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Judge: Apple / HTC Patent Agreement Must Be Revealed (Except For Dollar Amount)

from the so-we-shall-see dept

Last month, we wrote about Apple and HTC settling their ongoing patent dispute, and the subsequent request by Samsung to see the details, which were being kept confidential. It wasn't so much the amount paid that interested Samsung, but which patents were included in the settlement. That's because, in the Apple/Samsung case, Apple has argued that it would never license some of its patents, and thus there should be an injunction banning the sale of certain Samsung devices. However, if those same patents are found in the HTC agreement... then Samsung can point out that, not only is Apple lying to the court, but that an injunction should be off the table. That's because the law suggests injunctions only make sense when there is "irreparable harm." And if you can just pay up the missed license fees, then it's clearly not "irreparable."

The court quickly granted Samsung's request and has now gone a step further, saying that the agreement itself should be made public, except for pricing and royalty terms. Bizarrely, it was actually Samsung who sought to have the information about what patents were included under seal -- such that it could see it, but the public could not. Either way, the judge has made it clear that the patents need to be made public as there's no compelling interest in keeping them secret.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:18am

    Nooooooooo

    Apple must be freaking out over this.

    Now they have to publicly reveal the patents on

    1. using the color white on a mobile phone
    2. using the color black on a mobile phone
    3. connecting to the internet via a mobile phone
    4. playing music on a mobile phone
    5. displaying icons as squarish on mobile phone UI
    6. sliding icons on a mobile phone UI

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:40am

    Sunshine always the best idea.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:46am

    Re: Nooooooooo

    Don't forget making a phone call on a mobile phone.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Nooooooooo

    They didn't bother to include that functionality, presumably because they couldn't patent it.

     

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  5.  
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    Kingster (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Re: Nooooooooo

    You forgot the roundy corners so the phone doesn't draw blood while in your pocket!

     

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  6.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:07am

    Well before anyone makes pointless comments showing their bias...oops too late...we should take a look at the implications of this becoming public knowledge.

    It's not only bad for Apple that this happened and only a short-sighted idiot would start mentioning Apple "freaking out over giving HTC permission to use colors and rounded corners" because in your attempt to derail Apple, you are also admitting those patents are valid.

    Now that I've got the stupidity taken care of let's look at what this could bring upon not only Apple, but HTC and Samsung as well. People forget that Quinn Emanuel represent both Corporate Samsung and HTC and the moment Samsung execs get a hold of this information, whether public or not, it creates a conflict of interest in the law firm. In hindsight, the judge just very slyly blew the Apple vs. Samsung litigations to high heaven, but at a cost...Quinn Emanuel may loose their license due to conflict of clientele interest.

    As for Apple vs Android, I don't think Google is the problem. Apple is allowing their products on iTunes which isn't any indication of il will towards one another...it's purely Samsung. Recent litigations against Apple from Samsung include expired FRAND patent licenses which Samsung was licensing from Erricson Corporation (who, as fate would have it, is suing Samsung over failed negotiations on the use of BluTooth FRAND patents).

    So before anyone begins to pan Apple for the same usual trolling rhetoric of rounded corners, make sure you realize that since this information is now public, Samsung can't sue them with it.

    What people don't understand about FRAND patents is that it's the ENTIRE reason we have a smartphone industry. Everyone (including Apple) contribute to a sort of pool of patents and agree to Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory pricing agreements to be able to openly license each others patents. For instance, Erricson Corporation holds the patent on BluTooth, HTC holds a few patents on LTE. They put their technologies in the pool to allow companies who don't have their own patents to license them out. They expire and allow companies to negotiate terms when they do so competition keeps up.

     

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  7.  
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    The dude, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:09am

    Re:

    I think i know why they banned you from arstechnica.

     

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  8.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    Ugh...I misspoke, it's a good thing that the case has a chance to get thrown out on grounds of conflict of interest.

    Also, if the monetary value is too high for a multi-billion dollar corporation like Samsung....how is it even possible that a small company such as HTC can afford the terms brought on by Apple?

    Sorry, but in the words of my wife after she read almost every story that she could about Samsung vs. Apple and coming from a family of patent lawyers who can explain it to her...

    "Samsung is just being a baby"
    Don't look at me...that's my wife saying it who doesn't care one way pr the other about the differences in technology.

