Apple Reiterates Commitment to FRAND Licensing of Standards-Essential Patents Following Intel Deal

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In light of its acquisition of the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business earlier this year, including many cellular patents, Apple has shared a letter on its website to reiterate its stance on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory or FRAND licensing terms for standards-essential patents.


Apple says it values intellectual property and recognizes the important role of developing industry standards, noting that its engineers participate in over 100 standard-setting organizations. Apple touts its own contributions to a wide range of standards, including, for example, cellular, Wi-Fi, and USB-C.

Apple adds that it has "long sought to bring a balanced perspective to the promises and perils of standardization" and is committed to licensing its own cellular standards-essential patents on FRAND terms.

Apple believes owners of standards-essential patents should make licenses available on FRAND terms to any and all interested parties that request a license, adding that standards-essential patent licensees should not be forced to take bundled or portfolio licenses as part of an agreement.

There should also be an objective, reasonable royalty rate that applies equally to all standards-essential licensees, according to Apple.

Following its agreement with Intel, Apple said it would hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation. Apple is widely expected to release its first 5G-enabled iPhones with Qualcomm modems in 2020.

Article Link: Apple Reiterates Commitment to FRAND Licensing of Standards-Essential Patents Following Intel Deal
 

calzon65

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Jul 16, 2008
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Companies love to make these self-righteous (Public Relations) statements about technologies being part of an "open standard". Feel good phrases like "reasonable royalty rates" ... yea right :rolleyes:
 
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MikhailT

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Nov 12, 2007
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If Apple isn't actively using all the patents, does that make them "patent trolls" ?
As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.

Pretty much all companies have excess stock of patents that they don't use, they're not called patent trolls because of that.

Patent trolls are the ones that has the clear intentions to buying patents (or a specific patent that they know a specific company need) in order to profit off them by "suing" companies for not paying a specific amount that is not FRAND or reasonable.

As for software patents, they're a joke and never should've been patentable in the first place.
 

konqerror

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Dec 31, 2013
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As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.
In nearly all standards processes, including IEEE (e.g. Wi-Fi) and ISO (e.g. HEVC), FRAND terms and patent disclosure is mandated for participants. The issue is that FRAND is nebulously defined, or otherwise does not prohibit current practices like Qualcomm's bundling, and that standards organizations cannot force the hand of anybody who isn't a part of the process.
 

dernhelm

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I like Apple's stance here that you should be able to pay (a reasonable amount) for licenses to only the patents you NEED. You should not be obligated to take bundled or portfolio licenses as well. That should be Federal Law.
 

Rigby

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Aug 5, 2008
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As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.
Not really. When joining standardization bodies such as 3GPP, companies commit to disclosing standards-essential patents and making them available under FRAND terms.
Pretty much all companies have excess stock of patents that they don't use, they're not called patent trolls because of that.
Yep. The number of patents a company holds, whether they are actually used or not, is often an important factor in negotiating cross-licensing agreements and settlement terms in patent litigations. The Intel patents strengthen Apple's position versus other major patent holders such as Qualcomm and Samsung (some of which are very litigation-happy).
 

macfacts

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As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.

Pretty much all companies have excess stock of patents that they don't use, they're not called patent trolls because of that.

Patent trolls are the ones that has the clear intentions to buying patents (or a specific patent that they know a specific company need) in order to profit off them by "suing" companies for not paying a specific amount that is not FRAND or reasonable.

As for software patents, they're a joke and never should've been patentable in the first place.
There is nothing, legally or morally, wrong with being a patent troll. It has the stigma because of the name, troll. The original inventor sold the patent. The new owner can do whatever they want.

Or do you think the original creator can sell it and still use it? Like Taylor Swift selling her songs and then complaining that she can sing them anymore.
 

CarlJ

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Companies love to make these self-righteous (Public Relations) statements about technologies being part of an "open standard". Feel good phrases like "reasonable royalty rates" ... yea right :rolleyes:
Permanently-angry forum members on MacRumors love to make these self-righteous posts about every little thing Apple does (after going out of their way to visit a site dedicated to announcing every little thing that Apple does) :rolleyes:. FRAND is a thing, it helps make our modern communications networks possible, Apple is part of it, "reasonable royalty rates" is wording commonly associated with FRAND. Nothing to see here, and noting to get all eye-rolly about.
 

cmaier

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Jul 25, 2007
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As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.
FRAND is not voluntary for standards-essential patents.
 

