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Google swears it will be fair with FRAND patents

Back in August 2011, Google announced that it intended the purchase Motorola Mobility. Not only will the purchase get Google the ability to design and build its own smartphones, the deal means Google acquires all of the patents that Motorola Mobility holds. Since the deal was first announced, it has been going through all the hoops needed by regulators in the United States.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal is now close to being completed and approval from the U.S. Justice Department is expected to come as early as next week. Once the deal is complete, Google will layout $12.5 billion in exchange for Motorola Mobility.
However, some antitrust enforcers in America and Europe still worry about the deal. The fear stems from the fact that Motorola Mobility owns patents for things that are considered industry standards. The regulators fear that Google may attempt to license the patents for unfair prices to competitors.

When patents that a company holds are turned into industry standards, the companies that own the patents have to agree to license them under fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms also known as FRAND. FRAND patents are hot topics right now because some manufacturers that hold this type of patent have attempted to use them to get injunctions against competitors and courts.
Motorola most recently has used FRAND patents to win an injunction against Apple that forced the suspension of sales of some of Apple products in Germany. Google has been sending letters to standards organizations around the world that promise to offer licenses for the FRAND patents in the Motorola Mobility portfolio.
The letter read in part, "Google will not apply for injunctive relief against a willing licensee." The letter continued, "[we] reserve its right to seek any and all appropriate judicial remedies against counterparties [that refuse to license the patents]."

Source: Wall Street Journal

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You must be thinking of Apple.....
By GotThumbs on 2/9/2012 3:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
"The regulators fear that Google may attempt to license the patents for unfair prices to competitors"

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By retrospooty on 2/9/2012 3:36:15 PM , Rating: 5
If I were Google, it would definitely be sweet revenge time. =)

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By quiksilvr on 2/9/2012 3:40:48 PM , Rating: 4
If I were Google, I'd help out HTC and Samsung as much as they can to minimize their ridiculous MS licensing fees, if possible. Getting it down to $5 a handset for them would be a god send.

By tayb on 2/9/2012 5:48:54 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't change anything. Motorola most likely already has licensing deals with these companies and Microsoft doesn't mention specific patents when it engages companies to talk licensing. They only say they won't sue you if you sign, not specifically what they might sue you for.

By tng on 2/9/2012 3:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know the legality of this, but doesn't Moto already have license agreements with all these other companies already? Would or would that not take precedent over new agreements that Google may want?

As for Apple, didn't Moto only bring up the patent suit with them after Apple took them to court? Seems like they want to be fair and reasonable until Apple stepped in.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Tony Swash on 2/9/2012 3:53:27 PM , Rating: 1
Can anybody here explain to me how, even if it proves useful in a tactical attack on Apple, the breakdown of the FRAND framework will be good for anyone or for the tech industry?

It seems to me that the FRAND frameworks allow industry standards to appear and to be adopted. It does this by reassuring companies that if they adopt another companies patented technology that has been offered within a FRAND framework, and thus that technology become part of an industry standard, it won't subsequently be used to attack them or any other player in a discriminatory fashion and that the licensing arrangements will be 'fair and reasonable'. Motorola, as well as Samsung, appear to be abusing the FRAND system by using FRAND patents to attack (counterattack) Apple.

I understand there are people who don't like Apple and/or don't like Apple's legal actions. But is the undermining and possible collapse of the FRAND system a price worth paying for sticking it to Apple? Seems like cutting of your nose to spite your face to me.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Reclaimer77 on 2/9/2012 4:57:26 PM , Rating: 2

The ENTIRE tech patent system needs to be reevaluated and changed, including FRAND. I guess we have Apple to thank for showing us how bad that system currently is.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By retrospooty on 2/9/2012 5:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Funny, now that Apple is losing its arse in all these legal battles it starrted, they NOW want to change the laws as well. They seem to be looking to rework the laws to to benefit themselves. go figure.

The closing line in the article sums it up perfectly.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Reclaimer77 on 2/9/2012 5:47:26 PM , Rating: 2
Apple appeared to be okay with how patents worked...When those companies fought back, however, and particularly when Motorola secured a sales ban of many of Apple's products, now it seems to think there's problems with the system.

I love that man hehe. Nuff said. Busted Apple. Busted.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Tony Swash on 2/9/12, Rating: 0
RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By retrospooty on 2/9/2012 7:18:35 PM , Rating: 1
"This confirms what I have thought for a while which is that when intense iPhobia gets a grip it inevitably seems to turn into a more generalised technophobia."

Only you would think iPhobia. No, it has zero to do with iPhobia. It's there because it shows kharma. People dont hate Apple becasue of any sort of iPhobia, its Apple's ACTIONS that draw the resentment. Stop acting like you dont have a clue.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Tony Swash on 2/9/12, Rating: 0
RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Reclaimer77 on 2/9/2012 9:14:59 PM , Rating: 2
Only you sees this as a "breakdown" of FRAND. Your obvious bias of Apple is causing you to blow the situation out of proportion.

