South Korea called "courageous" for investigating Samsung's patent abuse

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Samsung's "enormous political clout" in South Korea speaks well of the decision by the nation's Fair Trade Commission to investigate allegations of its standards essential patent abuse.

Apple has charged that Samsung is abusing the standards essential patents it has already committed to fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory licensing terms, and instead using them to block Apple's products from the market, notes patent blogger Florian Mueller

Mueller wrote in a report at FOSS Patents that South Korea's regulatory agency has joined the European Commission in looking into Samsung's efforts to use its standards essential patents to seek injunctions against older iPhone models.



The move follows a Korean court determination that both Apple and Samsung had infringed the other's patents, resulting in national sales injunctions against older models of devices from both companies.

While the injunctions are likely to be stayed while the ruling is being appealed, the decision created the impression that Korea was seeking to maintain an appearance of fairness while also seeking to protect Samsung, a massive conglomerate that makes up 15 to 20 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

Mueller described the decision by Korea's FTC to investigate Samsung as "courageous," given the what he called the "enormous political clout" Samsung has in its home country. He added that it "shows that the Korean government is not prepared to turn its country into a FRAND rogue state only because it may suit Samsung's short-term tactical needs in a global patent spat."

Who is abusing patents?

Mueller also noted a report by the Korean Times that cited U.S. Department of Justice antitrust chief John Read as diplomatically telling Korean delegates at a antitrust conference his "hope" that Samsung "can sell its products in the United States despite the verdict" reached by a U.S. District Court jury that awarded Apple over one billion dollars in damages and returned profits over its patent infringements.

Apple's more outspoken critics (including those who oppose any legal protection for intellectual property) have vilified that jury and its decision, with well known Groklaw blogger Pamela Jones recently castigating the jurors as "little patent fascists" that "failed to fulfill their function," for not determining that all of Apple's patents were invalid.

Jones grew famous for her detailed coverage of the SCO lawsuits which alleged broad copyright claims against Linux users, and has since written extensively about the legal battle between Oracle and Google over Android's infringement of Java copyrights, in both cases conveying a highly negative view of intellectual property holders and a heroic portrayal of the open source projects those cases targeted as infringing.

Blurred lines in the vilification of patent holders

However, the legal battles between Apple and Samsung aren't as easy to simplify down to an open source David fighting back against a dominant Goliath armed with proprietary patents and other intellectual property rights. Both Apple and Samsung are asserting patent rights against each other, and both are seeking sales injunctions against each other's products.

The difference is that Apple is seeking to protect what it views are its original inventions, while Samsung is attempting to leverage its patented contributions to open standards (such as 3G and LTE mobile networking specifications) to extract punitive sales bans and monetary awards that Apple insists are neither fair, nor reasonable nor nondiscriminatory, in hopes that these demands will force Apple to give up all of its intellectual property rights and allow Samsung to continue to use the successful results of Apple's research and development in place of its own, less successful ideas.

While becoming a symbol of "patent oppression" among the critics of patents, trade dress and other forms of intellectual property following the adverse $1 billion verdict in its case with Apple, Samsung itself has also recently taken on its South Korean neighbor LG, alleging that the firm has stolen its own proprietary technology secrets related to OLED HDTV panels, and is demanding millions in damages.

Similarly, while critics of both intellectual property and Apple have painted Samsung's Android software partner Google as the hero in fighting off Apple's intellectual property cases, Google's own Motorola subsidiary has, like Samsung, increasingly stepped up its efforts to block Apple's product sales through standards-essential patent licensing demands, the same behavior that has resulted in patent abuse investigations in the US, EU and now Korea.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    "Who is abusing patents?"

    ?! WTF, yeah, Apple has patented essential stuff and then sued companies about it.

    uh huh, it's not even a question man.
  • Reply 2 of 41
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member


    I think I will reserve judgement on how courageous they are until I read the findings of their investigation.

  • Reply 3 of 41
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,537member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by logandigges View Post



    "Who is abusing patents?"

    ?! WTF, yeah, Apple has patented essential stuff and then sued companies about it.

    uh huh, it's not even a question man.


    The big difference that you're conveniently not mentioning is that Samsung's patents are part of FRAND and Apple's patents are not.  Samsung is required to license their FRAND patents.  Regular patents by ANY company (including Apple) that is not subject to FRAND does not have to be licensed at all.


     


    What other stories would you like to spin?

  • Reply 4 of 41
    "Who is abusing patents?"
    ?! WTF, yeah, Apple has patented essential stuff

    Apple has only sued over SEP if the party didn't license it, as they should. Something being SEP doesn't make it free for the taking just cause you don't feel like paying

    These 'essential' patents as you and Google are calling them are not really. Thus FRAND etc do not apply.

    Samsung on the other hand is abusing wireless standards patents which are under FRAND rules.
  • Reply 5 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    sflocal wrote: »
    The big difference that you're conveniently not mentioning is that Samsung's patents are part of FRAND and Apple's patents are not.  Samsung is required to license their FRAND patents.  Regular patents by ANY company (including Apple) that is not subject to FRAND does not have to be licensed at all.

    What other stories would you like to spin?
    charlituna wrote: »
    Apple has only sued over SEP if the party didn't license it, as they should. Something being SEP doesn't make it free for the taking just cause you don't feel like paying
    These 'essential' patents as you and Google are calling them are not really. Thus FRAND etc do not apply.
    Samsung on the other hand is abusing wireless standards patents which are under FRAND rules.

