German court finds Apple in infringement of OpenTV streaming patents

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2016
A German court has found Apple in infringement of digital content streaming patents owned by OpenTV, ruling products that currently using the technology must not be sold in the country.




The Dusseldorf District Court court handed down a ruling in favor of plaintiff Kudelski Group's OpenTV on Wednesday, finding Apple to have infringed on patents related to delivering and storing digital content to electronic devices, reports Reuters. Specifically, the suit targets iTunes, the App Store, Apple TV and devices running iOS or OS X.

OpenTV filed a similar complaint against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California last year, seeking compensation and supplemental damages for alleged illegal use of content streaming technology covered by five patents. The IP dates back to the late 1990s to early 2000s and applies to digital video, broadcast and satellite transmissions.

A pioneer in the digital television industry, OpenTV develops and licenses middleware for clients looking for interactive set-top applications. The company currently fields a range of software solutions like video-on-demand, personal video recording and enhanced television platforms used by DISH Network, QVC, CNN and other major corporations.

Parent company Kudelski Group also licenses its technology to a number of tech industry players including Cisco, Google and Disney. Aside from Apple, OpenTV has multiple cases pending against other tech firms.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,396moderator
    Apple will just need to pay license fees, which can't be prejudicial, meaning if others can afford the costs, it won't be a burden to Apple.  It's good to have $60 billion+ in annual cash flows.  Next problem!
    sockrolid
  • Reply 2 of 24
    Apple seems to be on the losing end of it's courtroom battles these days.
    edited March 2016 jbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 24
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    Apple will just need to pay license fees, which can't be prejudicial, meaning if others can afford the costs, it won't be a burden to Apple.  It's good to have $60 billion+ in annual cash flows.  Next problem!
    Why didn't they do that in the first place? 
    gatorguysingularitycnocbui
  • Reply 4 of 24
    lmaclmac Posts: 204member
    Doesn't sound like OpenTV is very open if they are patenting the "delivering and storing digital content to electronic devices"
    lolliversockrolidjkichlinejustadcomicsjbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Apple will just need to pay license fees, which can't be prejudicial, meaning if others can afford the costs, it won't be a burden to Apple.  It's good to have $60 billion+ in annual cash flows.  Next problem!
    Why didn't they do that in the first place? 
    Because Apple's lawyers gotta eat too? 
    gloriainexcel
  • Reply 6 of 24
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,188member
    One of the usual thanks. I.E. If the patents are too generic, then fight it. If the patents are novel, a little mea culpa and licensing fees.
    sockrolid
  • Reply 7 of 24
    Apple will just need to pay license fees, which can't be prejudicial, meaning if others can afford the costs, it won't be a burden to Apple.  It's good to have $60 billion+ in annual cash flows.  Next problem!
    Why didn't they do that in the first place? 
    They probably didn't feel they were violating the patents, they were unaware of them at the time of product release, or OpenTV was asking some astronomically unreasonable licensing fee. 
    sockrolidjkichlinejustadcomicsbrakkenjbdragon
  • Reply 8 of 24
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,648member
    Found article about California trial: "A California federal judge has invalidated several claims of two interactive television patents that OpenTV Inc. accused Apple of infringing, finding that the patents merely claim abstract ideas in a decision issued just nine months after the suit was filed.

    In a decision Thursday, Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California granted Apple Inc.’s motion to dismiss OpenTV's infringement claims with regard to 10 claims of two patents that he said failed the patent-eligibility test established by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling."

    Not sure how the CA trial ended up (dismissed?) but it appears the German court either isn't technically qualified enough, hasn't done their homework, or could care less what the CA court figured out. Or they continue to hate Apple. The company started in 1994 so it doesn't surprise me the CA court found the ideas too abstract. 
    postmanradarthekatbrakken
  • Reply 9 of 24
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    rob53 said:
    Found article about California trial: "A California federal judge has invalidated several claims of two interactive television patents that OpenTV Inc. accused Apple of infringing, finding that the patents merely claim abstract ideas in a decision issued just nine months after the suit was filed.

    In a decision Thursday, Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California granted Apple Inc.’s motion to dismiss OpenTV's infringement claims with regard to 10 claims of two patents that he said failed the patent-eligibility test established by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling."