     

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  9.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re:

    Oh and why is that? I'm not sure whether you are sympathizing with me because of the mob mentality bias over at Ars, or insulting me...I hope it's the former, but if not, you haven't seen the comment that got me banned from there.

    You must realize that the initial comment that got me banned was considered trolling by a moderator by a mob vote. I simply reminded a user (though rather snappish as usual) that Samsung's lawyers would only see the agreement...which is what the article was about. So then when I got panned by the mob over there I went a bit nuts because one of the users kept asking for the evidence on my speculations as to what the Apple/HTC agreement entailed. The comment I made initially should not have constituted a ban at all.

     

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  10.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re:

    Also, my rational speculative thoughts were being argued against at all times even when I provided proof to the contrary. I don't respond to trolling very well.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re:

    Don't look at me...that's my wife saying it who doesn't care one way pr the other about the differences in technology.

    Oh, it's your wife that said it? That changes everything then.

     

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  12.  
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    The dude, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Rational speculative thoughts"= Rambling about how apple cant do wrong.
    "I don't respond to trolling very well"= Insulting everithing that moves on arstechnica.

    Amirite?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I hope it's the former, but if not, you haven't seen the comment that got me banned from there."

    Wally, we've ALL seen the comment that was responsible for your alleged banning. You've only been going on about it for over a week now. You only posted it in a non-Apple related article which could not have been more off topic (per the article you were commenting in) if you had tried to be.

    As for your comment, stop bringing up Ars already. Seriously. It's annoying and irrelevant. We get it, you are a pariah and a martyr for truth, justice and the Apple way. Ars is filled with biased moderators and mobs and they hate the truth. /s We'll ignore the fact that more extreme behavior and comments DO NOT get banned, but somehow, poor ol' Wally was banned for speaking the truth/simple fact regarding the case/law.

    "So then when I got panned by the mob over there I went a bit nuts because one of the users kept asking for the evidence on my speculations as to what the Apple/HTC agreement entailed. The comment I made initially should not have constituted a ban at all."

    Oh, so here we have the truth. You made a comment and when called out on it, to present proof/evidence supporting YOUR SPECULATION (which, keep in mind, speculation DOES NOT a fact make) you WENT A BIT NUTS. Okay, so suddenly, we get a completely different story, which is more in line with what I have been saying from day one. You DID NOT get banned for what you said. You got banned for your reaction to people questioning you. Mhm. Par for the course with you. Your responses yesterday, to myself nonetheless, in the other article regarding your misuse of the term "Droid" for "Android" are in a similar vane. You basically can't stand to be corrected/questioned and when someone does so you label them assholes/bullies/trolls and then proceed to go on the major defensive.

    Good grief, Wally. Here's some advice. You need to chill out with your Apple defense/fanaticism. Especially if you can't handle people questioning your SPECULATION. And more so if you're going to lose your cool to the point that it gets you banned from websites. Which is extremely different from getting banned for making a simple comment. But hey, at least we got the truth from you.

    Now, get off that cross of yours, use that wood to build a bridge and GET THE FUCK OVER IT (your banning, which was brought on by yourself and your actions, "went a bit nuts").

    Call me asshole if you will, because we both know you will. But seriously, grow a thicker skin and learn that a banning, which you caused, is not a serious/major issue (first world problems and all).

     

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  14.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm enjoying your Strawman, but I should point out that those are her words. That is the opinion of my wife. It may not count to you because you're too narrow minded to realize she's not at all tech savvy, but it does give a great view of an unbiased opinion after reading up on it.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'd also like to add that I'm glad I'm not the only one who's seriously tired of Wally's martyrdom. Nor his spinning of things. Particularly loved this gem, "Oh, it's your wife that said it? That changes everything then." Lol. I pretty much heard the way that was spoken/written in my head and burst out laughing because of it.

    As for the "Amirite?" comment, I'd say you are. I've been saying the same myself for some time now. But I'm glad others are starting to see it too. Now prepare yourselves for the responses labeling us all bullies/trolls for daring to question the wise and infallible Wally. Because he's never ever wrong, much less proven wrong. (Oh yeah, PowerPC is supported in 10.4, right? Mhm. That's nice and all, but that's an old and outdated system and is one no longer being supported by Apple. My response called for something CURRENT, just fyi. But I figure you needed wiggle room, so I didn't remark on it and just dropped the issue with that beauty of yours. You dug your own grave with the "Droid is SHORT HAND for Android" thing though. Couldn't just admit you were wrong.)

