Google says it won't support fair licensing in open standards as Apple, Microsoft, Cisco have

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


In a distinct departure from the agreement voiced between Apple, Cisco and Microsoft regarding the need for fair, transparent, understandable and consistent licensing policy for open standards, Google has promised to continue to wage Motorola's increasingly hostile patent wars.



While initially described in a report by Bloomberg as an assurance that Google would continue "Fair Licensing for Motorola Patents," along similar lines voiced by Apple, Cisco and Microsoft, a letter from Google to the IEEE standards body suggests just the opposite.



Despite waging a war in the court of public opinion last year in which Google boldly accused its competitors (principally Apple, Oracle and Microsoft) of waging a "bogus" "patent attack" on Android, Google letter to the IEEE indicates the company plans to maintain the same kind of closed, unreasonable patent demands it has long portrayed itself the victim of in patent lawsuits.



FOSS Patents writer Florian Mueller wrote today that Google's letter to standards bodies "indicates no improvement whatsoever over Motorola's FRAND litigation tactics," noting that while the letter "spans over four pages," it still "fails to provide satisfactory answers to those burning questions," issues related to the definition of fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory licensing and the use of injunctions as political theater to push unconscionable licensing terms on competitors trying to license standards essential intellectual property.



12-02-08 Google to IEEE on MMI Patents





Google's letters to the standards bodies "aren't meant to improve anything," Mueller writes. "Google is basically saying that it will do exactly what Motorola is already doing now."



Google "explicitly endorses" Motorola's position that 2.25 percent royalties of the "net selling price of end products" are "fair and reasonable," while leaving the door open to seek court injunctions against companies that are still negotiating these onerous terms, essentially using open standards to threatening to kill competitors' products untiles they agree to pay Motorola, soon to be a subsidiary of Google, significant ongoing royalties completely unrelated to the value those patents add to the overall product in question.



Mueller observed, "To me it looks like Google is taking an extreme position now so it can easily make concessions going forward. It would be a terrible precedent if regulators contented themselves with this."



He adds, "the third paragraph (out of 13) [in Google's IEEE letter] is totally sufficient to see that Google doesn't want to promise any improvement. It s commitment to be 'consistent with MMI's longstanding practice' -- less than a week after MMI just forced Apple to remove various products from its German online store over a standard-essential patent -- is a threat, not a reassurance."



Rather than asking for 2.25 percent royalties of chips that use standards patents, such as a 3G baseband component, Google is clearly stating that any product that incorporates a 3G chip must pay 2.25 percent royalties based on its list price, future that Mueller earlier estimated would amount to $10 per iPhone.



A year ago, Google complained that Microsoft's portfolio of a range of mobile patents it sought to win from various manufacturers, which amounted to around $15 in total per device, was a conspiracy to "make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile."



Google is now saying that one patent owned by Motorola is worth two thirds of Microsoft's entire mobile patent portfolio. Google also outlines a strategy for an "all-cash license option," which Mueller describes as "out of step with FRAND. It's prohibitive, with the sole purpose being to force other companies to let Google user their standards-unrelated patents."



In paying billions for Motorola and other patent troves, Google is working hard to buy the clout it hopes to use to enable it to continue to disregard existing members' intellectual property claims the same way Nokia and Samsung pursued: leverage essential standards as a way to gain access to the original patents of competitors.



Apple settled with Nokia but is still in legal contention with Samsung, Motorola and HTC. Apple has specifically complained that Android licenses are muddling the waters between the patents they have already contributed to standards (and which therefore have little bargaining power) and original patents argued by Apple, which its competitors could avoid infringing, work around or ignore as features.



Mueller concludes that Google's stance against transparency and fair licensing practices in open standards "boils down to saying that Google supports everything MMI has done, and after the acquisition, Google will continue those litigation tactics but obviously with far greater resources and a broader set of strategic objectives, all of which will result in an exacerbation of the problem."



