UN agency’s roundtable on wireless patent litigation reflects deep divisions between Apple, Google, Samsung, and others

“Today the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency that co-developed (for one example) the H.264 video codec standard, is holding a ‘patent roundtable’ to discuss the implications of widespread patent litigation in the wireless devices industry,” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents.

“This morning I had the opportunity to follow over the Internet the first two of four sessions. I won’t have access to the afternoon session,” Mueller reports. “Clearly, the industry is deeply divided over the issue of SEP enforcement. Against this background, it speaks to the ITU’s influence that it managed to bring players like Apple on the FRAND-friendly side and the opponents of reasonably meaningful interpretations of FRAND pledges, above all (though not exclusively) Google’s Motorola Mobility, together for a day. Attendees also include competition regulators and patent offices from different continents.”

Mueller writes, “This is about the rules under which some of the most deep-pocketed companies in history are fighting for market share in a rapidly-converging high-tech industry, in which hardware, software and services of different kinds are all part of one market as opposed to separate industries. A company like Apple can’t allow others to abuse SEPs in order to force Apple to relinquish its crown jewels in the form of comprehensive cross-license agreements involving SEPs and non-SEPs on terms that don’t meet Apple’s strategic needs. At the same time, Google wants to get away with Android’s proven wide-ranging infringement of third-party rights, and it either wants to get so much leverage out of Motorola’s SEPs that it can solve the problem through a cross-license on favorable terms or it wants to at least create a situation in which non-SEPs are subjected to pretty much the same enforcement restrictions as SEPs. Either way, Google could neutralize Apple’s patents. They can meet at a dozen roundtables and still won’t agree. Those are just two of the companies involved, but their diametrically-opposed strategic interests show that even the most skilled dealmakers wouldn’t be able to broker an agreement. Consensus won’t resolve this fundamental conflict. All of these companies just do what they believe is best for their shareholders. The courts and the regulators have to apply the law with a view to overarching policy goals… judicial and regulatory decisions will be needed.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

Related article:
Google’s good-guy patent routine questioned by authorities – October 10, 2012


  1. “The courts and the regulators have to apply the law with a view to overarching policy goals… judicial and regulatory decisions will be needed.”

    First you need a do-something President and a House and Senate that can work together.

    Good luck with that.

    1. Don’t bring politics into this. The patent war is a global issue and involves courts from around the world. You are the epitome of a typical American thinking the world revolves around the USA. With your near sighted view of the world you probably have no idea this meeting was held in Geneva, Switzerland. (FYI-That’s in Europe.) In case you are wondering, I am American.

  2. I agree that Google and Apple will never agree here. The standards organizations will have to have the backbone to enforce FRAND, but do it in a way that does not blow up future cooperation.

    Fundamentally, Google is showing a willingness to endanger future progress, if all the contributors of future standards essential patents pull back,refuse to share, and stiful progress. Google has a problem because they chose to borrow liberally from other folks ip and now they have to fight with “evil” practice for their own protection. The real evil though is the threat of the destruction of years of technical cooperation to build the stanards based technology infrastructure we all enjoy across boarders and all around the world today.

    1. Just a thought. If FRAND goes away, then SEP goes away and each company uses its own standard. If one company can sell a lot of units, it becomes the “standard” and everyone must pay them what ever license they require.

      SEP lets groups of companies come together, everyone makes a buck or two and everyone gets to use the same standard technology for a small fee.

      Just a thought.

  3. I have difficulty comprehending the commie approach to everything that is oddly even infiltrating the current youth culture. These loons have no respect for another person’s creations. The fetid attitude is to frack copyrights and frack IP patents, like the blithering idiots who hold these self-destructive views have any idea what it is like to actually CREATE something and to make a LIVELIHOOD from those creations.

    IOW: Stick to your guns Apple! Just because the lazy-ass world around us goes insane is no reason any of the rest of us have to play along or turn all sheeple bah bah bahhhh. 😕

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