Apple accuses Motorola, Samsung of monopolizing markets with patents

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
In its patent disputes with Samsung and Motorola Mobility, Apple is again calling attention to its competitors' use of "F/RAND encumbered" patents that have been declared essential to implementing open standards, noting that both companies are deceptively monopolizing markets to "harm or eliminate competition."



F/RAND encumbered patent claims



Apple has a series of technical and design implementation patents that it is wielding in an attempt to stop competitors from copying its products. However, many of its patent cases have involved counterclaims based on patents that are associated with a particular industry standard, such as WiFi or 3G mobile networking.



Companies that own patents which are elemental to such a standard commit their intellectual property to "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" licensing, which essentially means that while everyone has to pay royalties to the patent holder to use the technology, the patent holder has agreed to provide licensing terms to anyone on "fair and reasonable" terms.



Apple itself participates as a minority patent holder in the MPEG LA video standards patent portfolio, for example, collecting a portion of the royalties paid by licensees but lacking the power to prevent competitors from licensing and implementing these standards because of its F/RAND commitments to the standards organization.



In its legal dispute with Nokia, Apple argued that many of Nokia's patents were F/RAND encumbered and therefore only required a negotiated agreement between the two companies. Apple subsequently settled with Nokia by paying F/RAND licensing terms.



As noted by FOSSPatent blogger Florian Mueller, Nokia's lawsuit against Apple separated implementation patents from F/RAND licensed standards-related patents.



Apple argues Motorola, Samsung are seeking to monopolize through standards



However, Apple's legal battles with Motorola Mobility and Samsung both argue that those companies are not making the critical distinction Nokia did, and instead are muddling together implementation patents (which competitors can work around by creating their own ways of doing the same thing) with standards patents that are required to build products that are compatible with prevailing industry standards.



When Motorola Mobility attempted to dismiss Apple's case against it, Apple argued that Motorola had engaged in anticompetitive misconduct by attempting to use its standards-related patents as weapons, something that standards-essential patents are forbidden from doing through F/RAND licensing commitments.



"By making false commitments that led to the establishment of worldwide standards incorporating its own patents and eliminating competing alternative technologies," Apple argued in a federal lawsuit, "Motorola [Mobility] has become a gatekeeper, accruing the power to harm or eliminate competition in the relevant markets if it so desires."



Most of Google's Motorola patents can't protect the Android ecosystem



Mueller reports that the judge in the case stated that "these allegations [raised by Apple] imply that Motorola engaged in anticompetitive conduct and has achieved monopoly power." The report further explained that while the judge hadn't ruled definitively that Motorola had committed antitrust violations, it did refuse to grant Motorola's motion to dismiss Apple's case on those grounds.



His report also notes that 7 of Motorola's 18 patents were previously 'declared essential to industry standards,' and therefore restricted by F/RAND commitments that limit them from being raised defensively as valid counterclaims against the infringement of Apple's implementation patents.



Mueller noted regarding Motorola Mobility's patents that "yesterday, M-CAM founder and CEO Dr. David Martin simply called them 'crap' on Bloomberg TV," adding, "And the relatively best ones MMI has -- which wasn't discussed on Bloomberg -- are subject to FRAND commitments."



Mueller said that claims that Motorola's Google-acquired patents are "so powerful that they can protect Android as a whole" are "completely off base," and described those making that claim as "issuing statements that blow the strategic value of MMI's patents completely out of proportion," adding that "Googlorola won't help Samsung, as I explained before."



?and Samsung needs help



Mueller noted that Apple's accusations against Samsung are worded even more harshly, stating to the court that "Samsung's serial standard-setting abuses [...] inflict continuing harm on consumers, competition, and Apple alike," and describing "Samsung's subversion of the standardization process."