Sasparilla

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2012
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Nice to see Apple, just follow through on this and show Qualcomm how it (licensing) should be done.

I’m holding out for a 2020 phone with Qualcomm chips.
That is going to be interesting, was looking forward to it also. Word is, Samsung (who uses Qualcomm chips here in the U.S.) will have 4G and 5G versions of the s11 using the same 5G chip the iPhone is slated to use next year. Having 4G and 5G versions was not expected.

My guess is if the rumors pan out, IMHO, they're doing this because of battery drain of 5G still. The change from 3G to 4G is a bit different from 4G to 5G (where 5G has completely different frequency areas they have to support i.e. Microwave in addition to the 4G areas). We may need 2 years for 5G to get fleshed out instead of just 1 generation.
 
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SBlue1

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As for software patents, they're a joke and never should've been patentable in the first place.
Patents are very important! But software patents should not expire after 20 years like patents on medicine! They should last no more than 5 to 10 years in my opinion.
 
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ElectricPotato

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While I think get what you mean it makes me wonder how corporations should formulate themselves about topics to avoid having what they say being classified as boilerplate – is it even possible? :)
No. They can develop a reputation for doing the right thing over decades. That lends credibility to vanilla PR statements that they will do the right thing. Apple has a spotty history on patents though. My response is a shrug and "OK, Apple.".
 
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CarlJ

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FRAND is not voluntary for standards-essential patents.
True, but we arrive at that point from the other direction - technologies covered by patents are not allowed to be put into standards unless the holders of said patents agree to FRAND licensing.
- - Post merged: - -

Patents are very important! But software patents should not expire after 20 years like patents on medicine!
The main problem with software patents is that a large percentage fail the "non-obvious" test. If you give a problem to a dozen different developers and half or more of them come up with roughly the same solution, but it turns out that solution is already patented, then it wasn't "non-obvious".

If they all come up with their solutions, and then you show them the patented solution and they say, "oh, wow, that's interesting, I wouldn't have thought of that - I did it this other less effective way", then it's non-obvious.
 
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star-affinity

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Nov 14, 2007
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Apple has a spotty history on patents though. My response is a shrug and "OK, Apple.".
But I guess a corporation isn't necessarily static – maybe they have changed? At the same time I think it's fair to be skeptical (like you seem to be) until the actions has been shown to match the claims.
 

cmaier

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True, but we arrive at that point from the other direction - technologies covered by patents are not allowed to be put into standards unless the holders of said patents agree to FRAND licensing.
- - Post merged: - -

The main problem with software patents is that a large percentage fail the "non-obvious" test. If you give a problem to a dozen different developers and half or more of them come up with roughly the same solution, but it turns out that solution is already patented, then it wasn't "non-obvious".

If they all come up with their solutions, and then you show them the patented solution and they say, "oh, wow, that's interesting, I wouldn't have thought of that - I did it this other less effective way", then it's non-obvious.
Did you give it to those 12 coders before or after it was patented? Because obviousness is gauged at the time of the invention, not afterward.
 

PinkyMacGodess

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Mar 7, 2007
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But are Intel's modems really that in demand? How do they play against the Qualcomm chips? My understanding was that the Intel chips had problems that made Apple settle with Qualcomm to get access to theirs again.

It puzzles me why Apple wouldn't buy something better, or more usable. How long will it take them to 'tune' this new acquisition to make it work. Or, is this a takeover 'poison pill'? (The later is unlikely. Who would be able to buy Apple, but it's still curious to me)
 

VictorTango777

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Oct 28, 2017
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Apple says it values intellectual property and recognizes the important role of developing industry standards, noting that its engineers participate in over 100 standard-setting organizations. Apple touts its own contributions to a wide range of standards, including, for example, cellular, Wi-Fi, and USB-C.
So when can we expect to see full support for DisplayPort MST daisy chaining and MST hubs in MacOS?
 

MvdM

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Apr 27, 2005
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Wish they thought the same when it comes to the customers' Fair and Reasonable right to repair.