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ITC judge finds Apple in violation of one Motorola Wi-Fi patent

post #1 of 47
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A judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission has deemed that Apple's products violate one Motorola Mobility patent related to Wi-Fi technology.

The judge's findings are still subject to review by the six members of the ITC, according to Bloomberg. But the ruling by ITC Judge Thomas Pender puts Motorola one step closer to potentially blocking the importation of Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Pender found that Apple violated just one of four patents that Motorola had claimed in its ITC case. Motorola Mobility's entire patent portfolio will soon be Google's, presuming Chinese authorities approve the $12.5 billion acquisition.

The other three patents cited by Motorola in the case are related to the way a server tracks available applications, proximity sensors to prevent accidental button presses, and another related to Wi-Fi.

Motorola first sued Apple for alleged patent infringement in October of 2010. The original complaint included 18 total patents, ranging from 3G, to GPRS, to 802.11 wireless and antenna design.

The decision revealed on Tuesday is the second victory in as many days for Motorola. On Monday, ITC Judge David Shaw ruled that Microsoft's Xbox gaming consoles infringe on patents owned by Motorola Mobility.
post #2 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission has deemed that Apple's products violate one Motorola Mobility patent related to Wi-Fi technology.

The judge's findings are still subject to review by the six members of the ITC, according to Bloomberg. But the ruling by ITC Judge Thomas Pender puts Motorola one step closer to potentially blocking the importation of Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad.
 

 

 

This sounds like very bad news for Apple.    

 

That being said, I can't imagine that imports of Apple WiFi enabled devices will ever be banned.  This can be solved by Apple paying money, so I don't understand how blocking imports would be a reasonable path to follow.  

 

If the ITC is right about the merits, Apple can and will pony up.  

 

What remedies are available with the ITC?  I'm assuming that they can award damages, and not just issue injunctions.

post #3 of 47
Incredibly boring. In the end there will be cross licenses etc for the non essential patents and fair licenses for essential patents. And along the way Motorola will probably get their knuckles wrapped for trying to double dip on frand patents.
post #4 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Incredibly boring. In the end there will be cross licenses etc for the non essential patents and fair licenses for essential patents. And along the way Motorola will probably get their knuckles wrapped for trying to double dip on frand patents.

 

What I find most annoying about this is that, once gain, Apple is accused of violating a FRAND-encumbered patent that Motorola has chosen to offer only in a discriminatory manner. I truly hope the EC and FTC look into these practices (by ALL parties) and takes action. My personal belief is that once a patent is declared standards-essential and available through FRAND terms, that the patent holder must publish pricing included any opportunity for discounts. "Non-discriminatory" should mean that all companies have access at the same price.


Edited by penchanted - 4/24/12 at 12:16pm
post #5 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Incredibly boring. In the end there will be cross licenses etc for the non essential patents and fair licenses for essential patents.

 

The problem with this theory is that Apple is reputed to be unwilling to license some of their non-essential patents, and also IIRC owns relatively few essential patents.

 

If they can't or won't trade in patents, they might have little choice but to trade in dollars.  


Edited by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz - 4/24/12 at 11:23am
post #6 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

 My personal belief is that once a patent is declared standards-essential and available through FRAND terms, that the patent holder must publish pricing included any opportunity for discounts. "Non-discriminatory" should mean that all companies have access at the same price.

 

Not all companies deserve the same price or terms.   A company buying a small volume, who is also close to bankruptcy will not get the same terms as an industry giant who is willing, for example, to pay substantial interest (or maybe a higher price) for the priviledge of significant dating terms.

 

It would not make good economic sense to treat different customers all the same.  No competent vendor does that.

 

 

Think about it this way:  Say Samsung wanted to pay you a lot to use your tech in the new Galaxy S III, but wanted to delay payment until after the phone goes on sale.  You might well agree to that.

 

But if RIM wanted to pay the same amount, and wanted to delay payment until after their new phone came out, you might turn that down, because you might be afraid that you would never get paid.  Indeed, you might charge RIM a higher price and demand pre-payment on a certain guaranteed minimum volume (to cover, at least, your transaction costs).  

 

Different buyers get different prices and different terms for different reasons.


