Print 69 comment(s) - last by Black1969ta.. on Oct 25 at 3:07 AM

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 Tony Swash on 10/17/2011 7:10:27 PM , Rating: 1
I guess I was just posing a rhetorical question. I find the endless whining of the phobe boys a bit much sometimes. And this desperate belief/wish that somebody in government is going to come to their rescue and somehow stop Apple - it's all a bit pathetic really. What's with the ridiculous suggestions that Apple should be be made, forced, to share their trade secrets and patented designs with competing companies - what planet do these guys live on?

RE: Just more of Apple
By Boze on 10/18/2011 1:32:00 AM , Rating: 3
Probably because if companies didn't share patents with each other, we wouldn't be much further along from the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Some companies believe that there's both profit and progress to be made by patenting their ideas and technology, and then allowing other companies the use of those ideas and technology through patent licensing.

Personally, I think Apple is just afraid of Samsung's success with their Galaxy S phone series and is looking to stop that competition any way they can, because the Apple ecosystem isn't as compelling to most people as the Android ecosystem.

Americans are naturally a group that will lean more towards universal or near universal freedom. Apple doesn't offer that in such a way that people find intensely compelling, and the numbers tend to show that.

From 2007 until recently, Apple has sold about 108 million iPhones. The Galaxy S was announced in March 2010 and has sold 20 million units to date. The Galaxy S II was announced in February 2011 and has sold 10 million units.

So the Galaxy S line has done a little under 1/3rd the iPhone's volume in about 1/4th the time.

It doesn't take a genius on either the Android or the iOS side of the fence to see that consumer demand for the Galaxy S line is just as strong, and continuing to grow stronger, and is probably the motivating factor for these decisions.

The difference between Apple's approach with patents and Samsung's approach is that Samsung is happy to license their technology for additional revenue, whereas Apple clearly wishes to try to eliminate the competition. Which approach generates more revenue is up for debate, and I honestly wouldn't know how to begin to determine which is more advantageous. But, what I do know is that Samsung would rather at least attempt to outengineer the competition instead of trying to stifle it through litigation and denial of patent technology.

That's clearly more advantageous to consumers than Apple's approach, and is probably why you see the intense backlash that you do.

RE: Just more of Apple
By Tony Swash on 10/18/2011 5:37:27 AM , Rating: 1
So I guess you are going to be posting a lot in future on how Google needs to open source it's search algorithms? Or perhaps pushing for Microsoft to release the source code for Windows? Or what about this one - a real doozy - press Google to release all variants of the Android OS to anyone who wants to download it?

By the way arguing that in some weird abstract arithmetical calculation the Galaxy S II outsells the iPhone is not going to change the actual reality of the real world, which is that the iPhone was, remains and will continue to be the best selling handset on the planet. I loved that you quoted sales of 10 million Galaxy S II handsets since February when we have just seen sales of 4 million iPhone 4S handset in just two days. I guess the message about the 'intense backlash' hasn't quite filtered through to everyone just yet :)

It's Apple winning that frightens and confuses you.

I know I shouldn't post this, for the sake of your blood pressure, but here is a video that I found very amusing.

and here is my nomination for headline of the week.

RE: Just more of Apple
By Boze on 10/18/2011 12:55:03 PM , Rating: 3
I don't understand why you get so defensive in all your posts, especially when I just stating facts.

Fact, it took over four years for the iPhone to sell 108 million units.

Fact, it took about a year and a half (give or take) for the Galaxy S, a single smartphone offering from Samsung, to sell 30 million units.

You keep talking about the actual reality of the real world. Well the actual reality is that a single company, with a single phone "family" (Galaxy S brand), has a little under 1/3rd the volume of all iPhones combined.

I'm not sure why this bothers you so dramatically that you need to attempt to insult me by postulating that the sales of the iPhone disrupt my blood pressure, or that Apple's success confuses and frightens me.

There's nothing confusing or frightening about Apple's success. In the personal computing space, they market to people based on fear and misinformation, and by attempting to appeal to people's sense of style or fashion. In the smartphone space, they market by providing an easy-to-use and moderatedly powerful smartphone. In the tablet space, its a blend of those two approaches.

Most people don't want to read the manual for every tool they purchase, and so they rarely use their tools to the fullest. Apple products are no exception to this basic phenomenon. The path of least resistance is always the one most travelled.

And its clearly not me that's frightened by Apple. I'll never have to be frightened by Apple because no matter what market they branch out into and attempt to dominate, someone always comes along and trumps them eventually, or even more hilariously, they trump themselves.

Apple is kiling their iPod line with their iPhone line. No need to buy an iPod if I can have an iPad and an iPhone that can store all my music.

Smartphones, same thing... they might have shown the world what a really well-designed smartphone can do, but then Android showed everyone what a somewhat less-well-designed OS can do when you turn it loose for everyone to tweak and improve and make more advanced smartphones.

Android market share in the smartphone space has grown monstrously since its release and if the Galaxy S line alone is any indication, that growth is not slowing down.

The iPhone 4S sold 4 million in 2 days, that's excellent sales and I don't think anyone could reasonably deny that, but the question in whether or not the iPhone 4S will sustain that growth or not.

We're about to come to a real crossroads soon. If the Galaxy S III is released before the iPhone 5, and if the GS3 has better specs and screen, its going to be really interesting to see if the iPhone family can maintain sales against the Galaxy S family. This concerns you for reason I don't understand.

The iPhone isn't going anywhere, and the Galaxy S surely isn't. I don't know why this seems to bother you so much.

RE: Just more of Apple
By Helbore on 10/18/2011 1:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
This concerns you for reason I don't understand.

It's actually quite simple, really. Tony has said before that he has owned shares in Apple since the 80s. This is the first time where his shares are actually worth anything. After the near-death of Apple in the 90s and a possible complete loss of his money, he must have been jumping for joy when Steve turned the company around and made them profitable.

Now there is threat to their dominance, he clearly is concerned about his shares being turned into waste paper once again. He wants Apple to sue the competition into non-existence, as it will maintain his own share prices. Competitors gaining on Apple's marketshare only means a possible drop in his own investments.

He's gloated quite openly about how his investment has paid off. I doubt he was doing that when Microsoft trounced all over them 15-20 years ago.

That's clearly why he gets so defensive and - ultimately - insulting if anybody even questions Apple. He's scared of history repeating itself.

<Cue Swash reply about how hilarious this is and that I'm just some terrified Apple-hater who can't fathom the future of technology and so is lashing out in anger.>

PS, congrats on the shares, Tony. Seriously, too. They must be worth an order of magnitude more than you paid for them. Hope they pay good dividends, as you were clearly a loyal investor.

RE: Just more of Apple
By Pirks on 10/18/2011 1:57:28 AM , Rating: 1
You just have to get used to the fact that DT is choke full of boneheaded very stupid anti-Apple zombies who are very nervous about Apple success, because they are too dumb to understand what is actually going on. I was like them a few years ago, now I kinda grew up and became objective. For me it's fun to be here and laugh at them. It's like being in zoo :) You see some screaming monkey and realize that you were same monkey in your previous life a long time ago. Kinda feels good inside then :) DT reminds me of my childhood. It's a nice dirty playground with a lot of dumb kids from the block nearby. I like those playgrounds, what would we do without dumb kids to play with eh ;)

RE: Just more of Apple
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/18/2011 8:15:00 AM , Rating: 2
now I kinda grew up and became objective

RE: Just more of Apple
By Pirks on 10/18/2011 1:35:46 PM , Rating: 1
cheesy clown is gonna burst, EVERYONE HIDE!!!

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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