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 17,193member
    What a surprise. Not.



    Looking for wisdom from Gatorguy... Not.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,525member
    And remember, folks,



    Don't be evil!
  • shadashshadash Posts: 470member
    Will be interesting to watch the next time Google needs something and the rest of the industry tells Page to have a Coke and a smile.



    Where is Gatorguy on this one? Not 8 hours ago he was sure Google was not going to continue Motorola's patent BS.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,115member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    What a surprise. Not.



    Looking for wisdom from Gatorguy... Not.



    LOL.



    Not a surprise. I just didn't think Google would come right out and say it. "Gives us our 2.25% tariff because we invented the threegees!" I was expecting them to wear their "don't be evil" tattoos on their sleeves so they could get away with it.
  • ajitmdajitmd Posts: 365member
    Can the take-over of Motorola be blocked on anti-trust grounds? If not by our DOJ, then by the EU? I think that Google is overreaching with their hubris.
  • nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Bl**dy Heck. It's going to be hard to keep my New Year's Resolution to be less anti-Google/Android/Samsung...!
  • jayinsfjayinsf Posts: 6member
    I think you mean "court injunctions", not "court injections"
  • drobforeverdrobforever Posts: 400member
    Mueller is just hired gun from MSFT, I won't believe a single thing from this guy. Now obviously GOOG is trying to attack Apple and MSFT with the patents from Motorola, I mean why else would they pay $12B for it? But the point is, Mueller is not to be trusted. If anything this guy would go against Apple the moment MSFT's WP started to get steam against the iDevices.
  • shadashshadash Posts: 470member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drobforever View Post


    Mueller is just hired gun from MSFT, I won't believe a single thing from this guy. Now obviously GOOG is trying to attack Apple and MSFT with the patents from Motorola, I mean why else would they pay $12B for it? But the point is, Mueller is not to be trusted. If anything this guy would go against Apple the moment MSFT's WP started to get steam against the iDevices.



    Evidence?
  • esummersesummers Posts: 871member
    I've had a hard time understanding why a phone needs to pay royalties for wireless patents that apply at the chipset level. Wouldn't the chipset manufacturer have to be the sole payer in a reasonable world? If they wanted to take it to the extreme, they could probably have the wireless chip plug in through an expansion port so they can avoid the royalties.
  • tomlawlertomlawler Posts: 48member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drobforever View Post


    Mueller is just hired gun from MSFT, I won't believe a single thing from this guy. Now obviously GOOG is trying to attack Apple and MSFT with the patents from Motorola, I mean why else would they pay $12B for it? But the point is, Mueller is not to be trusted. If anything this guy would go against Apple the moment MSFT's WP started to get steam against the iDevices.



    The arrogant greed of google is way beyond fabrication. Google is showing its corporate culture, top-down, and it stinks. Time to unplug from the matrix, guys!
  • swissmac2swissmac2 Posts: 216member
    Let's expand this nonsense.



    Every time you drive past a traffic light, you have to pay a toll to the inventor of the switch inside the lamp that changes the light colours; every time your flight lands you have to pay a royalty to the tyre manufacturer; every time you have an X-Ray taken you have to pay a royalty to the Marie Curie Institute because she discovered Radium.



    Yeah, Google, do no evil why dontcha!
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shadash View Post


    Evidence?



    He's probably referring to the fact that Mueller (who does consulting work for any number of clients) is currently working on a MS funded review of FRAND patents. It doesn't remotely make him "just a hired gun", and it's worth noting that this info is being spread by a Google engineer.



    Obviously, Google has a vested interest in discrediting Mueller, since he rarely puts Google in a flattering light. But being a bit hard on Google, and having MS as one of your clients, doesn't make you a hired gun.



