back to article Apple hoards LTE patents to deflect Samsung attack

Apple has been hoarding LTE patents in a bid to head off a possible legal attack from fierce rival Samsung on its forthcoming iPhone 5, according to reports from Korea. Apple has gone from holding zero LTE patents last year to having 318 filed away today. That's around five per cent of the world’s total, today, the Korea …

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Anonymous Coward

There's a pretty fair spread of LTE patent holders at the moment that each will have to pay the other royalties. No one company owns enough that they won't have to pay the other to use them.

Still there is always a fool that will try to start a war.......

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Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

It's bad enough that the US now has to contend with The Hogan running around telling everyone who'll listen what such a bad job he and the jury did, but it detracts from the real issue in the US: Abusing Patent Law to gain a market advantage.

We saw it with IBM. We still see it with Microsoft. We now see it with Apple. Are we really going to see it with Samsung?

FFS USA, get your house in order. Bitch.

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"patent expert Florian Mueller"

WTF? That guy has been discredited so many times it saddens me to see El Reg giving him a (lone) voice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

Where do we sew MS abusing patent law? (serious question, not troll.)

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Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

Like Apple over the last few years, Microsoft has been FUDing about its patent portfolio, but for decades.

Microsoft FUDs about Linux 'breaching' 213 of Microsoft's Patents. It has never sued (and there is a lot of speculation as to why is hasn't) and it has never specifically identified exactly what patents those 213 are.

Instead it has used its Patent FUD to extract 'protection money' from many organisations that use Linux (and not Windows) in their products.

Both Apple and Microsoft have a vested interest in NOT fixing the US Patent system. They both currently use it as a weapon against their competitors.

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Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

It's a good thing that the US is such a small part of the global market. The big players can safely ignore the US and their asinine patent litigation - it doesn't apply in any of the rest of the world. US law does not extend beyond the borders of the USA, and the rest of us are happy enough to forego that quite minor market altogether. The Americans need to realise this!

The Americans can have all the Apples and Windows rubbish - the rest of us will get on with secure operating systems, desktops, tablets and phones that work properly. Neither Apple nor Microsoft have realised that their products just provide poor proprietary clients for a Unix world, and they're getting left way behind.

If the American corporations insist on trying to use patents rather than innovative and effective products as their way to get market share, they'll just turn into an even more insignificant backwater than they are now. The big markets are China and India - even Europe presents a bigger market than the USA! We just don't need the grief!

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Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

"Microsoft FUDs about Linux 'breaching' 213 of Microsoft's Patents. It has never sued"

They did sue TomTom and Barnes & Noble.

Although suing B&N cost them 300 million dollars.

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Unhappy

Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

How prophetic was this headline then? http://adr9.home.comcast.net/~adr9/MG/Pic/MP1f4.jpg

(Disclaimer - I used to work for Applied Data Research, and still think time limited patents, held by the inventors of genuinely new and significant techniques are reasonable, especially where FRAND applies.)

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FAIL

Re: "patent expert Florian Mueller"

Maybe we need an option 'get less from this author' for the lazy idiots who quote mueller.

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Meh

Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

LTE is a radio networking technology. LTE patents are therefore likely to encompass an awful lot of radio hardware. They probably also cover signal encoding techniques and network management, at a guess.

I'm not totally sure where software patents ended up in this argument, but none of the above are purely software based.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

The FAT32 patent was deemed valid and that's the one they use against Android and Linux vendors.

But then I don't know what is more stupid, suing people for not licencing the patent or the Linux/embedded community for not moving away from FAT32 or working around the patent.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

Exactly, it's a hardware patent and given everyone needs to use it the patent needs to be licenced on a FRAND basis.

Also, you should be allowed to launch the product without having a licence agreement in place since the chips in question are not made by the vendor. If Apple, Google, RIM or anyone else is just a customer for a network chip then it's hardly that they've developed the technology. It's taking a licence out just like you might buy a licence for a piece of software.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

Samsung tried abusing the patent system in the trial vs Apple, where they wanted to get paid twice for the same FRAND SEP patents. Apple have never been accused of abusing any FRAND SEP patents which is why Samsung and not Apple is being investigated in Europe and the USA over patent abuse.

It seems strange that you accuse a company that isn't being investigated while ignoring those who are, Samsung and Motorola.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "patent expert Florian Mueller"

So we can expect Samsung to do the opposite of such an "expert" opinion, it's similar to taking investment advice from a boiler room operative

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Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

"Samsung tried abusing the patent system in the trial vs Apple"

Possibly true. I am not saying 2 wrongs make a right, but I have seen a lot of abuse of the patent system by Apple, too. Not abuse of patents, IMHO, but abuse of the patent system (by patenting things which should not be patented, mostly because of prior art).