Ironically none of this will make any difference to Apple's fortunes or trajectory, Apple is now worth more than both Microsoft and Google combined and will probably double in size in the next year. Apple achieved this through strategy, delivery and innovation and making things that lots of people want to buy, something that's become quite rare amongst US companies of late.

Yes there we are. We cannot have a Tony post without it ending in this disclaimer and proving you're just as extreme as "iPhobes" by acting as if somehow you're personally vested in Apple's profits. Well, maybe you are, you probably own stock. But I just love how you fanbois can't enter a single argument without reminding everyone how much money they make, and how much that proves they're awesome.

Motorola isn't trying to hurt their "fortunes" or trajectory. They simple don't agree with Apple on what "reasonable" is. It's not the end of FRAND as we know it. That's another fanboi angle.

Also, as far as I know, "collaborative" standard means people working together. Apple contributed nothing to the patents in question in any way. There was no collaboration.

If anyone is looking to damage FRAND, it's Apple's latest stunt of asking the EU to force "royalty standards". When a corporation as large and profitable as Apple starts going around proposing entire nations change laws, you can bet it's because that change will be in their favor.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Tony Swash on 2/10/2012 5:25:24 AM , Rating: 2
Oh dear - it looks like you don't understand what FRAND means. Here is how Wikipedia defines FRAND

Standard-setting organizations commonly have rules that govern the ownership of patent rights that apply to the standards they adopt. One of the most common rules is that a patent that applies to the standard must be adopted on "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms" (RAND) or on "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms" (FRAND). The two terms are generally interchangeable; FRAND seems to be preferred in Europe and RAND in the U.S.

Standard-setting organizations include this obligation in their bylaws as a means of enhancing the pro-competitive character of their industry. They are intended to prevent members from engaging in licensing abuse based on the monopolistic advantage generated as a result of having their intellectual property rights (IPR) included in the industry standards. Once an organization is offering a FRAND license they are required to offer that license to anyone, not necessarily members of the group.[2][1] Without such commitment, members could use monopoly power inherent in a standard to impose unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory licensing terms that would damage competition and inflate their own relative position.

So what does that mean? It means a company comes up with a new way to do something, send wireless signals for example, and it patents it. In this example it is clear that it would be a good thing (increase the value of all products) if everyone used the same wireless standard, and it would be good for the owner of the patent if their patented wireless system was adopted as the standard for the industry as a whole because they could then collect licence fees from everyone. So far so good. In order to get it's competitors to trust that it won't abuse it's patent if adopted as a standard it declares to the relevant standard setting body that it will be licensed under the FRAND framework. This means it makes a commitment that everyone willing to pay a license fee will get one (so no competitor will be shut out) and that the licence fees will be fair and non-discriminatory, that is everyone will pay basically the same as everyone else. Again so far so good.

The problem arises when an owner of a FRAND patent abuses the FRAND system by seeking to use it's ownership of a FRAND patent to discriminate against another company. In the Motorola - Apple dispute that is what Motorola has done by asking for a ludicrously high 2.5% of total revenues, a level other users of the same FRAND patent do not pay. Motorola has taken this case to the German courts because of the odd so called 'Orange Book' system that currently operates there whereby even though the 2.5% request is not acceptable under FRAND terms and will be thrown out in the interim Apple's rejection of it and counter offer (which was rejected by Motorola) can trigger an injunction being issued. The Orange Book system is explained here

This is an abuse of the FRAND system and undermines the FRAND system. The fact that people who claim to like technology defend such things just show how iPhobia rots the brain and destroys judgement.

Meanwhile in the real world Motorola can't seem to make phones that people want to buy or which they can sell at a profit, hence their desperation. In the whole Android ecosystem nobody except Samsung (which are the best at copying Apple) seems to be able to make any money. That doesn't look too healthy.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Reclaimer77 on 2/10/2012 9:42:42 AM , Rating: 1
Don't talk to me like I'm some goddamn kid, you robotic asshole. I understand FRAND, and futhermore, I'm pretty fucking sure Motorola and Samsung's billion dollar legal team understand FAR more than you about it.

Take your condescending tone, your biased Foss patent, and your Wiki quotes and cram them right up there. All the way.

None of this would be happening if your cancer ridden asshole prophet didn't "Go to thermonuclear war" over Android. He's emboldened the entire tech industry against them. Don't preach me us about FRAND when you support a company that outright declared they should have a monopoly and will "go to war" to stop competition.

Crying "FRAND abuse" while supporting a habitual patent abuser is the height of hypocrisy. You can't see that because you're so far up Apples asshole.

By testerguy on 2/15/2012 9:37:41 AM , Rating: 2
You're being spoken to like 'some goddamn kid' because you act like one.

Look at your last post, completely disregarding any of Tonys points and laying into an angry tirade of abuse.

Motorola and Samsung lawyers don't care about protecting FRAND and the technical innovation it encourages.