    At any rate, anyone is free to judge for themselves the quality of his posts. There's no real point in distorting what the courts are doing to favor one player or another, since the results will be a matter of public record.
  • mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,104member
    Google's position comes close to evil. I'm not sure there is a fair and reasonable way to standardize licensing fees for FRAND patents, but opposition to the other two parts of the proposal, transparency and the bar on injunctions, is very evil.
  • iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,418member
    A judge has already ruled in Apple's favour on a contention that Motorola might have no choice but to make patents previously committed to FRAND licensing available under those terms. This judge also ruled in Apple's favour over the notion of possible antitrust against Motorola. Google might be digging itself a mighty deep hole!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PowerMach View Post


    Here's a link to court documents: http://articles.law360.s3.amazonaws....doc_num-93.pdf



    The court documents that you have cited are in regard to this case - 11-cv-178-bbc. Actually, the outcomes are quite damning toward Motorola. The court found in favour of Apple in all but one claim, the one being dismissed on technical grounds. Even in respect of antitrust behaviour below (taken verbatim from the court documents):



    b. Antitrust

    Apple contends that Motorola violated the antitrust laws by making false licensing commitments to standards setting organizations and by failing to disclose essential patents or applications to those organizations until after certain standards were adopted.




    The judge decided:



    Therefore I will deny Motorola?s motion to dismiss Apple?s counterclaims under § 2 of the Sherman Act and the California Business and Professional Code § 17200.



    Therefore, Apple was reasonable in claiming antitrust behaviour. Further (although of course, there is a lot more than just this), Apple claimed that Motorola was not a liberty to withdraw patents from FRAND conditions that it had previously claimed were essential and had committed to the standards bodies, resulting in this:



    d. Promissory estoppel

    To survive a motion to dismiss on a promissory estoppel claim, Apple must plead that Motorola made a promise that it should have reasonably expected to cause Apple to change its position, and that the promise caused Apple to change position in such a manner that injustice can be avoided only by enforcing the promise. Hoffman v. Red Owl Stores, Inc., 26 Wis. 2d 683, 693-94 133 N.W.2d 267, 273-74 (1965). Motorola contends that Apple?s promissory estoppel claim should be dismissed as inadequately pleaded because Apple has not alleged that Motorola made any promise to Apple. I disagree.
    (Judge's words.)



    So it seems that Motorola is attempting to use FRAND encumbered patents to prevent Apple using non-FRAND encumbered patents against Motorola and others. Apple is claiming essentially, that Motorola is committing fraud. The judge in this case it seems agrees...
  • whatisgoingonwhatisgoingon Posts: 273member
    Well, what do you expect? Google is paying how many billions for Motorola, of which pretty much their entire value is patents. They need to get at least 2X that back somehow.
  • iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,418member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


    I've had a hard time understanding why a phone needs to pay royalties for wireless patents that apply at the chipset level. Wouldn't the chipset manufacturer have to be the sole payer in a reasonable world? If they wanted to take it to the extreme, they could probably have the wireless chip plug in through an expansion port so they can avoid the royalties.



    Motorola revoked licenses to particular chip manufacturers, who at the time had valid licenses, well after Apple had not only designed those chips into products but had been manufacturing with them for some time.



    According to a judgement here:



    http://articles.law360.s3.amazonaws....doc_num-93.pdf



    Moto might be on the losing end of this. \
  • dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    Anyone notice in their letter that Google refers to the licensing standard as RAND instead of FRAND, which effectively drops the word FAIR from the acronym? \



    Obviously they don't want to be fair.
  • cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,115member
    What's fair?

    Apple's patented multitouch technology isn't part of any standard but Apple's own.

    Therefore Apple should charge Android manufacturers 200% of the handset selling price.

    Oh, and sue the cr@p out of Googola if the merger is allowed.
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post


    Motorola revoked licenses to particular chip manufacturers, who at the time had valid licenses, well after Apple had not only designed those chips into products but had been manufacturing with them for some time.



    According to a judgement here:



    http://articles.law360.s3.amazonaws....doc_num-93.pdf



    Moto might be on the losing end of this. \



    That link isn't working for me.
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