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The European Commission is concerned that other firms could mimic Apple and Samsung's patent war and lead to the unfair use of intellectual property rights against rivals

Much of Apple and Samsung's 2011 has been spent duking it out over patents. Apple initially went after Samsung earlier this year and accused it of copying Apple's products when creating its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. Now, the European Commission is concerned that other firms could mimic Apple and Samsung's patent war and lead to the unfair use of intellectual property rights against rivals.

Throughout the year, Apple and Samsung have gone back and forth with patent issues. Apple claimed that Samsung created its Galaxy line such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 by ripping off Apple's design. Apple succeeded in killing Samsung's Australian tablet sales, banned the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, and sought to ban Samsung's phones and Android tablets in Britain. But Samsung did some retaliating of its own by filing a 3G lawsuit against Apple in France, looking to ban iPhone 5 sales (back before it was revealed that the anticipated iPhone 5 was really the iPhone 4S), and modifying its hardware and software to prevent further lawsuits.

Earlier this month, the European Commission started looking into FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) violations associated with the Apple/Samsung patent war. Now, the EU's latest concern has to do with the potential misuse of patents in other areas of the IT sector. 

"We requested information from both Apple and Samsung," said Joaquin Almunia, EU Competition Commissioner. "We have not yet received the answers. We need to look at this because IP rights can be used as a distortion of competition but we will need to look at the answers.

"In particular, in the IT sector, it is obvious it is not the only case. Apple and Samsung is only one case where IP rights can be used as an instrument to restrict competition. Standardization and IP rights are two instruments that in this new IT sector can be used as a tool to abuse."

Source: Reuters

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It's about time
By muhahaaha on 11/23/2011 5:17:34 AM , Rating: 3
It's about time.

Apple had some innovative ideas, and iPhone was well executed.

They didn't really do anything new... they just refined existing technology.

I don't particularly like Apple, mostly because they are abusing the patent system. If they are so innovative, they wouldn't be on the defensive (i.e., sue your mother).

Good to see that the EU has some people with a clue.

RE: It's about time
By psonice on 11/23/2011 9:41:12 AM , Rating: 5
It's samsung that's allegedly abusing the patent system in this case unfortunately, and it's them the EU are investigating from the look of it. Whoever wrote this article totally missed that point somehow.

Check what the EU say they're investigating: misuse of FRAND patents. Apple haven't used any FRAND patents against samsung, but samsung are using them against apple around the world. What the EU are investigating then is samsung's possible abuse of FRAND patents, there's no mention of apple's use of general patents.

Also, the EU have mentioned that there may be more antitrust investigations coming. The suspect there is Motorola, who are also using FRAND patents.

The patents samsung are using are for 3G. All companies depend on this for their phones, so it's covered by special licensing - FRAND. Basically they HAVE to license these, and they have to do it on fair terms. In comparison apple's patents (that they're suing with) aren't FRAND, and they don't have to license at all. If they do, they can charge whatever they want. Samsung has to either pay up, or challenge in the courts and get the patents killed or the products cleared of infringement.

Roughly what's happened is:

- Samsung invented it + patented it.
- It's used in 3G, so they signed up to a FRAND agreement.
- Qualcom license the patent and make 3G chips.
- Apple buy the chips and put them in the phones. Note that the patent license has already been paid once.
- Samsung ask for a license from apple. This is called 'double dipping', charging twice, and isn't allowed - but it depends on the exact license qualcom has and the qualcom/apple contract.
- They ask for 2%. Not much, but there are hundreds of these patents involved, meaning apple would pay multiple times the price of the chip in patent fees. Clearly that's not a fair price, so apple refused.
- Samsung are trying to get the iPhone banned.