Apple's lawyers state that "Samsung has unlawfully acquired monopoly power in markets for the technologies purportedly covered by patents which Samsung claims are essential to industry standards ('declared essential patents') by deceiving standards-setting organizations ('SSOs')." Further, "having obtained this ill-gotten monopoly power, Samsung has engaged in a relentless campaign of illegal and abusive assertions of its declared-essential patents to try to coerce Apple into tolerating Samsung's continuing imitation of [the iPhone and the iPad]."



Apple also asserts that the F/RAND rules of standard-setting organizations "are designed to protect the telecommunications industry from the sort of anticompetitive ambush Samsung has perpetrated here."



Mueller noted that "Apple never accused Nokia of deceiving standard-setting organizations. Basically, Apple and Nokia just had a commercial dispute over the demands that an owner of FRAND-committed patents is allowed to make, but Nokia was transparent at all stages."



The scathing tone of Apple's most recent filings against Samsung suggest a similar level of outrage and frustration expressed in previous claims that Samsung was issuing delay tactics to avoid facing its day in court until it had introduced a wide variety of new products into the US market over the next year and a half, while also suggesting to the US court that Apple had "doctored evidence" in a separate case being argued in Europe. Apple successfully argued for an expedited trial that will begin this spring.



«134567

Comments

  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I'm not buying Apple's position on this matter.
  • dorotea9999dorotea9999 Posts: 25member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm not buying Apple's position on this matter.



    Please... Why?
  • hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 731member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dorotea9999 View Post


    Please... Why?



    Because I think it's a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. I know I'll have people screaming at me that this isn't related to Apple's patent wars at all, but whatever. I tend to agree that it's a bit disingenuous to complain about somebody suing you when you are suing them right back. It pretty much comes across as Apple screaming, "But they started it!!"
  • mbarriaultmbarriault Posts: 237member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Because I think it's a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. I know I'll have people screaming at me that this isn't related to Apple's patent wars at all, but whatever. I tend to agree that it's a bit disingenuous to complain about somebody suing you when you are suing them right back. It pretty much comes across as Apple screaming, "But they started it!!"



    While I'm certain there are exceptions on both sides, from what I've read it does seem to be the case that Apple infringes on core technology patents that should be useable by everyone, while Apple's patents being infringed upon are design patents where coming up with something different is possible. Case in point, Samsung modifies the Android app drawer (which has a unique scrolling design) to be a 4x5 grid of icons, bottom row static, and the 4x4 changing in discrete sets with a gray/white dot page indicator below - i.e., exactly like in every way to Springboard.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,138member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Because I think it's a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.



    Absolutely. +1
  • negafoxnegafox Posts: 479member
    Oh Apple, really..?
  • geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,121member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm not buying Apple's position on this matter.



    I would have to agree......
  • mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 6,752member
    In short: Apple successfully argued for an expedited trial that will begin this spring.



    Let the battle of Legal Staffs and Technical Staffs begin.
  • mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 6,752member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm not buying Apple's position on this matter.



    It doesn't matter you're not buying it. You have no privileged information over several years to see the reason for their legal actions.
  • jacksonsjacksons Posts: 244member
    DED - sell your Apple shares; it is impacting your ability to think clearly.
  • jonoromjonorom Posts: 293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm not buying Apple's position on this matter.



    Seriously, do you have a problem with the argument that F/RAND-encumbered patents should not/cannot be used as counterclaims in a patent suit? I am interested in your thoughts.
  • mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 6,752member
    Nice Report from M-CAM and Bloomberg Interview:





    M-CAM PDF Report: http://www.m-cam.com/sites/www.m-cam...20Mobility.pdf



    http://www.bloomberg.com/video/74556883/



    I hate it when web sites can't get their video feeds working for crap. Go here and the video never loads: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-0...rap-video.html



    After several tries and killing npviewer.bin a few times it finally loaded.



    It's rather ironic when he slams Google and talks about Arthur Anderson which was was a big customer of ours at NeXT.
  • urbansprawlurbansprawl Posts: 153member
    Uneducated comment, but I think there is a difference between protecting your designs and innovations and throwing old patents around or as this article talks about, patents for general, old standard technologies.



