UN roundtable tackles wireless patent disputes between Apple, Samsung, others

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple was joined by Google, Microsoft, Samsung and others in a meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday that discussed the potential patent litigation reform in the lawsuit-saturated wireless industry.

The discussion, organized by the United Nations International Telecommunications Union, aimed to tackle the implications of patent litigation in the wireless industry. Intellectual property expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents followed the first two sessions, who said the discussions made clear that the industry is "deeply divided" over standard-essential patents.

The two main issues in the discussion, Mueller explained, are injunctive relief over standard-essential patents, and the appropriate royalty base. The meetings are a result of concerns on the part of regulators, who hope to take action before matters become even worse.

"There were no winners or losers today because they all contributed to a timely, well-organized and informative event," Mueller said. "In a way, today's winner was the ITU."

ITU


The discussions will not stop with Wednesday's roundtable. The group plans to continue to have a number of informal meetings over the next 12 months in an effort to form proposals.

"The ITU considers itself uniquely positioned, thanks to its vast experience in resolving global issues, to provide a forum in which a constructive change of thoughts may lead to a compromise," he said. "That said, I still believe that judicial and regulatory decisions will be needed."

In addition to major players like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, other companies that participated in the discussions were Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Philips, Research in Motion, Qualcomm and Sony.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member


    From the BBC. some of the statements from the participants:


    "There are situations were injunctions against unwilling licensees are a necessary remedy for intellectual property rights holders, such as a total refusal to negotiate a licence, or refusal to pay compensation determined by a competent court," argued Nokia.


    Chip-maker Qualcomm also suggests that altering the rules could give rise to more, not less, litigation as it would encourage firms to resist their inventions being classed as standard-essential.


    And, despite several recent high-profile cases, it dismisses talk of a patent "crisis".


    iPhone 5Samsung claims the new iPhone infringes two of its Frand-type patents


    "The so-called 'patent wars' should be seen for what they are: a small number of participants in a highly competitive industry in which change and innovation occur at lightening speed are locked in a ferocious battle to establish market positions for competing operating systems, with litigation being a marginal aspect of this contest," Qualcomm said in its pre-event statement.


    "Once these cases settle, as they inevitably will, the current fervour will subside and 'business as usual' will resume."


    Samsung, Google, Research in Motion, Google, Apple, Intel, Philips, Huawei, Sony and Hewlett-Packard are among firms which did not release statements in advance, but had registered to attend the event."


     


    The afternoon session is closed to the press.

  • Reply 2 of 19
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,555member
    I think the only way to pull this off is an MPEG-LA type of consortium where revenue sharing is outlined up front, as well as royalty rates fixed by type of device. Everybody pays in, and they get out their pre-negotiated percentage.

    The sideline cross-licensing deals and the utter absurdity of patent law today need to be addressed as well... but I can't see these groups with vested interests making it happen.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,926member
    I think the lifespan of software patents should be shortened. 20 years is eons in the computer world.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,018member
    yeah the EU has a great history of solving the worlds problems, they can not even solve their own problems let alone the technology world's problem. Their solution is water everything down so no one has any advantage.
  • Reply 5 of 19


    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

    yeah the EU has a great history of solving the worlds problems, they can not even solve their own problems let alone the technology world's problem. Their solution is water everything down so no one has any advantage.


     


    EU or… or UN, because the latter is what the article is… 


     


    Huh, you're right either way. Never mind.

  • Reply 6 of 19

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post



    the utter absurdity of patent law today need to be addressed


     


    I disagree.  Software patents often seem silly because they are a relatively new phenomenon and there is a LOT to be patented.  If you look at some of the first patents, I bet you can find some really dumb, obvious stuff, and you might be tempted to say, "Boy, this patent business is all screwed up," but that's just how it had to start.


     


    So we have a not-yet-mature patent category trying to function within a very mature system.  People know how to patent things, and companies with adequate resources can really pump them out.


     


    Patent law is not absurd.  Watching today's tech giants play patent law in a global sandbox is absurd.

  • Reply 7 of 19
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member


    At least we can all agree on that there is some serious problems with patent laws.

  • Reply 8 of 19

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    From the BBC. some of the statements from the participants:


    "There are situations were injunctions against unwilling licensees are a necessary remedy for intellectual property rights holders, such as a total refusal to negotiate a licence, or refusal to pay compensation determined by a competent court," argued Nokia.


    Chip-maker Qualcomm also suggests that altering the rules could give rise to more, not less, litigation as it would encourage firms to resist their inventions being classed as standard-essential.


    And, despite several recent high-profile cases, it dismisses talk of a patent "crisis".


    iPhone 5Samsung claims the new iPhone infringes two of its Frand-type patents


    "The so-called 'patent wars' should be seen for what they are: a small number of participants in a highly competitive industry in which change and innovation occur at lightening speed are locked in a ferocious battle to establish market positions for competing operating systems, with litigation being a marginal aspect of this contest," Qualcomm said in its pre-event statement.


    "Once these cases settle, as they inevitably will, the current fervour will subside and 'business as usual' will resume."


    Samsung, Google, Research in Motion, Google, Apple, Intel, Philips, Huawei, Sony and Hewlett-Packard are among firms which did not release statements in advance, but had registered to attend the event."


     


    The afternoon session is closed to the press.



     


    You should have mentioned Apple ahead of the others, since it is much more important and relevant (the only ones innovating at consumer level)

  • Reply 9 of 19


    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

    At least we can all agree on that there is some serious problems with patent laws.


