This Monday, a filing had been made with the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in which Motorola Mobility (owned by Google, so its essentially Google) and Apple entered into a standard-essential (FRAND) patent license agreement. The agreement between the two companies states that Apple is now licensed to use Motorola’s FRAND patents in Germany. The royalty rate hasn’t been set yet, but we should be seeing a rate sometime soon in the near future.
Something you have to understand when it comes to these standard-essential patents, is that the patent owner, which in this case is Motorola, must agree to a licensing deal with a competitor, which happens to be Apple, if that competitor makes an offer to accept a licensing agreement. The patent owner cannot refuse a licensing deal without violating antitrust law. Which you could essentially put into terms that Apple is admitting to infringing the patents from Motorola and is liable for past damages. Right now, the filing has only covered the “cellular standard-essential” patents. So those Wi-Fi and video codecs that Motorola owns are open for a later scrap in the courts. It’s also possible that separate licensing deals could be made for those if both parties were to agree and are tired of fighting inside the courts.
What I find kind of funny is that Microsoft is walking on the borders of these court battles. It sure is a whole lot less expensive to avoid these lawsuits than going straight in with full force. If Microsoft were to get in a battle with Apple, we should all remember who was able to bail Apple out of debt in the first place back in 1997. I guess you could essentially say that if Apple were to strike Microsoft, the company would find a way to deal with the nuisance in the tech industry here in the United States. I guess it’s not really a “nuisance” so to speak, but with being so controlling over technology, it really is discouraging others to make new startups and continue the growth of technology.
Whatever the case, Apple lately seems to be on a rampage (even though this lawsuit was started by Motorola) and I don’t doubt that they would be interested in finding a way to sue Microsoft. They seem to want to be the only person that consumers look to for technology, which really isn’t a good business view to have if you want to succeed.
All that said, it looks like we won’t be seeing another epic saga come out of Cupertino between Google. It’s sad really, we all know that Google would of ripped them to pieces and even though due to the broke patent system, Google would of probably been found on some sort of infringement, Apple would of been laying in the ashes of a dead business. Okay, I wish it was that easy.
Thoughts? Was this licensing deal a good idea or does it just spell trouble?
source: Talk Android