Apple slips bomb into ITC filing: Samsung being PROBED by US gov
Korean firm under investigation over use of standards-essential patents
The United States government is investigating whether Samsung is misusing the standards-essential patents that it holds, rival Apple said in a document it filed with the International Trade Commission on Monday.
Samsung holds several standards-essential patents covering data transmission from mobile devices, which it is under an obligation to license to rivals at a fair and reasonable rate (FRAND terms). If Samsung is found to be misusing standards-essential patents, the Department of Justice has the power to fine Samsung, jail its execs or even ban Samsung products.
Samsung is also under investigation for its Standards Essential Patents by the European Commission and South Korea's Fair Trade Commission.
Apple have moaned about Samsung's grip on standards essential patents before, but we didn't know the US Justice department was looking into it, until now. The department has so far refrained from commenting.
The probe into how Samsung licenses standards-essential patents was revealed by ANOTHER patent investigation. Apple dropped a reference to the Department of Justice investigation in a filing to the International Trade Commission regarding a separate spat with Samsung. Apple says:
The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the manner in which Samsung has used - or misused - its declared-essential patents, as has the European Commission.
Apples also states that Samsung is not licensing its key patents fairly and that this is harming the public interest:
Samsung’s assertion of declared-essential patents was incompatible with Samsung’s FRAND (fair reasonable and non-discriminatory) commitments and the public interest.
Apple's filing to the International Trade Commission, 22 October 2012, is part of the case: Certain Mobile Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, and Tablet Computers; Inv. No. 337-TA-794 [PDF - but you'll need to register].
Apple suddenly concerned about the "public interest".
I think that cracking came from a bullshitometer....
"We're about to lose rubberbanding.... we need another stick to beat Samsung with...."
Re: Double standards
"So in Apple's mind asking for 5 times more for their patents than Samsung is asking for its is OK. Now it is well known that Apple exist in a reality distortion field but surely even they can see this mismatch."
Ah yes, but Apple's patents are for truely useful things like bouncing lists and slide to unlock etc, whereas Samsung's patents are just pointless data communication stuff that nobody needs or cares about.
PJ on Groklaw has done a piece on the negotiations between Apple and Samsung over licensing:
In it Apple is reported to have asked for $30 per phone and $40 per tablet, whereas Samsung had offered approximately $6 per unit, or 2.4% as the selling price for its licenses. This, Apple claim, is excessive and breaks the FRAND obligations of Samsung.
So in Apple's mind asking for 5 times more for their patents than Samsung is asking for its is OK. Now it is well known that Apple exist in a reality distortion field but surely even they can see this mismatch.
And yet, they seem to have bamboozled the ITC into acting as their hired guns in their campaign to destroy Android.
With luck this will come back to haunt them in much the same way as SCO's attempted shakedown Linux did for them.
So Samsung managed to come to agreements with every other phone manufacturer but not Apple, so Apple just used them anyway.
Even then Samsung didn't hassle them UNTIL Apple started suing Samsung for what is in reality a load of bells and whistles shit and styling (despite Samsung and other mfgrs having used similar styling before the iDevice ever existed)
It's also strange how only Apple thought that Samsungs terms where unfair (distant memory say something about cross licencing of technologies being a common thread)
Of course the US authorities believe that nothing has ever been created outside of the US so no doubt they will take Apples side in this argument.