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MacRumors
Jun 3, 2011, 04:20 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/03/u-s-antitrust-regulators-concerned-over-apples-interest-in-nortel-patents/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/06/nortel_logo.jpg

(http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/06/nortel_logo.jpg)Last December, it was revealed (http://www.macrumors.com/2010/12/10/apple-reportedly-bidding-to-purchase-nortel-patent-assets/) that Apple was among the parties interested in bidding on a huge trove of patents from Nortel Networks that had been placed up for auction. While group of over 6,000 patents covers a wide variety of areas, Apple was thought to be primarily interested in those patents related to LTE and other mobile technologies.

Competition for the patents has been heating up, with Google having launched the first salvo with an opening bid of $900 million for the entire portfolio of patents. According to The Wall Street Journal, federal antitrust regulators had initially expressed concern (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576363781889157222.html) over Google's bid, but have since had their concerns satisfied. They do, however, continue to have concerns about Apple should it decide to officially submit a bid for the patents.The agency has greater concerns about another possible bidder, Apple Inc., which has often asserted intellectual property rights against other companies. Apple has been in talks with the Justice Department to address its concerns, those people said.

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.Regulators have expressed concern over such a significant batch of intellectually being used by acquirers attempting to consolidate control of critical technologies, thereby stifling innovation.

The official auction for the Nortel patents is scheduled for June 20th, with Google, Apple, and Research in Motion all reportedly interested in participating in the process.

Article Link: U.S. Antitrust Regulators Concerned Over Apple's Interest in Nortel Patents (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/03/u-s-antitrust-regulators-concerned-over-apples-interest-in-nortel-patents/)



nagromme
Jun 3, 2011, 04:46 PM
Good that they’re considering these things.... Although from the outside, it sounds like similar logic should make them worry about anyone BUT Apple getting the patents, because Apple is so often targeted BY patent suits. Letting someone other than Apple have them could stifle innovation! :p

(Especially when so much of other companies’ mobile “innovation” is just following Apple’s lead these days, and would not have happened without Apple doing it first.)

Rodimus Prime
Jun 3, 2011, 05:06 PM
Apple has a history of not letting other companies use the patents that could be another huge reason not to let them have them.

tbrinkma
Jun 3, 2011, 05:09 PM
If they really want to stop patent holders from stifling innovation, they'll do something about the patent holding companies that do *nothing* except buy patents and sue over possible infringement.

Personally, I think most (if not all) of the current patent & copyright ills could be solved by having them be non-transferable. The author/inventor gets the copyright, and cannot sell/gift/transfer ownership of it. They'd still be able license the use of it, and employment contracts could include a perpetual licenses for copyrights/patents created as part of the employee's job duties, but it would pretty much put an end to patent trolls, and corporations lobbying for ever longer and greater control over them.

vvswarup
Jun 3, 2011, 05:22 PM
Apple has a history of not letting other companies use the patents that could be another huge reason not to let them have them.

That's the whole point of a patent. It gives the owner of the patent the "exclusive right" to the patented product.

zachkolk
Jun 3, 2011, 05:54 PM
Why do Antitrust Regulators even exist? If a company wants to make more profits by buying up some patents then let them do it. If said company does something immoral/something the public doesn't like, then they wont buy their products & the company has to change. It's called capitalism. Start regulating something that needs regulating, like the borders.

UTclassof89
Jun 3, 2011, 06:04 PM
If said company does something immoral/something the public doesn't like, then they wont buy their products & the company has to change. It's called capitalism.

I'm guessing you're surfing MacRumors instead of paying attention in History Class (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_law)....

econgeek
Jun 3, 2011, 06:16 PM
I'm guessing you're surfing MacRumors instead of paying attention in History Class (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_law)....

History is often written by the winners, and in politics, the "winners" are often scumbags who pass evil laws and get away with it because the people are distracted by some other issue: EG: PATRIOT Act.

The LAW of the land is the Constitution, and while patents are enshrined in the Constitution, there is no provision in the enumerated powers for the existence of Anti-Trust laws.

Thus if you study the law, and particularly history as it pertains to the creation of the constitution and the powers that it grants the government, you see that the founding fathers were pretty clear on the matter.

There's no point in smugly implying your opponent hasn't studied history, when you don't provide any reason or argument for your side. If your position is more defensible than his, why not argue the position, rather than to the person?

PS- Your sig "Flash will be around a lot longer than Steve Jobs will" is quite offensive, and given that this is MacRumors, makes me wonder if you're trolling? IF not, put up an argument and some facts next time.

2 Replies
Jun 3, 2011, 06:42 PM
IMO, patents should not be transferable.
If a company owns rights to a patent, and it cannot make it on it's own then said IP should become public domain immediately.

Or in the VERY LEAST, the selling of patents shouldn't be allowed.
(So okay... if you buy the entire company, you get the patent with it's existing expiry. But no company should be able to toss up a bunch of patents then sell them.)

History is often written by the winners, and in politics, the "winners" are often scumbags who pass evil laws and get away with it because the people are distracted by some other issue

You have a pretty obvious logical fallacy there (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy#Fallacy_of_Accident_or_Sweeping_Generalization).

(just saying)

*LTD*
Jun 3, 2011, 07:17 PM
Apple has a history of not letting other companies use the patents that could be another huge reason not to let them have them.

Yes, that's the point of patents. They provide exclusive ownership of, and exclusive rights to, whatever they describe.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 3, 2011, 07:19 PM
That's the whole point of a patent. It gives the owner of the patent the "exclusive right" to the patented product.

problem come is many of those patents in that group could cause major problems for the industry if they are not licences out and given Apple history that is a valid enough reason for the regulators to not allow Apple to have them.

But you are right about that is the point of patents but Apple history says they should not be allowed to have this block.

*LTD*
Jun 3, 2011, 07:23 PM
problem come is many of those patents in that group could cause major problems for the industry if they are not licences out and given Apple history that is a valid enough reason for the regulators to not allow Apple to have them.

Patent owners are not required to license anything out to anyone. It's their property. The fact that the patents might or might not be related to "important" technology is merely incidental. Property is property. This isn't state-run enterprise.

