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Monday, 19 May 2014 12:08

Samsung in patent hot water in Japan

Written by Nick Farrell

Apple own goal

Samsung really did score an own goal when it tried to defend itself against Apple’s patent trolling by using its FRAND patents against its fruity rival. FRAND is when a company agrees to license patents out to one another under Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory terms (FRAND). Not all patents are covered under FRAND, but rather patents that are considered to be standard essential.

When Apple went thermonuclear on its rival, Samsung tried to use its FRAND patents as a weapon, however courts said they couldn’t. In Japan last year the courts found that Samsung abused their FRAND patents against Apple, but Samsung appealed the ruling. This meant that the court of appeals in Japan had to convene a “Grand Panel” to hear the case. Unfortunately for Samsung looks like the Grand Panel decided that the original ruling should stick.

The patent in question was related to the 3GPP mobile standard, and saw Samsung demand huge royalties from Apple, as well as seeking an injunction against the infringing devices, like the iPhone 4. However, the court ruled that Samsung had no right to demand a sales injunction and the company’s request for “excess royalty.”

Instead, the courts capped Samsung’s licensing demand to around $95,000 which is pretty much what Apple had expected to pay for the patent’s license in the first place. If Samsung had not done this, it might have been able to claim the high ground in any patent cases against Apple. Instead it looks just as evil as Jobs’ Mob and made it impossible to cast it as a victim of Steve Jobs’ vanity and self-delusion.   

Nick Farrell

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