Reply to post: Re: Future standards

Appeals judges toss out FTC win: What Qualcomm did to its rivals was 'hypercompetitive, not anticompetitive'

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Future standards

The length of patent lives is one factor that influences how much risk a company is willing to take when investing in R&D for new technologies. Spending billions when others could just copy your blueprints in a short time makes little sense without the adjustment of exclusivity rights to enable some return on that investment. So long as there is vibrant competition (as there most certainly was in the cellular implementation space last decade) regulators don't need to do adjust these parameters.

Having a capped, sliding effective discount of a fee adjusted for the intensity of standards usage under an open license is a much more fair practice than what the true semiconductor monopoly: Intel did in the 90's and 00's. It didn't competitors through product competition via engineering efficiency, but through fiercely guarding its IP instead of making it a license-able standard and suing competitors who legally reverse engineered solutions into submission by swamping them in legal fees. They also disabled their industry standard compiler's optimization compatibility with competitors' explicitly binary compatible chips, and used entirely exclusionary rebates to deny contracts and exposure to AMD at top tier OEMs (a similar arrangement with Apple was the one lone point the judge writing the summary against Qualcomm conceded in favor of the original opinion.)

If cellular solutions ever get "good enough" then after Qualcomm's patents expire, people will simply make better implementations of older standards and won't be clamoring for new contracts for whatever Qualcomm is offering; they'll have to find a new market or ride into the sunset. (This may very well happen to x86-64 as related implementation patents expire next decade.) Indeed when the standard gets mature, a lot of customers did bring implementations in house as a cost savings measure.

However, the industry all maintained relations with Qualcomm for both implementations and IP with all the major cellular implementers signing licensing agreements because Qualcomm continued to reinvest its royalties back into R&D leading the charge into what the industry considered a desirable improvement of cellular technologies in 5G. It has largely been a virtuous cycle resulting in better products and lower costs for consumers much earlier than otherwise have been possible, and licensing is not an unfair take of product value as some VERY large customers of Qualcomm looking to reduce their input costs would have you believe.

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