'I'd buy that for a dollar': Apple on Moto phone patents
Making Google an offer it can refuse. And will
Apple is willing to pay to use Googorola's patented wireless technology - as long as it's no more than $1 per iPhone.
The fruity firm made the offer in a filing to a Wisconsin court ahead of a patent licensing trial due to start next week. Google-owned Motorola Mobility is accused of breaking an agreement with Apple over the right to use Moto's standards-essential cellular and Wi-Fi patents in a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory manner.
"This [$1 per iPhone] is the rate that Apple believes is appropriate in these circumstances, a rate that flows from Apple’s articulated FRAND framework, and the only rate that can be supported by experts at this trial," the paperwork stated.
"To the extent the court sets the rate higher than $1 per unit, Apple reserves the right to exhaust all appeals and also reserves the right available to any party offered a license: the right to refuse and proceed to further infringement litigation."
Apple said it didn't want to fight its rival mobe manufacturer, but if the court allowed Motorola to set the licence fee at, for example, 2.25 per cent of product revenue, Apple would keep the lawsuit going.
The dollar deal would only be for future licensed iPhones. Apple said if Motorola could agree to that price, it was "confident" that the pair of mobile firms could negotiate a resolution for past products.
"Apple does expect that further negotiation will need to take place before the parties actually come to an agreement, covering topics such as the FRAND value of Apple’s cross-licence, the role of Apple’s existing licence to Motorola’s portfolio through Qualcomm, and the treatment of past sales," the filing added.
Apple is also resisting Moto's attempts to keep its German legal proceedings on patent licensing rates separate from the US decision, and instead wants a global rate set for using Motorola's standards-essential technology.
The iPhone maker said that the US case has always talked about worldwide sales so it was ridiculous to try to say that Germany's decision on the licence fee would either render the Wisconsin decision irrelevant or apply in Germany while the US decision applied elsewhere.
The Wisconsin court has said that it expects the trial to take nine days, assuming the two firms don't come to some resolution over the weekend now that their final positions are known. ®
I suspect you neither understand FRAND or the games Apple are playing. Motorola made the same opening offer to Apple as everyone else. That's pretty fair and non-discriminatory by any standards.
What's supposed to happen then is Apple try to negotiate it down, both sides negotiate, if that fails it goes to binding arbitration and someone else decides what a fair price is. Apple skipped EVERY step of that process. Motorola completely lack any ability to force their choice of pricing under that procedure, they supply a starting price and negotiation skills but can't refuse to licence. But Apple didn't enter the FRAND process and arguably should gain no benefit from it now.
Motorola *look* like they're in trouble because Apple and Microsoft have influence and have whispered lies into the right ears. When it reaches impartial judges (which hasn't happened yet) the opinion of bought politicians and bureaucrats tends to lose effect.
Apple are playing a dirty and dangerous game and they're doing it because they have no negotiating power in SEP, owning bugger all essential patents. They aren't going to lower Motorola's initial offer much because they have very little to cross licence. That doesn't make the offer unfair, it simply reflects the value in the deal. Apple are in a weak negotiating position and desperate to bypass the process completely, was going to say 'by fair means or foul' but they seem to only be trying 'foul'.
Re: Apple to court
What you need to remember is Apple only made this offer to avoid an instant loss for wilfully ignoring the FRAND licensing procedure, which *requires* them to negotiate, then go to arbitration. Only then do they get to whine to a court.
Apple refused to negotiate at all and found a judge willing to just ignore all that but they need to cover their arses, by pretending to open negotiations.
The fact that they're offering anything implies they know they're infringing and should pay so surely that itself is evidence of willful infringement in the past - triple damages.