    Quite frankly though, I say it comes down to the consumer. I'd be ashamed to be carrying around a knock-off with poorer user experience. It's like when you don't want anyone to know your Coach bag is a knock off. From a distance, looks great. But the material is crap and the seams break open faster, etc.
  • walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Because I think it's a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. I know I'll have people screaming at me that this isn't related to Apple's patent wars at all, but whatever. I tend to agree that it's a bit disingenuous to complain about somebody suing you when you are suing them right back. It pretty much comes across as Apple screaming, "But they started it!!"



    I think it's probably a little more complicated than that. Unless patent law is notably simple.
  • tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    I'd be impressed if you could explain Apple's position on the matter. You certainly will not be able to do so merely by reading this article. Educating us on Samsung's patents at issue and FRAND licensing in general would be nice. In the very least, a follow up as to why you don't buy Apple's argument.



    Apple didn't make the same arguments with Nokia even though Nokia was also asserting FRAND patents. So, clearly Apple is not regurgitating arguments.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm not buying Apple's position on this matter.



  • tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Again, I'd be impressed if you could actually explain the difference between FRAND patents and unencumbered patents. If you understood that difference, you'd understand why it is not the same thing for Apple to be suing Samsung as it is for Samsung to be suing Apple.



    Samsung gave its patents up to a standards body so that Samsung could help create a standard whereby it wouldn't' have to compete with other competing technologies. Those patents are available for anybody to use. Apple doesn't need permission, although it might have to pay a reasonable and nondiscriminatory fee. Apple didn't give its patents up to create a standard. The difference is akin to somebody who offers to allow a bunch of kids to play with his basketball to complain when the kids actually played with his basketball [which is how Samsung is behaving], and the kids breaking into the owner of the basketball's house to steal the ball [Apple arguably is akin to the basketball owner here].



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Because I think it's a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. I know I'll have people screaming at me that this isn't related to Apple's patent wars at all, but whatever. I tend to agree that it's a bit disingenuous to complain about somebody suing you when you are suing them right back. It pretty much comes across as Apple screaming, "But they started it!!"



  • agramonteagramonte Posts: 345member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Because I think it's a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. I know I'll have people screaming at me that this isn't related to Apple's patent wars at all, but whatever. I tend to agree that it's a bit disingenuous to complain about somebody suing you when you are suing them right back. It pretty much comes across as Apple screaming, "But they started it!!"



    with you on that one.
  • macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • mode 5mode 5 Posts: 59member
    I don't know the details of all the various disputes going on, but the distinction here seems reasonable.



    So far Apple's dispute with sammy and others has centred around the manner in which their products are being mimicked in one way or another, that effects how Apple and "the consumer" differentiates their products from others.



    Google/Moto and Samsung on the other hand are trying to leverage tech standards they've developed and licence in defence of design practices intended to affect market perception.



    Ultimately, if the two are confused tech standards become weapons that have the power to lock competitors out completely, or threaten them into submission when the holder wants a piece of the blockbuster product action that Apple or others have developed on top of those standards. That definitely seems anticompetitive.



    Apples successful products with consumers is derived from their design prowess not the necessary standard tech that products need to conform to or are constructed with.
  • pokepoke Posts: 506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by urbansprawl View Post


    Uneducated comment, but I think there is a difference between protecting your designs and innovations and throwing old patents around or as this article talks about, patents for general, old standard technologies.



    Quite frankly though, I say it comes down to the consumer. I'd be ashamed to be carrying around a knock-off with poorer user experience. It's like when you don't want anyone to know your Coach bag is a knock off. From a distance, looks great. But the material is crap and the seams break open faster, etc.



    I think this is exactly right. Apple is trying to protect its products. These other companies are coming back with patents that have long been part of broadly licensed basic technologies. People are too quick to dismiss anything involving IP these days. There are legitimate, straightforward uses of intellectual property and releasing a highly innovative product only to have it copied is a clear cut example of something the courts should protect against.
Sign In or Register to comment.