Edited by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz - 4/24/12 at 11:28am
post #7 of 47

So what happens when all these patent lawsuits are finally settled? Is any company going to be able to import anything? And if Motorola somehow succeeds in blocking the Xbox 360, the iPad and the iPhone from American buyers, who do they think is going to then turn around and buy crap from them?

post #8 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j1h15233 View Post

So what happens when all these patent lawsuits are finally settled? Is any company going to be able to import anything? And if Motorola somehow succeeds in blocking the Xbox 360, the iPad and the iPhone from American buyers, who do they think is going to then turn around and buy crap from them?

 

one company tells another - I will block half your stuff - the other one says - If you do that I will block half your stuff -

 

they both settle and do a cross license agreement - they just trying to make Apple and Microsoft realize they can do as much damage as they can.

post #9 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j1h15233 View Post

So what happens when all these patent lawsuits are finally settled? Is any company going to be able to import anything? And if Motorola somehow succeeds in blocking the Xbox 360, the iPad and the iPhone from American buyers, who do they think is going to then turn around and buy crap from them?

 

In the estimation of some, there will be a larger number of better products once all these patent lawsuits are finally settled.

 

And once pataent laws are substantially reformed, so they say, things will be even better than that.

post #10 of 47

This will come to a head when Apple throws its "Multi-Touch" patents at everyone in the industry.

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post #11 of 47

If Steve truly wanted to go thermonuclear on Google he would have offered to buy Moto Mobility a long time ago. It was obvious 2 years ago that Moto Mobility was the last nail in the coffin for Android.

 

As it is...

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post #12 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j1h15233 View Post

So what happens when all these patent lawsuits are finally settled? Is any company going to be able to import anything? And if Motorola somehow succeeds in blocking the Xbox 360, the iPad and the iPhone from American buyers, who do they think is going to then turn around and buy crap from them?

 

You assume that settling the lawsuits will result in injunctions, which is unrealistic. The most desirable outcome is cross-licensing, allowing everyone adequate access to the technology and rewarding the IP rights holder.

post #13 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j1h15233 View Post

So what happens when all these patent lawsuits are finally settled? Is any company going to be able to import anything? And if Motorola somehow succeeds in blocking the Xbox 360, the iPad and the iPhone from American buyers, who do they think is going to then turn around and buy crap from them?

 

You assume that settling the lawsuits will result in injunctions, which is unrealistic. The most desirable outcome is cross-licensing, allowing everyone adequate access to the technology and rewarding the IP rights holder.

 

He meant "settle by a judge" and not "settled by the parties".  His language was sloppy, but his point was clear.

post #14 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

 

 

You assume that settling the lawsuits will result in injunctions, which is unrealistic. The most desirable outcome is cross-licensing, allowing everyone adequate access to the technology and rewarding the IP rights holder.

 

SJ dead = Thermonuclear dead = cross-licensing = lawyers win

post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post
SJ dead = Thermonuclear dead = cross-licensing = lawyers win

 

I somehow doubt that.

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post #16 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

 

 

SJ dead = Thermonuclear dead = cross-licensing = lawyers win

 

= Consumers win = Stockholders Win = Stupid emotional vendettas lose

post #17 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

 

He meant "settle by a judge" and not "settled by the parties".  His language was sloppy, but his point was clear.

 

What I should have said is what happens when all these lawsuits are resolved or finished. I didn't mean settled the way it read.

post #18 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

 

= Consumers win = Stockholders Win = Stupid emotional vendettas lose

 

lol yeah.

post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


Not all companies deserve the same price or terms.   A company buying a small volume, who is also close to bankruptcy will not get the same terms as an industry giant who is willing, for example, to pay substantial interest (or maybe a higher price) for the priviledge of significant dating terms.

 

It would not make good economic sense to treat different customers all the same.  No competent vendor does that.

 

 

Think about it this way:  Say Samsung wanted to pay you a lot to use your tech in the new Galaxy S III, but wanted to delay payment until after the phone goes on sale.  You might well agree to that.

