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Microsoft, IBM Want to Seal Patents Agreements With Samsung

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the nothing-to-see-here dept.

Microsoft 126

sfcrazy writes "The court battle between Apple and Samsung has created the possibility of disclosing the cross patent agreement between Microsoft and Samsung. Microsoft is suddenly scared and has filed a motion asking the court to seal the cross license agreement. I would like to remind that the Judge has asked both parties to make all the filings in this dispute available to the public for free." And on Monday, IBM filed for a restraining order to prevent Reuters from publishing their agreement with Samsung as well.

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126 comments

Microsoft is suddenly scared? (3, Insightful)

HearVoic (2696967) | about 2 years ago | (#40825945)

Wait, what now? Slashdot's summaries are starting to get quite childish. Microsoft is scared, really?

It couldn't even barely be possible that Microsoft wants to follow the mobile companies common practice of cross licensing almost all of their patents.

This includes one of the pioneers of mobile industry, Nokia, as well as they could stop licensing their technology and make the other companies really suffer. But the armchair generals and armchair CEO's on Slashdot think everything is outright war between technology companies. In fact it's not.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (3, Funny)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40825977)

oh but nokia's been xlicensing traditionally, since that was the old way mobile companies worked and kept new entrants from coming. ms/nokia and apple/nokia and ms/apple full cross licensing deals kind of step on that though.

that they don't want the deals public is a bit shitty for the common stockholder though.

the real reason I suspect MS wanting to seal the documents is that they state that when you're big enough you can get MS licenses for android in exchange of giving WP phones a shot - along with patent licenses to whatever both platforms need.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40825999)

It is far more likely that different companies get different rates depending on how well they negotiate and how much they have to offer in return (standard practise by all of the big boys). Revealing details of such agreements puts them at a disadvantage in any future negotiations and hence the demand for non disclosure is pretty standard. This has nothing to do with fear of anything but the disadvantage they would have in future price bargaining.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826061)

This has nothing to do with fear of anything but the disadvantage they would have in future price bargaining.

So fear of not being able to make as much money in future deals. You jokes are over thinking this.

Denied (5, Interesting)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 2 years ago | (#40827077)

Anyway, the IBM motion has already been denied. If IBM can't get it, there's a fair chance Microsoft won't, either.

One of the big reasons this is interesting is that we might finally find out exactly what patents Microsoft thinks that Linux violates.

Re:Denied (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40828427)

yep, Then - there is a huge prior art hunt, several huge corporations have their lawyers go over them for flaws like obviousness that will hold in court, and all the unnecessary stuff gets removed... at the end of this they will be lucky if thy have anything left so they do not want that!

Re:Denied (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 2 years ago | (#40829677)

And if the courts start to expose software patent deals as these software patent court cases proliferate we might just see a decrease in these cases. There is a new cost to those filing these cases and that is the exposure of their practices and tactics.

Sounds like we'll be reading lots of good stuff from Groklaw very soon.

LoB

Re:Denied (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40829769)

How so? This is about mobile and Microsoft were beating the patent drum long before they were doing much in mobile.

The bitch? I have NO doubt Linux DOES violate MSFT patents, as MSFT violates Samsung, Intel violates AMD, that is why all these corps sign these cross licensing agreements in the first place ya know. That's the real bitch with Linux when it comes to patents as these corps have been filing so damned many patents and the patents are so vague they could just bullet spam you with patents until they stick.

But this is why we can't have nice things like the cool new MIPS chips from Loongson that has hardware assisted X86 virtualization, because all these corps cross license up the ass to make a hell of a barrier to entry for new players. It stinks but since insuring that those at the top stay on top seems to be the USA motto its really not surprising, nor will it be surprising when China and India start coming out with the cool new ideas because they won't have to deal with patent minefields.

