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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 Reclaimer77 on 10/17/2011 8:01:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ah I mistook your original point, my bad. No doubt Samsung is a huge player. But there's still lots of competition out there. My point was just that Samsung didn't get to where they are by using Apple's tactics of bullying and anti-competitive strategies.

quote:
Galaxy S II (which I also own and consider the best smartphone ever made, from a technological standpoint)


Cool me too, my first ever smartphone. Good things DO come to those who wait. I don't know though, the 4S might have it beat power wise. But I think that gorgeous large SAMOLED+ gives us the edge :P

quote:
I would love for all my devices to talk to each other.


It would be neat. Actually a few companies are working on the "smart home" wifi concept. My only thing is that for a bit more convenience, it's going to add an LOT more to the cost, complexities, and troubleshooting of appliances.

quote:
I'd love to have some kind of technology that can track me through the use of a wearable ID card, so while I'm cooking, I can have a movie or television show loaded up in VLC, or on Netflix, and when I move rooms, my Samsung televisions / LCD displays switch over that content seamlessly to the displays in those rooms.


Whoa, actually that's a pretty good freaking idea. You should patent that if it's not already :)

The Home of the Future: By Boze! (not to be confused with Bose) hehe


RE: Just more of Apple
By robinthakur on 10/18/2011 6:16:07 AM , Rating: 2
All my devices used to be Samsung including Fridge and all TV's throughout the house but they completely lost my business over the fridge. It broke within the warranty period, and then they procrastinated for more than 2 months (2 months without a fridge!) trying to send a spare part from Belgium to London with little to no communication despite me calling to harrass them every 2 days. Suffice it to say I no longer use their products. I've switched my TVs to LG passive 3D, and all appliances have transitioned to being Bosch/Neff. I would not use one of their phones/tablets in a month of Sundays no matter what the cost feature-set or styling, even if they paid me.
Apple, whenever I have needed service on my phones have been prompt, organised and responsive. They are not perfect, and they are a bit arrogant, but they provide the best service that I have encountered, and are far preferable to Samsung in my own experience, who are utterly shambolic.


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