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RT : Unwired Planet v Huawei: English High Court sets FRAND royalty rate
frand  from twitter
april 2017 by vonhaller
Qualcomm charged by US government with anti-competitive practices | AndroidAuthority
Finally, the government claims Qualcomm kept a specific phone company, Apple, from using any competing baseband processors in its devices from 2011 to 2016.
apple  qualcomm  antitrust  frand  ovum 
january 2017 by yorksranter
Anti-innovation: EU excludes open source from new tech standards
EC up to its old anti-competitive tricks:
The European Commission is surprisingly coy about what exactly ['open'] means in this context. It is only on the penultimate page of the ICT Standardisation Priorities document that we finally read the following key piece of information: "ICT standardisation requires a balanced IPR [intellectual property rights] policy, based on FRAND licensing terms."

It's no surprise that the Commission was trying to keep that particular detail quiet, because FRAND licensing—the acronym stands for "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory"—is incompatible with open source, which will therefore find itself excluded from much of the EU's grand new Digital Single Market strategy. That's hardly a "balanced IPR policy."
open-source  open  frand  eu  ec 
april 2016 by jm
IEEE waves through controversial FRAND patent policy » EE Times
John Walko, in February:
IEEE's new standard on patents that lowers royalty fees is making some members angry.

The IEEE’s decision to approve a bitterly contested change to its patent policy, has, perhaps unsurprisingly, caused bitter divisions among its members. The revised rules would see the royalty fees large vendors have to pay reduced significantly, particularly in the wireless sector.

Compensation for a company’s IPR would now be based on a percentage of component price rather than the whole device, as is generally the norm.

Another consequence of the <a href="http://standards.ieee.org/develop/policies/bylaws/approved-changes.pdf">revised approach to royalties</a> is a more realistic definition of what represents Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) when it comes to valuing a company’s standards-essential patents (SEP) such that the inventors get a fair return on sometimes huge investments into developing innovations, while at the same time not building barriers to entry for new products and new suppliers.


I missed this at the time; but it's pretty dramatic. Lots of lawsuits have previously involved demands for royalties on finished products, which - if you think about it - is daft: if an essential patent only affects some tiny part of the operation of a device (eg Wi-Fi on the Xbox 360, as an example) why should Microsoft have to pay a proportion of the finished price?

This doesn't have "non-practising entities", aka patent trolls, pleased. Here's Bill Merritt of Interdigital (an NPE) <a href="http://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1326144">fulminating about it</a> - and saying it won't play ball.

Seems minimal, but this could have big long-term effects.
ieee  frand  patent 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
In a blow to Android, judge says Moto patents can’t get injunctions | Ars Technica
The fact that the bench trial over pricing was held at all wasn't a good sign for Motorola, and this new ruling is an additional blow against it.<p>

The problem for Motorola is that it can't show it deserves anything more than monetary damages. An injunction is a powerful remedy, and in order to get it, a company has to prove it's been harmed in a way that a money award can't compensate for. But in this case, money is enough, US District Judge James Robart ruled.<p>

"Because Microsoft will pay royalties under any license agreement from the time of infringement within the statute of limitations, this license agreement will constitute Motorola’s remedy for Microsoft’s use of Motorola’s H.264 standard essential patent portfolio to include the Motorola Asserted Patents. Accordingly, Motorola cannot demonstrate that it has been irreparably harmed."<p>

Robart went further than just dealing with the patents in his case. His order, he specified, applies "for Motorola's entire H.264 standard essential patent portfolio," including certain European patents at issue in a German action.