Hell how many years would it take a highly expensive patent lawyer just to go through the mobile patents here just to see if your new idea is gonna be buried by patents? I bet the number would be just insane. Kinda hard to come up with cool new tech while tapdancing through a minefield that can destroy your company with a single misstep.

What is there to hide ? (0)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40826181)

Now both M$ and IBM have filed petition to the court in asking that patent agreement between them and Samsung be sealed

Pardon me, but I do not understand

Patents are there to protect the patent holder - and patents are supposed to be OPEN TO THE PUBLIC so that the public at large know to what extend a particular patent covers and in what way the patent is considered as "novel" when it was granted

Patents that are sealed under court order only mean one thing - that they, the patent holder(s) do not want the public at large to know the existence of their patents.

If that is the case - then their patents might as well be void - because if the public at large can't know about their patents, the public wouldn't know when, of if, they have infringed on their patents

What M$ is doing - particularly, hiding patents from the public view - should be declared illegal by the court

If a patent holder wants to hide their patent, they should not be granted that particular patent, period
 

Re:What is there to hide ? (4, Informative)

Deorus (811828) | about 2 years ago | (#40826255)

It's about the patent deals, not the patents themselves. It is a lot more likely that both companies are afraid of being investigated for monopolistic behavior if those deals become public knowledge.

Re:What is there to hide ? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826821)

It's about the patent deals, not the patents themselves. It is a lot more likely that both companies are afraid of being investigated for monopolistic behavior if those deals become public knowledge.

More than likely it has to do with the various companies they've cross-licensed with finding out who got sweetheart deals and who got totally screwed over.

"Hey, why am I paying ten times what he's paying?!?!"

Re:What is there to hide ? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#40827293)

If the companies would be investigated for monopolistic behaviour, that's even more reason for the court to make that knowledge public or at the very least warrant further investigation.

No, more likely it's just about money and secrets, which is how MS operate and make the former. They don't want people to know who's bought what, for how much, and what it entails because that might surprise other people who've got different deals or were told no deal was available.

More likely, it's a purely selfish reason and, when the court orders them opened, nothing of interest is in there and certainly nothing that most people would have bothered to seal.

Re:What is there to hide ? (3, Insightful)

Bleedorang3 (2697549) | about 2 years ago | (#40827089)

Patents are open to the public. Patent licensing agreements however are not. How is this hard to understand? Between your childish use of 'M$' and your complete lack of knowledge about what the article is about it seems pretty obvious which side you're on. Also, Microsoft is scared? What the hell Slashdot. This used to be the place I came for real tech news. Not some user's blatant bias.

Re:What is there to hide ? (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#40827205)

You must be new here.

Re:What is there to hide ? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827231)

> This used to be the place I came for real tech news. Not some user's blatant bias.

You were _so_ disgusted with calling Microsoft scared that you registered just to tell us this? That's nice.

Dude, keep your sockpuppets more subtle, would ya?

Re:What is there to hide ? (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 2 years ago | (#40829775)

"scared" or concerned it's the same thing and yes they must be very concerned. Did you read what Barnes and Nobel had released on how Microsoft first insisted on them signing an NDA to see the patents and then tried to trick B&N into thinking there was an old NDA which covered the issue? Forcing companies to keep secret the list of patents they are claiming Linux infringes upon has been shown to be very important to Microsoft in these tactics to get something signed and called a cross licensing agreement.

This judge has added lots of excitement to this case by opening up the documents. Heck, the Comes vs Microsoft case still adding lots of insights into Microsoft and how they've operated for 20 something years.

LoB

Re:What is there to hide ? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#40827337)

The patents are open and that isn't being challenged in the slightest.

Microsoft is simply asking the judge to please not reveal to the world how much they paid for something.

Do you want your employer to publish the details of your salary and benefits and work hours? Is them not doing so the same as them hiding that they are employing you?

Re:What is there to hide ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40828271)

That is already being done to all government employees and presidential candidates.