Similarly, the 'war' over Android has nothing to do with FRAND patents - none of the reasons that Apple is suing over have anything to do with FRAND at all. Which is why Apple is perfectly entitled to pursue those cases in any way they like. It's also why discussion Android just further demonstrates your lack of understanding. Honestly I think you're a teenager based on your words.

Try and let these words sink in:

1 - Not all patents are FRAND
2 - FRAND patents cannot be used to harm competition
3 - Non-FRAND patents can be used to harm competition.
4 - Motorola and Samsung are suing based on FRAND patents.
5 - Apple is NOT suing based on FRAND patents.

Back to school for you!!

By Cheesew1z69 on 2/9/2012 9:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
How very sad that people allow themselves to become so short sighted.
Like you?

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By retrospooty on 2/10/2012 6:51:15 AM , Rating: 2
"Ironically none of this will make any difference to Apple's fortunes or trajectory, Apple is now worth more than both Microsoft and Google combined"

Exactly. Apple is perfectly capable to compete and profit, extremely so in the open market. Stop the frivolous lawsuits.

You just cant separate Apple from logic can you. I dont necessarily think breaking down FRAND is a good idea, I just think Apple needs to play by the same rules as other companies. Judging by the cases they keep losing, so do most legal systems around the world.

By testerguy on 2/15/2012 9:40:15 AM , Rating: 2
I just think Apple needs to play by the same rules as other companies

Here's the rules:

1 - You can't use FRAND patents to harm your competitors.
2 - You CAN use non-FRAND patents to harm your competitors.

Apple is suing over NON-FRAND, Motorola and Samsung are suing over FRAND.

Same rules, all companies. The only ones breaking them are Motorola and Samsung.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/9/2012 9:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
sign of desperate weakness
So is suing everyone who makes a competing product...

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By themaster08 on 2/10/2012 2:52:35 AM , Rating: 2
Well of course using FRAND patents to sue competitors would be detrimental, since Apple's patents are so frivilous, they leech off the back of other companies' hard work, R&D, which happen to turn into industry standard patents.

Since we're on the topic, why shoouldn't Apple's black rectangle patent be a FRAND patent?

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/10/2012 8:22:07 AM , Rating: 2
Why should it? You can't be serious with that statement. It's a BLACK BEZEL FFS. It adds NOTHING to functionality.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By testerguy on 2/15/2012 9:44:07 AM , Rating: 2
No legal case has been won over a claim to own a patent on a 'black bezel'....

so your comment is ridiculous..

By Cheesew1z69 on 2/15/2012 11:32:18 AM , Rating: 2
Hey moron, I was responding to :

why shoouldn't Apple's black rectangle patent be a FRAND patent?

Keep your idiotic statements away when you clearly don't understand the posts...

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By tayb on 2/9/2012 5:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't really say Apple is losing. They've caused far more damage to other companies than the other way around. Nothing ever truly came of the Motorola ban and now Samsung is under a formal investigation for FRAND patent abuse. This mess is all over the place and far from over.

RE: You must be thinking of Apple.....
By retrospooty on 2/9/2012 7:23:40 PM , Rating: 2
"I wouldn't really say Apple is losing. They've caused far more damage to other companies than the other way around."

???? I am not sure what they won. The only one I am aware that they won was in Germany, where Samsung had to rework the design. There was 1 or 2 that they won that was overturned by a higher (smarter) court and the vast majority they lost.... Of course there are appeals and more to come, but as far as I know they have won basically zero.

By testerguy on 2/15/2012 9:41:50 AM , Rating: 2
If you think that Apple has not been able to inflict any damage on its competitors with the law suits, why cry about them so much?

Surely, then, it doesn't affect you?

Google's position on FRAND
By Tony Swash on 2/9/2012 7:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/9/2012 9:27:02 PM , Rating: 2
Of COURSE, break out the FOSS links.....typical are horribly sad and pathetic.

Can't argue with it
By powerwerds on 2/10/2012 12:17:05 AM , Rating: 2
I respect googles stance that it will honor its current contracts while protecting its licensing rights.

RE: Can't argue with it
By testerguy on 2/15/2012 9:49:36 AM , Rating: 2
That isn't the relevant part.

The relevant part is that they have not ruled out seeking an injunction based on license disputes.

You can easily explicitly define that you will not seek injunctions based on FRAND patents, whilst still protecting your existing contracts and protecting your licensing rights. Microsoft and Apple have done exactly that.

What Google is doing is trying to leave the door open to use FRAND patent disputes as a vehicle to get products banned. The very nature of FRAND, typically that it is an essential requirement in all devices, makes this a VERY dangerous and anti-competitive approach - and I suspect Google and Motorola will be taken to task on this exactly like Samsung were.

Remember - nobody is saying that Motorola shouldn't sue for 'Fair & reasonable' costs and licenses - what IS being said is that they shouldn't:

a) Impose ridiculously high demands (2.5% of retail)
b) Seek a BAN on products while the fair price is being discussed in court.

Instead, they should simply seek damages to the amount that the court adjudges they are entitled to.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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