FlameofAnor
Jun 3, 2011, 07:41 PM
They're not worried about Google, but they are worried about Apple....... OK. :rolleyes:

Rodimus Prime
Jun 3, 2011, 08:01 PM
Patent owners are not required to license anything out to anyone. It's their property. The fact that the patents might or might not be related to "important" technology is merely incidental. Property is property. This isn't state-run enterprise.

please look up how Anti-trust works.
Your arguments currently are not valid at this point.

*LTD*
Jun 3, 2011, 08:36 PM
please look up how Anti-trust works.
Your arguments currently are not valid at this point.

Tell me "how Anti-trust works."

We all know how it works, by the way. The question is whether regulations apply here (or *should* apply) and if so, to what degree.

The argument is that any one company owning these patents runs the risk of stifling innovation. Does that include the original patent holder (not simply in this case but in general)? If I'm not mistaken we're just seeing x-amount of patents moving from one company to another. If Nortel were still in regular operation and would still hold all those patents, with powers to litigate accordingly, wouldn't the same worries arise?

The interesting part is, and this is likely not applicable anyway, is that they're worried about Apple stifling innovation (and others in general) when Apple is really the one doing most of the innovating, at least at the consumer level.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 3, 2011, 08:43 PM
Tell me "how Anti-trust works."

We all know how it works, by the way. The question is whether regulations apply here (or *should* apply) and if so, to what degree.

The argument is that any one company owning these patents runs the risk of stifling innovation. Does that include the original patent holder (not simply in this case but in general)? If I'm not mistaken we're just seeing x-amount of patents moving from one company to another. If Nortel were still in regular operation and would still hold all those patents, with powers to litigate accordingly, wouldn't the same worries arise?

The interesting part is, and this is likely not applicable anyway, is that they're worried about Apple stifling innovation (and others in general) when Apple is really the one doing most of the innovating, at least at the consumer level.

Difference is if just Apple controls them you have Apple long LONG history of not licencing out their IP for others to use. Apple has a history of blocking others.

Google case is more they have a history of letting other use their IP. So if lets say Google owns them it does not effect Apple inventing stuff. It just means Apple competitors can use the same IP as well.

If Apple owns them only Apple will use them and no one else will be allowed. This hurts innovations in the long run.
Now the first method screws Apple because Apple does not know how to play fair.

mdriftmeyer
Jun 3, 2011, 08:46 PM
That's the whole point of a patent. It gives the owner of the patent the "exclusive right" to the patented product.

Isn't it great you have to explain the definition of patents, on a weekly basis?

*LTD*
Jun 3, 2011, 08:54 PM
Difference is if just Apple controls them you have Apple long LONG history of not licencing out their IP for others to use. Apple has a history of blocking others.

Google case is more they have a history of letting other use their IP. So if lets say Google owns them it does not effect Apple inventing stuff. It just means Apple competitors can use the same IP as well.

If Apple owns them only Apple will use them and no one else will be allowed. This hurts innovations in the long run.
Now the first method screws Apple because Apple does not know how to play fair.

So Apple shouldn't get them because they'll end up using legally available mechanisms to protect them? Because they might exercise their rights?

Is this the argument?

OF COURSE Apple will not simply allow others to use them like a free-for-all. Others will have to pay licensing fees, IF Apple licenses them out at all. But that's their prerogative. What sort of precedent will that set, though? If some governing body determines based on this or that arbitrary set of conditions that your patents just so happen to be "important" ones, then you lose the very freedom otherwise granted to you by law to defend them?

How is this supposed to work?

Doesn't distributing these patents or somehow arbitrarily rendering them public domain *also* stifle innovation? If Apple held all these lovely patents then wouldn't others take some initiative and attempt to come up with better alternatives? But I fear this might be asking too much of the competition . . .

Seems this also has the by-product of giving the competition a helping hand.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 3, 2011, 08:58 PM
So Apple shouldn't get them because they'll end up using legally available mechanisms to protect them?

Is this the argument?

OF COURSE Apple will not simply allow others to use them like a free-for-all. Others will have to pay licensing fees, IF Apple licenses them out at all. But that's their prerogative. What sort of precedent will that set, though? If some governing body determines based on this or that arbitrary set of conditions that your patents just so happen to be "important" ones, then you lose the very freedom otherwise granted to you by law to defend them?

How is this supposed to work?

Doesn't distributing these patents or somehow arbitrarily rendering them public domain *also* stifle innovation? If Apple held all these lovely patents then wouldn't others take some initiative and attempt to come up with better alternatives? But I fear this might be asking too much of the competition . . .

Seems this also has the by-product of giving the competition a helping hand.


And we are back to Anti-trust. Remember when you are one of the big players the rules are very different. Apple getting control is much more likely to hurt innovations than others having control. Mix that 6k with what else they more than likely own and you have some real issues.
.
Please leave the church the Church of Apple for a while so you can understand the problem at hand.

*LTD*
Jun 3, 2011, 09:08 PM
And we are back to Anti-trust. Remember when you are one of the big players the rules are very different. Apple getting control is much more likely to hurt innovations than others having control. Mix that 6k with what else they more than likely own and you have some real issues.
.
Please leave the church the Church of Apple for a while so you can understand the problem at hand.

The question is *not* about getting control. Getting control is fine. It's whether the new holder (or the original one?) *abuses* their control.

I'm sorry but patent holders protecting their property under the law - no matter how fervently - hardly rises to the level of abuse.

This anti-trust initiative, however, *is* ripe for abuse (based on just what's presented in the article, mind you.) It would be interesting to see the conditions that determine whether someone should lose control of their patents based on the assumption that they might seek to protect them under law at some point. Does it take only infrequent litigation to raise eyebrows? Once a year? Twice a year? Or are we talking several times in six months? This all seems very nebulous. Or maybe we don't have all the information. And I'm not just talking about Apple here but how this might affect everyone.

Do these same anti-trust initiatives apply to the *original* patent holder as well? For instance, if at some point Nortel would have been more litigious, or if they were in operation today and would be more litigious with their patents, would they be subject to loss of control of the patents they own?

vvswarup
Jun 3, 2011, 10:01 PM
And we are back to Anti-trust. Remember when you are one of the big players the rules are very different. Apple getting control is much more likely to hurt innovations than others having control. Mix that 6k with what else they more than likely own and you have some real issues.
.
Please leave the church the Church of Apple for a while so you can understand the problem at hand.

