Qualcomm Appeals To The Top: Asks Bush To Veto Phone Ban

from the live-by-the-sword dept

Earlier today, we wrote about Broadcom succeeding in getting the International Trade Commission to ban the import of new phones using Qualcomm technology, noting that it was a way of routing around the rules of the patent system. What we left out was that Qualcomm, of all companies, is one of the biggest defenders of the patent system and tends to want stronger patent laws. In many ways, Qualcomm's entire business is based on its patents -- so this really is something of a "live by the sword, die by the sword" situation (though, we doubt that Qualcomm recognizes this). However, in response to the ITC ruling, Qualcomm has decided that it deserves some special attention from the top: it's asking President Bush to veto the ITC order. Yes, President Bush will now be deciding whether or not Broadcom can enforce it's patents, forcing Qualcomm to settle. Qualcomm also has some help. All of the handset makers that use Qualcomm chips are weighing in on how ridiculous this is. In the meantime, it appears our fears about the use of the ITC as a second crack at patent enforcement are definitely coming true. The latest is that Ford has convinced the ITC to ban the import of certain after market grilles, headlights, bumpers, side-view mirrors and taillights for the F-150 truck -- saying that they infringe on Ford patents.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Dan, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 3:56pm

    What phones have these Qualcomm chips? A substantial amount?

     

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  2.  
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    Shun, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 4:11pm

    According to this article...

     

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  3.  
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    Shun, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 4:12pm

    According to this article...

    (Oops)

    http://db.tidbits.com/article/9031

    All chips created after June 7, and with a 3G moniker, are banned. Don't know how they determine that, exactly, but...

     

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  4.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 4:15pm

    they might be..

    The thing with Ford is that they are DESIGN patents and have nothing to do with technology(you should have read that before acting like this is a big deal). I don't see a problem with them doing this since Ford owns the design and time/money would be wasted trying to get such a thing through the court system first. It would take a 15 year old all of 5 seconds to determine that two designs are identical so why should they have to take it through the court system first while someone else rips off their registered design, makes money from selling the parts and then, when the court rules in Ford's favor, only have to stop shipping to the States with no monetary penalty other than MAYBE a single lost shipment? It's not as though they own rights to the design forever, 14 years might be a long time but nothing compared to copyright.

    It would be no different than if Apple were to want to prevent someone from shipping iMac(the first incarnation) shaped PC's to the States. It would also protect consumers from people who would prey on those who only knew what an iMac looked like and nothing about the computer itself. It would be a bad day if you realized you bought a Windows PC when you thought you were buying an Apple.

     

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  5.  
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    Shohat, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 4:31pm

    Qualcomm is the most important mobile technogology

    Yes, their business model is based entirely on patents and controlled intellectual property.
    But they are the good guys. These people are responsible directly or indirectly for almost all progress made in the mobile market in the last 10 years. The actually invent, research, and develop.... and then licence to other companies.

    They do not force their technology, their technology is bought and used due it's superior design and innovative approach, by other big companies.
    They have absolutely insane lawyers, but they are needed to back up the brilliant R&D.
    They are not the bad guys

     

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  6.  
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    Yarr!, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 5:15pm

    Ford is stupid.

    Ford gains nothing by stopping those aftermarket items. Honestly, its totally different than the phone deal. You cant purchase a ford truck without a bumper or grille or headlights, save money, and purchase those after market items later. You buy the truck the way it is , then you pay EXTRA to get after market items. Ford isnt losing money from that, in fact, they make more money because people buy their trucks just so they can modify them to look like a cadillac escalade or whatever. They have every right to stop the import though, since they hold the design patent, its still just stupid. Theyre only hurting themselves.

    Its totally different from some other company making Imac shaped pc's. Those are two distinctly seperate items that people can choose between. Now if a car automaker called JoeSchmoe's built trucks that used the same design headlights and grilles that a ford used, that would be an issue. Someone might buy JoeSchmoe's cause it -looked- like a ford, but wasnt. Hence, ford would lose money to someone using their designs. Thats bad.