     

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  16.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. The primer that set me off was initially being banned for a comment that should not have been considered as such. It's a bigger insult to anyone's intelligence to be banned because of a valid opinion. One has to look at my first statement on this article to realize my rationale. The problem (and I admit this, but it isn't why I was banned) that I went ballistic at ArsTechnica after being trolled. When I say I'm susceptible to it, I don't easily pick up on sarcasm unless it is blatantly obvious and that was thrown in.

    I don't have to explain it to you except that I felt that the initial reason for being banned from there was unjustifiable. Once a comment you make on Ars gets moderated, you get banned for a week. The moderation comes from a system of reports, and for me to be banned for giving basic information hours later after I made my comment when I downed an argument against someone proves it was in retaliation. The comment I made was posted 6 hours before being moderated from falsified reports.

    Many users here may not agree with what I have to say, but at least I'm able to speak my mind knowing the only thing that happens is that my comment gets turned into a lovely salmon colored link stating that it was reported as inappropriate by other users.

    The Dude, I won't give into any more inquiries or trolls about it from you as I've already sufficiently explained the issue I have with Ars many times over. Stick to the article and stop trying to derail a comment that you know to be rational and well thought out. My misspoken words on my first comment to this article were that this would be bad for everyone when in fact it's good...I added the other things to it as a reminder as to what is going to end...the fighting between Samsung and Apple.

     

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  17.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You only posted it in a non-Apple related article which could not have been more off topic (per the article you were commenting in) if you had tried to be."

    Take a good look at the title of the article on Ars for which my comment was moderated....It was about how the HTC/Apple agreement was for lawyers' eyes only...I'm sure that has a lot to do with Apple. Furthermore you did not read my moderated comment.

    I'm over the ban at Ars, it takes a louse like The dude to bring it up again. AC you aren't an asshole for mentioning the wrongs that I committed on Ars. The truth of the matter is that I was being very reactionary that night. My initial comment toward a certain user about who was only allowed to see the HTC/Apple agreement was there. I get a strange reaction in my system when I feel stifled, and to have a comment moderated 6 hours after my post. People forget that I was the one who got the e-mail stating I was banned directly due to the comment I made. It was cited as trolling.

     

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  18.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The comment you made here is utter bullshit and you could be from anywhere. You're attempt to derail me here will fail mostly because I do it on waves here at TechDirt, but occasionally I have come up with well thought out gems such as my above statement. It's sort of hard to judge a user when you haven't seen all the posts. Sorry but your claims about me, though some valid, are totally unwarranted.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Once a comment you make on Ars gets moderated, you get banned for a week. The moderation comes from a system of reports, and for me to be banned for giving basic information hours later after I made my comment when I downed an argument against someone proves it was in retaliation. The comment I made was posted 6 hours before being moderated from falsified reports."

    But again, we get more information from you than you originally posted the first time around, and each time it still paints you in a bad light.

    You weren't BANNED. You were just temporarily prevented from commenting. For a week. That is not a banning.

    Secondly, you it's a community thing. Meaning a lot of people have to basically flag your comment to get you moderated.

    And now we have the martyrdom again. You're saying you were banned as "retaliation" for making a comment. No, you weren't. You made a comment that was DOWNVOTED by the community. I visit Ars routinely. Downvoted is not the same as being moderated. And from your own words so far, I'm assuming what got you banned was you losing your shit over being downvoted, which then led to you going on the defensive which you're doing here and doing so in the same manner I bet (which consists of you labeling everyone as out to get you, picking on you, or just trying to troll you; which you've done here just in your replies so far). And THAT got you banned/further downvoted.

    Basically, your banning is a result of your own actions. Your "rational and well thought out" comment is also still not so. You basically made one such comment, then you yourself start bring up non-relevant and irrational things into it and taking shots at anyone/everyone but Apple. The bit about your wife saying "Samsung are just being babies" (or whatever the exact quote is) is irrelevant and NOT "rational and well thought out", because the same could easily be said about Apple, perhaps more so.