Big loss for Motorola Mobility (MMI), and thus for its owner Google whose whole rationale for buying MMI was to get its patents to fight back with. Without injunctions, the patents make MMI a low-earning rentier.
frand  law  microsoft  motorola  google  patents 
december 2012 by guardiantech
Apple-Samsung ruling suggests South Korea is a FRAND rogue state
A couple of court decisions announced in Seoul, South Korea, this morning indicate that South Korea has decided to become a rogue state in connection with standard-essential patents, essentially telling foreign companies that in order to sell their technology products to the country's 50-million population, they must bow to extortion by Samsung and LG.
This is highly problematic and will have diplomatic repercussions. The victims of such abuse will be companies from the United States, Europe and Japan, and increasingly also Chinese companies. I don't know what Apple is going to do, but it would make sense to talk to both U.S. presidential candidates at the earliest opportunity.
As the media report (1, 2, 3), Apple was found to infringe two Samsung wireless patents (which have previously been identified as standard-essential ones), and Samsung was found to infringe one Apple patent. Both companies were ordered minor amounts of damages (chump change) and sales bans on older products, in Apple's case the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2. What appears at first sight to be a mixed ruling and will be subject to a de novo (from scratch) review by an appeals court is actually a declaration of a trade war. It would mean that foreign companies would either have to bow to Samsung's and LG's demands and, among other things, give up their own non-standard-essential intellectual property or stop selling in Korea. If I were Apple, I would defend myself vigorously and, if necessary, write off the Korean market until this issue is resolved through bilateral U.S.-Korea talks or at the level of the World Trade Organization. Also, Apple's products are very popular among a large part of the Korean population, though I guess the influence of "fanbois" is going to be very limited compared to the clout of the Samsung and LG conglomerates.
Even the 2:1 score in Samsung's favor is noticeably inconsistent with the track record these companies have against each other in litigation in countries in which neither one is headquartered. In such neutral countries, Samsung has won zero -- ZERO -- injunctions so far. It has failed miserably in Germany (three times already), in France, in Italy, and in the Netherlands. Now, all of a sudden, it wins two injunctions in a country in which about 20% of the GDP depends on the Samsung group (compared to that percentage, Apple means nothing to the U.S. economy). The only thing Samsung was able to win against Apple in a neutral country at all was an award of what will ultimately be very minor damages in the Netherlands.
While Samsung is now also formally subjected to an injunction, that one is not over a standard-essential patent. Samsung can modify the affected products and future products and simply work around that patent. But Apple cannot work around the 3G/UMTS standard.
Formally, only the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are affected, but in practical terms, Apple now knows that (unless the appeals court reverses this ruling) Samsung may be able to quickly seek injunctions against newer Apple products over standard-essential patents.
Samsung and LG both have a history of aggressive enforcement of SEPs. LG has a history of very aggressive demands, and this week it just filed a lawsuit over DVD-related patents against ToshibaSamsung in Delaware. LG wants both: high royalties and a back-license to non-standard-essential patents. But if it can "only" get high royalties, it's fine with that. Samsung is not even interested in high royalties from Apple. All that it's interested in is a basis on which Apple will tolerate Samsung's and Google's infringement of its non-standard-essential patents, either on a royalty-free basis or on a basis on which net payments to Apple would be minuscule and on which Apple would not be able to impose restrictions, such as excluding certain patents from the scope of a deal.
What has to be said in all fairness to Korea is that the United States itself will have a credibility problem on standard-essential patents in the event that the ITC later today orders an import ban against Apple over a Motorola SEP (and if such ban is neither vetoed by the White House nor stayed by the Federal Circuit).
The stakes in this are getting higher and higher, but if Apple gives up its intellectual property only because of temporary issues such as the one it faces in Korea, the cost will be far higher than if it defends its rights. If the price to pay for access to the Korean market is unfettered commoditization, Apple should pull out of the market at some point, and return only after the issues have been resolved.
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Standards  Samsung  Android  Apple  FRAND  Patent_Litigation  from google
august 2012 by segiddins
