Apple seemingly removes Withings products from amid Nokia patent row

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2016
Apple on Friday pulled all Withings products from its virtual and brick-and-mortar stores amid an escalating patent kerfuffle with the accessory maker's parent company Nokia.




When Apple ceased Withings sales is unclear, but devices made by the Nokia subsidiary are no longer listed on Apple's website. Previously, Apple carried a wide range of iOS-compatible Withings devices in its retail stores, including the Body Cardio Scale and Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor.

Apple also expunged all mention of Withings and its product line from the Apple.com online retail database. A quick check shows text autofill no longer identifies "Withings," "Body Cardio Scale," "Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor" or "Smart Body Analyzer," all products that were in the system prior to the abrupt policy change.

Withings, a French firm specializing in health-related connected accessories, enjoyed happy -- and lucrative -- retail alliance with Apple for more than two years. While competing Withings products like the Steel smartwatch remained off-limits, most of the firm's iOS-compatible products did end up displayed on brick-and-mortar Apple store shelves.

Product sales continued after the company was purchased by beleaguered cellphone giant Nokia in April for $192 million. However, a recent salvo of patent lawsuits seems to have soured the relationship.

On Wednesday, Nokia filed suit against Apple in Germany and the U.S., accusing the iPhone maker of violating 32 patents acquired in portfolio purchases in 2013 and 2016. Apple fired back with its own lawsuit against nine patent holdings firms and Nokia itself, claiming the NPEs are working with Nokia to "extract and extort exorbitant revenues" from Apple and other manufacturers.

In response, Nokia on Thursday launched a second salvo of patent-related legal actions against Apple. In all, Nokia is claiming infringement of 40 patents in lawsuits spanning across 11 countries.

Whether or not the recent Withings removal is related to Nokia's shady legal dealings has yet to be confirmed, but Apple has in the past used its retail might as a retaliatory weapon. For example, Bose found its speakers and headphones vanquished from Apple store shelves in 2014 after the audio device manufacturer sued Beats over noise-cancelling patents. Bose products made a return two months later.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    This has annoyed me for months on Apples .com - the Withings camera was'nt even listed in the store but featured in the header graphic. 


    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 15
    Lol. Of all the things Apple screws up on. The removal of Withings few products from Apple stores is the one that stops you from buying Apple ever again.

    I had no idea there were such hardcore Withings fan boys. 

    I don't think Tim initiated any law suits since he's been CEO the last 5 years. Nokia was sold out to patent trolls for the sole purpose of suing.  Why in the world should Apple finance their lawyers buy selling their products.  Withings sells their products at many stores so I don't think it's a big deal for them.
    GeorgeBMacDeelronadamc
  • Reply 3 of 15
    Apple makes best of breed products and I am fully committed to Apple's products.
    I believe Nokia is trying to extort revenue out of Apple by abandoning existing FRAND terms for the patents.

    Nokia is toast.


    adamcration almacplusplusjbdragonpatchythepirate
  • Reply 4 of 15
    If Apple stops selling my mint jalapeño jelly, the sweet and spicy empire I dedicated my life to is... toast!
  • Reply 5 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,291member
    altivec88 said:
    I don't think Tim initiated any law suits since he's been CEO the last 5 years. Nokia was sold out to patent trolls for the sole purpose of suing.  Why in the world should Apple finance their lawyers buy selling their products.  Withings sells their products at many stores so I don't think it's a big deal for them.
    Apple filed their lawsuit against Nokia on Wednesday. Nokia responded with their own countersuits citing patent infringements on Thursday and Friday. So in the legal sense Mr. Cook initiated this one if you're being technical.

    But realistically?  It's like the Moto/Apple kerfuffle where each were finalizing the papers to sue the other but Moto won the footrace to the courthouse. 
    edited December 2016 ration aljbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 15
    adamcadamc Posts: 580member
    gatorguy said:
    altivec88 said:
    I don't think Tim initiated any law suits since he's been CEO the last 5 years. Nokia was sold out to patent trolls for the sole purpose of suing.  Why in the world should Apple finance their lawyers buy selling their products.  Withings sells their products at many stores so I don't think it's a big deal for them.
    Apple filed their lawsuit against Nokia on Wednesday. Nokia responded with their own countersuits citing patent infringements on Thursday and Friday. So in the legal sense Mr. Cook initiated this one if you're being technical.

    But realistically?  It's like the Moto/Apple kerfuffle where each were finalizing the papers to sue the other but Moto won the footrace to the courthouse. 
    Correct me if I am wrong, didn't Apple lost to an NPE using Nokia's patents to sue Apple that starting the ball rolling. 
  • Reply 7 of 15
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,393member
    altivec88 said:

    I don't think Tim initiated any law suits since he's been CEO the last 5 years. Nokia was sold out to patent trolls for the sole purpose of suing.  Why in the world should Apple finance their lawyers buy selling their products.  Withings sells their products at many stores so I don't think it's a big deal for them.

