The Patent Wars: Crucially, SEPs cannot be used to win injunctions barring products from sale

“This is going to have effects a lot further than just Motorola v. Microsoft: it could be crucial in the ongoing Samsung Apple battle,” Tim Worstall reports for Forbes.

The Seattle federal judge who recently oversaw a two-week trial between Microsoft and Motorola over standards-based patents handed down a key order today, finding that Motorola won’t be able to use its patents to get an injunction against Microsoft. That means that while Motorola might be able to use its patents to win some money from Microsoft, it won’t be able to get the ultimate reward of a successful patent suit: the ability to kick an opponent’s product off the market.

“This ruling says that you cannot use SEPs to win an injunction barring products from sale. You can argue about how much money you should be paid for them but you’ve not got the nuclear option of throwing the offending product off the market. Oh, and because they are standards essential, you must license them: it’s only the price you can argue about,” Worstall reports. “The end result of this is that Motorolo and Samsung are rather weakened in their cases for patent infringement by others, including Microsoft and Apple. For they’re asserting SEPs which cannot be used to gain bans. This thus rather strengthens, most especially, Apple, who is defending the use of SEPs owned by Samsung while asserting that Samsung is breaching Apple’s non-SEPs.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple wins strategically important modification of dismissal to keep FRAND defense alive against Google’s Motorola – November 29, 2012
Apple and Google disagree on key parameters of potential FRAND arbitration, including scope – November 16, 2012
Google’s Motorola says it wants binding arbitration to resolve Apple’s FRAND patent claims – November 15, 2012
FTC staff said to formally recommend antitrust lawsuit against Google over FRAND abuse – November 1, 2012
Google U.S. antitrust lawsuit said to be urged by FTC investigators over Internet search, FRAND abuse – October 15, 2012
U.S. FTC investigating Google, Motorola Mobility over FRAND abuse – June 30, 2012
EU launches full-blown investigation of Samsung’s suspected abuse of FRAND-pledged patents; Motorola on notice – January 31, 2012
Apple asked standards body to set rules for essential FRAND patents – February 8, 2012

25 Comments

      1. Exactly… Standards Essential Patents are a FRAND terms only BECAUSE they are essential to said technologies, in other words, most offenders of SEP’s are FORCED to offend due to the patent holders inability to set Fair and Reasonable terms… Which is EXACTLY where Apple sits right now, sure they are offending Samsung’s SEP’s, because Samsung is asking UNREASONABLE terms. This is typical behavior of companies strategies in order to solicit the best terms (negotiating while offending because once settled the holding company will get payed, even back pay since offending started), but not of Samsung, they’re offending Design Patents and Utility Patents which aren’t SEP’s (bad news for Samsung).
        Apple’s treasure-chest is still full, they have only sued with a few (12) patents (or thereabouts) in design and utility… There are over 200 patents in the original iPhone alone… Draw your own conclusions here.

    1. SEPs are patents in which the owner works with a “Standards” body/organization and said owner gives up certain rights in order for that patent to become a part of a “Standard” in the industry. Apple does not want its ( or rather MOST of its) patents to be “standards” and therefore can supposedly force those who copy to cease and desist.

      Those with SEPs MUST license the patents to who ever wants to use it. That is the agreement of allowing it to become part of a “Standard”. The basic negotiations is on price, not whether the patent can or cannot be used.

      1. And most importantly, the price of the patent use has to be fair and non-discriminatory. Basically, Samsung cannot hold up Apple for $20 per device if they are only charging Microsoft $1 per device to use it.

    1. Had Apple sneakily license Moto and Samsung… when they were ‘friends’ and before the iPhone was released…

      All of this would have been solved awhile back…

      1. Apple’s argument (at least in most cases) is that the manufacturer of the chipset (e.g. QualComm) that they buy and install in the iPhone has ALREADY paid a licensing fee to Samsung. It’s customary that in such a situation the end user of the chip (Apple) owes no additional fees. Samsung is trying to change the rules in mid-stream, and double dip.

  1. Why is there even a question that Products can be banned based on SEP enforcement? When a company assigns it’s patents to a standard, aren’t they giving up the right to be able to use them to ban products. What a waste of tax-payer money to pass judgement on something that is common sense. I hope this patent war comes to some kind of conclusion soon and justice prevails!

  2. If you can block a product from shipping with a SEP patent then what is the point of a SEP licensed patent.

    I was on google’s side on the oracle trial but I think they are pulling an Oracle on Apple and trying to legally change the rules after the license has been agreed upon.

    I hope Google loses this one

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