Re:What is there to hide ? (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 2 years ago | (#40829861)

yes but it's more likely it is not about how much was paid but what tactics were used, what patents are claimed and how those discussions played out and what Microsoft's internal motives really are. Barnes and Nobel showed Microsoft was very extremely insistent upon keeping even the patent list under NDA. Yes the use of "very" and "extremely" was on purpose because I doubt it has anything to do with the money. The few hundreds of millions they've pulled in from these contracts is a drop in the bucket for Microsoft and they have probably spent more on marketing the fact that they've signed these deals than they've got from them.

So it is very doubtful it is about the money. The Windows franchise is the bread winner for MS and any threat to that, as Android and Linux are, is worthy of them spending billions to derail. Getting a couple hundred mil is nothing to them in that light. IMO

LoB

Re:What is there to hide ? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#40830251)

Do you want your employer to publish the details of your salary and benefits and work hours?

My salary and work hours are not part of one of the biggest patent disputes in recent history.

Further, I think many people would benefit from having all of that information readily available, as it would force the companies they work for to justify the wages they're giving some people.

Re:What is there to hide ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40829033)

IBM and Microsoft are companies that operate on many countries across the world, each country has its own particular set of laws, If these "patent agreements" contained clauses fixing prices, limiting product offerings outside the country where the agreement was struck, IBM and Microsoft could have broken some Laws. the practice might be illegal in USA were the patent agreement was struck but since it was agreed the practice would only be conducted in a third party county, and no law was broken in US juristriction. But Maybe the practice was legal in the country were the agreement was made, that means a huge body of contract law to enforce the deal.

Re:What is there to hide ? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#40830261)

If they're that worried about those sorts of things getting out, maybe that's a sign to not do such things then, eh?

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40827355)

It is far more likely that different companies get different rates depending on how well they negotiate and how much they have to offer in return.

A good example is the Nook. They really had nothing in terms of patents to counter with. I guess that's why they were considered a pretty weak target. But they got so outraged and vocal about their opposition, that Microsoft just had to shovel lots of money their way just to keep them quiet about the whole scam.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 2 years ago | (#40829917)

good to see someone else remembers that. So many here are still claiming this is all about the money and the B&N case really showed that to what lengths they'll go to just to keep the dealings hidden from public view.

Too bad you're post is still only rated 2 and I have no mod points.

LoB

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#40827925)

I suspect you are right. I was working at Compaq during the hp takeover and when hp discovered they were paying more for identical hard drives than Compaq they were incensed.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (5, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#40826071)

Microsoft does not want to disclose which patents they're using to get royalties for Android/Linux. Apart from the VFAT patent, it is not publicly known which 235 patents Microsoft claim to own that cover the Linux kernel - they only reveal that to parties they approach to intimidate, a really bizarre and perverse state of affairs if you ask me.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

drinkydoh (2658743) | about 2 years ago | (#40826121)

So why doesn't Linux Foundation do the same for Microsoft and Windows? Or doesn't Linux use any advanced technology?

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (2)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 years ago | (#40826137)

Two things. One, there are no software patents in Europe. Two, money. The Linux Foundation doesn't have tens of millions of dollars to piss away on lawyers. Microsoft has hundreds of millions of dollars to piss away on lawyers. No point in starting a fight where you're outfunded by an order of magnitude.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (3, Informative)

dkf (304284) | about 2 years ago | (#40826155)

One, there are no software patents in Europe.

Wrong, but the obviousness requirement is applied much more stringently so there are far fewer software patents granted. Getting a patent for being 6 months ahead of the competition is a problem, getting one for being 15 years ahead is not.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826253)

Getting a patent for being 6 months ahead of the competition is a problem, getting one for being 15 years ahead is not.