    I think you two are better off trying to use logic and facts to tell a puppy why it should pooh on the carpet.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,520member
    To a person "Pamela Jones" who probable never generated a new or unique idea on her own has no real room to say what is worthy of patent or not and whether a company should be allow to profit from all their hard work. I find it interest that people who do not have single creative or unique bone in their body is only interested in everyone sharing their ideas with everyone else and no one should profit from their work.

    I bet if people began publishing her commentary and making money off and not giving her any credit for her particular way of wording things she would scream foul.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post





    Apple has only sued over SEP if the party didn't license it, as they should. Something being SEP doesn't make it free for the taking just cause you don't feel like paying

    These 'essential' patents as you and Google are calling them are not really. Thus FRAND etc do not apply.

    Samsung on the other hand is abusing wireless standards patents which are under FRAND rules.


     


    Apple has not sued over SEP's, they are above that behaviour.

  • Reply 8 of 41
    The solution to this is really simple. Samsung agrees to let Apple use its FRAND patents in exchange for Apple letting Samsung use its SEP patents. It's only fair. Boom. Done.
  • Reply 9 of 41
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by popnfresh View Post



    The solution to this is really simple. Samsung agrees to let Apple use its FRAND patents in exchange for Apple letting Samsung use its SEP patents. It's only fair. Boom. Done.


     


    Samsung already uses Apple's SEP patents, those relating to H.254 for example.


     


    SEP = standards essential patents


     


    FRAND (sometimes RAND) = fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory, the terms under which SEP's are meant to be licensed.


     


    You seem to have some confusion over what these terms mean.

  • Reply 10 of 41

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    The big difference that you're conveniently not mentioning is that Samsung's patents are part of FRAND and Apple's patents are not.  Samsung is required to license their FRAND patents.  Regular patents by ANY company (including Apple) that is not subject to FRAND does not have to be licensed at all.


     


    What other stories would you like to spin?



     


    You're conveniently not mentioning that lots of stuff Apple is patenting are things that they didn't even invent.


     


    Don't get me wrong. I love Apple's products, but their bullsh¡t has to stop sooner or later.

  • Reply 11 of 41
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,414member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    I think I will reserve judgement on how courageous they are until I read the findings of their investigation.



    What he said...

  • Reply 12 of 41
    xrcxxrcx Posts: 117member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by heffeque View Post


     


    You're conveniently not mentioning that lots of stuff Apple is patenting are things that they didn't even invent.



    Such as?


     


    go ahead, say the rectangle.....

  • Reply 13 of 41


    Originally Posted by xRCx View Post

    go ahead, say the rectangle.....


     


    Don't be ridiculous!


     


    The rounded rectangle.

  • Reply 14 of 41
    "Mueller described the decision by Korea's FTC to investigate Samsung as "courageous," given the what he called the "enormous political clout" Samsung has in its home country."

    The Chaebols have long been given virtual immunity to the law in Korea as they were seen as the driving force for the country's economic recovery and nation building. Now, however, many Koreans have had enough of the Chaebols' flagrant disregard for laws. Just recently the President of Hanhwa
    (One of the larger Chaebols) a was sentenced to jailed for, I think, five years. In the past the courts have gone easy on company leaders dues to the reasons above, usually giving suspended sentences or acquitting. Samsung will not be given a free ride in Korea anymore. As Mueller alludes to, Korea wants to be seen as a good country to do business with. It wants to break away from its protectionist stereotype. It will take time though.
  • Reply 15 of 41
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,385member
    hill60 wrote: »
    Samsung already uses Apple's SEP patents, those relating to H.254 for example.

    SEP = standards essential patents

    FRAND (sometimes RAND) = fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory, the terms under which SEP's are meant to be licensed.

    You seem to have some confusion over what these terms mean.

    What's h.254? Did you mean h.264? Apple has a grand total of four patents in AVC/H.264, they are one of the smallest entrants in it.
  • Reply 16 of 41


    I'll believe that the Sth Korean Fair Trade Commission is fair when they find against Samsung and enforce it — merely investigating is nothing. 

  • Reply 17 of 41
    enzosenzos Posts: 344member


    You want the puppy to poo on the carpet?! No wonder you're a solipsist. 

  • Reply 18 of 41

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by heffeque View Post


     


    You're conveniently not mentioning that lots of stuff Apple is patenting are things that they didn't even invent.


     



     


    They get to patent a certain implementation. 


     


    Apple understands the patent system, uses it, and we get great products. 


     


    The problem seems to be that one company "gets" how things work, while others sit around in a race to the bottom. 


     


    Yes, Apple is absolutely horrible for using established mechanisms (and doing it legally) to register ownership of and protect their intellectual property. This is what Apple has *always* done. It's how they operate. And it has, in part, helped them redefine the face of consumer tech like no one else, several times over. 


     


    The last thing consumers will do is complain about this, and they aren't. 


     


    What *really* need to be done, is for the courts to do their jobs (the very reason they exist) and adjudicate these disputes. This way we'll have greater clarity. Apple's win over Samsung has already provided clarity. Now on to the next one. 

  • Reply 19 of 41

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by popnfresh View Post



    The solution to this is really simple. Samsung agrees to let Apple use its FRAND patents in exchange for Apple letting Samsung use its SEP patents. It's only fair. Boom. Done.


     


    You can't ransom FRAND patents. 

  • Reply 20 of 41


    If a government organization has to be considered "courageous" to do it's job then the company it is overseeing is too big and needs to be broken up so that it can be effectively monitored!


     


    This reminds me of the big banks in this country! Too big to fail is by definition... TOO BIG!


     


    KRreagan


     


    PS: This new forums editor sucks rocks!

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