    Not sure how the CA trial ended up (dismissed?) but it appears the German court either isn't technically qualified enough, hasn't done their homework, or could care less what the CA court figured out. Or they continue to hate Apple. The company started in 1994 so it doesn't surprise me the CA court found the ideas too abstract. 
    The patent is likely close to expiring anyway, as most of those abstract, describe solving problem without actually solving problem "patents" are.
    Likely will be appealed.
    sockrolidjbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,181member
    ... licenses its technology to a number of tech industry players including Cisco, Google and Disney. 
  • Reply 11 of 24
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,072member
    Apple will just need to pay license fees, which can't be prejudicial, meaning if others can afford the costs, it won't be a burden to Apple.  It's good to have $60 billion+ in annual cash flows.  Next problem!
    What you say applies to SEPs (standards-essential patents), like those used in 3G/4G. This is a common requirement by standards bodies, not the law. Other patent licenses can be negotiated freely – there is no general requirement to issue those on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms. If the patents in question can be considered SEPs, I do not know, but the article makes no mention of that. (Well, it actually contains no reasoning from Apple's side at all.)
    rcfa
  • Reply 12 of 24
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,396moderator
    Apple will just need to pay license fees, which can't be prejudicial, meaning if others can afford the costs, it won't be a burden to Apple.  It's good to have $60 billion+ in annual cash flows.  Next problem!
    Why didn't they do that in the first place? 

    ---

    You'll have to ask Apple.  Could be they feel they aren't in violation of these patents.  If that's the case, they'll appeal.  The point I was making is that it won't be too much of a burden if they do have to take a license.  The company does license their patents, so they will license it to Apple if Apple ultimately loses the court battles.  IOW, this is not big news.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,396moderator
    dreyfus2 said:
    Apple will just need to pay license fees, which can't be prejudicial, meaning if others can afford the costs, it won't be a burden to Apple.  It's good to have $60 billion+ in annual cash flows.  Next problem!
    What you say applies to SEPs (standards-essential patents), like those used in 3G/4G. This is a common requirement by standards bodies, not the law. Other patent licenses can be negotiated freely – there is no general requirement to issue those on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms. If the patents in question can be considered SEPs, I do not know, but the article makes no mention of that. (Well, it actually contains no reasoning from Apple's side at all.)

    ---

    I wasn't making a FRAND argument, but rather an argument about discriminatory, or prejudicial pricing.  Anything you license or sell you must offer to all without discrimination.  So while Apple's volume of video streaming, for example, may differ from another licensee and thus allow a different license fee based upon that dimension, the fee would need to be justified by Apple's volume relative to the volumes of streaming of others to which a license has been granted.  Streaming volume being only an example.  Point is, by whatever factors pricing is determined, those must be applied fairly to all.  That's just part of anti-trust law.  So Apple will get a price it can afford if it needs to license the patents by virtue of the fact others, with far less financial wherewithal, have been able to license those patents and still remain viable businesses.  
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 14 of 24
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,072member
    Point is, by whatever factors pricing is determined, those must be applied fairly to all.  That's just part of anti-trust law.  So Apple will get a price it can afford if it needs to license the patents by virtue of the fact others, with far less financial wherewithal, have been able to license those patents and still remain viable businesses.  
    Well, at least as far as German patent laws go, there is no such provision – and our anti-trust laws deal with anti-trust issues, not patent licensing. The patent fee can, within the established range per industry, be freely negotiated for each non-exclusive license covering the same patent – there is no obligation for fairness, non-discrimination etc. (And actually, because there are none, there are special provisions for SEPs – if this would apply to all patents, FRAND terms would not be necessary at all.) Even more important: if the fee is calculated based on the revenue for an entire product, or just a component implementing the patent, is freely negotiated. So, in case of an iPhone we could talk about anything from .4 percent of a component costing $10, or 4-5% of the entire product. That is quite some margin, and the court will normally not set the price or review other existing licensees when there is no SEP involved.

