Samsung files redacted copy of ‘very lopsided’ Apple-HTC deal in U.S. court; Distinctive Apple User Experience not for sale

“Lawyers for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd filed a redacted copy of a 10-year patent licensing agreement between Apple Inc and Taiwan’s HTC Corp in a U.S. court late on Wednesday following a judge’s order,” Sakthi Prasad and Poornima Gupta report for Reuters.

“The court last month ordered Apple to disclose to Samsung details of the legal settlement that the iPhone maker reached with HTC, including terms of the 10-year patents licensing agreement,” Prasad and Gupta report. “The redacted copy excludes key specifics such as the royalty payments HTC would have to make to Apple for using some of the U.S. company’s patents. Also excluded are details of some of HTC’s covered products that were part of the licensing deal. The court order had stated that “only the pricing and royalty terms of license agreements may be sealed.”

Prasad and Gupta report, “As per the Apple-HTC agreement, the licenses do not include Apple’s design patents, according to a filing made with the District Court of Northern California. Apple and HTC also agreed to fully paid-up, royalty-free, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable licenses to certain of the other’s patents.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Samsung cannot and presumably will not try to argue that Apple is willing to license its design patents. Those are explicitly excluded from the agreement in a way that leaves no doubt whatsoever,” Florian Mueller writes for FOSS Patents. “Apple and HTC never had a design patent dispute. Apple’s design patent assertions have so far targeted mostly Samsung (in multiple jurisdictions), in one German case Motorola’s XOOM tablet (Apple lost that one but may still be pursuing an appeal), and a few smaller players in Germany, Spain and possibly other jurisdictions. Should HTC suddenly build iPhone and iPad lookalikes, Apple could still sue, but I doubt that this will be necessary.”

“I’ve been saying for a long time that at a minimum Apple needs to defend the distinguishability of its products, or its business would be subjected to totally unfettered, margin-destroying commoditization. The Apple-HTC agreement defines a very important term: Distinctive Apple User Experience,” Muller writes. “That’s what Apple seeks to protect and that’s something that is not for sale. The first time that an anti-cloning provision in an Apple license agreement was mentioned in public was this summer when an Apple executive testified in open court that Microsoft has a license to all Apple patents but that the parties agreed to an anti-cloning provision.”

Muller explains, “HTC can use what Google provides without fear of being sued by Apple. Otherwise HTC would be at a fundamental disadvantage vis-à-vis other Android device makers. And while Google now knows these terms and could implement certain features just to help HTC and possibly others who will sign similar license deals in the future, Google also realizes that Apple might at some point enforce its rights against Google directly. Apple is obviously not afraid of Google. Otherwise it would never have sued HTC and other Google partners, and wouldn’t continue to be suing a wholly-owned Google subsidiary, Motorola Mobility.”

“Whatever the court will decide, it’s a very interesting question whether Samsung will agree to a license deal with Apple along the lines of the one accepted by HTC, especially now that Samsung sees how most of the terms of these deals may ultimately have to be shown in public. The Apple-HTC deal is very lopsided,” Mueller writes “There are no two-way payments: it’s all about HTC paying to Apple. The deal is under California law, and any arbitration proceedings would be under the auspices of the international division of the American Arbitration Association. HTC is not allowed to “clone” Apple’s products and features, but the agreement doesn’t limit Apple’s use of HTC’s patents. And various other details also reflect the fact that this was absolutely positively not a deal between equals.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Have a nice day, Samsung.


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