    I dont think the pres should have veto power over anything. Hes an idiot as it is. Bush cant even figure out what to do about Immigration or the IRAQ war. They want him to figure this phone thing out? ROFLMAO.

    Oh, er, yeah. Qualcomm? Theyre screwed. Maybe they should steal other peoples technology next time.

     

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  7.  
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    Yarr!, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 5:17pm

    Doh

    Er, maybe they -shouldnt- steal other peoples technology. Heh.

     

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  8.  
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    reply to Yarr, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 5:31pm

    "Ford gains nothing by stopping those aftermarket items. Honestly, its totally different than the phone deal. You cant purchase a ford truck without a bumper or grille or headlights, save money, and purchase those after market items later. You buy the truck the way it is , then you pay EXTRA to get after market items. Ford isnt losing money from that, in fact, they make more money because people buy their trucks just so they can modify them to look like a cadillac escalade or whatever. They have every right to stop the import though, since they hold the design patent, its still just stupid. Theyre only hurting themselves."

    I think maybe they are referring to aftermarket OEM parts. If you break your original taillight, and want to replace it, you can go to Ford for (just an example) $200.00. You could also search out an aftermarket parts distributor, and maybe pay (an example again) $125.00 for the same taillight, just one made by someone other than Ford.

    That would cost Ford alot of money.

    BTW, I'm just speculating as to what may be referred by aftermarket parts.

     

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  9.  
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    Burr, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 5:52pm

    Re:

    Yes, that could cost Ford a lot of money, but they shouldn't be allowed to stop it.

    A consumer buys a Ford and has to pay for all the parts on it. If a taillight breaks, and Ford is the only one who can make those parts, then the consumer HAS to pay whatever Ford wants, no matter how expensive, or go without the taillight. Allowing aftermarket parts protects consumers, and reduces waste and ineffeciency in the market.

     

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  10.  
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    Overcast, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 8:20pm

    Well, as an IT geek, who's hobby is working on cars...

    I can tell you now, if I couldn't get aftermarket parts for my project car - well, I would have gotten a different car ;)

    Although - in many cases the original equipment is in fact best, at least I have the option.

    And heck, just today, I still went and bought original GM parts, even though other stuff was available. In some cases, they really are the best parts, in other cases - aftermarket's much better.

    There's a whole industry of aftermarket performance car parts - and I daresay if GM, Ford, or whoever tried to shut it down, there would be severe retribution by the consumer and the aftermarket companies wouldn't make parts for it - cutting out an entire market. Even though many of the custom car parts are made by companies such as Moroso, Edlebrock, etc - I can 100% guarantee many custom car builders will not accept anything but original equipment for certain things..

    And it's also precisely why I do not buy 'boxed' computers, such as Dell, Gateway, etc - I don't want to be locked into buying parts from a single company.

     

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  11.  
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    Ford guy, Jun 8th, 2007 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Ford

    At first I was thinking that Ford shouldn't have any more say over aftermarket and considered it evil. But, isn't this the whole point of a design patent?

    I find myself having a harder time forming an opinion. OEM parts are just that, the same stuff used on the line to assemble the car. They are tested and guaranteed to be at spec with the original part. Aftermarket parts cannot make the same claim. Independent studies have show that aftermarket parts, while cheaper, typically are not of the same quality. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not have a bumper (a personal protection device) on my car that wasn't guaranteed to be the same quality as that of the original manufacturer (which has it's items rated for safety by government agencies).

    So what do you do? What would be the incentive to make any new part for a car if a competitor can come in and make the part (while inferrior) for 50% less? Then market forces and consumers are making the final choice right? Well, what if it's economically unfeasible to do so? What I mean by that is insurance companies. We all know they're the devil, and they want to maximize profit even if that means paying for an inferior product. If they can get a part for 50% of what Ford charges, they'll go for the cheaper every time (even if the product isn't up to snuff). I don't disagree that regulation should be placed for minimum safety on insurance companies... but that doesn't exist wholy, and every insurance company in this country is in collusion not to rock the boat to much in one direction. It's best for them to mutually agree on that point.

