Apple asked standards body to set rules for essential FRAND patents

“Apple Inc. has asked a telecommunications standards body to set basic principles governing how member companies license their patents, an increasingly contentious topic for rivals in the smartphone industry,” Ian Sherr reports for Dow Jones Newswires.

“In a letter to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, Apple said the telecommunications industry lacks consistent licensing schemes for the many patents necessary to make mobile devices, and offered suggestions for setting appropriate royalty rates that all members would follow,” Sherr reports. “Many mobile technology companies, such as Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., hold patents that became part of industry-wide standards. Standards bodies often require the patent holders to offer to license their patents to any company on a basis known as FRAND, or fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory. Questions about such commitments have arisen amid a flurry of patent suits between rivals in the mobile-device market.”

Sherr reports, “Apple said in its letter — which was dated Nov. 11, but not previously disclosed — that the lack of clarity on what is fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory has led many companies to ask unusually high rates and sue one another claiming they infringed on one another’s patents. ‘It is apparent that our industry suffers from a lack of consistent adherence to FRAND principles in the cellular standards arena,” wrote Bruce Watrous, Apple’s intellectual property head.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s iterative approach to FRAND abuse is not for the faint of heart, but there’s no better alternative – February 5, 2012
Motorola Mobility wants 2.25% of Apple’s sales for standards-essential wireless patents license – February 4, 2012
EU launches full-blown investigation of Samsung’s suspected abuse of FRAND-pledged patents; Motorola on notice – January 31, 2012
EU opens antitrust investigation into Samsung over patents – January 31, 2012
European Commission investigates Samsung over possible abuse of FRAND patents against Apple – November 3, 2011
Why is Samsung attempting to ban Apple’s iPhone 4S over FRAND patents? – October 5, 2011


      1. Voluntary, but mandatory if you want your patent to be involved in an industry standard.
        The standardization bodies will not accept a standard that involves patents if the patent holder doesn’t agree to FRAND principles.

        1. Exactly. If a patent holder wants the industry standards to be written to force everyone to use their IP, they must agree to license it to all comers at a fair and reasonable price ( not a percentage of sales), but $1 or $.25 for each device produced using the IP.

  1. In the tradition of Apple communications, it was clearly written and reasonable:

    1. Appropriate royality rate

    2. Appropriate royality base (i.e. patents applicable to 3G standards should be based on the value of the chip, or some subcomponent, not the entire device)

    3. No injunction from FRAND patents. You’d think this one would be a given, but Motorola is attempting to wield theirs like club.

    Motorola continues to operate in the red, saved only Google’s bailout – one they laughably overpaid for. Their FRAND IP is the only thing valuable about the company remaining.

  2. If you follow the FOSS patents guy (and I recommend anyone who’s interested to do so), you can clearly see why Apple is asking for this. Part of the problem is that German law has created a sort of loophole for FRAND patents that allows companies like Motorola and Samsung to skirt acceptable FRAND practices. This could backfire for them, however, because as I understand it ETSI can set some pretty draconian penalties for FRAND patent holders who purposely do not adhere to FRAND standards. Both Motorola and Samsung deserve those penalties simply for being IP thieves. They’re trying to force apple into licensing its non-Frand IP to them rather than force them to innovate on their own.

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