Actually, I think you should leave the Church of Google for good so you can understand that business is a dog-eat-dog world.

Apple has sued for patent infringement only to protect their own product in the market. In my book, that's a fair use of patents. If a company hoards patents with no intention of actually using them to put a product on the market, that's unfair. But when a company (XYZ) has a product out on the market and competitors are using patented technologies in those products without licensing them, then XYZ has every right to sue.

Mak47
Jun 3, 2011, 10:27 PM
Of course they're concerned about Apple, Apple doesn't spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on campaign contributions to the scumbag politicians who appoint these pencil pushers.

The US Government has no right to decide who or what business entity can buy something available in a public auction. If the buyer would later use the property they acquire in an illegal manner, that can be investigated and prosecuted, but they can't tell someone they're excluded because they don't like something about the way they do business.

In granting permissions to bid on these patents, the government is granting favor to one company over another. They are giving some companies a greater opportunity than others. That is unconstitutional in every way.

If the government has been given ownership of these patents and wants to divest them, then they need to hold a truly public auction, in which any interested party has the opportunity to bid.

kdarling
Jun 3, 2011, 10:31 PM
Apple has a history of not letting other companies use the patents that could be another huge reason not to let them have them.

Exactly. Some companies would simply use the patents to receive royalties and/or carve out standards, while some would use them as a weapon. Regulators would prefer a new owner that had a history of sharing.

Have any of the Apple patent lawsuits against other companies ever stated that Apple offered fair license fees and were turned down? Or did they just want to keep the technology solely to themselves?

Other companies license their patent holdings, which gives them a fair return for their investment while also not stifling competing products.

For example, Microsoft licensed their business critical Exchange ActiveSync to Google and Apple for their phones, even though that helped level the playing field.

Hastings101
Jun 3, 2011, 10:41 PM
(Especially when so much of other companies’ mobile “innovation” is just following Apple’s lead these days, and would not have happened without Apple doing it first.)

Most of Apple's "innovation" is just following what those before it did and improving on it. That's pretty much what the whole industry is - taking what does well before you (or sometimes not so well) and making it better.

Mak47
Jun 3, 2011, 10:42 PM
Difference is if just Apple controls them you have Apple long LONG history of not licencing out their IP for others to use. Apple has a history of blocking others.

Google case is more they have a history of letting other use their IP. So if lets say Google owns them it does not effect Apple inventing stuff. It just means Apple competitors can use the same IP as well.

If Apple owns them only Apple will use them and no one else will be allowed. This hurts innovations in the long run.
Now the first method screws Apple because Apple does not know how to play fair.

Why should Apple (or anyone) be expected to license out their IP? It belongs to them. They expended the time, money and resources to develop it--or at least bought it according to the rule of law.

Punishing Apple for not licensing out IP is ludicrous.

I have a really nice TV, I worked hard to earn the money to buy it and I assume the costs to maintain it and provide it with programming. My neighbors unfortunately do not have nice TV's, they choose to invest their money in other ways.

Am I expected to share my property with my neighbors? Will I be told by the government that I cannot buy a really nice sound system to make my TV better until I've first shared it with my neighbors who don't have one of their own? It's my property and I have the right to do with it what I like. The same goes for Apple and their IP, as well as any other company.

If one company is forced to share their innovations with other companies who
aren't able or willing to innovate on their own--then innovation suffers. Why invest in R&D at all if I know that Apple will soon be forced to let me use their stuff?

vvswarup
Jun 3, 2011, 11:09 PM
Isn't it great you have to explain the definition of patents, on a weekly basis?

A lot of people on this forum don't understand that business is a dog-eat-dog world. People say that Apple fans drink the "Kool-Aid." Yet, people on this forum seem to be drinking another type of "Kool-Aid"-that of Google's when they buy into their whole facade of "don't be evil." Google doesn't sue over patents and will never sue over patents because they don't care about them. Google is an advertising company. The more people using Google search, the better. In the grand scheme of things, the money lost on "patent infringements" is chump change to Google.

Oh, while we're at it, if Google is into "sharing," why don't they release their search algorithm? They're the ones who accused Microsoft of copying Google search results with Bing.

caspersoong
Jun 4, 2011, 02:52 AM
Higher hopes for LTE iPhones. Though Asian carriers really need to catch up.

rmwebs
Jun 4, 2011, 03:40 AM
They're not worried about Google, but they are worried about Apple....... OK. :rolleyes:

I'd be more worried about Apple too. Google tend to be a little more open arms with this kind of thing.

the8thark
Jun 4, 2011, 07:11 AM
PS- Your sig "Flash will be around a lot longer than Steve Jobs will" is quite offensive, and given that this is MacRumors, makes me wonder if you're trolling? IF not, put up an argument and some facts next time.

That is just as offensive as your sig.
"All that hype for an MP3 player? Break-thru digital device? The Reality Distiortion Field™ is starting to warp Steve's mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off. 5297/20"

Calling pot kettle black? When you are doing the same thing you accuse someone else of.

myjellyass
Jun 4, 2011, 08:36 AM
Why do Antitrust Regulators even exist? If a company wants to make more profits by buying up some patents then let them do it.

Really? This statement makes me question your naivety of capitalism.

Consider the situation where Apple (or another large patent-holding company) were allowed to hold these patents amongst other key patents and refused to licence them, effectively preventing other companies from making a set of products, e.g. smartphones. All other competition would fold and Apple would be the only company able to make smartphones. They then bump up the price to $5000 dollars each and the world which has come to rely on smartphones have to shell this out or live without the technology. Nobody can consider this to be a beneficial scenario?

Regards to them now looking into Apple and not Google, it did say that they received adequate answers from Google, so maybe Google agreed to licence the important technologies should they get them. They're probably just looking for Apple to agree to a similar condition, and not just that they're out to get Apple. Just sayin'.

