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Apple could see U.S. import ban following ITC review of Motorola patent win

post #1 of 64
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The U.S. International Trade Commission on Monday announced that it will review an April ruling that found certain Apple products to infringe upon a Motorola Wi-Fi patent, possibly leading to an import ban on products utilizing the technology.

The ITC review is the next step in seeking a ban against the offending Apple products, which include the iPhone and iPad, and follows the initial ruling rendered by Judge Thomas Pender in April that deemed the company violated one of four Motorola Mobility patents.

As noted by All Things D, the commission's review is being driven by petitions from both Motorola and Apple concerning claim construction, validity and infringement. Apple is also looking to bring FRAND licensing practices into the case by arguing whether the patent should even be enforced.

As noted in the ITC's review statement, the commission is requesting further information from Motorola on the following FRAND-related matters:
  • If the record of an investigation lacks evidence sufficient to support a RAND-based
    affirmative defense (e.g., equitable estoppel, implied license, waiver, etc.), under what
    circumstances (if any) should a RAND obligation nonetheless preclude issuance of an
    exclusion order?

  • Does the mere existence of a RAND obligation preclude issuance of an exclusion
    order?

  • Should a patent owner that has refused to offer a license to a named respondent in a
    Commission investigation on a RAND obligated patent be able to obtain an exclusion
    order?

  • Should a patent owner that has refused to offer a license on a RAND obligated patent
    to some entity (regardless of whether that entity is a named respondent in a
    Commission investigation) be able to obtain an exclusion order?

  • Should a patent owner that has refused to negotiate a license on RAND terms with a
    named respondent in a Commission investigation be precluded from obtaining an
    exclusion order?

  • Should a patent owner that has refused to negotiate a license on RAND terms with
    some entity (regardless of whether that entity is a named respondent in a Commission
    investigation) be precluded from obtaining an exclusion order?

  • Should a patent owner who has offered a RAND license that the named respondent in
    a Commission investigation has rejected be precluded from obtaining an exclusion
    order?

In raising the FRAND issue, Apple has managed to obtain support from outside parties that have submitted letters to the ITC in favor of the company's argument. The FTC, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Verizon, the Business Software Alliance, and the Association for Competitive Technology are among those who filed public statements, a sampling of which can be found here.



At issue is Motorola's U.S. Patent No. 6,246,697 for a "Method and system for generating a complex pseudonoise sequence for processing a code division multiple access signal" was granted in 2001 and describes timing and phase angles for wireless chips to be used in Wi-Fi applications.

Motorola Wi-Fi Patent
Illustration from Motorola's Wi-Fi technology patent. | Source: USPTO


Motorola, now owned by Google, first sued Apple in 2010 for alleged infringement on a range of wireless communications patents. The iPhone maker filed a countersuit with the ITC but the commission ultimately cleared Motorola of any wrongdoing in March.

Along with the '697 patent, the ITC will also review arguments related to the remaining three patents thrown out by Judge Pender during the initial decision, effectively putting all four in the realm of discussion. The six-member commission expects to give a final judgment on Motorola's assertions by August and both Apple and Motorola will release answers to the ITC's questions in the coming weeks.
post #2 of 64

Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.
 

post #3 of 64

So one judge (Posner) says that banning a Motorola device would be "catastrophic and hurtful" to users in denying and dismissing both company's lawsuits. Now the ITC might possibly ban Apple products and that would not be catastrophic and hurtful to users? Is that about it?

post #4 of 64
Good thing Google is above all this patent nonsense. Remember back when they didn't have patents, no one shuld be suing anyone over patents, especially essential patents. Now that they have patents, FIRE EVERYTHING!
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post #5 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.

 
Perhaps you don't really care about IP rights here but have another agenda; just perhaps...
post #6 of 64

Not mentioned is that the ITC review may throw one or more of three Moto patents back into play that Judge Pender deemed either not infringed by Apple or not valid for the case at hand. I don't know if any of those 3 are FRAND-pledged, but with FOSSPatents making no assertion that they are I'm going to guess they are not. I don't think he'd miss a chance to mention it.

