Apple hoards LTE patents to deflect possible Samsung attack on iPhone 5

“Apple has acquired a large number of patents related to the fourth-generation LTE mobile technology in order to prepare for possible legal disputes with archrival Samsung,” Chosun Ilbo reports.

“The Korean electronics giant, which recently lost to Apple in a patent suit at the Northern District Court of California, seems to have been planning to strike back using its patented LTE technologies,” Chosun Ilbo reports. “LTE standard patents registered with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute show that Apple had no LTE patents last year but has now acquired 318 patents or 4.9 percent of total LTE patents to rank among the top 10 patent holders, the Korea Intellectual Property Office said Monday.”

Chosun Ilbo reports, “Samsung Electronics had 819 (12.7 percent) to rank first, followed by the U.S. patent company InterDigital with 780 patents (12.1 percent). China’s Huawei ranked fifth with 402 (6.2 percent). Apple only developed 44 of it 318 LTE patents itself and bought the rest from Nortel and Freescale last year. Patent enforcement firm Rockstar Bidco, in which Apple holds a majority stake, owns another 116 LTE patents, giving Apple 434 in all.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless, Samsung’s SEP pea-shooters simply cannot compete against Apple’s design patent nukes. FRAND, baby, FRAND!


  1. How do standards-essential patents help Apple or anyone in a patent war? Contrary to the bizarre “one bullet to kill” dreams of Motorola and Samsung, they are worth nothing in a hold up, because most judges read the law and honor the FRAND agreements made by the holders.

    And if they don’t, the appellate courts and, more importantly, the anti-trust agencies, do.

    1. I don’t believe the article said these are FRAND patents … certainly not all of them.

      I see that #2 LTE patent holder InterDigital has a market cap of $1.4 billion.  So it is not impossible for Apple to acquire its LTE patents or even the entire company … in which Apple would be the #1 LTE patent holder.

      1. The article references and numbers are for “LTE standard patents registered with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.”

        If they are not registered, and subject to FRAND, they are not required for LTE devices or service.

    1. Patents encumbered by FRAND, yes. As a defense, FRAND has been a powerhouse.

      Samsung lost its three FRAND cases in Germany, and cases in Italy, France, and the US (all v. Apple). Motorola won in the short term in Mannheim, but the victory was stayed by the appeals court. It looks likely to lose v. Microsoft in the pending ITC case.

      Yet these boys keep swinging.

  2. FRAND abuse consequenses and Apple’s hermonuclear canons aimed at the heart of Samsung will not miss.

    Samsung’ s DNA is stealing and copying, Apple’s is innovating and rvolutionizing.

    DNA evidence exonorates the innocent and convicts the guilty.

  3. “The last major asset of Nortel, approximately 6,000 patents and patent applications encompassing technologies such as wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, and semiconductors, was sold for $4.5 billion to a consortium including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony.” Look out Sammy!

  4. Sad to see apple scrambling to keep up with Samsung these days. With the iphone recently dethroned as the top selling smartphone, it’s no wonder Apple had to sue. If Apple can’t innovate like Samsung, they kick em in the wallet, just like they do their sheep customers.

    1. “top-selling smartphone” is a fairly dodgy term, especially given the vagueness and indirect way that Samsung statistics have been reported. For instance, is it a “sale” when Samsung gives away (as they are now doing) a Galaxy S iII in China with avery major appliances purchase? I think if you look at “smart phone” profit figures, the story is a bit different 🙂

    2. The iPhone was only ‘dethroned’ in the recent quarter. For one reason. The new one is announced tomorrow and people are waiting for it. The S3 might sell 20 million devices in 4-6 months, the iPhone 5 is expected to sell through 45 Million in the first 3 months.

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