    Seriously, just stop bring up Ars and stop making irrelevant comments. STICK TO THE FACTS. And stop trying to misrepresent YOUR interpretation of a given situation or case or whatever as FACT. It's just your opinion/speculation. I think that is the issue that people probably had with you at Ars and that's an issue that's coming up here. Well that and your complete defending of Apple, everyone is bad but Apple. That can sum up your typical response for any Apple article. That or, "Yeah, Apple is in the wrong, but THEY started it!" or "They are too!" If that's all you're going to say just don't say a thing. It just leads nowhere but to you going on the defensive (both of yourself and of Apple).

    And I find it hilarious/hypocritical that you would say others are derailing the comments when you have yourself on multiple occasions done the exact same thing. But I suppose it's okay, because you did it. [rolls eyes]

     

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  20.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re:

    How is your reply to the comment I made remotely valid??? I would think that what I stated above was completely rational...then again that's why most people get banned from Ars isn't it? For having an unpopular view based in rational thought such as the comment I made above in this article.

    You brought it up you're the asshole.

     

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  21.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Care for me to get a screenshot??? I was banned for a week, but I'm guessing you missed that.

     

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  22.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:30am

    I ask the good people of TechDirt to just hit the report button on The dude's comments and that AC's comments which are an attempt to derail my thoughts on this article and divert the conversation where it needs to go.

     

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  23.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Re:

    *And divert the conversation from where it needs to go. If anyone can rationally, reasonably and properly rebuttal my statement I encourage them to do so. I will not respond to comments that are blatantly biased one way or another and as I have stated above, It's a good thing for EVERYONE that the case has the potential to get thrown out due to conflict of interest.

     

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  24.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I don't respond to trolling very well"= Insulting everithing that moves on arstechnica."

    You're willing to admit that everyone on ArsTechnica is a troll?

     

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  25.  
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    Ed C., Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If many of the patents in question weren't so ridiculous that a functional patent system would have rejected them, then I would agree with her assessment. And no, just because the patent is granted doesn't mean that it actually passed the required legal standards. The success rate of overturning patents is a testament to that, or even the number of "bread freshening" patents.

     

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  26.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Re:

    What people don't understand about FRAND patents is that it's the ENTIRE reason we have a smartphone industry.


    I disagree. FRAND terms are nothing more than a way to enshrine privately patented items in standards, thus forcing everyone in an industry to license the patent. It's a mechanism (sometimes bitterly) fought for by major corporations because it gives them lock-in and an unfair advantage.

    FRAND terms make standards less useful, not more, but rake in a lot of cash for the patent holders who manage to get their patent enshrined in a standard.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re:

    Talking to yourself again, or still? Go back to Ars. I think I might go from not reading your shit to pushing the report button every time your sig. shows up. It will make for much more interesting reading, without your crapola.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That isn't banned, that's suspended. Banned means you aren't coming back. Of course, from the initial comment in this thread, you think sarcasm is justification (then you go off on a rant that hijacks the thread entirely with your own personal woe-is-me story that no one gives a damn about but you). Let it go, dude.

     

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  29.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re:

    John, seriously...thank you.

    I will agree domewhat yo the uslessness of the current terms regarding FRAND agreements. However, I don't think it is totally useless to have them. The terms need to at least be revised and I'm under the belief that the abuse of FRAND terms is very pervasive. We can't let one bad egg ruin it for everyone though. The agreement between Aple and HTC sort of proves it to my mind, that if applied properly, FRAND patent agreements can work out.

    I'm not an expert, but it seems all Apple was seeking was to be able to manufacture the iPhone 5 without a certain, rather litigious company breathing down their necks over LTE patents. I'm sure that HTC got a good deal from it as well (I will try to find time to dig on it).

    FRAND patents exist because people would be able to litigate against each other more often. It allows for growth of startups whom might not be able to afford the regular licensing fees involved with patent exchanges.

    Now to somewhat of a problem with cutting out competition. FRAND laws were put into place to prevent companies from favoring one or the other in an attempt to stifle a better product (note we see this on a totally different platform from the MPAA involving certain methods of distribution). This is why Apple vs. Samsung is such a big deal. If you license a FRAND patent, it's required to license out your FRAND patent to everyone at a reasonable price. The abuse of FRAND patents becomes visible when you see cases like Motorola Mobitly vs Microsoft involving components of the wireless controllers and a video standard.