*LTD*
Jun 4, 2011, 09:00 AM
Make sure your patents aren't too innovative and far-reaching, and that you don't have a lot of them. Otherwise you'll have to share. Allow others to infringe on them from time to time. Don't litigate because it means you're abusing your position.

chrono1081
Jun 4, 2011, 09:03 AM
Apple has a history of not letting other companies use the patents that could be another huge reason not to let them have them.

I disagree, Apple seems to only target those with clear infringements. I don't care who you are its obvious Samsung ripped of iOS. (Hence why my friends at Verizon call it the iSamsung).

Anyway Apple is not the worst offender out there: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/21/this-title-is-patented-pay-me/

ct2k7
Jun 4, 2011, 09:07 AM
I disagree, Apple seems to only target those with clear infringements. I don't care who you are its obvious Samsung ripped of iOS. (Hence why my friends at Verizon call it the iSamsung).

Anyway Apple is not the worst offender out there: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/21/this-title-is-patented-pay-me/

Read up on Apple vs Microsoft... and the recycling bin/ trash icon.

myjellyass
Jun 4, 2011, 09:15 AM
Anyway Apple is not the worst offender out there: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/21/this-title-is-patented-pay-me/

Related:
http://gizmodo.com/5806227/did-you-know-microsoft-makes-five-times-more-money-from-android-than-from-windows-phone
Microsoft DOES make more money from Android that Windows phones.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 4, 2011, 09:51 AM
I disagree, Apple seems to only target those with clear infringements. I don't care who you are its obvious Samsung ripped of iOS. (Hence why my friends at Verizon call it the iSamsung).

Anyway Apple is not the worst offender out there: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/21/this-title-is-patented-pay-me/

I would not call htc or nokia clear cut. Those were both pretty weak.

RafaelT
Jun 4, 2011, 10:46 AM
So basically the story can read... Apple will be forced to give up a few trivial patents or make a few insignificant agreements before being allowed to acquire these patents.

paul4339
Jun 4, 2011, 11:32 AM
why doesn't the interested parties (Apple, Google, RIM) form a company to buy the portfolio. If the portfolio is worth around $900M, each company could pitch in say $500M, giving Nortel well above it estimated worth (satisfying any concerns about competitive bidding).


This would also allow the interest parties access to patents (and/or control to license them out) and move forward with their goals without being hindered and distracted by patent lawsuits.

The Beatles
Jun 4, 2011, 11:59 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

I'm guessing you're surfing MacRumors instead of paying attention in History Class (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_law)....

History is often written by the winners, and in politics, the "winners" are often scumbags who pass evil laws and get away with it because the people are distracted by some other issue: EG: PATRIOT Act.

The LAW of the land is the Constitution, and while patents are enshrined in the Constitution, there is no provision in the enumerated powers for the existence of Anti-Trust laws.

Thus if you study the law, and particularly history as it pertains to the creation of the constitution and the powers that it grants the government, you see that the founding fathers were pretty clear on the matter.

There's no point in smugly implying your opponent hasn't studied history, when you don't provide any reason or argument for your side. If your position is more defensible than his, why not argue the position, rather than to the person?

PS- Your sig "Flash will be around a lot longer than Steve Jobs will" is quite offensive, and given that this is MacRumors, makes me wonder if you're trolling? IF not, put up an argument and some facts next time.

Jeeze dude go back to bed and try waking up on the other side. His post wasn't that offensive was it? It's obvious you were looking for a fight with your initial post.

As for the topic. I think the first post was on point. I'd rather trust my digital future to apple than google, MS or RIM.

The Beatles
Jun 4, 2011, 12:09 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Difference is if just Apple controls them you have Apple long LONG history of not licencing out their IP for others to use. Apple has a history of blocking others.

Google case is more they have a history of letting other use their IP. So if lets say Google owns them it does not effect Apple inventing stuff. It just means Apple competitors can use the same IP as well.

If Apple owns them only Apple will use them and no one else will be allowed. This hurts innovations in the long run.
Now the first method screws Apple because Apple does not know how to play fair.

So Apple shouldn't get them because they'll end up using legally available mechanisms to protect them? Because they might exercise their rights?

Is this the argument?

OF COURSE Apple will not simply allow others to use them like a free-for-all. Others will have to pay licensing fees, IF Apple licenses them out at all. But that's their prerogative. What sort of precedent will that set, though? If some governing body determines based on this or that arbitrary set of conditions that your patents just so happen to be "important" ones, then you lose the very freedom otherwise granted to you by law to defend them?

How is this supposed to work?

Doesn't distributing these patents or somehow arbitrarily rendering them public domain *also* stifle innovation? If Apple held all these lovely patents then wouldn't others take some initiative and attempt to come up with better alternatives? But I fear this might be asking too much of the competition . . .

Seems this also has the by-product of giving the competition a helping hand.

It seems thy these patents are considered too important for the industry as a whole. The regulators want to make sure that whoever ends up with them will allow the industry to license the tech. So apparently the patents are regarded as something that should be a standard.

I don't see why the regulators are messing about with this but at least the tech will be available to everyone if apple can't have it for themselves.

mojohanna
Jun 4, 2011, 01:33 PM
IMO, patents should not be transferable.
If a company owns rights to a patent, and it cannot make it on it's own then said IP should become public domain immediately.

Or in the VERY LEAST, the selling of patents shouldn't be allowed.
(So okay... if you buy the entire company, you get the patent with it's existing expiry. But no company should be able to toss up a bunch of patents then sell them.)



You have a pretty obvious logical fallacy there (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy#Fallacy_of_Accident_or_Sweeping_Generalization).

(just saying)

For some companies, the only value is the patents they hold. Let's say, for example, you are a major shareholder of a company that has gone bankrupt. One of the only means of you recovering any of your investment would be for that company to liquidate its assets, patents being among them.

chrono1081
Jun 4, 2011, 03:52 PM
I would not call htc or nokia clear cut. Those were both pretty weak.

Agreed. I haven't looked too much into those ones but from the brief amount I read I do agree it seemed weak.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 4, 2011, 04:25 PM
Agreed. I haven't looked too much into those ones but from the brief amount I read I do agree it seemed weak.

