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Apple agrees to license some low level patents

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has asserted that if it wins over Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO 005930) in its slew of international lawsuits [1][2][3][4] [5][6][7] it will not license certain patents.

The approach is somewhat unusual in a market where companies like Microsoft, Corp. (MSFT) usually use their patent library to pressure rivals into lucrative licensing agreements [1][2].  Rather, Apple looks to “one up” competitors’ products with its IP library in order to make its own product more attractive.

In the past, Apple has patented certain technologies that are rather relatively obvious (e.g. its GUI patents including U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381) or cover ubiquitous industry standards (e.g. multi-touch) that were well-researched academically but were patented by Apple once the technology became mass-producible. 

Some have accused Apple of fighting dirty in suing with obvious patents and, thus far, refusing to license industry-standards (e.g. the rectangular tablet design and multi-touch).  Similar allegations have been leveled against Samsung, who in its countersuits has used certain industry-standard wireless patents covered under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (F/RAND) terms.  While Samsung also uses non-standards patents in its suits, its plan to see a ban on Apple's products using the F/RAND IP is controversial -- much like Apple's identical initial strike.

In the court filing Apple did leave the door open to licensing some patents, rather than refusing to license them and seeking a ban.  Apple's lawyers write:

However, he emphasises that such discussion was part of the broader discussion of a framework by which Samsung Electronics Co Limited could continue to sell its products with some elements of Apple Inc’s intellectual property, such as some 'lower level patents', available to them but would cease copying the features and functionality of Apple Inc's products, and the iPad in particular.

What is unclear is what patents exactly are among those "lower level" ones that Apple would be willing to license.

Samsung isn't taking any chances.  The New York Times reports that Samsung has filed suit seeking a sales ban on the iPhone 4S via preliminary injunction in Japan's Tokyo District Court and in Australia's New South Wales Registry.  The ban would apply to all of Japan and all of Australia if Samsung sees success in its respective claims.
Samsung wants Apple's iPhone 4S banned in Australia and Japan [Source: Apple]

James Chung, a Samsung spokesperson, states, "We are actively responding in (the legal battle) with Apple."

On Sunday Samsung Chief Operating Officer and President Lee Jae-yong journeyed to the U.S. to attend the memorial service of late Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs.  He said that he would be meeting with Apple's new CEO Tim Cook, but it was unclear whether peace talks would be on the agenda.

Mr. Lee comments, "I will have a chance to meet Cook, but I'm not going there for business purposes. I'm going to pay tribute to Steve Jobs, and I don't know what I will talk about with Cook."

Samsung and Apple now have over two dozen lawsuits in over 10 countries worldwide regarding supposed infringements of mobile device intellectual property.

Sources: Samsung Fires Back at Apple iPhone 4S, Federal Court of Australia



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RE: Just more of Apple
By jnemesh on 10/17/2011 5:24:32 PM , Rating: 5
Once you get your "free" phone, however, you are locked into buying EVERYTHING from Apple. You MUST use iTunes, you MUST purchase apps from Apple's store and ONLY Apple's store, and Apple is doing everything it can to make sure your e-books, music, and movies are purchased from Apple as well (or, if buying from a competing service, that Apple still gets it's 30% cut!).

And your statement that the iPhone doesnt need iTunes is flawed. No, you dont need it to activate and use the phone, but if you want to do anything else, guess what? You have to use iTunes to manage everything. Have fun!


RE: Just more of Apple
By espaghetti on 10/18/2011 7:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
I've paid apple for one song and I have a lot of albums on my iphone.
Who told you that the media can only be what you buy from a digital service?
Itunes has an import cd feature.


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