    (Not saying the patent is any good, that is a different question entirely.)
    gatorguy
  • Reply 15 of 24
    tenlytenly Posts: 709member
    It may take significant effort but Apple could always rework the infringing components to avoid infringing.  Not an ideal solution, but if the license fees are unreasonable, it's another avenue that is open to them.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    croprcropr Posts: 1,051member
    rob53 said:

    Not sure how the CA trial ended up (dismissed?) but it appears the German court either isn't technically qualified enough, hasn't done their homework, or could care less what the CA court figured out. Or they continue to hate Apple. The company started in 1994 so it doesn't surprise me the CA court found the ideas too abstract. 
    Since when does a German court have to take a decision of a Californian judge into account,.  Should it be the other way around. It is very well known fact that German courts are technical qualified, so shouldn't you question the qualification of the Californian judge.  Isn't the Californian judge just a Apple fan boy, because HQ of Apple is in California?

    Don;'t worry , the above paragraph is not my point of view or based on any fact.  It just want to show that your point of view is pathetically biased
    singularityrcfabirkocnocbui
  • Reply 17 of 24
    croprcropr Posts: 1,051member
    rob53 said:

    Not sure how the CA trial ended up (dismissed?) but it appears the German court either isn't technically qualified enough, hasn't done their homework, or could care less what the CA court figured out. Or they continue to hate Apple. The company started in 1994 so it doesn't surprise me the CA court found the ideas too abstract. 
    Since when does a German court have to take a decision of a Californian judge into account,.  Should it be the other way around. It is very well known fact that German courts are technical qualified, so shouldn't you question the qualification of the Californian judge.  Isn't the Californian judge just a Apple fan boy, because HQ of Apple is in California?

    Don;'t worry , the above paragraph is not my point of view or based on any fact.  It just want to show that your point of view is pathetically biased
    singularityrcfaCMA102DL
  • Reply 18 of 24
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,396moderator
    dreyfus2 said:
    Point is, by whatever factors pricing is determined, those must be applied fairly to all.  That's just part of anti-trust law.  So Apple will get a price it can afford if it needs to license the patents by virtue of the fact others, with far less financial wherewithal, have been able to license those patents and still remain viable businesses.  
    Well, at least as far as German patent laws go, there is no such provision – and our anti-trust laws deal with anti-trust issues, not patent licensing. The patent fee can, within the established range per industry, be freely negotiated for each non-exclusive license covering the same patent – there is no obligation for fairness, non-discrimination etc. (And actually, because there are none, there are special provisions for SEPs – if this would apply to all patents, FRAND terms would not be necessary at all.) Even more important: if the fee is calculated based on the revenue for an entire product, or just a component implementing the patent, is freely negotiated. So, in case of an iPhone we could talk about anything from .4 percent of a component costing $10, or 4-5% of the entire product. That is quite some margin, and the court will normally not set the price or review other existing licensees when there is no SEP involved.

    (Not saying the patent is any good, that is a different question entirely.)
    ---

    In this case it should have nothing, or very little, to do with the cost of the product [hardware], as the patents are about content delivery and not specific to enabling the hardware to function. Which is another reason the license fee should be in-line with what others pay, perhaps priced relative to aggregate volume of content streamed/delivered by each licensee.  And Hermany is a relatively small part of the global market within which Apple would wish to take a license, so factors beyond Germany's specific laws regarding this matter would be taken into account in any global patent license Apple might take.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    This sure reads like a press release for OpenTV.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    rob53 said:
    Found article about California trial: "A California federal judge has invalidated several claims of two interactive television patents that OpenTV Inc. accused Apple of infringing, finding that the patents merely claim abstract ideas in a decision issued just nine months after the suit was filed.

    In a decision Thursday, Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California granted Apple Inc.’s motion to dismiss OpenTV's infringement claims with regard to 10 claims of two patents that he said failed the patent-eligibility test established by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling."

    Not sure how the CA trial ended up (dismissed?) but it appears the German court either isn't technically qualified enough, hasn't done their homework, or could care less what the CA court figured out. Or they continue to hate Apple. The company started in 1994 so it doesn't surprise me the CA court found the ideas too abstract. 
    Maybe Germany has it's own laws and judicial system and they aren't subservient to the USA?
    gatorguy
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