Originally Posted by Lyrrad
The article seems to be equating Motorola Mobility's allegedly outrageous behaviour with its H.264 patents demanding a 2.25% royalty, and then suggesting that a royalty rate of 2.25% for a 3G patent is equally outrageous. Without more information about the patents in these areas it is difficult to evaluate this argument.
I've been trying to track this issue for some time. Basically, this guy Mueller sources about 110% of all the real information; if he doesn't report it, it goes unsaid. FossPatents.BlogSpot.Com
. Read his conflict statement and be as careful as he is about separating fact & opinion you sound like the type who'll be able to do so, but this is a huge, complex area and it may not be easy.
On to your concerns that this sounds like people have their hair on fire: there were something like 1200 patents that went into the various pieces of the GSM standard; if you don't implement all, you don't have a GSM capable device. If each one is worth 2.25% of your product, you would have to pay about $18,000 on a $600 phone. See a possible case that 2.25% each might not be reasonable? Obviously, nobody is paying that. And the claim that the IP Moto gets from other GSM Musketeers (all for one & one for all) makes it fair still can't hold water. This is simply an attempt to lock Apple out of GSM telephones in Europe. Period.
The MPEG-LA deal is even stranger. You can go to their website and see their claim that THEY license AVC/h.264 as a pool. So why is Moto, which put its patents into the pool, trying to separately sue Microsoft over Windows 7, IE9, WMP and Xbox, when Microsoft is already a licensor of the patents? And why at a rate that is many times as much as MPEG-LA's claimed rate? Supposedly, when these firms all agreed to put their patents into a pool, they agreed to a split on the (very modest) licensing revenues, and a company that wants to implement it can sign one deal, not worrying about one individual such as Moto holding them up. I never saw a formal count of the h.264 patents, but scanning thru the list, with possible overlaps due to multiple countries, I'd guess 3,000 of 'em. Who is going to implement h.264 if they have to negotiate a separate deal for each, especially when a holdout can perform highway robbery?
The MPEG-LA deal has an explicit promise of FRAND, and it's totally bizarre that this can happen. I hope we'll hear them describe why anybody should ever trust them again. Maybe they only cover US licenses? I am not an expert here, just a hobbyist following the issue, but something makes zero sense.
The GSM deal has an even more interesting history. Moto was one of a handful of companies that invented the GSM standard with the intent of splitting up the business between 'em. You can Google & find some academic and industry papers that claim Moto was active in keeping Japanese competitors out of the European market, and slowing GSM's acceptance in other markets, for its purposes way back in the 90s. This appears to have been tolerated because the various government-owned telecoms wanted to promote the European businesses (Nokia, Ericcson, Alcatel, ..., look 'em up) and so turned a blind eye to blatant anti-trust actions. To get the GSM accepted around the world, the patent-holders went low-key on rights, but I don't think there's ANY formal commitment on the books to do anything Fair, Reasonable or Non-Discriminatory. (In this regard, I think Mr. Mueller has not paid enough attention to specific rules and contracts, relying too much on common sense and sound legal principles in normal times, quite a plus, but not so much here, I fear.)
The one thing that this news DOES confirm is my suspicion last August that Motorola rushed Google into buying them by pulling the pin on a grenade of a huge patent kerfuffle against any & all. At the time, Jha and Icahn (CEO & biggest shareholder, respectively) said they were going after newcomers in smartphones, which many took to mean the Android partners, to exploit their patent holdings. That would've killed Android, so Google paid whatever it had to fell on the grenade to shut up Moto.
Does the fact that Google offered NO assurances to the EU anti-trust regulators by today's deadline mean that they are going to let go of the deal, and Moto is free to make a mockery of Schmidt's bogus patents claim? It's too bad that no real journalists have seriously picked up on this thread (only some lightweight stories quoting Mueller in Bloomberg, the WSJ, NYT and the Guardian) because it sure looks HUGE about the future of Android and the whole smartphone industry.