If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably realized that there’s been a lot of lawsuits being thrown around in the mobile arena over unapproved patent usage. Apple’s been on both ends of these lawsuits, obviously. However, it seems that Apple has decided that it’s time to lobby the European Union’s Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to get guidelines set up for Fair, Resonable, And Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing of some of these patents in the mobile space.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple has gone on the record stating that, “the telecommunications industry lacks consistent licensing schemes for the many patents necessary to make mobile devices, and offered suggestions for setting appropriate royalty rates that all members would follow.” Long story short, Apple wants a fair and open approach to licensing technology that has become standard in the mobile telecommunications industry. Currently, it could become very difficult for competing companies to gain access to the necessary patent licenses to release a mobile phone.
Apple wants the EU and ETSI to set clear rules about how patent licenses are negotiated, and to ensure that companies working on and developing standard-centric licenses agree to license patents under FRAND terms.
In the original article, it’s pretty clear that Apple, and more specifically Apple’s intellectual property head Bruce Watrous, is worried that the current system gives patent holders a huge advantage in negotiating patent licenses because competing products could be forced to remove products from the market place due to injunctions. Apple’s legal team wants injunctions to be abolished under FRAND terms.
The EU is currently investigating both Samsung and Motorola’s patent licensing practices for anti-competitive behaviour.
If you’re interested in reading up more on this topic, you can give the Wall Street Journal article a read, but sadly, it’s behind a paywall.