back to article EU to quiz Apple and Samsung on Frand deals

The EU is chasing up Samsung, and Apple, for details of the Frand licensing dispute, so make sure everyone is playing in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) fashion. The EU investigation came to light in court documents filed by Apple in the ongoing dispute between the two companies. In the filing Apple claims …


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  1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    I read somewhere else that Apple apparently said that it doesn't need a license, and so isn't paying for one, on account of the fact that it is buying chips from someone who already pays a license. (Broadcomm / Qualcomm?)

    However I am starting to think that patents are actually turning everything into the wild-west that they are supposed to protect against.

    1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)


      Well remembered - it was Qualcomm, but is in addition to this complaint.

      So Apple is claiming it doesn't have to pay, but even if it did then Samsung is being unreasonable about it.

      Hope that clears things up, it's probably going to get more confusing before it gets better.


  2. Chris007

    Flipside to your last paragraph

    "but if it develops it could see a considerable proportion of Samsung's ammunition removed from the field of battle"

    It could also see Apple stung for a few hundred million or even a billion or two - who knows

    1. ThomH

      I don't think so

      If it's an anti-competition probe it'll be looking at whether Samsung have agreed to licence these things under FRAND terms and then either declined to do so or else put up unfair barriers. So the decision will either be that Samsung did something wrong or that they didn't — this investigation sounds like it doesn't have the ability to find against Apple, and a finding that Samsung didn't act anti-competitively doesn't necessarily mean the court considering patents and the like will find against Apple.

      In summary: I think it's just a precautionary thing. Someone in the office read that there's some dispute over whether Samsung are playing by the FRAND rules and thought they'd better ask for some additional facts.

      I doubt this will go anywhere much.

  3. David Webb

    Didn't Nokia sue Apple over FRAND tech? Nokia won as Apple was using the tech without paying the FRAND.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No. The parties settled. Declaring Nokia a winner is off the mark. The understanding/consensus was that Apple weren't paying due to Nokia's unfair/unreasonable demands. At best Nokia's was a pyrrhic victory.

  4. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Fair and reasonable

    The idea of the patent pool was that everyone contributed to it, so everyone could make phones.

    Is Apple trying to say that it is fair and reasonable for us to use everyone else's patents, but it is not reasonable to expect us to licenses out patents to anyone else.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      FRAND patents have a requirement to license to anyone. Non FRAND patents can be licensed as the patent holder sees fit.

      Apple are saying that Samsung are suing them over FRAND patents which Samsung either refuse to discuss licensing, or patents that Apple feel are already licensed, as they are related to hardware produced by a licensee who has already paid a per chip license.

      Apple's patent claims against Samsung are supposedly non FRAND patents that Apple would not be forced to license.

      FRAND pools come about when implementing a particular standard requires patents from multiple patent holders. To prevent a Mexican standoff between manufacturers who would not be able to produce anything without the other's patents, the patents are pooled, and a set price for licensing the patents is decided upon.

      I would have thought that if the patents Apple allegedly infringe are part of a FRAND pool, then this would have stopped Samsung's action a long time ago. Since it hasn't, it probably isn't the whole story, and we'll have to wait to see what the courts say.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Fair and reasonable?

      Go on then, prey tell, what would be the fair price for a license to put rounded corners on a rectangle? :)

  5. LPF
    Thumb Up

    @Dazed and Confused

    No Apple is saying that no, samsung is not allowed to copy our phones , just becuase their toccos sold like crap, and using the 3G patents as a stick to allow them to access to our designs, so that they can produce them at minimal cost and bankrupt yet another western company arent happening either!

  6. NoneSuch Silver badge

    I prefer the ABBA licensing method.

    Anyone But Bloody Apple

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its unfortunate that Samsung has resorted to fighting evil with evil, but thats how it goes.

    Can RAND terms specify that they licencee must, in turn, provide access to its patents on RAND terms?

    (AKA The only payment that Samsung would accept for the patents in the standard is access to Apple's patents)

    It seems reasonable and fair (in a corporate sense) to me.

  8. Justin Clements

    Such a simple article

    Why is it that the anti-Apple commentators want to turn this into something it's not?

    Better documented elsewhere; Samsung have refused to do a deal with Apple on certain FRAND patents, and then used it as a counter suit against Apple. Samsung were given the green light to add their patents to 3G by the EU as long as it was done under FRAND to ensure that there was a level playing field and fair competition.

    Samsung have started using those patents in the IP war, which is specifically against the deal they agreed with the EU in the first place to have them implemented.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why is it that the anti-Samsung commentators want to turn this into something it's not?

      Better documented elsewhere; Apple have refused to do a deal with Samsung on certain FRAND patents.................................................

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Let me get it straight... Apple can patent a shape but Samsung cannot patent 3G technology...

    1. RichyS


      Apple can patent a shape (trade dress or design patent), and Samsung can patent a 3G technology.

      However, you do not need to have rounded corners etc. to make a mobile phone; while you do need to implement the 3G standard to make one (if you want to be competitive). As the latter is part of a defined standard, license to the patent needs to be under FRAND terms.

      Although recent evidence would suggest otherwise, you don't need to make a phone look like an iPhone to be competitive. Ergo, no requirement for FRAND licensing terms.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      No muppet.

      Samsung cannot beat Apple with patents that they have already agreed tool license on a FRAND basis.

      Both Apple and Samsung can do handbags at dawn with their nonFrand patents.

  10. paulc

    Patent license poisoned chalice conditions

    I was under the impression that most patents were licensed under conditions where if you subsequently sued someone you were licensing a patent from, then there was a clause in the license which allowed them to void your license and left you open to being counter sued

    anyway, I'm still waiting for Gotterdammerung... the final all out patent war... and it really erks me when Microsoft fight trolls by attacking the individual patent itself instead of arguing that software itself is not patentable...

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