back to article Qualcomm and the real story behind Mobile World Congress

The story behind the story is always more interesting, somehow, than the story itself; and the story behind last week's Mobile World congress wasn't just the obvious stuff about backhaul capacity. Instead, people were mumbling furtively about piracy - intellectual piracy, that is. You know, like intellectual property, but …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's good to hear that SOMETHING might happen that may sort out this mess.

    I've worked in the telecoms and TV/video areas now for many years, and as time has gone on, it's become increasingly difficult to do ANYTHING without someone piping up and saying "errr... you can't do that - it's patented". It is an utterly ludicrous situation in some technology sectors.

    As a result, pretty much all the techy products that Jo Public can go out and buy; TV, HiFi (remember those?), mobile phone, etc etc, are not as good as they could be. Of course, a lot of the time this is down to commercial pressures and time-to-market issues, but it is increasingly because the engineers that designed them were not able to put in feature X because someone has a patent on that feature that they can not or will not pay for. Paying for all the patents that would make your product uber-good often makes the whole venture commercially untenable. So you have no choice but to either pull the plug on the project completely, use a work-around and try and do the same thing differently enough to avoid the patent, or simply miss out the feature completely; none of these choices is beneficial to you or your customers.

    What is EXTREMELY annoying is that many many times, the feature you can't use because of parent issues is so bloody obvious and basic that it's difficult to think of another way of doing it, and the other options are inherently not as good because the obvious (patented) choice is ...well ...obviously the way to do it.

    I have worked on several consumer products where such-and-such feature has had to be changed or removed completely because of patent issues. It's very depressing, especially when the feature is SO basic and SO obviously the way to do something.

    The end result, of course, is that poor old Jo Public ends up with a product that's not bad, but it could be better. Except that it can't and for no other reason than someone says it can't.

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Capitalism's Achilles Heel ......... the Truth behind the Facade.

    The Chinese do not even need to "invent" necessary Intellectual Property themselves to impact upon the West, for Westerners unenamoured with the incestuous Patent /IP regime which channels Wealth created by IP to Individual Corporations which act as Greedy, Compete to Destroy and Dominate, Despots rather than Collective Governance which acts as an Energising, Share to Seed and Nurture, Benefactor, will freely donate to a huge emerging market, whose gratitude will contain more reward than they could ever hope to spend.

    The Snare that Capitalism with its "Democracy portfolio" hides oh so stealthily and oh so perversely and oh so subversively, is the addict's hook for the Love of Money and the Services IT Buys [an exclusive pleasure for those with more money than sense] rather than the Love of Service and the Money IT Spends [an inclusive pleasure for those with more sense than money]

    Only the one will guarantee further Intellectual Property Growth and it aint for the Love of Money and the Services IT Buys. ......... just in case you have any difficulty in Comprehension of the Subtle Paradigm which allows for Wealth to Create Wealth rather than Abuse it as in Sub Prime/Debt is Credit, Smoke and Mirror Tricks and Downright Deceptions....... aka Scams.

    The Chinese will hardly forget the Time of the Opium Wars and one Imagines that the Post-Modern manifestation which could be seen as Capitalism will see them better equipped to handle the Honey of Money.

    And putting a coat of paint on the rusted through battleship holed below the waterline .... as you can consider the action of the Money sector over this last few months ...... won't do anything to save the vessel or create confidence in its crew and its Armchair Generals/Admirals/Commanders in Chief/Executive Officers. In fact, it does the exact opposite and renders them extraordinarily naive and vulnerable to Catastrophic Markets Meltdown .... too slow to react to a World Environment of Instant Global Communications available to All at the Click of a Mouse.

    Time for AI Change of Global Plan?

    In Poker terms, that would be a Call or a Raise ....depending on whether the Game is only just Beginning or whether it has Run its Course.

  3. EmperorFromage
    Jobs Halo

    WiMax for teh win

    Many smaller handset manufacturer balks at the entire 3G licensing scheme, and are looking for ways out. A SIP capable WiMax / WiFi handset with a decent battery life could bring the 3G house of patents tumbling down as well.

    This would also leave IMS ( ) a smoldering ruin, which can only be a good thing for consumers. Future networks should be an open IP architecture, and not a fragmented jumble of carrier approved services.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    lawyers - kill them all

    No kidding. For instance, why do motorcycle helmets mostly have shit visor fastenings? Because someone patented the good ones, and there's only so many ways you can attach a helmet visor. Same for those fucking prehistoric D-rings, because someone patented using a buckle.

    However, it will take a very big company repeatedly bloodied about the head in a very public manner to get even the hint of reform going.

    I still remember the X11 "backing store" patent - you want to remember what was under a window by saving the pixels off somewhere else? Sorry mate! That's patented!

    Grrrrr. I so hope the Chinese take the rest of the planet to the cleaners on this.

  5. Ronald J Riley

    America's Piracy Coalition & China

    Intellectual property is the one thing standing between developed countries current standard of living and a precipitous drop to the level of developing countries.

    Without intellectual property most products and services are commodities and their profit margins become razor thin.

    Those of you who are basing patent rights are asking to have your wages dropped to less than ten percent of their current rate. Give China what they want and you can expect to eventually work for less than the prevailing Chinese or India's rates. That is if you have work at all.

    A few hundred patent pirating transnational’s formed an organization commonly known as the Coalition for Patent fairness & PIRACY. These companies have much in common with China, in that they are not producing significant inventions and they all have an entitlement mentality.

    Like the Chinese they steal other's intellectual property. They count on abuse of the process of law to bankrupt the patent owner.

    When they get caught with their sticky fingers in another's patent cookie jar and the courts slap their paddies they try to demonize those who own rights to the patent properties.

    Whole industries collaborate to steal the intellectual property of a leading edge inventor. The auto industry did this with Bob Kearns, the laser industry did this with Gordon Gould, and the cellular industry is doing this with Qualcomm.

    Before law as we know it we had sovergins deciding who was right and trial by combat. Our system of law has plenty of problems but it is better than the altneratives. Be careful what you wish for.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.


    President - - RJR at

    Executive Director - - RJR at

    Senior Fellow -

    President - Alliance for American Innovation

    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel

    Washington, DC

    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    The end of IP laws?

    I don't think so.

    The IP laws currently in force in the US and a number of other western countries are for all intensive purposes, CRAP.

    But I don't think people want to see the end of the IP laws, just a massive re-think and restructure. Patents laws for example do need to be reformed. Things like Patent squatting needs to be addressed. Same with the Copyright fair use laws.

    A simple suggestion that may or may not be a good thing is that patents should only be granted to organizations that will develop them. None of this business models built on patent licensing alone.

    You don't get to hold a patent if all you intend on doing is licensing it out and not developing it. And just to scare poeple, Patents that are not developed into working products with in say 4 years get released to public domain.

    The whole point of the patenting laws is to let inventors gain remuneration for their ideas while promoting progress.

    Business have forgotten the second part.... Thats why we have IP piracy and why the IP laws are falling apart.

    I don't want to see the end of patent laws... I want to see then do what they were supposed to do, promote progress.


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