Sunday, August 4, 2013

Obama Administration : Saved Older Apple 3G Products from Ban...

Today, the Obama administration vetoed the ban placed by the ITC on older Apple products that used 3G technologies that Samsung had a patent on. Samsung licenses the patent to other manufacturers under the fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory license, or FRAND. However, they refused to license it to Apple, therefore breaking the "non-discriminatory" part of the FRAND license. They then a used the patent system, and sued Apple for use of the standards patent. It was for this reason that the Obama administration shot down the ban,
and will allow Apple products to be imported and purchased in this country.

Once again, Samsung showed their true face here, by refusing to license their patent to Apple
as they did every other manufacturer. They've used similar tactics against their competition in the past, when they cut off parts of their supply chain to HTC. Samsung is truly just using vile tactics to promote their business. Fortunately, the Obama administration didn't allow it this particular ban to take hold.

The FRAND license is used for standards, patents that are required to be used by other manufacturers. The one in this situation is for the 3G standard, and the patent in question is used in cell phone radios. By not licensing it to Apple, Samsung was breaking the very nature of standards patents and FRAND licensing. The Obama administration didn't specifically reverse the ban on the Apple devices, but instead enforced the FRAND licensing practices that keeps standards available for all, which had the same effect. Apple will still have to pay Samsung to license the patent, but Samsung can't refuse to license it to them, or try to force Apple to pay more than the other companies licensing the patent, which is exactly what Samsung was doing. The official ruling, from Michael Froman, is below.

"In addition, on January 8, 2013, the Department of Justice and United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an important Policy Statement entitled “Policy Statement on Remedies for Standard-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments” (“Policy Statement”).2 The Policy Statement makes clear that standards, and particularly voluntary consensus standards set by standards developing organizations (“SDO”), have incorporated important technical advances that are fundamental to the interoperability of many of the products on which consumers have come to rely, including the types of devices that are the subject of the Commission’s determination. The Policy Statement expresses substantial concerns, which I strongly share, about the potential harms that can result from owners of standardsessential patents (“SEPs”) who have made a voluntary commitment to offer to license SEPs on terms that are fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (“FRAND”), gaining undue leverage and engaging in “patent holdup”, i.e., asserting the patent to exclude an implementer of the standard from a market to obtain a higher price for use of the patent than would have been possible before the standard was set, when alternative technologies could have been chosen. At the same time, technology implementers also can cause potential harm by, for example, engaging in “reverse holdup” (“holdout”), e. g., by constructive refusal to negotiate a FRAND license with the SEP owner or refusal to pay what has been determined to be a FRAND royalty."

This ruling would enforce the "non-discriminatory" part of the FRAND license. It prevents companies such as Samsung from using patents for standardized technology in discriminatory ways. A ruling like this wasn't needed until now, which should speak volumes on Samsung's actions. Speaking with AllThingsD, an Apple spokesperson had this to say about the ruling: "We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way". How very true that is.
Sources: 9to5Mac, AllThingsD, Gizmodo, and Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment