A blogger uncovers the $2 billion dispute behind Friday's bizarre back and forth
The injunction was suspended before the end of the day -- and the products restored -- but the bizarre incident left analysts and investors wondering what the hell was going on.
FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller thinks he's found the answer in an obscure legal brief filed in late January by Apple in the Southern District of California. The brief reveals -- perhaps inadvertently -- something that is usually a closely guarded industry secret: the terms of a royalty agreement to license a key piece of patented technology.
Apple needed the technology. Motorola (MOT) owned it. And it was asking, according to the document Mueller discovered, 2.25% of Apple's iPhone sales up to and including the iPhone 4.
According to Apple's SEC filings for fiscal years 2007 through 2011, revenue from those iPhone sales totaled $92.64 billion, of which Motorola seemed to be demanding a $2.08 billion cut.
It's unclear, says Mueller, whether this covered just one patent or all of Motorola's so-called standards-essential intellectual property but, he writes, "the amount still seems excessive to me."
Apple apparently agrees, and it has filed a series of discovery motions aimed at finding out how much Motorola charged Nokia, HTC, LG and Ericsson for the same technology.
If Motorola was trying to squeeze more out of Apple than its competitors, it could be in trouble. The patent in question is covered by the so-called FRAND rules. These require that technology that has become part of an industry standard be licensed under terms that are "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory." Samsung is currently being investigated by the EU for just such an alleged FRAND violation.
HTC was forced to drop one feature. Motorola may have to drop another. More to come.
Many commentators took at face value HTC's declaration of "an actual victory" after the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that it had infringed Apple's (AAPL) patent on software that allowed a user to dial a number embedded in an e-mail simply by clicking on it. That particular feature was only one of 10 patents Apple MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 23, 2011 6:58 AM ET
The new deadline in a key Apple vs. HTC patent infringement case is Monday, Dec. 19
There are six more days of nail-biting ahead for Apple (AAPL) and HTC.
A final decision on a closely watched case before the International Trade Commission that was due on Dec. 6 and then postponed to Dec. 14 has been postponed once again to Monday, Dec. 19.
This is a big one.
In the worst case scenario for MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 14, 2011 6:25 AM ET
Apple granted an injunction barring distribution in all of the EU except The Netherlands
A week after Samsung agreed out of court to postpone the launch of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, the leading manufacturer of tablets running Google's (GOOG) Android operating system has suffered a second major setback.
A court in Germany Tuesday granted Apple (AAPL) a preliminary injunction barring distribution of the device in the entire European Union except MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 9, 2011 1:02 PM ET
Apple changes its in-house legal guard. Samsung wants Apple's outside counsels ousted
On the heels of a Reuters report that Apple's (AAPL) chief patent counsel has been replaced by Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) top intellectual properties attorney (something that, according to their LinkedIn profiles, may have happened two months ago), comes a 20 page motion from Samsung asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to throw out most, if MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 12, 2011 8:45 AM ET
A move to "streamline" an epic legal battle has only made it more complicated
There was some confusion in the tech press last Saturday when Bloomberg reported that Samsung had quietly dropped a countersuit filed in California in response to Apple's (AAPL) charge last April that Samsung had "slavishly" copied Apple's iPhone.
"One down, one to go?" wrote Christopher Trout for Engadget.
Hardly. As FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller reported Wednesday, what Samsung did MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 7, 2011 5:31 AM ET
Having overpowered the iPhone's design patents, Nokia likely now to go after Android
The settlement of its epic 20-month patent dispute with Apple (AAPL) that Nokia (NOK) announced early Tuesday could spell trouble for the makers of Android phones.
There's no question Apple lost the legal battle that pitted its significant intellectual property holdings against Nokia's even deeper patent portfolio. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but they require MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 14, 2011 5:56 AM ET
Asks permission to intervene in patent infringement suits against its smaller developers
"Apple Inc. hereby respectfully moves to intervene as a defendant and counterclaim plaintiff in the above-captioned action brought by plaintiff Lodsys, LLC against seven software application developers for allegedly infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 7,222,078 and 7,620,565. Apple seeks to intervene because it is expressly licensed to provide to the Developers products and services that embody the patents in suit, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 10, 2011 7:45 AM ET
Lodsys' attack on Apple's App Store business model has reached an A-list developer
On Friday, a small Texas company called Lodsys whose key asset seems to be four heavily licensed patents covering, among other things, in-app purchases, began sending patent-infringement letters to a handful of the 40,000 developers trying to make a living selling applications in Apple's (AAPL) crowded App Store.
Even though Apple has licensed the technologies at issue, Lodsys CEO MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 17, 2011 11:21 AM ET
Samsung's countersuits were "swift and strong" says an expert
On Thursday, Samsung filed its fourth response to Apple's charge of "slavish" imitation: A suit in a California federal court alleging infringement by Apple (AAPL) of 10 Samsung communications patents.
"Samsung has mounted a swift and strong response to Apple's initiative," writes Foss Patent's Florian Mueller. "The speed with which Samsung responded to Apple's lawsuit in four different jurisdictions (in three of them MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 29, 2011 10:19 AM ET
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