Really, the whole patent system is screwed. If it did its job and just protected real inventions it would be fine, but it's not really doing that. But what samsung is doing here is MUCH worse - they could enforce these patents against *any* company making products with 3G, asking for unreasonable licenses, then getting products banned if the company doesn't pay up. It's hard to call that anything other than market abuse. Hopefully their court cases will fail and the EU will bash them with an enormous fine :)

RE: It's about time
By matty123 on 11/23/2011 11:02:15 AM , Rating: 2
Intresting post but as I understand it that was only the initial impression that the media got from the EU commision. The EU antitrust chief today seemed to be suggesting that they are probing both samsung and apple.

Of paticular note and very worrying for apple is this...

Firms can gain advantages over rivals by pushing for import bans in court, using patent infringement as justification for such a measure, which could have a devastating effect on any firm its enforced on.

If found guilty they could face massive massive fines apparently up to 10% of global annual revenue, seeing as apple has pushed and won injunctions against samsung around the world they could be in serios danger if one of their patents are overturned. Also seeing as apple is suing almost all the android competition they are most at risk of violating anti-trust laws.


RE: It's about time
By Piiman on 11/23/2011 5:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'd call it getting even.

RE: It's about time
By hexxthalion on 11/23/2011 10:24:11 AM , Rating: 2
that's something what can't be said about you, sorry

RE: It's about time
By hexxthalion on 11/23/2011 10:25:33 AM , Rating: 2
it's about that 'clue' bit

who wrote this article????
By hexxthalion on 11/23/2011 10:22:51 AM , Rating: 3
seriously, what i'm reading here is complete BS. it's samsung and possibly moto who is being investigated by EU for trying to use FRAND related patents against apple. apple is using design patents only.

just get over it, samsung copies, has copied and will copy other's work. research a bit about samsung and their practices, bribery and so on.

RE: who wrote this article????
By matty123 on 11/23/2011 11:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
As pointed out in the post above it seems that will not be the focus of the EU investigation, rather the EU is looking at anti-trust for both companies and I hate to say it but apple has the far greater chance of getting found guilty if this turns out to be true, seeing as they have aquaried injunctions against many samsung products in different countries.

RE: who wrote this article????
By hexxthalion on 11/24/2011 1:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
nope, wrong. EU is going to look into Samsung's and Motorola's asserted patents since Samsung and possibly Motorola are using patents to which license should have been offered to Apple based on fair, reasonable and non discriminatory bases. EU is not going to investigate Apple, that's the nonsense author of this article is trying to tell you.

By Penti on 11/23/2011 5:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
All 3G patents aren't FRAND only essential patents are covered, they have got into trouble over this and conflicts about who own basic technology before, but it's not like Apple should care when they use totally bogus stuff against Samsung and others. Including saying they own manufacturing techniques that they don't license at all (yet isn't something Samsung invented by themselves) that all the players infringe on... Nokia did leverage their wireless patent suitcase when they got their settlement from Apple. To bad, wont happen much here.

The point is...
By Da W on 11/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: The point is...
By aebiv on 11/22/2011 3:04:23 PM , Rating: 5
Hrm, I recall having a touch screen phone that did a lot more than the iPhone, before the iPhone ever came out...

I believe it was called Windows Mobile.

RE: The point is...
By Shig on 11/22/2011 3:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
The real point is that technology has started to move so quickly, almost everything about the IP system is broken.

The bottom line is that software | technology based IP should have an entirely different rule set than any other form of IP. The IP system works pretty well for mechanical engineering based goods and services.

RE: The point is...
By Da W on 11/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: The point is...
By ebakke on 11/22/2011 5:26:10 PM , Rating: 3
Or rather, someone else who successfully articulated the point you attempted to make, but failed miserably in doing so.

RE: The point is...
By bupkus on 11/22/2011 9:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
You'll never be able to teach everyone how to read well.

RE: The point is...
By Da W on 11/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: The point is...
By Piiman on 11/23/2011 5:33:08 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe you shouldn't have included it then since its so far off base no one wanted to read past it.

RE: The point is...
By BladeVenom on 11/22/2011 3:19:39 PM , Rating: 2
How about the IBM Simon in 1994. I think that also came out before the iPhone.