So it is more than just samgsung that Apple is suing. They are still I believe lock in a law suit with HTC and Nokia.
Add that to there long history of not licensing out patents is a pretty good reason to deny them the right to this block.

dermeister
Jun 5, 2011, 05:52 AM
Really? This statement makes me question your naivety of capitalism.

Consider the situation where Apple (or another large patent-holding company) were allowed to hold these patents amongst other key patents and refused to licence them, effectively preventing other companies from making a set of products, e.g. smartphones. All other competition would fold and Apple would be the only company able to make smartphones. They then bump up the price to $5000 dollars each and the world which has come to rely on smartphones have to shell this out or live without the technology. Nobody can consider this to be a beneficial scenario?

Regards to them now looking into Apple and not Google, it did say that they received adequate answers from Google, so maybe Google agreed to licence the important technologies should they get them. They're probably just looking for Apple to agree to a similar condition, and not just that they're out to get Apple. Just sayin'.

Why should Apple or Google be required to license the patents?

Either it's a valid patent, or it's an invalid patent. Property includes both the right to sell, and the right to refuse to sell.

We are reaching an absurd situation where you can "own" something and yet have a regulator have veto power over your ability to sell it or forcing you to license it.

Instead of diluting property rights to the point of meaninglessness, patents should be granted more carefully. We current have a situation where one government body grants property, and then another reserves the indefinite and indeterminate right to intervene and render that property worthless at it's whim.

UTclassof89
Jun 5, 2011, 11:25 AM
...Thus if you study the law, and particularly history as it pertains to the creation of the constitution and the powers that it grants the government, you see that the founding fathers were pretty clear on the matter.

There's no point in smugly implying your opponent hasn't studied history, when you don't provide any reason or argument for your side. If your position is more defensible than his, why not argue the position, rather than to the person?

PS- Your sig "Flash will be around a lot longer than Steve Jobs will" is quite offensive, and given that this is MacRumors, makes me wonder if you're trolling? IF not, put up an argument and some facts next time.

I didn't think I had to spell it out when I provided a link to a detailed article, but here you go:

The comment I replied to naively asserted (I'm paraphrasing) "companies will do the right thing because the invisible hand of the market makes them do so."

Neither that comment nor my reply has anything to do with constitutional law. My "study history" comment attempted to convey how naive --even delusional-- it is to believe companies 'do the right thing because they cannot thrive if they are bad'. History is rife with examples, from the East India Trading Company, to Standard Oil, to BP, Walmart, and Halliburton. These are large companies that infamously did not do the right thing when it was more profitable not to.

Your assertion that my signature means I'm "trolling" indicates you don't know what "trolling" means (it was chosen long ago and has nothing to do with this thread--oh, and it's 100% true regardless of how you feel about Flash. Technology doesn't die (http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/02/04/133188723/tools-never-die-waddaya-mean-never); people do)

blackpond
Jun 5, 2011, 11:50 AM
So it is more than just samgsung that Apple is suing. They are still I believe lock in a law suit with HTC and Nokia.
Add that to there long history of not licensing out patents is a pretty good reason to deny them the right to this block.

I'm curious. You seem very confident that Apple shouldn't be able to acquire these patents based on the idea that they might not license them out to others. In your view, should Apple be restricted from filing new original patents for the same reason? If not, what's the difference?

If you're answer to that is market value, I remind you that the patent portfolio may sell for nearly a billion dollars. The market value of those patents will be paid to the original owner.

The group who should be most angry with any anti-trust investigation on the bidders is Nortel. If the government forces licensing the Nortel portfolio becomes less valuable. Nortel will simply make less money on them.

Wondercow
Jun 5, 2011, 12:17 PM
Most of Apple's "innovation" is just following what those before it did and improving on it. That's pretty much what the whole industry is - taking what does well before you (or sometimes not so well) and making it better.

Ahem...

innovate
verb [ intrans. ]
make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products

Wondercow
Jun 5, 2011, 12:29 PM
Consider the situation where Apple (or another large patent-holding company) were allowed to hold these patents amongst other key patents and refused to licence them, effectively preventing other companies from making a set of products, e.g. smartphones. All other competition would fold and Apple would be the only company able to make smartphones. They then bump up the price to $5000 dollars each and the world which has come to rely on smartphones have to shell this out or live without the technology. Nobody can consider this to be a beneficial scenario?

And that's exactly where antitrust law should come into play—it is illegal to do as your scenario suggests—not before.

We are supposed to punish people/entities for wrongdoings that they have committed, not for wrongdoings that they may commit. Innocent until proven guilty and all that.

Bonte
Jun 5, 2011, 01:54 PM
I'd be more worried about Apple too. Google tend to be a little more open arms with this kind of thing.

For now, it can all change when the growth isn't big enough for investors and/or with others leading the company. Patents last to long, 2 or 10 years from now this can still go wrong with either company.

kdarling
Jun 5, 2011, 03:28 PM
Nobody's trying to make companies share their current patents, nor take away their patent rights.

At the same time, the public has a overarching common sense interest in making sure that any company that buys up patents critical to the entire telecommunication industry, will continue to license them for a reasonable fee instead of exercising the right to withhold them from everyone else.

That's why the anti-trust regulators are interested.

Imagine if Nokia exercised their rights and said, "Apple, we changed our minds. We don't just want GSM/WiFi license fees from you. We've decided to refuse to license our patents to you at all." Goodbye, iPhone.

tl;dr -- Courts have ruled that if the intent of buying a large number of patents is to halt any competition in that field, it is a violation of antitrust laws.

That's why Apple (and anyone else) must address concerns about their intentions.

NakedPaulToast
Jun 5, 2011, 05:08 PM
Nortel owns patents that are deeply entrenched within existing communication standards.

The antitrust commission wants to ensure that whoever becomes the owner of some of these patents doesn't take them away from others. Be it Google, Apple or RIM.

Google has satisfied their concerns, Apple refuses to respond. The commission is applying the same rules to both, but Apple won't play.

There is no injustice here.

Why do Antitrust Regulators even exist? If a company wants to make more profits by buying up some patents then let them do it. If said company does something immoral/something the public doesn't like, then they wont buy their products & the company has to change. It's called capitalism. Start regulating something that needs regulating, like the borders.