 

But if RIM wanted to pay the same amount, and wanted to delay payment until after their new phone came out, you might turn that down, because you might be afraid that you would never get paid.  Indeed, you might charge RIM a higher price and demand pre-payment on a certain guaranteed minimum volume (to cover, at least, your transaction costs).  

 

Different buyers get different prices and different terms for different reasons.

If they didn't want to abide by FRAND rules, then they shouldn't have offered their patents as FRAND. Non-discriminatory means exactly that. You can't charge one customer $5 and another $15.

post #20 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


Not all companies deserve the same price or terms.   A company buying a small volume, who is also close to bankruptcy will not get the same terms as an industry giant who is willing, for example, to pay substantial interest (or maybe a higher price) for the priviledge of significant dating terms.

 

It would not make good economic sense to treat different customers all the same.  No competent vendor does that.

 

 

Think about it this way:  Say Samsung wanted to pay you a lot to use your tech in the new Galaxy S III, but wanted to delay payment until after the phone goes on sale.  You might well agree to that.

 

But if RIM wanted to pay the same amount, and wanted to delay payment until after their new phone came out, you might turn that down, because you might be afraid that you would never get paid.  Indeed, you might charge RIM a higher price and demand pre-payment on a certain guaranteed minimum volume (to cover, at least, your transaction costs).  

 

Different buyers get different prices and different terms for different reasons.

If they didn't want to abide by FRAND rules, then they shouldn't have offered their patents as FRAND. Non-discriminatory means exactly that. You can't charge one customer $5 and another $15.

 

There is no FRAND rule that says all buyers get the same price and terms.

post #21 of 47

Funny how MOT was never good at software, so what happens?  They get acquired by a software company.  Go figure.  

post #22 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

If they didn't want to abide by FRAND rules, then they shouldn't have offered their patents as FRAND. Non-discriminatory means exactly that. You can't charge one customer $5 and another $15.

 

Not that you're entirely wrong but your $5 and $15 example COULD be FRAND in some case. The problem is there are no specific terms or rules or much of anything outside of the acronym. R is for reasonable, what really is that? Non Discriminatory actually means treat in a similar manner not exact formula, but again, what really is that? Who determines? It's apparently clear FRAND is really half baked, maybe because it's never been tested till now but it almost seems like the whole thing has been a ticking bomb to me. The rules for this should be much clearer.

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post #23 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

 

Not all companies deserve the same price or terms.   A company buying a small volume, who is also close to bankruptcy will not get the same terms as an industry giant who is willing, for example, to pay substantial interest (or maybe a higher price) for the priviledge of significant dating terms.

 

It would not make good economic sense to treat different customers all the same.  No competent vendor does that.

 

 

Think about it this way:  Say Samsung wanted to pay you a lot to use your tech in the new Galaxy S III, but wanted to delay payment until after the phone goes on sale.  You might well agree to that.

 

But if RIM wanted to pay the same amount, and wanted to delay payment until after their new phone came out, you might turn that down, because you might be afraid that you would never get paid.  Indeed, you might charge RIM a higher price and demand pre-payment on a certain guaranteed minimum volume (to cover, at least, your transaction costs).  

 

Different buyers get different prices and different terms for different reasons.

You make some good arguments but most all of these situations could be "scheduled." Certainly, volume discounting is a standard practice.

 

The point you make about Samsung and RIM is a good point but clearly many of these situations can be handled as payment penalties and pre-payment rewards (discounts) — all standard practice in industry any way.

 

In general, for something to be non-discriminatory, the base price needs to be the same for everyone. Whatever deals get done will, of course, reflect the business aspects of the purchase. But it is hard to believe that Apple would not see the most generous of discounts based on their volume and their viability as a business (how many business can prepay for products years in advance). It sounds like Moto is trying to get Apple to pay more than others even though they should be eligible for most-favorable pricing.

 

post #24 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

 

Not all companies deserve the same price or terms.   A company buying a small volume, who is also close to bankruptcy will not get the same terms as an industry giant who is willing, for example, to pay substantial interest (or maybe a higher price) for the priviledge of significant dating terms.

 

It would not make good economic sense to treat different customers all the same.  No competent vendor does that....

I don't agree with this.  