    When was Nokia sold out to patent trolls?
  • Reply 8 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,291member
    adamc said:
    gatorguy said:
    altivec88 said:
    I don't think Tim initiated any law suits since he's been CEO the last 5 years. Nokia was sold out to patent trolls for the sole purpose of suing.  Why in the world should Apple finance their lawyers buy selling their products.  Withings sells their products at many stores so I don't think it's a big deal for them.
    Apple filed their lawsuit against Nokia on Wednesday. Nokia responded with their own countersuits citing patent infringements on Thursday and Friday. So in the legal sense Mr. Cook initiated this one if you're being technical.

    But realistically?  It's like the Moto/Apple kerfuffle where each were finalizing the papers to sue the other but Moto won the footrace to the courthouse. 
    Correct me if I am wrong, didn't Apple lost to an NPE using Nokia's patents to sue Apple that starting the ball rolling. 
    Yup, a PAE armed with a former (?) Nokia patent had a win against Apple a couple months ago. I'd forgotten about that, dumb to forget since I read about Apple losing the appeal about that today. 
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 9 of 15
    I read somewhere along these lines: Nokia sued Apple over Apple using technology that Nokia developed in the pre-iPhone era to create the iPhone. They were one of several companies to do this. Nokia and Apple came to a voluntary license agreement and Nokia pulled their lawsuit. Again, this happened with several mobile tech companies. The licensing agreement expired. Nokia wants a new agreement similar to the old. Apple wants to either let the licensing agreement lapse entirely, or for the new agreement to result in their having to pay substantially less. Again, something that Apple has done before. In one such case, Apple originally agreed to FRAND terms as part of the license agreement, but for the new agreement, Apple argued that they should pay a substantially reduced per unit fee. The other company, I think Qualcomm, stated that they charged everyone who used their tech the same FRAND rate. Apple's position: well we sell a lot more smartphones and tablets than (for example) Sony and LG. So instead of charging us the same per device that you charge Sony and LG, you charge us a fraction of it, so in the end you will get the same amount of money from us as you get from Sony and LG. In other words, your tech is no more important to us than it is to LG, so it is unfair to make us pay more money for the same tech as LG does. In essence, Apple was attempting to make the claim that it wasn't REALLY the tech used to make the product that had value but rather the final end product itself. It was Apple's design etc. that made the iPhone a much better product than the LG G5, why far more iPhones sell than the LG G5, so basically it was Apple's design that really mattered, not Qualcomm's tech. Which ... of course .. is not how patent law is supposed to work. You see, some companies - lots actually - never actually make finished products. Their whole business is components, internals etc. and their patents are just important to their business as any other. But ultimately, it was just Apple doing their level best to create a landscape in their favor. Apple does very little basic research but excels at taking the breakthroughs of others and putting them together to create great products. It is in their interests to have a patent system where things like aesthetic design, trade dress, UI/UX etc. are emphasized but the value of the products that Apple takes to use to make their tech is devalued. Result: Apple would pay far less licensing costs - of which they would have to pay a lot since they develop very little of their own tech - but it would be financially prohibitive for Microsoft, Google, Samsung etc. to copy their designs, giving Apple very little competition with very low costs. A hole in this plan: if the basic tech companies whose breakthroughs Apple needs to build their products - and in fact who Apple needs to manufacture their products - go out of business (in no small part because Apple and the companies whose precedents Apple follows do not pay FRAND for the tech that these companies invested billions of R&D to develop) then where does the tech that Apple uses to make their products come from? And since a lot of these companies also make the components that Apple uses to make their devices, where do those components come from? Apple is not the only company that would be able to get away with paying practically nothing for the product of everyone else's R&D. Were Apple to win a court case or get a major supplier or licensor to agree, everyone else would use that precedent to pay peanuts too. There will never be a situation where there is one licensing/patent system for Apple and another for everyone else. So this is how this case is going to be resolved: Apple will either agree to FRAND terms with Nokia as they did in the past and Nokia will drop the lawsuit, or Nokia will sue Apple and a court will impose FRAND terms on Apple for the use of tech that Nokia developed and owns and Apple uses in its products. Those are the only two possible outcomes, and that is as it should be.Apple paid FRAND for this same tech in the past - in fact they still are at this second as the agreement that Apple signed in 2011 is still in effect at this time - and should in the future, as the value of these patents have not diminished with time.
    jbdragonholyone
  • Reply 10 of 15
    This may open the door for Apple!

    With the Apple Watch Apple put their foot in the door of health monitoring products and started down the path to health related services..  But, while the Apple Watch can contribute a lot -- you also need additional inputs such as weight, blood pressure, heart rate variability, sugar levels, nutrition and even EKG's and more -- plus the data retention, collection and analytic tools to make those readings meaningful and usable...   For example:   a blood glucose reading of 160 may or may not be critical depending on circumstances and other readings.

    But, one of the critical missing parts is equipment that health care pros can trust to be reliable and accurate.  Show them a blood pressure reading from a drugstore monitor and they smile and nod and tell you "that's nice"...   Yet, ongoing home monitoring is also recognized as the holy grail of health monitoring (as opposed to annual snap shots taken in your PCP's office).

