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Apple wants to change patent license rules

Apple LogoAlthough Jobs confessed he wanted to obliterate Android for duplicating Apple’s inventions, Apple is now seeking clarification regarding interpretation of how industry critical patents are managed.

In a letter reported by the Wall Street Journal, to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), Apple requested consistency and transparency in the process of applying intellectual property licensing rules.

Samsung and Motorola are Apple’s chief concerns, due to a joint suit focusing on “essential” patents. The letter from Apple has already been posted on the Foss Patents blog. Fraud principles comprise the body of the argument. These pertain to the licensing agreement of key technologies of any commonly acknowledged standard. Examples include MP3 and 3G, the licensing of which is tied to fair, reasonable, and terms that are without discrimination. Any companies that enter into this agreement by signing, cannot exclude anyone from taking advantage of their creation, if they receive a fee that is not excessive.

Although Apple did tie itself to the agreement as far back as five years ago, it has attacked many of its competitors with lawsuits over patent infringements. These were inventions covered by its own non-Fraud agreement. Regardless of this hypocrisy, Apple makes three points clear:

  1. A fair fee for royalties can be charged at the beginning and end of any negotiations.
  2. The starting royalty fee should be valued by the relevant parts, as opposed to the entire device.
  3. Injunctions should not be abused to hinder competitors from selling or shipping, taking advantage of Fraud-patent disputes.

Bruce Watrous, Apple’s chief intellectual property counsel indicated, “Our company will adhere to these rules so long as others do as well.” Florian Mueller, author of Foss Patent, connects Apple’s intentions to Samsung’s attempt to suck out 2.4 percent of the sale price that each and every 3G device they sued over in the previous year. These, in the end, were essentially contested as Fraud-patents.

Samsung is under investigation for aberrating its competition on the mobile markets throughout Europe, by abuse of the rules. Add to this mess that Motorola Mobility wanted to eat 2.25 percent of the Apple pie of 3G iPhone and iPad sales, but keep in mind it was when Apple was trying to license Razr manufacturer’s GPRS innovations. Who is really to blame here?

The Motorola blaze forced Apple’s hand to withdraw many items from its online store in Germany last week, though it was only a brief reprise. Apple did not even miss a step in the whole patent process.

Still, Apple is not without guilt regarding lawsuits. UK’s Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys’ Ilya Kazi even went as far as to point the finger at Steve Jobs, “Jobs practically declared was against both Android and Samsung, filling the foray with emotion.” He went on to indicate that Frand agreements are kind only to the recipients, and that many wholeheartedly support this approach only when they benefit from it as the defenders in lawsuits. Ultimately, the worth of the letter will be weighed against the undeniable concept of enforcing rights of ownership.

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