Wisconsin, hours before the trial was due to begin.

The two companies were arguing over license rates for patents owned by Motorola that cover parts of the wireless UMTS, GPRS, GSM and 802.11 standards. The patents are vital parts of the technologies and so Motorola Mobility is required to license them to competitors on “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms,” often referred to by the acronym FRAND.

This ruling ought to alert the FTC, which foolishly go after the victim and not the conspiracy. Here is one take on it: “The recent news reports that the FTC may be nearing a decision point in its Google investigation should remind us of the stakes involved. At one level, the Google matter raises a host of interesting questions involving antitrust law and economics. At another, more fundamental level, a decision to charge Google with a violation of the antitrust laws would have far-reaching effects beyond the case at hand. If our government signals that it is willing to use the antitrust laws to punish success, the future Googles of the world will be less willing to take chances, and more likely to pull their competitive punches. Competition for consumers, moreover, increasingly will be replaced by competition for the favor of antitrust regulators. Although the owners of websites like Kayak and Nextag may enjoy temporary victories if events play out this way, they will come at the expense of consumers.”

Feds should also take stock of Apple lies that the company is now admitting, but just shyly:

Apparently Apple didn’t need two weeks to put up a new “apology” statement on its UK website after the first obnoxious one was deemed not good enough by the UK courts. As you may recall, Apple was told by the court that it had to tell the world that Samsung didn’t copy Apple’s design on some of its devices, after a judge ruled that Apple’s devices were simply much cooler.

[...]

I find Apple’s response to this ridiculous and that much more perplexing. Each attempt to somehow not fully comply with the judge’s demand just calls that much more attention to the situation and the fact that Apple lost and Samsung didn’t copy it. If Apple had just complied normally, this story would already be over.

Exactly. We said this before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Apple Hides Apology].

Apple has been using patents like a sword, so feds should go after Apple. The FSFE wrote about the subject in its latest newsletter. To quote the relevant part:

The New York Times published an article entitled “The Patent, Used as a Sword” about the patent system. Hugo Roy summaries it. It is about how Apple and Google were spending more on patents than on research and development in 2011. Among other issues, it focuses on the number of lawsuits filed each year in the US, which has tripled from 1990 to 2010, and how 70% of patent applications are approved after the applicant altered claims.

On the same topic, Karsten Gerloff gave a talk about “How Software Patents Are Delaying The Future”, on a discussion panel organised by the European Patent Office. “Currently, a lot of policy on patents (as well as copyright) is made on the basis of faith and rather dubious argument. We urgently need to move on towards evidence-based policy making”, concludes Karsten.

The article was motivated precisely by those lawsuits from Apple versus Android. Change is hopefully imminent, not that the elections will change anything.

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3 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    November 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Apple and MS avoid taxes. Yes. So does Google. Funny how you leave them out.

    I am wondering if you could be *more* biased in your comments?

    Then you talk about Apple taxing Android… which is just nonsense. Complete and utter insanity. You are, again, being dishonest.

    Then as if to prove how insanely dishonest you are you refer to Groklaw as “fairly objective”. Really? Since when? That is like saying Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore are unbiased in their reports. Just insane.

    I would love to see cease your dishonesty and extreme bias on these issues.

  2. mcinsand said,

    November 7, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Gravatar

    There are several problems here, but Apple no doubt is projecting a bit; Apple tried to extort with ridiculously-high fees to use it’s ‘IP,’ and the company expected Moto to exhibit Apple’s arrogant, evil behavior. Apple didn’t even try to negotiate. Rather, Apple, like any bully, is a coward at heart, and tried to hide behind the court system. Then again, Apple has good reason to fear fair competition. Over the decades, they have only been just barely able to survive and, as has happened sadly throughout history, too many people have said that their anticompetitive and illegal behavior is not an issue because they only have a small market share. Now look what has happened. By applying the same business practices that they always have, they have become full-blown terrorists to the industry. At least part of the legal system is waking up to Apple’s gaming. Now, if we could only wake up the USPTO with a bucket of icewater!

    Michael Reply:

    Can you try to contain your jealousy of their success just a little? Thanks!

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