RE: The point is...
By Flunk on 11/22/2011 3:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
This is why Apple isn't suing Microsoft.

RE: The point is...
By Da W on 11/22/2011 4:23:34 PM , Rating: 2
You needed a stylus.

RE: The point is...
By aebiv on 11/22/2011 5:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
I still want a stylus, aka the Samsung Note.

There are some things that doodling with your finger just can't do.

RE: The point is...
By acer905 on 11/23/2011 12:42:07 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody needed a stylus, it was just more convenient. Skin the display with one of countless free and open software packs, and everything becomes very finger friendly. But as a productivity device, precision input let you get more done.

RE: The point is...
By Omega215D on 11/22/2011 10:44:32 PM , Rating: 3
And there's also this:

And HTC is credited with making WM quite useable compared to the others.

Along with Palm Pilot phone offerings.

RE: The point is...
By phatboye on 11/22/2011 3:27:04 PM , Rating: 2
Android is a copy of iOS. You can say all you want, but apple was the first with a touchscreen-only phone,

That is a common misconception amongst Apple fan boys. Android starting making the Android OS before Google bought them out and well before iOS was even a glimmer in Steve Jobs eye.
Android, Inc. was founded in Palo Alto, California, United States in October, 2003 by Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger),[27] Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire Communications, Inc.),[28] Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile),[29] and Chris White (headed design and interface development at WebTV)[30] to develop, in Rubin's words "...smarter mobile devices that are more aware of its owner's location and preferences".[31] Despite the obvious past accomplishments of the founders and early employees, Android Inc. operated secretly, revealing only that it was working on software for mobile phones
The first iPhone was unveiled by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007,[1] and released on June 29, 2007

RE: The point is...
By Da W on 11/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: The point is...
By ebakke on 11/22/2011 5:36:36 PM , Rating: 3
Touch interface, icon grid, and a dock? That's your criteria for an iOS copy? Lame.

A touch interface was a logical progression as touch screens became easier/cheaper to produce. Much like voice commands will become the next progression as voice recognition improves, background noise mitigation improves, etc.

An icon grid? Umm, my old school Nokia had an icon grid for the menu. It had a nice little pixelated-as-hell icon for text messages, and one for contacts, and one for the WEP browser, and for ... Sure they weren't "apps", but it was still an icon grid for specific functions of the phone.

A dock? Same lame Nokia brick. Had a row on the bottom of the main screen. Two fields (vs the iPhone's four... oh the humanity!) I could assign to whatever action I wanted. Again, I'll concede that it wasn't identical as my Nokia had text and iOS displays text and an icon, but that's hardly a drastic difference.

RE: The point is...
By Omega215D on 11/22/2011 10:45:33 PM , Rating: 2
did someone say touch interface?

RE: The point is...
By 91TTZ on 11/22/2011 5:50:32 PM , Rating: 4
It seems that you don't really understand what conditions need to be present to bring a product to market.

Nothing is created in a vacuum. For instance, when the first personal computers and video games came out in the mid 1970's, it wasn't because a single innovative company introduced a product and everyone copied it. Rather, it's because some key pieces of technology made the conditions right to introduce those products. The growth of computers and video games in the mid 1970's were largely due to advances in solid state electronics. Microprocessors began to go mainstream in the electronics world in the early 1970's so it shouldn't have been any surprise that computers and video games began to use them. Someone had to be first, but that doesn't mean that they were able to see something that nobody else could. When Apple released their first Apple computer, it wasn't that they invented something that nobody else had, they just bought off the shelf components, packaged it into a kit and made it popular. In reality the innovation that made it possible was the 6502 processor which came out a year prior.

The iPhone was made possible by advances in small touch-screen displays and mobile CPUs. Apple didn't invent either of these things, they just bought off-the-shelf hardware and assembled it into a finished product. At the time it seemed pretty innovative because Apple was able to bring to market a polished finished product based on commonly available hardware and they could sell it for a profit.