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post #7 of 64
Wait till Motorola gets your xBox consoles banned in the U.S. as well.

Then you'll really be feeling the love for them...
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post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

So one judge (Posner) says that banning a Motorola device would be "catastrophic and hurtful" to users in denying and dismissing both company's lawsuits. Now the ITC might possibly ban Apple products and that would not be catastrophic and hurtful to users? Is that about it?

 

 

The catastrophic nature of the ban is not currently on the table.  I'm not even sure if it is relevant here.

post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Wait till Motorola gets your xBox consoles banned in the U.S. as well.
Then you'll really be feeling the love for them...

Won't ever happen IMHO. If it came to that the inevitable cross-licensing agreement would come sooner rather than later. That's what this is all about anyway.

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post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

So one judge (Posner) says that banning a Motorola device would be "catastrophic and hurtful" to users in denying and dismissing both company's lawsuits. Now the ITC might possibly ban Apple products and that would not be catastrophic and hurtful to users? Is that about it?

Posner may be all high and mighty but his ruling demonstrates what is wrong with our system. It is the same crap that goes on when somebody kills another in front of witnesses, who is brought in for questioning and they say he didn't understand his rights completely and the the confession he gave them is not usable and they wouldn't have known any other way who saw it if he hadn't spoke up so that is fruit from the poisonous tree and they let the guy walk.

Posner may see some great law theory here which I'm sure gives him and his law buddies wood but it also ends up shove that same wood where it should never have been.

Wake up -- he can't see the forest for the trees. I know its all wood but can't you tell the pine freak the oak?
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Not mentioned is that the ITC review may throw one or more of three Moto patents back into play that Judge Pender deemed either not infringed by Apple or not valid for the case at hand. I don't know if any of those 3 are FRAND-pledged, but with FOSSPatents making no assertion that they are I'm going to guess they are not. I don't think he'd miss a chance to mention it.

Did you mean Posner -- I don't remember a Pender?
post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


Did you mean Posner -- I don't remember a Pender?

Nope. I mean Thomas Pender. Posner was the Judge in Moto/Microsoft. Tough to keep all these players straight, I know

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post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

Good thing Google is above all this patent nonsense. Remember back when they didn't have patents, no one shuld be suing anyone over patents, especially essential patents. Now that they have patents, FIRE EVERYTHING!

I'm guessing that you think Google has initiated some IP infringement cases against one or more of it's mobile competitors? They have not that I'm aware of. This case is an old one filed by Motorola long before Google even showed any interest in them.

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post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Won't ever happen IMHO. If it came to that the inevitable cross-licensing agreement would come sooner rather than later. That's what this is all about anyway.

You don't think the same thing will happen with Apple?

The cool thing about litigation is that it usually just comes down to, not justice, but one party taking money off another.

Worse case scenario, Apple's got tons of money, and Motorola, a company like many others that focusses on bottom-lines and not top products, will take it.

Apple continues business unaffected, dinosaur eats man, woman inherits the Earth.
Edited by GTR - 6/25/12 at 5:34pm
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post #15 of 64

That's why you don't want judges making the decisions about that sort of thing.  Because the next case comes up to another judge and you get a totally different outcome.  Lack of predictability in the justice system is a very bad thing.

post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post


You don't think the same thing will happen with Apple?
The cool thing about litigation is that it usually just comes down to, not justice, but one party taking money off another.
Worse case scenario, Apple's got tons of money, and Motorola, a company like many others that focusses on bottom-lines and not top products, will take it.

I don't see any reason Apple wouldn't cross-license with Motorola just as they did with Nokia. Both cases involved FRAND-pledged IP, and both had threats of injunctions hanging over them. Apple and Moto, and Moto/MS are just jockeying for position now. I think the courts are catching on to that too.

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post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post


You don't think the same thing will happen with Apple?
 

