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In Apple's view Android smart phone makers are oppressing it and trying to engage in anticompetitive tactics.

Meanwhile Apple is trying to ban Android smart phones and tablets from the market with lawsuits.  (Source: Google Plus)
Company says its rivals are being "anticompetitive" by trying to defend themselves with IP

In a scene straight out of Bizarro World, Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) lawyers are crying foul about Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930) and recent Google Inc. (GOOG) acquisitions Motorola's allegedly "anticompetitive" use of patents.

I. Apple Claims Android Phone makers are "Abusing" Patent System

Yes, this is the same Apple that has initiated a patent war 
[1][2][3][4][5] with these smartphone rivals.  And it's the same rival that has tried to remove competing products from the market, rather than agree to negotiate a licensing fee.  And it's the same company that patented multi-touch gestures 26 years after they were invented at a research university.  And it's the same company that allegedly doctored evidence in European courts [1][2] to support its lawsuits against Android.

Yet in Apple's rose-colored glasses it is Samsung and Motorola who are bullies.  Apparently Apple is irate about these companies' 
countersuits, which rely largely on patents covering wireless communications.

Many of these patents are governed by the "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (F/RAND) principle, as they were developed as part of industry standards.  Basically the premise is that R&D companies are guaranteed to be paid, but generally have to license F/RAND patents to whoever wants to use them.

But given Apple's legal belligerence, the carriers have made a special exception when it comes to Apple.  And Apple, struggling in court, is growing increasingly frustrated.

The company's lawyers stated in a recent Motorola hearing, "By making false commitments that led to the establishment of worldwide standards incorporating its own patents and eliminating competing alternative technologies. Motorola [Mobility] has become a gatekeeper, accruing the power to harm or eliminate competition in the relevant markets if it so desires."

Apple takes issue with the fact that Motorola in its countersuit declines to differentiate the 7 F/RAND patents in its 18 patent collection.  In a previous case Finland's 
Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) used F/RAND patents, along with other patents, to win a cross-licensing settlement with Apple.  However, apparently in that case Nokia differentiated the F/RAND patents in a special section of its court filings -- something Apple is supposedly okay with.

II. Apple Supporters Chime In

Apple has some allies in the F/RAND debate.

On Bloomberg TV the founder and CEO of a leading standards certifier M-CAM, Dr. David Martin, joined the attack, calling Motorola's patents "crap" and 
stating, "And the relatively best ones MMI has -- which wasn't discussed on Bloomberg -- are subject to FRAND commitments."

And pro-Apple patent blogger Florian Mueller 
comments, "[T]here have been completely off-base claims by some people that the 18 patents MMI is asserting against Apple are so powerful that they can protect Android as a whole (including other OEMs, such as Samsung, HTC and LG). [Google is] issuing statements that blow the strategic value of MMI's patents completely out of proportion. Googlorola won't help Samsung, as I explained before."

He quotes Apple's lawyers writing, "Samsung has unlawfully acquired monopoly power in markets for the technologies purportedly covered by patents which Samsung claims are essential to industry standards ('declared essential patents') by deceiving standards-setting organizations ('SSOs')... having obtained this ill-gotten monopoly power, Samsung has engaged in a relentless campaign of illegal and abusive assertions of its declared-essential patents to try to coerce Apple into tolerating Samsung's continuing imitation of [the iPhone and the iPad]."

III. EDITORIAL: Our Take

Regardless of what Mr. Mueller says, it's hard to dispute that the "rules" of F/RAND are largely community dictated and ambiguous.  This is clearly a highly specialized case in which one company is using questionable claims (e.g. the ownership of all modern smart phone and tablet designs) to try to dictate its will on the market and grant itself a monopoly.  Whether the victims still have to bow down and offer their attacker F/RAND licensing is certainly debatable.

And Mr. Mueller's assertion that the IP won't help Motorola and Samsung's case seems disingenuous.  After all, if it were so inconsequential, why would Apple be so upset about it in court?

This isn't the first time that Apple has accused competitors over something it itself is doing.  
Apple chief executive and co-founder, Steven P. Jobs has bragged about his mastery of stealing ideas from others, stating [video], "Picasso had a saying - 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

But faced with large touch-screen competitors to his iPhone and iPad, the CEO and Apple's lawyers cried foul, accusing these rivals of "slavishly" copying the company's intellectual property.



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RE: It all come back to you
By jecs on 8/31/2011 7:32:02 PM , Rating: 1
I read also Samsung failed in court with a 2010 Odyssey tablet argument because that device in the movie was a tv and not a tablet. But Apple Photoshoped Samsung's prototypes, right?. This looks bad both companies. And Apple already lost a lot of legal ground on the tablet side.

Again, I like the Galaxy tablet but as striking those differences may look to you I would also say it is an improvement and an iteration from the iPad. They are cousins, but the iPad was first to market. And this is legally very important for this dispute.

Also the Galaxy smartphones are very similar to the iPhones and this is something extremely conflictive for public perception.

Inside a court room this needs to be legally solved beyond anyone point of view, personal perception or opinion.

How close could 2 competing and successful products be in the market at the same time? Each country or market needs to establish this.

But did Apple had any knowledge on Samsung's tablet prototypes? Patents are given for prototypes too. Samsung can't deny the iPad or the iPhone came first to market before the Galaxy line. Why Samsung did not demanded Apple when the iPhone or the iPad launched. Is it because they are a friendly legal company? I am afraid that would be a very bad argument.

Samsung has powerful lawyers who know Apple business. Where are Samsung's patents for those prototypes? Legally it looks weak. Apple could also have different prototypes hidden and waiting. But when the iPad launched nobody demanded the iPad look or shape with a valid patent.

So. Is it that Samsung couldn't produce another design, or is it they did not really wanted to create a new product with a look clearly distinctive from Apple devices. Are they unable to produce different prototypes?

And yes there should be legal protection for some simple images, proportions, color, textures or shapes and in its simplest essential expression this is the legal company LOGO, or even a product. Would you think Mercedez is entitled to own a 3 point start shape inside a circle forever?

Who gets to be protected with the patent? Whoever comes first with a valid concept. It Is a well known system and valid for any side.

In art we learn to copy from the masters. But I disagree with Steve Jobs because this is acceptable for beginners or wannabes but not for true masters. In the present industry Apple and Samsung are both big global players.


"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton














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