 

What you're saying makes sense economically, but this is a point of law.  I don't see how economics or what's good for the company should enter into it.  

 

The law is the law.  I don't know precisely how the law works in these situations but treating one company different from another, (especially different prices for the same thing), *should* be almost the definition of "discriminatory."

 

post #25 of 47

I imagine that will be appealed.  AFIK it was Apple & Lucent that created WiFi in the first place, so I don't know how Moto would have any patents on it... Of course I don't know the whole history of that standard's development.

post #26 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

 

 

... R is for reasonable, what really is that? ... 

 

There is a legal definition of "reasonable" though.  

 

It's usually taken to be "whatever a reasonable person considers to be reasonable," which sounds like a tautology but actually isn't.  

 

A jury is usually employed to determine within the given context, what is "reasonable."  

post #27 of 47

To an unreasonable person, their reasons may seem reasonable.

 

Incidentally, why the heck do we even have a "reply" button? It serves the function of posting an original, non-quoting post. The "Quote" button makes sense, the "Multi" button makes sense... Shouldn't the "Reply" button just say "Post a Reply"? Because we've got one of those too!

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post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

 My personal belief is that once a patent is declared standards-essential and available through FRAND terms, that the patent holder must publish pricing included any opportunity for discounts. "Non-discriminatory" should mean that all companies have access at the same price.

 

Not all companies deserve the same price or terms.   A company buying a small volume, who is also close to bankruptcy will not get the same terms as an industry giant who is willing, for example, to pay substantial interest (or maybe a higher price) for the priviledge of significant dating terms.

 

It would not make good economic sense to treat different customers all the same.  No competent vendor does that.

 

 

Think about it this way:  Say Samsung wanted to pay you a lot to use your tech in the new Galaxy S III, but wanted to delay payment until after the phone goes on sale.  You might well agree to that.

 

But if RIM wanted to pay the same amount, and wanted to delay payment until after their new phone came out, you might turn that down, because you might be afraid that you would never get paid.  Indeed, you might charge RIM a higher price and demand pre-payment on a certain guaranteed minimum volume (to cover, at least, your transaction costs).  

 

Different buyers get different prices and different terms for different reasons.


There are 2 issues with your argument:

1. Who ever said that ip licensing was done on credit?

2. By your argument, apple should get a better deal than others since, being the industry leader with the largest pile of cash, there is zero risk that it would default on its obligation to pay.
post #29 of 47

Apple buys these WIFI chips from manufactures that pay FRAND licensing for it.
Why should Apple pay double? 

Crazy law system... 

 

BTW:The people who believe Apple should have bought Motorola Mobile:

It is perfect for Apple that Google manufactures Android devices. Only then can Apple sue Google directly for all the patents that Android breaks.
(and Android breaks patens. Thats the only reason why all Android OEM exempt 2 pays 5-15 dollars to MSFT in protection fee. The funny thing is that MSFT

license Windows Mobile 7.5 for 5 dollars to Nokia. In many cases its much cheaper to buy Windows Mobile then the "free" Android. 

 

 

post #30 of 47

Has no-one told this judges that only Apple patents are valid?

post #31 of 47
Wake me when there's an injection. Otherwise, yawn.

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post #32 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Incredibly boring. In the end there will be cross licenses etc for the non essential patents and fair licenses for essential patents. And along the way Motorola will probably get their knuckles wrapped for trying to double dip on frand patents.

 

Well, the cross-licensing of essential patents is really what Moto and ultimately Google wants, so they can get Apple off their backs with the Android infringement issues.

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post #33 of 47

That's the beauty of "fair" it's subject to interpretation.

 

It's perfectly "fair" to charge one client 1$ and another client 5$ when the guy selling the 1$ product is marking it up by 10% and the guy you're charging 5$ is marking up their products by 50%.

 

Just as it's perfectly "fair" for apple to charge you a 699$ for something that costs them 250$ to make.

Just as it's perfectly "fair" for kindle to sell you a product at a loss on their part.

Just as it's perfectly "fair" for apple to gouge the app store for 30% of the developers profits.

Just as it's perfectly "fair" for apple to relock your legally unlocked device and patch up any holes you had to dig through to legally unlock your personally owned device.