"they wanted to get paid twice for the same FRAND SEP patents."

I don't know the full details, but IIRC Samsung put a clause in their license agreement saying the license couldn't be passed on. This does seem sneaky, but surely the HW mfrs should have checked this.

After this, when Apple tried to negotiate a license (which shows that they knew they needed a license) they rejected the terms (fees). This means they do not have a license. They are selling infringing equipment. If they think the terms offered are not FRAND, they should be taking Samsung to court over it, not just ignoring it and selling infringing devices.

"Apple have never been accused of abusing any FRAND SEP patents"

As far as I know, this is because they haven't, until recently, had many.

I do think Samsung are being twunts, but no more so than Apple.

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Re: Software Patents = Retardedness in the Extreme

Apple has tried to license all of Samsungs patents through litigation. That does not mean they agree with any use of those patents. The jury may have made mistakes. They were not wrong about the doctrine of exhaustion. Samsung does not get to double dip especially with Frand patents.

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FAIL

Why on earth

do you insist on quoting Florian Mueller?

His opinion's on Android are worthless.

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Thumb Down

Re: Why on earth

I'm glad that everything has to be about android for you. But no one cares.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why on earth

Any opinion on Android is worthless.

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WTF?

Re: Why on earth

I thought the article was about LTE/4G?

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Headmaster

Re: Why on earth

Arrrrggghhhh. Apostrophe failure!

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WTF?

Samsung must be reasonable but it's fine for Apple not to be.

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One is concerning frand patents and one is not. If your patents deal with a standard then yes you must be more reasonable because it's a standard and therefore you can use it to bullly others. It's not a hard concept to grasp.

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@toadwarrior

That is a very interesting point,

IF you accept that Apples software/UI patents are indeed valid, (Which I don't) then due to its popularity, and considering the ignorance of the general population, many of them should be part of a de-facto standard, and licensed under FRAND.

Now personally I would have laughed Apple out of the patent office with most of their patents, but unfortunately the people who approve the patents are not experts in the field they are approving the patents for.. I.E. you need a software expert to say 'this is obvious' when it comes to software.

Like me I bet many coders are shocked apple were granted many patents, half the time I hear of a software patent dispute I realise either I or a friend at college had done something at college nearly identical, but being students patents were not even a thought..

I see Samsung winning an Appeal, maybe not 100% of a win, but a win...

Personally I wont use Apple 'i' products, I hate the UI, the settings are pathetic, and the app store is an unreliable joke..

So Apple can drop their 'lost sales' argument by 4 devices,

oh and I do own an iPad, that is why I know how crap they are! perfect for a 2 year old, but even my 5 year old prefers Android!

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Stop

Re: @toadwarrior

You're not understanding what FRAND is. It's a voluntary commitment by a company involved in the standards setting process. Most standards require that any IP used in the standard must be free or available under FRAND terms so that the owners can't hold the market hostage.

You can't force a company to make its patents FRAND just because a particular technology is popular and lots of people are copying it.

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Re: @MrXavia

"but unfortunately the people who approve the patents are not experts in the field they are approving the patents for."

I suspect they know a lot more than you do, BTW Google is VERY popular, why arn't you screeming for their search patents and algorithems to be licensed under FRAND?

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Anonymous Coward

Mueller is NOT an expert...

He has no formal training in the areas he pontificates on. If I put a white coat on that does not make me a scientist or a doctor..

Why do you keep quoting him?

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Re: Mueller is NOT an expert...

"Why do you keep quoting him?"

Because it keeps people like you coming onto the site to right comments like that and provide page impressions to generate advertising revenue for the site owners so they can pay themselves and pay their staff and keep the business running.

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Re: Mueller is NOT an expert...

@ Alex

The article is troll-bait enough. Given that Mr Mueller has recently had to admit that he gets paid for blogging by Oracle the objection about quoting him unqualified is perfectly valid. Instead of "patent expert" it should have said "paid patent blogger".

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Re: Mueller is NOT an expert...

@ Charlie Clark

Hey, don't shoot the messenger. I was just giving a truthful answer to the question :)

P.S. Apologies to the readers of the Reg, my family and my English teacher for my mispelling of the word "write" in my initial post.