Bigger problem is that patents for being 6 months ahead of competition are granted after two years.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (4, Informative)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#40826675)

Since 1985 the EU patent office keeps a registry where you can deposit plans that could be turned into patents even though the relevant law of 1978 does specifically not recognise computer programs a patentable.
The 2005 vote in the EU parliament dismissed the idea of software patents with 648 out of 729 votes.
Besides, the individual member states don't agree so the EU commission does not have much chance to ever enforce these patents.

Now there is the possibility to patent a specific model of hardware like a phone including the firmware within but it's not easy or anywhere close to the US system.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#40826877)

Impressive ... considering you're claiming the EU had a patent office 8 years before it was formed ... Its impressive that the EU has government bureaucracy that comes before the government even exists.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826991)

Impressive ... considering you're claiming the EU had a patent office 8 years before it was formed ... Its impressive that the EU has government bureaucracy that comes before the government even exists.

You are splitting hairs/names. The European Economic Community (EEC) was formed in 1958 and gradually grew into what we today know as European Union (EU), the change in the organizations name followed the Maastricht Treaty in 1993. The European Patent Organisation is an intergovernmental organisation, including all EEC/EU members, that was set up in 1977.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

ewieling (90662) | about 2 years ago | (#40826977)

If you cannot patent software in Europe, then are the patents on audio and video codecs not valid in Europe? Specifically the G729, G723.1 and H.264 codecs.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#40827359)

Given that this page exists in Europe and hasn't been forcibly taken down?

http://www.videolan.org/developers/x264.html [videolan.org]

Pretty much. You can't enforce software patents alone in Europe. When you put them into hardware (e.g. a TV that decode H.264, for instance), things become a little more tricky, and there is still "licensing", just not necessarily patent licensing going on.

For example, the people who developed the VLC implementation and library actually license their version to other people for a fee. It's quite possible it's already inside some audio-visual equipment that you own, if someone big licensed it:

http://x264licensing.com/ [x264licensing.com]

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826723)

The GP is right. There are no software patents as such in the EU. You can only patent implementations of software methods in specific physical devices.

For example, if you invent an instrument for measuring the level of gasoline fumes, and it uses a novel software algorithm to calculate the level from sensor inputs, you can patent it to gain an exclusive right to use the algorithm for calculating gasoline fumes in measuring instruments. It does not give you a general patent on the algorithm.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#40827195)

Getting a patent for being 6 months ahead of the competition is a problem, getting one for being 15 years ahead is not.

Once you've gone to market, however, how do we know you were really 15 years ahead, and not only 6 months?

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826143)

Because linux developers do not file for software patents.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826587)

I do, as a defensive measure. And I work with my employer to release my software under GPLv3, so if someone tries to make a business plan out of my work and not publish their modificatons, we have some leverage to get it published. This came up about.... 5 years ago on a project I did, that had a 10 year old patent. The original work was dual GPL/BSD licensed, and sure enough, some company tried to fold it into their product and refused to publish their modifications, so guess who'd get calls when they broke things?

The talk was very polite between the lawyers, and it turned out their developers had wanted to send their modifications upstream to me and others but had been blocked. It got..... weird, but the patent was helpful to get their lawyer to actually pay attention.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (2)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 2 years ago | (#40826633)

I do, as a defensive measure

Funny, the people who build land mines say the same thing.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#40826639)

How is your software for your employer still your software? Most places I know of treat every keystroke as their property. Well done mind you, they did come in handy.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 2 years ago | (#40827085)

What the fuck was the point of releasing under the BSD license?

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#40830293)

Because most of the companies that promote Linux are nowhere near as powerful as Microsoft is in the legal arena. Further, most of Microsoft's stuff is not open source, making it much harder to actually prove infringement occurred.

MSFT investors lied to (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826097)

No, Microsoft has released details of the claimed license, by Samsung of its 'Android patents'. But leaks came out that Sammy would get 'marketing money' back from Microsoft, and lo and behold they did.

