Apple’s FRAND patent counterclaims against Samsung and Motorola

By contrast, Samsung and Motorola try to shut Apple’s products down on the basis of allegedly standards-essential patents, seeking injunctions and (in MMI’s case) an ITC import ban regardless of whether Apple might be willing to pay FRAND royalties. Contrary to making a clear distinction as Nokia did, Samsung and Motorola simply lump standards-related and unencumbered patents together as if all patents were the same.

Interesting read about Apple’s claims that Samsung and Motorola are abusing their FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) patents.

Especially interesting when you consider that Nokia rightly drew a distinction between the two kinds of patents, and Apple settled with them.

Google and Motorola’s Patents [UPDATED]

The problem, of course, is that if Motorola had a savior set of patents, it wouldn’t have been one of the first targets of Microsoft. And if Motorola’s patent portfolio were really that dangerous, Apple would have settled quickly, not dragged out patent countersuits of its own. Apple settled with Nokia pretty quickly…

Everyone’s talking about the number of patents (17,000, with more in review), but not about what they cover. I suspect few of Motorola’s patents relate to modern smartphone technology or UI because Motorola hasn’t been making them for long, and they use Android.

If Motorola’s patents haven’t worried Microsoft or Apple up to now, it doesn’t change much that they’re now in Google’s possession.

[UPDATE:] This post today re-iterates my point: 

Motorola Mobility’s portfolio has failed to deter, and it has so far failed to make any meaningful headway in litigation. Motorola Mobility is on the losing track against the very two companies Google says those patents will provide protection from.

In-depth analysis of Google’s VP8. One worry is patent infringement.

Finally, the problem of patents appears to be rearing its ugly head again. VP8 is simply way too similar to H.264: a pithy, if slightly inaccurate, description of VP8 would be “H.264 Baseline Profile with a better entropy coder”. Though I am not a lawyer, I simply cannot believe that they will be able to get away with this, especially in today’s overly litigious day and age.  Even VC-1 differed more from H.264 than VP8 does, and even VC-1 didn’t manage to escape the clutches of software patents. Until we get some hard evidence that VP8 is safe, I would be extremely cautious.  Since Google is not indemnifying users of VP8 from patent lawsuits, this is even more of a potential problem.

Emphasis in the original. The article is a geek read if ever there was one, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Microsoft and HTC: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em

It gets weirder.  Microsoft, in turn, would recieve royalties on every Google Android phone sold by HTC.  So, for a few bucks per Android device, Microsoft gives HTC the ammunition it needs to fight off Apple in its patent disputes.

Despite public statements to the contrary, HTC must be concerned about the Apple lawsuit. Otherwise there’s little reason to give Microsoft “a few bucks” per phone for, essentially, nothing. Windows Mobile is in terrible shape, so if Microsoft had any phone patents (i.e., “ammunition”) worth having they’d have gone after the smartphone vendors themselves by now. They haven’t.

Instead, I think Microsoft licensed HTC a bill of goods that looks good in a press release. Microsoft gets cash money for HTC phones sold, but doesn’t have to dirty their hands with any legal battle that’ll cost millions (and they’re not confident in winning).

Sure, HTC can go back to Apple and say “See? We have these Microsoft patents, are you scared now?”, but I think Apple will be unimpressed. Again, it looks good in a press release, and in tech pundits’ columns, but all it’ll likely do is stretch the case, and the cloud over HTC, out further, which is not a good thing for HTC.

I would think HTC tried first to cross-license with Apple (after all, they’re the ones holding the patents HTC’s alleged to be infringing), but Apple said no. Microsoft made overtures, HTC grabbed, and Microsoft laughs all the way to the bank.

Microsoft Appealed So They Could Remove Patent-Infringing Code

Microsoft said it has been preparing for such a judgment since August. Copies of Word and Office sold before Jan. 11 aren’t affected by the court’s decision. And Microsoft said it has “put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature” from versions of Word 2007 and Office 2007 that would be sold after that date.

Microsoft files an appeal in August, which is also when they began preparing for losing the appeal like they knew they would. In other words, they let a four-month bogus appeal run its course solely to give them time to remove offending code and avoid missing a beat when they’re judged to be the thieves they were.

Sure, they need to pay $290M in fines, but Ballmer would say that’s just a rounding error.

Posted via web from The Small Wave.