     


    Not really.

  • Reply 10 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,926member
    brutus009 wrote: »
    I disagree.  Software patents often seem silly because they are a relatively new phenomenon and there is a LOT to be patented.  If you look at some of the first patents, I bet you can find some really dumb, obvious stuff, and you might be tempted to say, "Boy, this patent business is all screwed up," but that's just how it had to start.

    So we have a not-yet-mature patent category trying to function within a very mature system.  People know how to patent things, and companies with adequate resources can really pump them out.

    Patent law is not absurd.  Watching today's tech giants play patent law in a global sandbox is absurd.

    What do you suggest they do?
  • Reply 11 of 19

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Not really.



     


    Agree. Watching everyone and their grandmother weigh in on issues they barely comprehend has been no picnic. If you want an exercise in futility, try to post absolutely anything mildly pro-patent or pro-Apple on The Verge's forums and prepare for a massive crapstorm.


     


    The problem is everyone is used to getting everything for "free" these days because they are unaware of the impact and breadth of patents and intellectual property already woven into the fabric of society and the economy.

  • Reply 12 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,926member
    Agree. Watching everyone and their grandmother weigh in on issues they barely comprehend has been no picnic. If you want an exercise in futility, try to post absolutely anything mildly pro-patent or pro-Apple on The Verge's forums and prepare for a massive crapstorm.

    The problem is everyone is used to getting everything for "free" these days because they are unaware of the impact and breadth of patents and intellectual property already woven into the fabric of society and the economy.

    There are plenty of people that know much about these issues and the general consensus is that some sort of reform is needed, which is obvious if all these companies are sitting down and discussing it.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    There are plenty of people that know much about these issues and the general consensus is that some sort of reform is needed, which is obvious if all these companies are sitting down and discussing it.


     


    The main "reform" being discussed is the abuse of FRAND encumbered, standards essential patents by seeking injunctive relief in an effort to extort cross license agreements involving non-standards essential patents.


     


    Laws should be put in place to prevent seeking injunctions using SEP's, apart from the most severe cases where licensing arrangements as imposed by a court of law are not adhered to.

  • Reply 14 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,926member
    hill60 wrote: »
    The main "reform" being discussed is the abuse of FRAND encumbered, standards essential patents by seeking injunctive relief in an effort to extort cross license agreements involving non-standards essential patents.

    Laws should be put in place to prevent seeking injunctions using SEP's, apart from the most severe cases where licensing arrangements as imposed by a court of law are not adhered to.

    I agree but one can't squeeze those with SEPs too much or they'll fight to keep to patents to themselves and license it to those that'll play ball.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    I agree but one can't squeeze those with SEPs too much or they'll fight to keep to patents to themselves and license it to those that'll play ball.


     


    Like what Motorola is doing now, with the H.264 patents they are using against Microsoft, the injunctions they are prevented from imposing in Germany due to a ruling in a US court.


     


    The thing is now Motorola is fully owned by Google, they have become a member of MPEG-LA by association and are going against the rules of that organisation.

  • Reply 16 of 19
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    I agree but one can't squeeze those with SEPs too much or they'll fight to keep to patents to themselves and license it to those that'll play ball.
    How are they being squeezed? They have to offer their patents to standards organizations and if their patents are included in a standard they have to bide by the rules.

    Forcing someone to uphold something they already agreed to isn't "squeezing".
  • Reply 17 of 19

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    There are plenty of people that know much about these issues and the general consensus is that some sort of reform is needed, which is obvious if all these companies are sitting down and discussing it.


     


    When the right people make enough noise in front of the right people, all sorts of things are liable to happen.


    We usually call them lobbyists, and they usually don't care about anyone's interests but their own, but they'll always tout their cause as "the greater good."


    So yes, all these companies are sitting down to put out the fire, but that only confirms the existence of a fire.


    Fires happen all the time; we don't necessarily need to change anything to put them out, we just need to put them out.


     


    My real concern is how the rest of the world will be affected after these giants settle down.


    How will these reforms (if any) affect the small folks?

  • Reply 18 of 19

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post


     


    When the right people make enough noise in front of the right people, all sorts of things are liable to happen.


    We usually call them lobbyists, and they usually don't care about anyone's interests but their own, but they'll always tout their cause as "the greater good."


    So yes, all these companies are sitting down to put out the fire, but that only confirms the existence of a fire.


    Fires happen all the time; we don't necessarily need to change anything to put them out, we just need to put them out.


     


    My real concern is how the rest of the world will be affected after these giants settle down.


    How will these reforms (if any) affect the small folks?



     


    If by "small folks" you mean the consumer, they won't notice anything different. If by "small folks" you mean small businesses or inventors, the adoption of first-to-file will affect them more than anything. The fastest, most experienced patent applicants will dominate from here on out.

  • Reply 19 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,926member
    brutus009 wrote: »
    When the right people make enough noise in front of the right people, all sorts of things are liable to happen.
    We usually call them lobbyists, and they usually don't care about anyone's interests but their own, but they'll always tout their cause as "the greater good."
    So yes, all these companies are sitting down to put out the fire, but that only confirms the existence of a fire.
    Fires happen all the time; we don't necessarily need to change anything to put them out, we just need to put them out.

    My real concern is how the rest of the world will be affected after these giants settle down.
    How will these reforms (if any) affect the small folks?

    Lobbyists aren't self serving, they're well paid to promote someone's agenda.
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