 

The list of "fair" can go on forever. That's the beauty of fair. Fair is not equal. Fair is interpretation.

 

Apple makes great products. Incorporated into those great products are great technologies many of which apple had no part in developing. So let everyone gouge apple just as apple has been gouging their consumers.

 

You think if motorola said ya know what apple? We like you. So go ahead, use everything you need free of charge, you think they would be like "Hrm, ya know what? We just shaved off 58$ off the cost of our ipad thanks to motorola's kindness and the kindness of others, let's drop the iPad price. What do you think?" And the short answer would be "nah"

post #34 of 47

FRAND is very specific as to what is fair and reasonable. The terms are all applied. Non-descriminatory means that all companies wanting to use a specific tech under a FRAND patent are offered the same terms. It also means that a company wanting to use a FRAND patent does NOT have to offer up it's own IP to do so.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reasonable_and_non-discriminatory_licensing

 

Each of the terms by itself is largely useless, but when taken together as a unit, they are clear as to what is fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory. For example, if Motorola is wanting to require cross-licensing as a term of agreement for a FRAND patent, that would violate the FAIR clause under FRAND.

 

 

Fair relates mainly to the underlying licensing terms. Drawing from anti-trust/competition law; fair terms means terms which are not anti-competitive and that would not be considered unlawful if imposed by a dominant firm in their relative market. Examples of terms that would breach this commitment are; requiring licensees to buy licenses for products that they do not want in order to get a license for the products they do want (bundling), requiring licensees to license their own IP to the licensor for free (free grant backs) and including restrictive conditions on licensees’ dealings with competitors (mandatory exclusivity).

Reasonable refers mainly to the licensing rates. According to some, a reasonable licensing rate is a rate charged on licenses which would not result in an unreasonable aggregate rate if all licensees were charged a similar rate. According to this view, aggregate rates that would significantly increase the cost to the industry and make the industry uncompetitive are unreasonable. It is worth noting that a licensor which has several different licensing packages might be tempted to have both reasonable and unreasonable packages. However having a reasonable “bundled” rate does not excuse having unreasonable licensing rates for smaller unbundled packages. All licensing rates must be reasonable.

Non-discriminatory relates to both the terms and the rates included in licensing agreements. As the name suggests this commitment requires that licensors treat each individual licensee in a similar manner. This does not mean that the rates and payment terms can’t change dependent on the volume and creditworthiness of the licensee. However it does mean that the underlying licensing condition included in a licensing agreement must be the same regardless of the licensee. This obligation is included in order to maintain a level playing field with respect to existing competitors and to ensure that potential new entrants are free to enter the market on the same basis.

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post #35 of 47

I thought a european court had already invalidated that patent because of the FRAND infraction by Moto...?

post #36 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbum View Post

I thought a european court had already invalidated that patent because of the FRAND infraction by Moto...?

 

No, the patent has not been invalidated in the US or Europe

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post #37 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

 

 

This sounds like very bad news for Apple.    

 

Not even close. Many ITC decisions are overturned by the full panel of judges. And the ones that are not are often overturned by the district court.

And even if Moto wins this one, if it's a FRAND encumbered patent (I didn't see that the article said one way or the other, but everyone here is acting like it is), then all they'll get is whatever license fee they are charging everyone else - which would be chump change for Apple.


Unfortunately, the article is very short on details. It is not clear whether Apple was able to argue FRAND in front of the ITC judge and it is also unclear whether Apple was able to argue patent exhaustion.

In any event, we're a long way from the fat lady singing on this one - far too early for your doom and gloom.

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post #38 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

 

 

SJ dead = Thermonuclear dead = cross-licensing = lawyers win

 

Most of the lawyers are most likely employees of the companies and are getting paid a salary by those companies.

SO they win by having a job. They don't reap big windfalls when they win a case.

post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

… if it's a FRAND encumbered patent (I didn't see that the article said one way or the other, but everyone here is acting like it is)…

According to FOSS Patents, it is a FRAND patent.
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

No, the patent has not been invalidated in the US or Europe

Apparently not invalidated, but Apple did win a determination that they did not infringe this patent in Germany.
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