    Perhaps this is an opportunity for Apple to develop the tools (hardware, software and analytics) to become a critical part of home based health monitoring.  

    While physicians realize the benefit of home monitoring (especially for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart failure), it is the guys with the big bucks (insurers and employers) who will reap the enormous cost savings of keeping people out of the hospital where their big bucks are spent.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 11 of 15
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    At least the Withings watch looks like a watch, not a chunky Chicklet.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    freeper said:
    I read somewhere along these lines: Nokia sued Apple over Apple using technology that Nokia developed in the pre-iPhone era to create the iPhone. They were one of several companies to do this. Nokia and Apple came to a voluntary license agreement and Nokia pulled their lawsuit. Again, this happened with several mobile tech companies. The licensing agreement expired. Nokia wants a new agreement similar to the old. Apple wants to either let the licensing agreement lapse entirely, or for the new agreement to result in their having to pay substantially less. Again, something that Apple has done before. In one such case, Apple originally agreed to FRAND terms as part of the license agreement, but for the new agreement, Apple argued that they should pay a substantially reduced per unit fee. The other company, I think Qualcomm, stated that they charged everyone who used their tech the same FRAND rate. Apple's position: well we sell a lot more smartphones and tablets than (for example) Sony and LG. So instead of charging us the same per device that you charge Sony and LG, you charge us a fraction of it, so in the end you will get the same amount of money from us as you get from Sony and LG. In other words, your tech is no more important to us than it is to LG, so it is unfair to make us pay more money for the same tech as LG does. In essence, Apple was attempting to make the claim that it wasn't REALLY the tech used to make the product that had value but rather the final end product itself. It was Apple's design etc. that made the iPhone a much better product than the LG G5, why far more iPhones sell than the LG G5, so basically it was Apple's design that really mattered, not Qualcomm's tech. Which ... of course .. is not how patent law is supposed to work. You see, some companies - lots actually - never actually make finished products. Their whole business is components, internals etc. and their patents are just important to their business as any other. But ultimately, it was just Apple doing their level best to create a landscape in their favor. Apple does very little basic research but excels at taking the breakthroughs of others and putting them together to create great products. It is in their interests to have a patent system where things like aesthetic design, trade dress, UI/UX etc. are emphasized but the value of the products that Apple takes to use to make their tech is devalued. Result: Apple would pay far less licensing costs - of which they would have to pay a lot since they develop very little of their own tech - but it would be financially prohibitive for Microsoft, Google, Samsung etc. to copy their designs, giving Apple very little competition with very low costs. A hole in this plan: if the basic tech companies whose breakthroughs Apple needs to build their products - and in fact who Apple needs to manufacture their products - go out of business (in no small part because Apple and the companies whose precedents Apple follows do not pay FRAND for the tech that these companies invested billions of R&D to develop) then where does the tech that Apple uses to make their products come from? And since a lot of these companies also make the components that Apple uses to make their devices, where do those components come from? Apple is not the only company that would be able to get away with paying practically nothing for the product of everyone else's R&D. Were Apple to win a court case or get a major supplier or licensor to agree, everyone else would use that precedent to pay peanuts too. There will never be a situation where there is one licensing/patent system for Apple and another for everyone else. So this is how this case is going to be resolved: Apple will either agree to FRAND terms with Nokia as they did in the past and Nokia will drop the lawsuit, or Nokia will sue Apple and a court will impose FRAND terms on Apple for the use of tech that Nokia developed and owns and Apple uses in its products. Those are the only two possible outcomes, and that is as it should be.Apple paid FRAND for this same tech in the past - in fact they still are at this second as the agreement that Apple signed in 2011 is still in effect at this time - and should in the future, as the value of these patents have not diminished with time.
    WOT?
    jbdragon
  • Reply 13 of 15

    mj web said:
    At least the Withings watch looks like a watch, not a chunky Chicklet.
    unlike the giant hockey pucks that are android wear devices, the AW looks great. i wear the stainless steel with leather strap and get compliments on its look. it's entirely appropriate for the theater, and swap in another strap and its perfect for the gym. 

    but yeah, it's a rectangle, good heavens. sorry, but since it doesn't have mechanical swinging arms there's absolutely no reason for it to be circular. form following function -- isn't that what the haters claim apple fails at? and yet, when do just that people still complain. go figure. 
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMacpatchythepirate
  • Reply 14 of 15
    I have just received a Withings device for Christmas as a gift and now probably in the next months I will not be able to use it on my Apple phone through the Withings App!

    That's crazy, at Nokia they should know that the majority of their users use Apple iPhones how can a company that performed so bad in the past years to try to stop Apple on this debate? How can someone trust this company after this? 

  • Reply 15 of 15
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,393member
    theiren36 said:
    I have just received a Withings device for Christmas as a gift and now probably in the next months I will not be able to use it on my Apple phone through the Withings App!

    That's crazy, at Nokia they should know that the majority of their users use Apple iPhones how can a company that performed so bad in the past years to try to stop Apple on this debate? How can someone trust this company after this? 


    Why won't you be able to use it?  Is Apple going to block the app?  If so, I agree, how can you trust Apple after this!
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