What Apple's 2010 $30-per-unit licensing proposal to Samsung means for Android in 2012 and beyond
On Friday afternoon, AllThingsD's Ina Fried was first to publish a presentation of a licensing proposal Apple made to Samsung on October 5, 2010 -- six and a half months months prior to suing. This is the most spectacular revelation of the ongoing trial. The slide deck was referenced by Boris Teksler, Apple's director of patent licensing and strategy, in his deposition on Friday.
AllThingsD also published an August 2010 Apple presentation that listed dozens of patents Samsung allegedly infringed. Most of those patents have not (yet) been asserted in any litigation.
The structure of what Apple proposed in 2010 is pretty straightforward. Depending on the type of device, Samsung would need to license more or fewer patents. Apple was primarily interested in working out a solution for devices of the "mobile computer" category: iPhone-like smartphones and iPad-like tablets. For this device category, Apple proposed a $30 per-unit royalty, except that for the first two years, the per-unit royalty per tablet computer would have amounted to $40. Those two years have more or less passed by now anyway. Samsung was given options to lower the $30 amount by qualifying for "discounts":
20% ($6) in exchange for a cross-license to Samsung's own patent portfolio
40% ($12) for "Apple-licensed operating systems" (Windows); this is irrelevant to the operating system currently at issue in the dispute, which is Android
20% ($6) for the use of processors with a license from Apple; the purpose of this discount would have been to avoid "double charging"
20% ($6) for "not using Apple's most proprietary features (e.g. FaceView) & migrating its industrial design away from iPhone/iPad"
Relevance to ongoing trial
The offer was made under Federal Rule of Evidence (FRE) 408, which applies to confidential settlement negotiations and limits the ways in which Samsung can use this proposal in litigation. The fact that Apple was willing to extend a license at all can be used as an argument against Apple's claim of irreparable harm and the inadequacy of monetary compensation, but this doesn't mean that injunctive relief is 100% unavailable. In his testimony, Mr. Teksler stressed that there are patents that Apple is not willing to license at all because it believes only those making "knock-off" products would infringe them: "It's what we don’t wish to share and don't want others to mimic."
Samsung will probably hope that the jury is not going to award Apple a reasonable per-unit royalty for past infringement of a small number of patents that would represent a seemingly-disproportionate share of the $30/$40 portfolio royalty Apple proposed in 2010, but damages and settlements are different issues. The fact of the matter is that the parties did not strike an agreement on the basis of Apple's 2010 proposal, and Apple is not bound by it in any way today.
Discrepancy in Apple's valuations of its own portfolio and Samsung's
Here's a particularly interesting sentence from Apple's presentation (click on the image to enlarge or read the text below the image):
"Since Apple's paradigm of an advanced smartphone won -> Apple's portfolio will become the most important and most valuable part of the IP stack for the next decade."
By contrast, Apple notes in its presentation that two thirds of the patents Samsung brought to the negotiating table are standard-essential patents, and the others are (also) typical component supplier patents. In the ongoing litigation, Apple proposes a royalty of half a cent per standard-essential patent per device.
The "20% discount" that Apple offered Samsung in October 2010 for a cross-license appears bigger than it actually is. First of all, this is a typical bargaining chip. If Samsung had negotiated, Apple would likely have been willing to increase this percentage, which would have been more flattering to Samsung than anything else and enabled Apple to maintain a high price point for its own patents. Also, the proposed deal is structurally the opposite of a deal on an equal footing. A cross-license deal between partners that have portfolios of similar value would either be royalty-free or the parties would agree on certain per-unit amounts, in which case one party would end up the net payer but it would depend on actual volume who pays more. If a patent holder, as Apple did in this case, proposes a mere adjustment of a royalty stream going in only one direction, this is a clear indication of an unbalanced relationship.
To be clear, the 20% figure does not mean that Apple believes its own patents have five times the value of Samsung's portfolio. That would only apply if both parties had the same sales volume (and if the negotiating tactics mentioned in the previous paragraphs didn't play a role). The more products a party needs a license for, the more exposure it has to the licensor's portfolio. So let's look at it from the exposure angle:
When Apple and Samsung were discussing smartphones and tablets in October 2010, Apple's assumption almost certainly was that its exposure was going to be far greater than Samsung's. If, for example, Apple thought that it was going to build four times as many "mobile computers" (smartphones + tablets) as Samsung, then a discount of 20% on Samsung's royalties to Apple would actually mean that Samsung's patents are valued, on a per-device basis, at only 5% (one twentieth) of Apple's. That's because the 20% discount would provide Apple with a license to four times as many devices in need of a license. But Samsung has gained far more market share than was foreseeable at the time. If it's true that Samsung sold twice as many smartphones worldwide during the last calendar quarter as Apple (though anticipation of the iPhone 5 launch likely plays a role), then Samsung's exposure is now twice as much as Apple's in the field of smartphones. If volumes weren't affected by the license deal (I'll talk about impact on market share further below), the 20% discount would mean that Samsung gets a license for twice the number of devices, and this means that Apple's patents would be valued at 2.5 times the value of Samsung's, not 5.0 times. (For tablet computers, there's still much more exposure on Apple's side, but given that Samsung primarily asserts 3G patents against Apple, WiFi-only iPads wouldn't count, or at least not to the full extent.)
Proposal was based on unique partnership
Another important sentence from Apple's presentation is this one (click on the image to enlarge or read the text below the image):
"Because Samsung is a strategic supplier to Apple, we are prepared to offer a royalty-bearing license for this category of device"
Obviously, Apple could have told Samsung that this is a special deal only because of a unique kind of relationship, and could still have offered a similar deal to Motorola, HTC and others. Also, I think both Apple and Samsung are clearly more interested in their market shares and profits in the smartphone and tablet computer markets than in the supplier relationship. There would be some switching costs for Apple, and other manufacturers may not be able to beat Samsung on price and/or reliability, but ultimately, Apple could do without Samsung, and Samsung would rather lose Apple's low-margin component business and be the market-leading device maker under its own brand. Still, there's no question that Samsung is in a much better position than other Android device makers to get a deal with Apple at all. Others would have to bring powerful patents of their own to the table, or offer Apple a deal that is too good to refuse, also with a view to potential antitrust issues that could come up if Apple never licensed even its most fundamental multitouch patents to anyone in order to monopolize the market.
Strategic implications for market share
At first sight, all intellectual property licensing offers and deals are just about money changing hands, but the money that changes hands under such deals can have major strategic implications.
Let's assume, for the sake of the argument, that Samsung agrees to pay Apple $20 per Android smartphone, and let's furthermore assume that whatever Apple would pay Samsung for its mostly standard-essential patents would be a strategically negligible fraction of that amount. Let's also assume an average pre-tax reseller margin of 20%, and a sales or value-added tax (which varies from country to country, or state to state) of 10% on average (it may seem high by U.S. standards but is very low by European standards).
If Samsung wanted to pass the licensing cost on to consumers in order to maintain its per-unit gross profit, consumers would face a price increase of $25 ($20 + margin of $5) before sales tax, and of $27.5 after sales tax. Alternatively, Samsung could decide to reduce its margins to offset some or all of the incremental licensing cost.
If both companies sold an equal volume of products, Apple could reduce the price of each of its own products by $27.5 since its patent licensing income could be used to pay for R&D efforts that would otherwise have to be paid for by product sales.
As a result, an Apple product that used to cost the end customer $500 (a price point that suggests it is sold without a telephone contract) would cost $472.25, while a Samsung product that used to have the same $500 price point would cost $527.5. The relative price difference would amount to twice $27.5, or $55.
With that kind of difference, there can be no doubt that volumes would change unless Samsung has innovative features or other premium benefits to offer. If Samsung sells less, then the price difference between the two companies is less, but Apple will gladly sell more.
Another issue here is that if Samsung accepted this deal as the first Android device maker to do so, it would also become less competitive vis-à-vis Motorola, HTC, LG, Amazon and others. But if Apple successfully enforced some of its patents against those other device makers in court, the license deal could actually help Samsung expand its market share at the expense of other Android device… [more]
Standards  Design_Patents  Samsung  Settlements  Software_Patents  License_Fees  Android  Apple  FRAND  Patent_Litigation  from google
august 2012 by segiddins

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