    John, thank you it's always a pleasure discussing such things with you :-)

     

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  30.  
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    anon, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    Re:

    The elephant in the room you seem to ignore what is covered by Frand. If Apple is found to be trying to charge for Frand patents then they could be in a pile of S&^T.
    And yes trying to sue for colour shape and other design features is a part of the argument even if you try to ignore it, if they have not included this in there agreement then it could change the whole game for Apple.

     

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  31.  
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    anon, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    WOW, i think i am starting to see why you were banned, just look at your posts on this one page and maybe you will understand, I do not know you, and have skimmed over most of your posts but you seem to be trying to make the same point over and over again and it does look like trolling to me, sorry if it offends but maybe try sticking to the point of the article and commenting on that and the replies to the article, could prevent something i very rarely see, and that is someone being banned from here.

     

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  32.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ed C., I can agree to what you said about my wife's statement. It should be noted though that the patent system does require a physical description where color is actually needed to describe how a product looks, and that's probably why it appears a patent on color shows up. Outside of that, it's moot to argue similarities in color in the first place, but I do see where people come from on that.

     

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  33.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh and thank you for not giving me a Strawman rebuttal :-)

     

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  34.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, I initially got asked to restate it over and over again. One of the most annoying features at Ars is that you're allowed to edit your comment at any time. However, if you look beyond my repeated points, you will see the one comment that got me a ban (for a week).

     

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  35.  
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    The dude, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:05am

    Re:

    "I ask the good people of TechDirt to just hit the report button on The dude's comments and that AC's comments which are an attempt to derail my thoughts on this article and divert the conversation where it needs to go."

    Interesting, so you wish others to shut me up because you dont like my opinion?
    Thats nice dear.
    Actually i admire people like you wally, you are always on a crusade for your Holy Truth and you arent going to stopped neither by logic or common sense; complaining all the way about peoples intolerance while trying to suppress dissenters on your way.

     

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  36.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I made a statement having to do with this article on this website. I'm sure that if you scroll down you will see the sock puppeting and proxying that triggered my rather side-tracked argument.

     

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  37.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:09am

    This was all interesting..

    But can we actually get back to comments about THIS article?

     

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  38.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:30am

    Re: This was all interesting..

    Yes :-)

    DH's Love Child, what do you think of my initial statement here?

     

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  39.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re:

    Lovely proxy there....I do have a question though...

    What does the following statement have anything with my initial response to this article??
    "I think i know why they banned you from arstechnica."

    Absolutely nothing at all...no surprise there. Next please...

     

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  40.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re:

    I agree with you on the danger to Apple. The danger also applies to Samsung involving charging for expired FRAND licenses from Erricson (BlueTuth patent). Either way you look at it, both companies are in Jeoperdy no matter the outcome.

    However, I am going to play it safe for speculation. We must remember that the Apple/HTC agreement was likely not based on any money exchanged.

     

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  41.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: This was all interesting..

    Well, the only part I'll comment on is that it's not conflict of interest for a law firm to represent different clients in lawsuits against the same opponent in different cases. Both HTC and Samsung are fighting Apple. The only impropriety that I can see that MIGHT come up is if Apple could prove that the firm disclosed privileged information to Samsung. and as there has been no word of this from Apple (and you know they would have been screaming about this left and right if that were the case...), I think they're in the clear. IANAL, YMMV, etc...

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 7:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I couldn't care less about things you've said on ars, or how you were treated.

    But with comments like:
    "The abuse of FRAND patents becomes visible when you see cases like Motorola Mobitly vs Microsoft involving components of the wireless controllers and a video standard"...
    I view you as a fool. FRAND is simply a return on investment same as any other patent, the big difference being that owners of FRAND Patents give up their control of who to license and how much to charge in favor of a much wider user base. Currently Microsoft are not paying for the use of those patents because they feel the fee is too high. Its a FRAND fee and they can take it up with the ITC if they dissagree.. but wait the ITC recomender banning the Xbox from sale.
    Apple aren't paying Samsung for Samsung's FRAND patents either, claiming that the price is too high.
    Now you probably agree that 2.25% is too high... but if the patent is worth so little why are the implementing it at all instead of just doing their own thing???

    Now yes Samsung are in trouble with Ericson for now paying FRAND licensing to them... but can you realy blame them when the courts have basically been saying "there's no way to enforce it, because we won't allow an injunction".

    So explain how it "abuse" of FRAND patents to ask that the user either pays or doesn't sell stuff that uses it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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