If Antitrust regulators hadn't kept an eye on Microsoft and applied sanctions against them, Apple wouldn't exist right now.

dermeister
Jun 5, 2011, 05:14 PM
Nobody's trying to make companies share their current patents, nor take away their patent rights.

At the same time, the public has a overarching common sense interest in making sure that any company that buys up patents critical to the entire telecommunication industry, will continue to license them for a reasonable fee instead of exercising the right to withhold them from everyone else.


That's why the anti-trust regulators are interested.

Everything in bold is contradictory. Instead of maintaining the charade of private property, why not admit you consider it just to determine who gets to use what based on "need" as decreed via mob rule.

Imagine if Nokia exercised their rights and said, "Apple, we changed our minds. We don't just want GSM/WiFi license fees from you. We've decided to refuse to license our patents to you at all." Goodbye, iPhone.

Notice that you said that nobody is trying to take away patent rights, but here you start a fictional horror story that the regulators must stop from ever taking place by "imagine if Nokia exercised their rights".

If you can't exercise a right, it's just a fiction.

tl;dr -- Courts have ruled that if the intent of buying a large number of patents is to halt any competition in that field, it is a violation of antitrust laws.

Correct. In fact, according to the Sherman Anti-trust Act (1890):

If your prices are too high, you are guilty of monopoly or "intent to monopolize".
If your prices are too low, you are guilty of "unfair competition" or "restraint of trade".
If your prices are the same, you are guilty of "collusion" or "conspiracy".

Anti-trust is a farce.

kdarling
Jun 5, 2011, 06:31 PM
Notice that you said that nobody is trying to take away patent rights, but here you start a fictional horror story that the regulators must stop from ever taking place by "imagine if Nokia exercised their rights".

I did not say that regulators must stop Nokia from exercising its patent rights. In fact, I was pointing out the raw power such rights give to the original inventor, and the consequences if they use them.

However, Nokia has not tried to use its rights to kill the iPhone outright. Instead, they have offered to license them.

The thread topic is that Apple does not have the same history of patent licensing. In fact, their reputation is quite the opposite, which is why regulators were understandably suspicious.

If you can't exercise a right, it's just a fiction.

That's like a kid claiming it's okay to yell Fire because of First Amendment rights. Rights come with responsibilities.

As I pointed out, BUYING quantities of related patents with the planned intention of stopping competition is illegal and rights do not apply.

Correct. In fact, according to the Sherman Anti-trust Act (1890):

The current patent anti-trust laws stem more from the 1990s, I would say.

Anti-trust is a farce.

Many say that about twenty-year technical patents.

dermeister
Jun 5, 2011, 07:14 PM
That's like a kid claiming it's okay to yell Fire because of First Amendment rights. Rights come with responsibilities.

No legitimate right comes with anything any "responsibility" or exceptions.

"Freedom of speech" isn't a primary, but a corollary. You can speak all you want, but you have to do so with your own property.

Freedom of speech stops the government from censoring you (assuming you are using your own means), not others (such a the owner of a theatre). A rule against yelling fire in a theatre is not censorship, and has no bearing on freedom of speech or the first amendment. Laws against fraud and libel are not exceptions to freedom of speech either. Speech itself is not the primary, it is merely a tool. A rule/law against yelling fire is not a duty or responsibility or exception to the first amendment or any right. On the contrary, it is a corollary of the right to property and the right to freedom from the damage to your property and/or person by others.

As I pointed out, BUYING quantities of related patents with the planned intention of stopping competition is illegal and rights do not apply.

If you want to be logically consistent, buying something means you presumably own it and can do whatever you like with it, including burying it.

It's clearly illegal under current law. In fact like I pointed out, Anti-trust laws are so farcical that any and every behaviour is technically illegal, which means the law is applied based on the whim of the bureaucracy or agency that is in charge with executing it.

I am simply pointing out how absurd it is, not challenging it on a factual basis. You contradict yourself when you deny that people's property rights are being violated by anti-trust. Clearly they are. You have to basically tie yourself into a pretzel to explain how nobody is infringing on property rights all while the use/purchase/sale/disposal of the particular property in question is being dictated by an agency of the state.

Instead of granting these patents and then arbitrarily managing their use, it's better to lay more conditions on the patents themselves at the outset so that everybody knows exactly what their property is. For example, grant a patent that allows the holding company to license the technology for some maximum price to whoever wants it. I don't think it's a good idea, but it's better than what we have now. Currently, someone gets a patent, but then has to walk a tight-rope act in front of the regulators without ever really knowing what he can do.

The current patent holder must consider: what if the regulators think I'm too "big"? What if they think I make too much money? What if they think I have too much of the market? What if there are no alternatives to my patent? What if too many people are using it? What if my price is too high? What if the regulator has an axe to grind?

Just end the charade. Either patents are what their are defined as, or they should be restructured in a way that everybody knows exactly what they allow and the regulatory cat & mouse game ends.

kdarling
Jun 5, 2011, 07:58 PM
No legitimate right comes with anything any "responsibility" or exceptions.

Yes, "rights" is misleading. But it's the wording used in the Constitution where it gives Congress the power to confer them.

If you want to be logically consistent, buying something means you presumably own it and can do whatever you like with it, including burying it.

Logically consistent but ignores real life. There are many things we can buy but cannot do whatever we like with.

I am simply pointing out how absurd it is, not challenging it on a factual basis. You contradict yourself when you deny that people's property rights are being violated by anti-trust. Clearly they are.

Not if I don't own that property yet. Stopping me from buying something isn't the same as trying to dictate what I can do afterwards.

Instead of granting these patents and then arbitrarily managing their use, it's better to lay more conditions on the patents themselves at the outset so that everybody knows exactly what their property is.

Perhaps so.

The current patent holder must consider: what if the regulators think I'm too "big"? What if they think I make too much money? ...

As I've been saying, the regulators are not abridging the rights of anyone keeping their own inventions to themselves.

For anti-trust, the situation is quite different and seems pretty clear, simple and fair:

If a set of patents you didn't invent has been licensed for some time to help grow an entire industry, then it's illegal to come in and buy up those patents with the intention to use that newly purchased power to shut everyone else down.

