Important U.S. ITC Apple v. Samsung ruling over standard-essential patents due today

“Apple Inc.’s legal battle with Samsung Electronics Co. over smartphone inventions could determine if there are limits to the power of patents that cover most widely-used technology for electronics,” Susan Decker reports for Bloomberg News.

“The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington is scheduled to announce today whether Apple infringed Samsung patents for transmitting data and, if so, whether the Korean handset maker can block such a fundamental function of a mobile device. It would be the first final decision in any U.S. cases between the world’s two largest smartphone makers,” Decker reports. “The commission, which can block imports into the U.S., in March asked for comments on how banning older models of the iPhone and iPad tablet computer would affect the public. On a broader scale, the commission must decide if it’s appropriate to exclude a product for infringing a patent that’s part of technical standards it must follow.”

Decker reports, “‘This will be the most important decision from the ITC dealing with the standard-essential patents to date,’ said David Long, a patent lawyer with Dow Lohnes in Washington. ‘In other cases, they found ways out. Here, they seem to be indicating there’s infringement, now what do we do.'”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. For SEPs that come under FRAND rules (and virtually all do) then the SEP holder needs to set industry wide licensing fees BEFORE the patent is picked up for the standard.That way the standards committees can decide if they want to base the standard on that technology or not. If the patent holder wants $10 per component shipped the standards committee can decline to include it. Conversely if the patent holder wants 0.01 cent per component shipped then they can easily include it.

    Every standards committee needs to enforce this rule: tell us you fees BEFORE we adopt your technology. Any company caught hiding patents until after the standard is released (and it *has* happened) will have their patent voided. Get every company involved in these standards processes to agree, in writing, to the terms and conditions up front.

    The regulators must enforce the FRAND component of this. In this case, the regulators must tell Samsung, “Require Apple to pay what is the *average* fee you charge to any other organization in the world. If Apple agrees to pay, then sit down and shut up. If Apple absolutely *refuses* to pay, then we’ll ban Apple’s infringing products. That’s all.”

    1. Shadowself,
      Not bad but I would go one further.
      Patents that affect a specific chip (the effort is implemented on that chip), then fees can ONLY be placed on the chip maker. Once that chip is bought (assuming its maker has the right to make it), its patent is paid for. I believe its called exhaustion.

      Only when the patent is used in software that a maker uses, is there a direct fee on the hardware and then only on the cost of the chips involved.

      Fair is fair, but this practice of trying to use FRAND to punish people you are competiting against is just so wrong.

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