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Is anyone else disgusted that the 'rights' to produce certain technologies are being bought and sold by soulless corporations purely to be used alternately as legal defense and ammunition?

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Anonymous Coward

Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft and others all do it.

So nobody you can buy a phone from is innocent of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Sadly

Sadly, no I'm not because the alternative is that small companies and lone inventors have no protection or ability to sell inventions they can't afford to implement. It would also halt purchase of smaller companies by larger ones.

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Re: Sadly

This is often an argument put forward, but in most cases is false. When it comes to software development "Trade Secrets and Copyright" offers very good cheap/straight forward protection - I have yet to see a software patent that cannot be implemented by the smallest company, this may be an issue in other industries but this is not the case for the Software industry.

Please note, the software industry is closer to the publishing industry and the lack of Patents did not prevent a single parent becoming one of the UK's richest people.

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Re: Sadly

"the alternative is that small companies and lone inventors have no protection or ability to sell inventions they can't afford to implement. It would also halt purchase of smaller companies by larger ones."

I would beg to differ.

IMHO, a patent should only ever be granted to an individual: the inventor. That patent should be owned by the inventor for the rest of his life*, but may be licensed to companies.

While not a perfect answer, I believe this would help the patent system.

*Possibly extended beyond the life of the inventor, as long as it is inheritted by another individual.

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WTF?

Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

article failed as it did not expand the acronym first before using it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

IIRC, LTE is a phone technology faster than 3G but but quite a bit slower than 4G known as 3G+ in some constituencies.

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Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

Nope, LTE is 4G

HSDPA+ is what some refer to as 3.5G or 3G+ (Or T-Mobile in the US sell as 4G)

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Stop

Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

Still wrong. The original definition of 4G was 100Mbit or faster in a mobile device. LTE in its current form does not meet that. After pressure from the mobile companies the ITU said you could call HSPA+ or faster 4G.

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Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

"Long Term Evolution" - the shift to IP (internet protocol) based communication for both data and voice communications.

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Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

Thanks for asking that!

Definite article fail in neglecting to have at least 1 sentence explaining or expanding it

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Gold badge

Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

4G, 3G etc is just an indication of the generation of the product, much like the generation of games consoles. It's just a rough estimate of the timeframe of a product release.

The XBox 360 and the Nintendo Wii are both in the same generation of games consoles yet the Wii is vastly inferior in terms of graphics. So the generation is not an indication of quality.

3G for the UK and EU is UTMS, that is the proper name for the system.

4G in the US is LTE and in the UK 4G will be LTE as well, but there is Mobile WiMAX as well.

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Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

It used to be fairly well defined, but then ITU bowed (caved in) to pressure from network operators who wanted to push "n+1 G" systems, whereas the generations had previously been defined primarily by signalling and network features.

Anyway, this was what I worked off way back when I had anything to do with telecoms:

0G. Radiotelephone

1G. Analogue, circuit switched voice with automated signalling [ TACS, NMT ]

2G. Digital modulation, security, circuit-switched voice & data (2.5G added GPRS packet-switched data) [ GSM (global), CDMAone (US, Korea), D-AMPS (US), PDC (Japan) ]

3G. Digital, circuit switched voice and video applications + packet-switched data [ UMTS (global), WCDMA2000 (US, Korea) ]

4G. Fully packet-switched networks for voice and data. [LTE Advanced (global) ]

LTE (not "LTE-Advanced") isn't quite 4G: it's the last step between 3G and 4G networks. It's fully packet switched, but doesn't meet other performance criteria set by the ITU for a "True 4G" network.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone else wondering what LTE stands for???

"WCDMA2000 (US, Korea)" And AFAIK, at least AU (KDDI) uses CDMA2000 or a variant.

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Pfft

Can I just take this chance to say I really, really, really, really despise Apple and can't wait until karma hits them hard. Complete assholes!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pfft

Large chip you carry on your little shoulders.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pfft

You used the same quote a couple of days ago.....

Word for word regurgitation?

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Re: Pfft

Yes.

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FAIL

Re: Pfft

Can I just take this chance to say I really, really, really, really despise Samsung and really enjoyed karma hitting them hard. Complete assholes!!

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WTF?

How many patents???

"Apple has gone from holding zero LTE patents last year to having 318 filed away today. That's around five per cent of the world’s total" - or in other words there are about 6000 patents floating around to do with LTE/4G.

How the fck can there be over 6000 non-trivial patents involved in something like LTE? It's a wireless transmission protocol. Patents are intended to protect the commercial interests of inventors, not people who decide to paint the box a different colour.

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