11.11.12

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Secret Patent Deals With Apple

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cher Wang in WEF
Cher Wang, Chairwoman of HTC (source)

Summary: HTC signs a secret cross-licensing agreement with Apple, reminding us of Microsoft’s extortion of Android/Linux

TWO and a half years ago Apple officially launched its patent attack on Linux. It started with HTC, a company with few patents, and we covered it closely at the time. Well, the case has just been settled.

“The terms of the settlement are confidential and were not disclosed” as part of the signing of this deal, which is a “patent cross-licensing agreement” — a 10-year licensing deal which raises questions about the cross-licensing cartel.

Rupert Murdoch’s papers say:

Smartphone manufacturer HTC and Apple Inc. announced Saturday a settlement ending the first major battle over software patents between the technology giants.

Along with a global patent settlement, the two companies announced they’d signed a 10-year license agreement that will extend to current and future patents held by one other.

Apple and HTC had battled patents over various smartphone features since March 2010.

[...]

Most of Apple’s legal success has come in the battle against HTC as far as stymying the entry of products to the U.S. market.

In 2011 the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that HTC infringed on one of four patents Apple had disputed and imposed a sales ban on some of the Taiwanese maker’s phones.

The main worry here, Apple might be getting money out of it and even if not, Apple might use this to extort or pressure into submission other companies. This is not about Apple walking away from litigation per se.

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3 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    November 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

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    “TWO and a half years ago Apple officially launched its patent attack on Linux.”

    Please, Roy, *stop* lying. Apple never launched any attack against Linux. You are simply lying.

  2. mcinsand said,

    November 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm

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    I wish I had a visit across the pond scheduled; I’d wager a pint that this is a good sign. Maybe I have some sort of Monday morning optimism, but I would bet that Apple doesn’t use this against other companies, unless it is a way to negotiate peace. Although Apple and reality are rarely on speaking terms, there is some chance that awareness might be creeping in. I can’t see the traditional Apple as ever considering any sort of compromise, especially when the deal is spun as ‘cross-licensing’… which would mean admission that another company has anything new that Apple didn’t ‘invent’ (i.e. copy from someone else and then take credit for).

    Recently, Apple has suffered a couple of setbacks, and it’s antireality distortion fields might be weakening. Even in their US win, publicity is firming up the case day-by-day that Apple’s win against Samsung depended on a biased judge and an incompetent juror… to find Apple as a winning innovator was contingent on a broken court. The UK has been more firm and decisive. Apple’s image is taking a beating daily and, since image is all Apple really has, they can’t afford to keep sliding. In fact, if I was there to bet the first pint, I’d bet the second that Apple moves in the next month to find a way to ‘cross-license’ with Samsung to end the US case… before Apple’s face is more egg covered.

    If this had been a year or two ago, I would have no doubt that this would be the first step in Apple starting a new racketeering campaign to cow other handset suppliers. Things have changed, though. Barnes and Noble did a good job of damaging MS’ use of this strategy when they published the bogus patents that MS was using. After the going over through Groklaw, I doubt any of them would survive re-examination, even by the USPTO. Apple made a huge mistake by being very public with the ‘IP’ it was using, and their patents look every bit as bogus. Although re-examinations cost money, each patent lost runs the risk of more cultmembers waking up to the fact that Apple is only image, not innovation.

    My bet would be that at least a couple of people at Apple are realizing that this is a fight they can’t win, so they’d better end it and the publicity as quietly as possible.

    Michael Reply:

    I can’t see the traditional Apple as ever considering any sort of compromise, especially when the deal is spun as ‘cross-licensing’… which would mean admission that another company has anything new that Apple didn’t ‘invent’ (i.e. copy from someone else and then take credit for).

    So you think Apple invented BSD? Apple invented CUPS in your world? Apple created WebKit by itself – without using the KTML base? You think Apple made Apache? Or maybe you just think Apple has claimed to have invented all of these things… even though they make it very clear this is *not* the case?
    No: the fact is you are just making things up about Apple. Apple does plenty wrong. Apple makes many bad choices. Why do you feel the need to invent wrong doing by Apple to try to back Roy’s cult-biases?

    If this had been a year or two ago, I would have no doubt that this would be the first step in Apple starting a new racketeering campaign to cow other handset suppliers.

    Ah, the old evidence by "I do not doubt it" method. Useless and meaningless. Apple tried to work things out with Samsung before the lawsuits got silly. Samsung refused. Samsung is the one who insisted they had some right to Apple’s designs and work… but you want to twist it so that Apple is the bad guy for *defending* themselves against Samsung’s aggression. This is not honest of you.

    My bet would be that at least a couple of people at Apple are realizing that this is a fight they can’t win, so they’d better end it and the publicity as quietly as possible.

    The deal Apple recently made is private – but most sources are saying it is likely a win for Apple. Really, though, since we do not know the details, we do not know.

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