RE: The point is...
By sigmatau on 11/22/2011 10:03:00 PM , Rating: 2
Bingo! Apple didn't invent anything. The technology was available for them to buy and repackage.

I find it so ironic that Apple is suing companies for stupid things like how icons are arranged, yet Apple would not be able to sell their products if not for those same companies since they researched and developed the parts in Apple's products.

RE: The point is...
By Da W on 11/23/2011 9:16:03 AM , Rating: 1
That is my whole point.

Knowledge is cumulative. Nobody can create an idea out of thin air. Every idea is based on ideas previously discovered. But the fact of assembling ideas togeter is in itself an idea. So:

1) Yes apple being the first to bring to market a polished finished product based on commonly available hardware IS an innovation, and all the droids coming after it based on the same model are a copy.

2) The IP system actually hinders cumulative innovation, as we can all see with the millions of patent lawsuits in the technology industry, because the IP system is rooted in belief that innovations comes out of thin air and massive R&D spending. But this is not the case. And if every time you "invent" something, you get a patent to block anybody else to improve upon your idea, then we would have no innovation at all, and even the iphone wouldn't exist.

Funny how in a 4 paragraph article i only insert 16 words bashing android and i get gazillions of flaming replies calling me an apple fan boy and almost nobody noticed the rest of my post.

There are WAY too many Google-sheeps out here. YOU RANT AGAINST APPLE SHEEPS BUT YOU ARE YOURSELVES GOOGLE SHEEPS. And that worries me more than southern rednecks that are always voting GOP from father to son or stupid Albertains voting conservative since the dawn of times.

RE: The point is...
By Piiman on 11/23/2011 5:48:58 PM , Rating: 2
"1) Yes apple being the first to bring to market a polished finished product based on commonly available hardware IS an innovation, and all the droids coming after it based on the same model are a copy."

Wrong that is a competing product made with many of the same off the shelve parts and probably other different parts. It may be cheaper it may have more functionally etc etc. Of course it will be a similar product but it is not a copy. A copy is an identical replica of the original.
by your logic everything except the original is a copy no matter whats different.

RE: The point is...
By Piiman on 11/23/2011 5:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
You know way too much about rednecks to be French.

RE: The point is...
By DeluxeTea on 11/23/2011 11:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
1) Yes apple being the first to bring to market a polished finished product based on commonly available hardware IS an innovation, and all the droids coming after it based on the same model are a copy.

Huh, so you mean my Vizio LCD TV was copied from Samsung from Sony from LG from Sharp?

RE: The point is...
By nolisi on 11/22/2011 3:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
IP right were created to promote innovation.
The common belief being that if an invention was immediatly copied, nobody would want to incur huge costs to innovate.

Being first to market is everything. Even if someone copies your idea, the fact that you got there first gives you mindshare, and in the case of certain companies, you can create a proprietary castle around yourself that guarantee repeat business.

Android is a copy of iOS.

Then why is iOS currently copying functionality that Android has had for years? A copy is limited to what's found in the original; Android went beyond iOS at its release (OTA updates is the most visible example) therefore it is not a copy.

RE: The point is...
By Da W on 11/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: The point is...
By Gondor on 11/22/2011 4:43:30 PM , Rating: 1
We can play the longuest dick game for a long time.

You'd lose horribly.

It's about time Eu slaps some hefty fine on Apple for their patent trolling before this nonsense escalates even further.

RE: The point is...
By jRaskell on 11/22/2011 5:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
Without Apple, your android phone would have a keayboard, no GPS, no gyroscope and still use a trackball to move around icons.

No, it wouldn't, but I see the futility in trying to argue that with you.

RE: The point is...
By kraeper on 11/22/2011 5:42:04 PM , Rating: 1
LG Prada. Google it.

RE: The point is...
By Etsp on 11/22/2011 5:48:32 PM , Rating: 5
Given his anti-Android stance, perhaps you'd have a better chance at succeeding if you asked him to "bing" it...

