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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 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.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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