“This week, the U.S. International Trade Commission made a decision that sent shock waves around the world,” Florian Müller writes for CNN. “The governmental agency banned the importation of Apple’s older iPhones (before the 4S) and cellular iPads (before the third-generation iPad 4G) into the U.S. market. These devices were found to violate a Samsung patent necessary to connect with AT&T’s cellular network. Simply put, if you’re an AT&T customer, your phone is not a phone without a technology that Samsung owns.”
“What Samsung dropped on those older Apple products is the patent equivalent of a nuclear bomb, and a U.S. government agency with court-like powers said: ‘Yes, Samsung, you’re in your right to use this lethal weapon, and we don’t care that Apple claims it’s been universally outlawed,'” Müller writes. “Why are standard-essential patents the equivalent of a nuclear weapon? Because there are industry standards that establish the use of certain techniques. Unless your phone and mine use the same standard, we can’t give each other a call or send each other a photo because the devices we use won’t understand each other. This is called interoperability — working together. When companies get together and define a standard, they have to promise to use these patents only as parking meters, not as guns.”
Müller writes, “Conventional patents, such as the ones Apple is suing Samsung over, don’t raise the same issues… Congress should work with the president and denuclearize the mobile patents wars by disallowing import bans over standard-essential patents. Now.”
Read more in the full article here.
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