RE: The point is...
By kraeper on 11/22/2011 6:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
LOL good point.

RE: The point is...
By ebakke on 11/22/2011 5:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
Without Apple, your android phone would have a keayboard, no GPS, no gyroscope and still use a trackball to move around icons.
And I assume without Henry Ford, everything would still be made one-off, by hand. No one else could've possibly figured out how to utilize an assembly line. You, I'm sad to say, are an idiot.

What's most disturbing to me, is that your reasoning abilities are a total epic failure yet you're probably going to vote in the next election with some batshit crazy "rationale" as to why your candidate of choice makes sense. FML.

RE: The point is...
By Omega215D on 11/22/2011 10:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly this line of thinking is typical of those into Apple products... and there's a lot of them thanks to herd mentality.

RE: The point is...
By Piiman on 11/23/2011 6:05:42 PM , Rating: 1
"Without Apple, your android phone would have a keayboard, no GPS, no gyroscope and still use a trackball to move around icons. "

And you know this how? Do you really think Steve Jobs was the only person in the world to think of that stuff? Heck he probably didn't even think of it himself since he considered himself a great artist, he probably stole them.

If you ask me the only thing Apple has innovated was packaging.

After you buy your over price Apple product you do get a geewiz this must be a good product just look at this fancy packaging! It seems to have worked. I'll give him that.

RE: The point is...
By Piiman on 11/23/2011 5:29:50 PM , Rating: 1
If making a second touch screen type phone is copying then I'm Santa Claus. That's like saying all cars are a copy of the Ford. There is nothing unique about another company making competing products that look and act like another and until Apple and Steve Jobs started crying that every one is copying iPhone it was no big deal. Its called competition.

And why is it bad for others to "copy" Apple to the fanboys but its ok for Steve Jobs to brag about stealing and coping others? Hypocrites. Oh and to claim they invented sliding your fingers to make a touch screen do something obvious is ridiculous.

Google same game since 2001
By vision33r on 11/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Google same game since 2001
By drycrust3 on 11/23/2011 2:46:36 AM , Rating: 3
Google is the only company to have a competing OS ready in such a short window, it is obvious they had someone inside Apple leaking information.

Android was released under open source licences from 21 October, 2008 until March 2011. If there was any code in it that was copied from iOS then not only could Apple have checked to see if Android breached copyright, I'm quite sure they would have found it and sued Google (or whoever) for breaching copyright. Since Apple haven't complained about breaches of copyright, then it stands to reason the code in Android wasn't ever sourced from Apple.
In regards to taking such a short time to write your own OS, since Android was released under an open source licence, and since it claims to have used the Linux 2.6 kernel, then it stands to reason that there were other components in it that were also obtained from the open source community, thus it is quite understandable for the development time to be much shorter than if Google set out to write their own OS (by about several thousand man years). As I understand GPL Licencing, there isn't anything illegal about Google doing this, and since Google regularly contribute to the Linux community, one can argue it is a fair exchange.

RE: Google same game since 2001
By matty123 on 11/23/2011 9:55:39 AM , Rating: 2
Oh please what a bunch of absolute nonesense...

Taken from apple's own press release

CUPERTINO, California—August 29, 2006 —Apple® today announced that Dr. Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, was elected to Apple’s board of directors at their meeting today. Eric also sits on Google’s board of directors and Princeton University’s board of trustees.


Taken From wikipedia

Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., in 2005.[12] The unveiling of the Android distribution on November 5, 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 84 hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.[13][14][15][16] Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software license.[17] The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.[18]


Google publicly purchased the Android.Inc in 2005 a full year before Eric Shmidt was asked to join apple's board, also android was started by the Android.Inc team in 2003

Also do some more research, the often touted blackberry esque phone that apple fans love to put forward as the only android prototype was only one of many android prototypes that were all released at roughly the same time, androids first prototypes had touchscreen phones {like the iphone} and keyboard phones {like blackberry} and you can still get keyboard and touchscreen androids today.


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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