 

 

If Apple really did steal Motorola's IP, then their products should be banned.

post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.

 

Motorola filed this suit. And if FRAND applies, legally there can't be any bans

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post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.
 

 

 

Laughable.

 

Won't happen. 

post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post

 

 

If Apple really did steal Motorola's IP, then their products should be banned.

IMHO, won't happen for the reasons I stated above. I've no doubt that Apple knows Google holds IP rights they probably need licensing to. Some came from IBM, some from Moto and perhaps a few from other sources. Google well knows that without a license from Apple for some of their IP the lawsuits and business aggravations will continue and some Android licensees will suffer losses. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find there's already been some outreach from both sides on the potential for an agreement and the details that are standing in the way.

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post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


Laughable.

Won't happen. 

What professional basis is your claim made under?
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post #22 of 64

In my best Admiral Stockdale voice:

 

This sure makes copyleft look like a smart idea.

post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.

 

Right... Apple should unilaterally disarm.
post #24 of 64

Seems odd that Motorola can sue over a Wi-fi patents since Apple does not make its own Wi-fi chips as far as I know.  They purchase chips from companies like Broadcom that Apple then integrates into their devices.  These chips are similar to wi-fi chips used in other manufacturers devices.  

 

To create and sell these chips companies like Broadcom would be required to pay the license fees (and pass the cost on to its customers).  Many of these companies may also hold patents related to Wi-fi that also fall into the FRAND category - essential to the standard so the patent owners have agreed to include them in the standard for everyone to use in return for licensing fees.  Holders of essential patents to standards will often form cross-licensibng agreements to counter each others contributions.  So Broadcom might make a deal with Motorola allowing the use of their patents in return for Motorola letting Broadcom using theirs.  It would seem like some fees or deal would have been made before the chips were 

 

But unless Apple is designing and building its own wi-fi chips it seems likely that licensing was already covered by the makers of the wi-fi chips that Apple does use, just like every other company that uses those chips.  So Motorola seems to be asking to get paid twice.  But then Motorola does not want to negotiate according to Apple's filings.

 

Bottom line - if Motorola did win this case, every other wi-fi device not made by Motorola could also be banned from the market.

post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

Bottom line - if Motorola did win this case, every other wi-fi device not made by Motorola could also be banned from the market.

 

Even-more-bottom line: lull in Apple news/rumors between WWDC and the Mountain Lion release, gotta post *something*.

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post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

Seems odd that Motorola can sue over a Wi-fi patents since Apple does not make its own Wi-fi chips as far as I know.  They purchase chips from companies like Broadcom that Apple then integrates into their devices.  These chips are similar to wi-fi chips used in other manufacturers devices.  

 

 

To create and sell these chips companies like Broadcom would be required to pay the license fees (and pass the cost on to its customers).  Many of these companies may also hold patents related to Wi-fi that also fall into the FRAND category - essential to the standard so the patent owners have agreed to include them in the standard for everyone to use in return for licensing fees.  Holders of essential patents to standards will often form cross-licensibng agreements to counter each others contributions.  So Broadcom might make a deal with Motorola allowing the use of their patents in return for Motorola letting Broadcom using theirs.  It would seem like some fees or deal would have been made before the chips were 

 

...

 

 


Bottom line - if Motorola did win this case, every other wi-fi device not made by Motorola could also be banned from the market.

 

 

I don't think what's in question is the chip itself, but how the chip is implemented. It's very possible Apple implements their WiFi chips in a way that infringes on this patent, and another manufacturer does not. I'm no expert in electrical engineering, and this patent seems to be describing a very low-level access to the chip, so I suppose this type of method could be build directly onto the chip hardware, but it could be a function of manufacturer implementation, which I infer to be the case here, because the paten suit is ongoing.

post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

Seems odd that Motorola can sue over a Wi-fi patents since Apple does not make its own Wi-fi chips as far as I know.  They purchase chips from companies like Broadcom that Apple then integrates into their devices.  These chips are similar to wi-fi chips used in other manufacturers devices.  