Cheers!

dermeister
Jun 5, 2011, 09:30 PM
Not if I don't own that property yet. Stopping me from buying something isn't the same as trying to dictate what I can do afterwards.

Stopping someone from buying something necessarily involves stopping someone else (the presumed owner, who is supposed to have the right of use, sale, and disposal) from selling it. It's even ironic, since you have the spectacle of an "anti-trust" enforcer dictating who has the right to engage in which commercial transactions, at what price, and under what terms. The only entity acting like a "monopolist" is really the anti-trust enforcer.


As I've been saying, the regulators are not abridging the rights of anyone keeping their own inventions to themselves.

For anti-trust, the situation is quite different and seems pretty clear, simple and fair:

If a set of patents you didn't invent has been licensed for some time to help grow an entire industry, then it's illegal to come in and buy up those patents with the intention to use that newly purchased power to shut everyone else down.

Isn't the clearer solution for those industries to demand long-term guarantees of future licensing under the contracts they sign with the holder? If the patents are so important, that's all the more reason for the contracts to me long-sighted.

At that point, any attempt to stop licensing would be in explicit breach of contract, a fact that we could all agree upon, and the courts would be able to clearly determine this.

It's sort of like you renting your house to someone, them getting a job in the neighbourhood, and when you don't want to rent it out the next year they argue that you can't do that, since they've built their livelihood on the mistaken premise that they you would allow the house to be rented forever.

The reason industries aren't careful about securing such assurances to make sure they don't build on a false premise (perpetual licensing) is in part that they know that they can always go to the anti-trust regulators and stop the owner from ceasing to license or altering the terms upon renewal. It's a value-for-free policy, enabled by the charade of anti-trust.

Without the regulators, you could be sure that companies would take care of making sure they have long-term agreements before committing themselves to long-term strategies based on licensed technology.

Again, not arguing some patents aren't ridiculous, or that entire industries haven't stupidly placed themselves at the whim of patent-holders and anti-trust regulators based on the current patent/anti-trust regime.

I'm just explaining where we have gone wrong and why we are facing so many contradictions where there should be none.

vvswarup
Jun 5, 2011, 11:59 PM
If a set of patents you didn't invent has been licensed for some time to help grow an entire industry, then it's illegal to come in and buy up those patents with the intention to use that newly purchased power to shut everyone else down.

Why can't "everyone else" innovate around the patented technology? They can put their resources into coming up with something so good that they can tell the patent owner to commit an anatomically difficult act.

vvswarup
Jun 6, 2011, 12:03 AM
Apple has a history of not letting other companies use the patents that could be another huge reason not to let them have them.

What patented technology has Apple not let others use?

Are you sure you're not confusing Apple's refusal to license Mac OS or iOS (like Windows does) with a refusal to license patents?

layte
Jun 6, 2011, 07:11 AM
What patented technology has Apple not let others use?

Are you sure you're not confusing Apple's refusal to license Mac OS or iOS (like Windows does) with a refusal to license patents?

I'm pretty sure companies tried to license Fair Play in the past only to be told to go away.

0815
Jun 6, 2011, 08:41 AM
If they choice is that a company like Apple/Google buys them and makes good use of them in the next generation of proudcts or if a company like Lodsys buys them and uses them only for suing others that do similar things .... I would prefer Apple/Google. Preferable would be if all the bigger phone manufactures would get together and buy them to 'share' - after all it's nothing they invented, but want to use (ok, I'm dreaming now, but would be nice)

jerdawge
Jun 6, 2011, 10:58 AM
:eek:Man, it hurts my eyes to see some of the glaring mistakes of grammar in some of these posts. I suppose this is the price of technology, that written communication is being destroyed in the process.

vvswarup
Jun 6, 2011, 11:10 AM
I'm pretty sure companies tried to license Fair Play in the past only to be told to go away.

FairPlay wasn't even a patented technology, according to sources I checked. Apple was sued for patent infringement in FairPlay, which Apple legitimately created.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 6, 2011, 11:28 AM
Why can't "everyone else" innovate around the patented technology? They can put their resources into coming up with something so good that they can tell the patent owner to commit an anatomically difficult act.

easier said that done and if it was a tech you have been using for a long time that can hurt you because you are forced off the market while you invent a way around it.

Also even if Apple was force to keep licenses to companies that already had the deals they could block new players from entering.

What patented technology has Apple not let others use?

Are you sure you're not confusing Apple's refusal to license Mac OS or iOS (like Windows does) with a refusal to license patents?


Go look at Apples Law suits against HTC Nokia and Samsung. They all deal with Apple patents.

Snowy_River
Jun 12, 2011, 06:59 PM
No legitimate right comes with anything any "responsibility" or exceptions...

I must seriously disagree with this comment. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Let's take a look at some of what might be considered the most fundamental rights:

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Life: While this remains a debate in most places around the world, if someone egregiously abuses the responsibility of respecting other people's lives (i.e. kills a bunch of people, or maybe even just one person), there are plenty of places in the U.S. where they lose their right to life.

Liberty: This is a really easy one. Anyone who breaks the law and is sentenced to time in prison loses their right to liberty, for a period of time, at least.

Pursuit of Happiness: Here we get kind of fuzzy. Suppose I define the pursuit of happiness as the effort to sleep with as many women as I possibly can. I can keep that as a right, so long as I am responsible with how I exercise it. If I cross the line of forcing myself on a woman that doesn't want to sleep with me, then it no longer a right.

So, I have the right to

Life, so long as I am responsible with other people's lives

Liberty, so long as I use my liberty in a responsible way in my society

and the Pursuit of Happiness, so long as I pursue happiness in a way that is responsible to myself and others.

In short, you cannot fairly speak about rights and ignore responsibilities.

In the context of this discussion, Apple has the right to buy these patents, but the have the responsibility to use them in a way that meets with the legal and ethical expectations that our society has put on them.

Go look at Apples Law suits against HTC Nokia and Samsung. They all deal with Apple patents.