    So Ford is using every angle it can to maximize their return on investment and produce a better quality product. Is that justified or not? What does everybody else think?

     

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  12.  
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    Ford Shill Dept., Jun 9th, 2007 @ 12:20am

    Re: they might be..

    Good job. Your check is in the mail.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2007 @ 12:34am

    Re: Ford is stupid.

    Ford gains nothing by stopping those aftermarket items. Honestly, its totally different than the phone deal. You cant purchase a ford truck without a bumper or grille or headlights, save money, and purchase those after market items later. You buy the truck the way it is , then you pay EXTRA to get after market items. Ford isnt losing money from that, in fact, they make more money because people buy their trucks just so they can modify them to look like a cadillac escalade or whatever. They have every right to stop the import though, since they hold the design patent, its still just stupid. Theyre only hurting themselves.
    What Ford is concerned about is the incredible profits they and their dealers make on replacement, not custom, parts. I had a friend in school whose family owned a auto dealership. He told me that the parts department was where the dealership made almost all of its money. They only sold cars because they had to in order to keep the factory parts concession for the area.

    I dont think the pres should have veto power over anything. Hes an idiot as it is. Bush cant even figure out what to do about Immigration or the IRAQ war. They want him to figure this phone thing out? ROFLMAO.
    It's simple for him. All he has to do is determine who the bigger party "donor" is. I bet he can figure that out.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2007 @ 12:37am

    Re: Re:

    Allowing aftermarket parts protects consumers, and reduces waste and ineffeciency in the market.
    Those are just the opposite the goals of the patent system.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2007 @ 12:40am

    Re: Re: Ford

    I think your check is probably in the mail too.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2007 @ 12:59am

    Re: Qualcomm is the most important mobile technogo

    Yes, their business model is based entirely on patents and controlled intellectual property.
    Yeah, but whose? From the article: "In May, a Santa Ana, Calif., district court found Qualcomm guilty of willful infringement of three different Broadcom patents." Some good guys, huh?

     

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  17.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jun 9th, 2007 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: they might be..

    Trolls have the unfortunate ability to only be able to think in one mode, appropriately named "retarded". Free thinkers on the other hand can drive a Dodge and defend the design patent system regardless if a non-favorite car manufacturer is using it. Suck it troll.

     

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  18.  
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    Kara Boyles, Jun 9th, 2007 @ 4:55pm

    Re:

    Hi, I work in Advanced Tech Support for Sprint. ALL Sprint, Verizon, and Alltel phones use Qualcomm chips. Other major companies such as Cingular and US Cellular use these chips in over 50% of their phones. This is a major deal for all cell phone companies in the US.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2007 @ 1:01am

    Re: Re: Re: they might be..

    OK, so you're a patent lover. We get it. Others of us see patents, especially design patents, for what they are.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2007 @ 2:20am

    Why ban the importation of handsets?

    I can understand why you would want to ban the importation of the chipsets, but if LG is using them why should we ban LG products? Qualcomm is supposed to be the company at fault here, LG didn't violate Broadcomm IP. Did they?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2007 @ 7:13pm

    Re: they might be..

    After I've bought my vehicle I should have the right to use the free market to minimize my ongoing maintenance costs. I should not have to restrict my choice of maintainers to those the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approves of. Otherwise the OEM can extract whatever extravagant costs they want in order for me to continue using my vehicle.

    Allowing design patent protection to prohibit "unauthorized" manufacture of vehicle replacement parts could even prohibit anyone not authorized by the OEM from performing repairs to a vehicle to restore its original "patented" appearance. After all, what is a repair other than the manufacture or re-making of part of a vehicle? Suddenly it becomes illegal for the local body shop, or even the owner, to recreate the vehicle's original "patented" appearance. No, only someone licensed by the OEM, such as the dealer, can do that.

    The OEMs have been trying to pull legal stunts like this and others (e.g. using the DMCA to make it illegal for anyone but the dealer to service the engine) to kill off competition for years but so far they haven't had that much success in the courts. So Ford just got this brilliant idea to bypass the courts go directly to the ITC.

