Originally Posted by jragosta
As usual, you leave out the key facts.
Most of the FRAND cases that have been settled have been in Apple's favor. Google, Motorola, and Samsung have a history of abusing FRAND rules and Apple's "dragging them out in court" has generally been simply to get them to abide by the FRAND rules they agreed to when they offered their technology.
But I guess it makes you feel better to blame the victim.
There's been a bit of "abuse' all around depending on how you define it. Decades ago the old school companies like Nokia, Qualcomm, Motorola, Ericsson and others decided on a licensing method and terms that they felt gave them the best chance of maintaining control over the new cell industry that they had been major contributors to. Get together and form industry standards and anyone wanting in had to pay the ones that started it. It worked for several years too.
(As an aside throwing Google in that group is as silly as claiming Apple belongs. Neither held cellular SEP's to abuse in the first place)
Just as Motorola, Qualcomm etc disrupted the traditional phone industry and helped make fledgling cellular the hugely successful market it became while taking a cut for themselves from every cellphone sold, so Apple's iPhone disrupted the communications industry once again in 2007. Unlike the SEP policies that the earlier companies used to protect their place, Apple went the "patent everything and don't share it" route. Aggressively protect their IP with lawsuits rather than royalties. Both schemes work, but Apple is seeing some success in neutering the control that "standards" hold over the industry and that's causing turf fights. Perhaps that will force some of the other players to re-think their willingness to contribute to standards in the first place as it may be more advantageous to keep IP to themselves rather than share. Dunno.
At any rate I don't particularly care for the way licensing royalties have been done by most of the cell standards contributors. It was an industry wide wink-and-nod between all the big techs to keep new players out IMO, and if not they were expected to pay well for the privilege. New companies were at a big disadvantage before they could release their first product.
When Apple came on the scene they were well aware that standards royalties were expected in the cell-phone industry. They're hardly new to the game. But even if they wished to plead ignorance regarding standards royalties when the iPhone was first introduced (Who me? as Alfred E. Neuman famously said) they were approached by some of those SEP holders early on yet still refused to take a license without being sued.
Had the iPhone struggled in the market perhaps Apple may not have been able to afford ignoring the Nokia's and Moto's of the industry, but they didn't struggle. With surging profits from iPhone sales Apple chose to disregard some of the royalty demands unless pressured, Nokia had to play hardball to get Apple to take a license to their standards package. Moto is still trying. Certainly you wouldn't support Apple knowing full-well that they were not licensed to use Motorola's patents yet 6 years later still using them for free, not paying a single penny, despite the billions in profit the iPhone has brought them with technology invented and developed by Motorola in part. Apple's legal teams made it possible to knowingly use IP without a license to do so.
IMO there's plenty of fault to spread around for the situation that SEP's, PAE's and software patents in general are now in. No party is blameless, and all sides share some guilt.
Edited by Gatorguy - 5/26/13 at 10:02am