Re: How in hell can "standards-essential patents" exist?
Companies spend a ton of time and money researching this stuff, then patent it - they deserve to get some money back and not just have somebody say "well it's in a patent now, give it away for free!" It might not hurt the giant globocorps much but it'd kick small companies + inventors in the bollocks. Besides, no money = no incentive to develop the next standard.
So what they do is tell the patent owners: "We'll use your patent in the standard, but you have to license it to *anyone*, even apple, and you have to license it *cheaply*". In return they get a very small slice of a very big pie.
Or, you can do as motorola has done. Agree to the FRAND licensing. License it to qualcomm, who sell the licensed product to apple, then tell qualcomm the license doesn't cover apple. Then demand 2.4% of the price of the 3G chip that uses your patents. Plus 2.4% of the stuff it's connected to. And 2.4% of the entire phone. Screw it, 2.4% of the whole of apple, call it fair and hope nobody notices. And if they agree to that, follow it up with 2.4% for wifi, 2.4% for bluetooth, 2.4% for h264 video, and you're up to nearly 10% of the retail cost of the device already! (If 10 companies did this 100% of the device cost would go on patents *just * for the essential stuff!)