 

To create and sell these chips companies like Broadcom would be required to pay the license fees (and pass the cost on to its customers).  Many of these companies may also hold patents related to Wi-fi that also fall into the FRAND category - essential to the standard so the patent owners have agreed to include them in the standard for everyone to use in return for licensing fees.  Holders of essential patents to standards will often form cross-licensibng agreements to counter each others contributions.  So Broadcom might make a deal with Motorola allowing the use of their patents in return for Motorola letting Broadcom using theirs.  It would seem like some fees or deal would have been made before the chips were 

 

But unless Apple is designing and building its own wi-fi chips it seems likely that licensing was already covered by the makers of the wi-fi chips that Apple does use, just like every other company that uses those chips.  So Motorola seems to be asking to get paid twice.  But then Motorola does not want to negotiate according to Apple's filings.

 

Bottom line - if Motorola did win this case, every other wi-fi device not made by Motorola could also be banned from the market.

It's  not that unlike some of the patents that Microsoft is bringing claims against Moto for. Apple also appears to infringe on some of the same ones (some may even be essential), but that doesn't require that MS sue them. Selective enforcement of your IP isn't uncommon.

http://www.dailytech.com/Of+Lawsuits+and+Licensing+The+Full+Microsoft+v+Android+Story/article23088.htm

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post #28 of 64
Apple's all out 'thermonuclear' litigation strategy is really starting to bear fruit and if Apple doesn't win another stalemate here, it's really time for Mr. Sewell to walk the long plank.

303
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post


If Apple really did steal Motorola's IP, then their products should be banned.

Speaking of banned....
post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

That's why you don't want judges making the decisions about that sort of thing.  Because the next case comes up to another judge and you get a totally different outcome.  Lack of predictability in the justice system is a very bad thing.

You are joking right? That is how the entire legal system works. You have appellate courts to settle discrepancies in the district courts and the Supreme court to settle differences among the circuit courts.
post #31 of 64
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Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post

303

 

That's right, sucker.

 

You just take a big ol' juicy bite...

 

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post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post


You are joking right? That is how the entire legal system works. You have appellate courts to settle discrepancies in the district courts and the Supreme court to settle differences among the circuit courts.

 

Yeah, GWlaw, I'm serious.  In case you haven't noticed the legal system isn't working so well recently when it comes to IP.  Consider the possibility that you might have a vested interest, as someone who likely gets paid more the more the legal system is bogged down and the more lawyers are needed to decide who can do what.  Eh?

post #33 of 64
These are Google's patents in their new guise as patent trolls, they even gave some away to HTC in a failed troll attempt.

Another demonstration of hypocrisy, brought to you by Google.
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post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop filing so many frivolous lawsuits.

 

Perhaps a short import ban will teach Apple to stop protecting its intellectual property rights.

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post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post


What professional basis is your claim made under?

 

When it comes to their own products, Apple's always got their legal ducks in a row . . . . "GalaxyTab"  LOL

post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

 

When it comes to their own products, Apple's always got their legal ducks in a row . . . . "GalaxyTab"  LOL

 

Now, Quadra 610, don't you sell him short... ;-)

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post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I don't see any reason Apple wouldn't cross-license with Motorola just as they did with Nokia. Both cases involved FRAND-pledged IP, and both had threats of injunctions hanging over them. Apple and Moto, and Moto/MS are just jockeying for position now. I think the courts are catching on to that too.


But MotoMo wants to get their hands on Apple's family jewels of patents: Those that make iDevices operate so "Applee."

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post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


But MotoMo wants to get their hands on Apple's family jewels of patents: Those that make iDevices operate so "Applee."

And what are those patents?

post #39 of 64
Too early, first coffe, then comment

Edited by Gwydion - 6/25/12 at 11:33pm
post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post


What professional basis is your claim made under?

None I imagine :)

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