One more example of why the US patent system is blatantly biased towards US companies and utterly broken.
An article over at Groklaw examines the FRAND dispute and cuts through the smokescreens to get to the bottom of what Apple's real
strategy and goals are. Read the full article
over at Groklaw.
Some highlights from the article follow (emphasis added).
Samsung, Apple, FRAND -- What's It All About? -- Samsung's Side Updated
Thursday, July 26 2012 @ 10:48 PM EDT
As Samsung and Apple have been fighting over patents from one end of the earth to the other, most of the coverage, with few exceptions, seems to present Apple's point of view. [Example A, Example B, Example C, Example D, and Example E.] We know how much money Apple is asking for, we know it's claiming treble damages for willfulness, we know it thinks FRAND patents are not deserving of injunction enforcement, and that Samsung is asking too much money for them.
But now that we have the redacted trial briefs from the parties, I thought you'd like to see Samsung's side. Litigation has two sides, two stories, not just one.
Did you know that Apple wants a royalty rate of $24 per unit from Samsung for its alleged use of Apple's design patent, the notorious tablet shape with rounded corners? $24! But when Samsung asked Apple for a much lower amount per unit that everybody else in the market pays for Samsung's standards patents, Apple refused, offered no counter-offer, and sued instead. To date, it's paid nothing at all for those patents or for the other regular patents Samsung is accusing Apple of infringing. In its trial brief, Apple states in one header:
To The Extent That Samsung Is Entitled To Any Remedy, its FRAND Damages Cannot Exceed $0.0049 Per Unit for Each Infringed Patent
Less than a penny should be Samsung's lot for patents that are essential to even be in the mobile phone business, but Apple wants Samsung to pay $24 for rounded corners, plus from $2.02 and up to $3.10 per unit for its utility patents.
Did you know that Samsung claims to have prior art that knocks Apple's patents out?
Samsung does not infringe any of Apple‘s patents and has located dead-on prior art that invalidates them.
It says it hasn't infringed them anyhow, but that they are, in any case, invalid.
The most important information is that we finally get to see what the FRAND issue is all about. It's the first time I actually understand the FRAND dispute. If I had to put it into a single sentence, it'd be this:
Companies who like to get patent royalties from competitors, like Apple and Microsoft, and who use patents aggressively, have noticed that if everyone who was in the mobile phone business before they were sues them over their patents, they won't be able to make a phone anyone can afford, so they want to get the courts to force folks like Samsung and Motorola to accept less than a penny per handset for their standards patents, while still charging the regular price for their own later-issued patents.
In other words, they want to disarm the companies that got there first, built the standards, and created the field, while the come-later types clean up on patents on things like slide to unlock or a tablet shape with rounded corners.
Then the money flows to Apple and Microsoft, and away from Android -- and isn't that really the point of all this, to destroy Android by hook or by crook? The parties who were in the mobile phone business years before Apple or Microsoft even thought about doing it thus get nothing much for their earlier issued patents that have become standards. Apple and Microsoft can't compete on an even field, because the patent system rewards the first to invent (or now, after the recent patent reform, the first to file). Neither Apple nor Microsoft got there first. Samsung *was* there, since the '90s:
That Samsung is able to offer such a wide variety of quality mobile telecommunications devices is no coincidence. Samsung has been researching and developing mobile telecommunications technology since at least as early as 1991 and invented much of the technology for today‘s smartphones. Indeed, Apple, which sold its first iPhone nearly twenty years after Samsung started developing mobile phone technology, could not have sold a single iPhone without the benefit of Samsung‘s patented technology. Even as Apple has carried out a coordinated campaign of dragging Samsung‘s name through the mud in this lawsuit and in the media, it has used Samsung‘s patented technology while flatly refusing to pay for its use.
"Coordinated campaign" -- do they mean Florian Mueller, by any chance? He certainly has put out endless streams of anti-Samsung articles. Whoever they mean, they believe it's coordinated by Apple, evidently.
If a party simply refuses to pay anything at all and refuses to negotiate, then what can the patent holder do? Nothing? Sue and wait for a decade to get paid, considering all the likely appeals? You could go out of business that way before you see any money.
And so rather than fixing the broken patent system, Apple would prefer to "reform" it in its own image of what would benefit Apple via the courts, telling them that what's reasonable is essentially nothing for these standards patents, so they end up winning due to playing on a field that tilts all their way. Apple in this litigation wants billions for its later patents, including penalties, but it wants to pay close to nothing for Samsung's, as if Samsung had donated their R&D to the world for nothing. I wish. But in reality, that's not how standards patents work currently.
Apple also wants a permanent injunction, while wanting to deny Samsung the right to even ask for one, so Samsung can't compete against it any more, although I notice that Apple's brief says that Samsung claims it can work around all of Apple's patents in a month. Did you know that? Me either. There is so much we haven't heard, I guess because of the coordinated campaign to spin it Apple's way.
Check it out. It's well worth a read.