    Now, while a lot of folks can plainly see the danger here, the OEMs and those in bed with them will argue that they have a "right" to take advantage of "their" vehicle owners in this manner. Yes, they often speak and behave as if they think they own the owners even if they don't come right out and say it. They will then accuse anyone making less expensive replacement parts, and thus reducing what they can fleece "their" owners for, of being "pirates" and "stealing" and "ripping" them off.

     

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  22.  
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    SailorRipley, Jun 11th, 2007 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re: Ford

    "What does everybody else think?"

    Personally, I think you're full of s**t.

    "They are tested and guaranteed to be at spec with the original part. Aftermarket parts cannot make the same claim"

    really now? it must be soooooo difficult for aftermarket parts manufacturers to get a hold of a Ford car and all the components on it...

    "Independent studies have show that aftermarket parts, while cheaper, typically are not of the same quality"

    be a good shill and at least provide links to those (supposedly) independent studies.

    "So what do you do? What would be the incentive to make any new part for a car if a competitor can come in and make the part (while inferrior) for 50% less?"

    Oh please, they make the parts already for the cars they sell, it's not like you can buy a new car from a dealer without a grill, headlights and bumper and then put your own on.


    You're not doing a very good job if it's this obvious that that's what you're shilling...maybe your check shouldn't be in the mail...

     

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  23.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: they might be..

    No, I'm not a "patent lover", so, no, you don't get it. Design patents are in essence a LIMITED form of copyright protection. Think about that for a minute and you'll see why Ford owning a design patent for 14 years is much more acceptable than them owning the design for the next 100 years or more.

    I'm simply not limited by a one-tracked mind that many people who are strictly anti-IP have.

     

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  24.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: they might be..

    Don't buy a laptop. You'll find your worst nightmares brought to life if you ever try to repair one.

    If you want to buy aftermarket equipment then buy something that doesn't infringe on the original design. What you're describing is wanting to buy something that looks EXACTLY like what you bought from the OEM while not paying the OEM for their design. They should have some right to protect the design for a short time, and while 14 years is a little longer than I'd like, it's better than 100+ years.

    What you're describing is like buying M$ Windows and then bitching because M$ wants to protect their design and so they make it so you can't install parts of Linux on the machine but they'll sell you X component to make it safer. Waaaaah!!!

    The field of IP is in chaos and it could be improved but bitching about something that actually does have a limited lifetime, the thing we've said is needed for copyright, is just retarded. Even worse, it's the *design* that's protected so it could be legally and easily circumvented in several ways.....but it's much easier to whine about how you want an original Picasso painting when you can barely afford a poster, isn't it.

     

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  25.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:52am

    Re: Ford is stupid.

    We're talking REPLACEMENT parts, not customized parts. Get it now? They're not stopping people from making truly customized parts for their vehicles, only the stuff that is an exact copy of their design.

    It's one thing to make something based on a design, it's another to simply steal the design.

    If you made some artwork that you expected to get paid for, are you going to tell me that you'd idly sit by while someone else cashed in on it? Unless you're just stupid, probably not, but you'd probably not complain too much if someone made some artwork that was inspired by yours and used pieces here and there of your original.

    Big difference between what you're trying to defend and what is actually going on.

     

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  26.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Ford

    Damn, your best "arguement" seems to be to try to trash a person as a shill rather than address their arguement; that's a sign of a troll, not an intelligent person involved in an intelligent discussion. L8a troll.

     

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  27.  
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    Elvis, Jun 22nd, 2007 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ford

    It's about insurance. Why should my insurance company be able to put knock-off parts on my car and claim that it was returned to "pre-accident condition"? I did not have a knock-off bumper on my car before it was wrecked, why do I have to have one now?

    At least I should be compensated for the difference in resale value after they force me to use knock-off parts.

    Would you pay the same for a car with a knock-off bumper versus an OEM? Even if you knew both were in a wreck, the knock-off bumper (no matter how good a copy) is still there because it's cheaper. What other corners were cut in the repair?

     

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