I'm not completely versed in the issues involved, but there may well be deeper issues than just Apple trying to slam the door on competition (an anti-trust behavior). Do we know, for example, whether HTC, Nokia and Samsung sought licensing terms from Apple, had reasonable terms offered and rejected them, etc.? Or, for that matter, if they unknowingly violated an Apple held patent, do we know that Apple's first move wasn't to approach them with terms for licensing the technology, which they then rejected?

Now, it may well be that Apple is being predatory in this case, and that they never sought a licensing solution to this situation, but I suspect that no one here really knows the answer to that question.

dermeister
Jun 12, 2011, 09:24 PM
I must seriously disagree with this comment. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Let's take a look at some of what might be considered the most fundamental rights:

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Life: While this remains a debate in most places around the world, if someone egregiously abuses the responsibility of respecting other people's lives (i.e. kills a bunch of people, or maybe even just one person), there are plenty of places in the U.S. where they lose their right to life.

The right to your life doesn't impose any responsibility per se. Like all rights, it's a negative right - it's up to you to sustain your life if you want to, not others. Killing others means you have in effect renounced this right, and others can take your to stop you from taking theirs.

Liberty: This is a really easy one. Anyone who breaks the law and is sentenced to time in prison loses their right to liberty, for a period of time, at least.

Again, your right to liberty has no tied responsibility. You don't owe anybody anything. You just can't interfere with their liberty without renouncing yours, and therefore opening yourself to incarceration.

Pursuit of Happiness: Here we get kind of fuzzy. Suppose I define the pursuit of happiness as the effort to sleep with as many women as I possibly can. I can keep that as a right, so long as I am responsible with how I exercise it. If I cross the line of forcing myself on a woman that doesn't want to sleep with me, then it no longer a right.

Again you can do whatever you want so long as you aren't interfering with anybody else's rights. You have no responsibilities however. There is no "responsibility" or "duty" not to rape - that would be an inappropriate and farcical use of those terms. It's immoral to do so, and by initiating force on others you can be morally responded to by force through the objective/collective defense of others.

In the context of this discussion, Apple has the right to buy these patents, but the have the responsibility to use them in a way that meets with the legal and ethical expectations that our society has put on them.

Apple has the right to buy them, and the absolute right to use them to the maximum use proscribed by the legal definition of the rights conferred upon the owner of a patent. To use an un-objective standard such as "ethical expectations that our society has put on them" is absolutely absurd, is a complete travesty, goes against everything objective law stands for, and constitutes an infringement on the rights of Apple.

Snowy_River
Jun 12, 2011, 11:47 PM
...Again, your right to liberty has no tied responsibility. You don't owe anybody anything. You just can't interfere with their liberty without renouncing yours, and therefore opening yourself to incarceration...

You like the word 'farcical', and in this case it seems to really apply to your own statement.

No legitimate right comes with anything any "responsibility" or exceptions...

But, if you violate one of someone else's rights, then you renounce yours? Isn't that an exception? Can it not, therefore, be said that you have this right so long as you are responsible with it? Thus, this right goes hand in hand with the responsibility to not violate someone else's rights? Otherwise, you lose this right? And, if you can lose it, if there is a responsibility, if there is an exception, by your own definition, is this, therefore, no longer a legitimate right?

With your own argument, you're arguing the case for responsibilities being tied to rights. To think otherwise is, well, farcical.

dermeister
Jun 13, 2011, 12:09 AM
You like the word 'farcical', and in this case it seems to really apply to your own statement.

But, if you violate one of another person's rights, then you renounce yours? Isn't that an exception? Can it not, therefore, be said that you have this right so long as you are responsible with it? Thus, this right goes hand in hand with the responsibility to not violate someone else's rights? Otherwise, you lose this right? And, if you can lose it, if there is a responsibility, if there is an exception, by your own definition, is this, therefore, no longer a legitimate right?

With your own argument, you're arguing the case for responsibilities being tied to rights. To think otherwise is, well, farcical.

By violating another person's rights, you physically contradict the same principle that is that foundation of yours - as such, you openly declare, by action, that you don't believe in such rights (i.e. the right to life), and open yourself to retaliation.

It's not someone else who takes the right from you, or confiscates it because you've failed in your duty. It is you, the only person who can, who declared through action "I don't agree that individuals have the right to their lives, I don't adhere to reason, and I am a threat to the lives of those who do". It's unilateral - nobody can make you do it.

Your use of the word responsibility is meaningless. A responsibility is a burden of obligation. It's an active concept. You don't have a passive responsibility to everybody on the planet. Properly used: "I have a responsibility to feed my children". Improperly used: "I have a responsibility not to rape people". Not being permitted to rape someone isn't a burden or an obligation.

You're substituting the concept behind the word "responsibility" with the concept of "not being allowed to/should not [morally]". See the difference?

We're digressing into language lessons here, which isn't really my purpose. But at least you've learned two new words: farcical (you seem to have taken a particular liking to this one!), and responsibility (you already knew how to spell this one, but your definition was wrong).

Snowy_River
Jun 13, 2011, 12:55 AM
...You're substituting the concept behind the word "responsibility" with the concept of "not being allowed to/should not [morally]". See the difference?

Mserial-Webster's first definition of "responsibility":

The quality or state of being responsible, as in
a. moral, legal or mental accountability.

Hm. This would seem to fit into the concept of "not being allowed to [legally]/should not [morally]", doesn't it?

Now, I'm not disagreeing with the definition of responsibility as being a duty or obligation, but the funny thing about language is that words often have more than one meaning. For that matter, one can argue that we have the duty or obligation to act within the laws of the society. If we fail to do that, we open ourselves to incarceration. Thus, if we do not accept the responsibility of acting within the laws of our society, we lose the right to liberty.

We're digressing into language lessons here, which isn't really my purpose. But at least you've learned two new words: farcical (you seem to have taken a particular liking to this one!), and responsibility (you already knew how to spell this one, but your definition was wrong).

Yes, we are. From what I see, you're trying to use the old "baffle with bs" approach to cover the fact that you're essentially saying the same thing that I am, you just don't want to accept the language of "rights and responsibilities".

Oh, and I already knew "farcical" (as well as myriads of other words), and my definition of "responsibility" was most certainly not wrong.