Here's Microsoft and their fake claim to IP rights over Android:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15106889

Here's money back from MS to Samsung:
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/16/2050244/microsoft-pays-44-million-to-samsung-and-nokia-for-mango-marketing

Now suddenly they want the real details sealed? Yet they were keen to claim it was a patent license for IP claims over Android!

MSFT Investors need to wonder what the truth is here, because Samsung doesn't mind the unsealing, but yet MS does? But MS were the ones making the public claim, not Samsung!!

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826099)

Hmmm... let's see. Brand new account? Check. Petty nitpicking of perceived offence against Microsoft? Check. Username made up of pseudorandom combination of words generally but not always numbering 2? Check.

Ding ding ding! Hi, Bench, OverlyCriticalGuy, TechLA, TechNY, Insightin140Bytes, InterestingFellow. Tell my old homies at Bunson-Mueller Nate said waaaaaaaaaasuuuuuupppp!!

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (3, Interesting)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#40826303)

Wait, what now? Slashdot's summaries are starting to get quite childish. Microsoft is scared, really?

Normally I would agree with you, in the name of professionalism and all. However, in this case the greater issue is that Microsoft is actually not scared, so the statement is factually incorrect. What TFA actually states is (no joke, paragraph 2):

Microsoft's hair is on fire about it

Obviously this is not a cause for Microsoft to be "scared," because its fearless leader doesn't have hair [wikipedia.org] . It would be more accurate for the summary to state, "Microsoft execs are laughing themselves to sleep tonight after a pointless attempt by Apple to set Steve Ballmer's hair on fire."

Realistically, even if Ballmer had hair, this wouldn't set it on fire. Microsoft has a long history of doing things that either land it in court (bundling, monopoly abuse, etc.) or result in throwing huge sums of money away (Windows Phone 7 [wikipedia.org] , Zune [wikipedia.org] , 5 billion lost on the Xbox [wikipedia.org] , Ultimate TV [wikipedia.org] , Actimates [wikipedia.org] , BOB [wikipedia.org] , SPOT [wikipedia.org] , Kin [wikipedia.org] , etc.), but none of those things set his dome on fire because Wall Street doesn't care as long as the majority of the world's personal computers are running Windows. I'm not saying Wall Street is correct in doing so, but stock prices rarely have much to do with a company's actual performance, and most public companies teams are focused on "shareholder value." And the shareholders always let Microsoft come out of this stuff unscathed. If this were something that materially threatened Windows or Office, Ballmer's dome might be on fire. But we're not likely to see that show until the new Surface is released and the strategic partners Microsoft just blew off decide what they want to do about it.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 years ago | (#40826405)

Wait, what now? Slashdot's summaries are starting to get quite childish.

Starting to??? /facepalm

yes (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#40827015)

in a word, yes. Or as other sites say "Microsoft's hair is on fire". (as noted elsewhere)

Microsoft wants to keep their patent settlements high and the risk of DOJ investigations low. They have a lot of negative press awaiting if their shakedowns are mae public. Also on groklaw: "IBM's motion has been denied [PDF] by the magistrate judge. Reuters gets to publish" So it appears that an IBM agreement will be able to be published.

Pretty much the second big companies that have questionable settlements are made public, all of this patent shakedown stuff goes away in it's entirety as it no longer remains profitable. A little sunlight can go a long way.

Re:Microsoft is suddenly scared? (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 2 years ago | (#40829191)

But the courts and public (and lawmakers) have never really been informed of what these deals entail... Even though 90% of tech industry patents would fall under these.

This is the kind of thing that can push for REAL REFORM... Nobody with the cross license deals WANTS the situation fixed. They essentially have their own little "extra legal" club going on the big guys use to bully little guys with actual innovation.

Steve wanted to protect his patents or burn down the house... THAT is why the big kids don't want these public.

aww shit that explains the samsung schills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40825961)

no wonder the schills defend samsung so much! microsoft has something to lose!

Nerf bat in play (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 2 years ago | (#40825975)

By the end of this, the whole landscape is going to look very different. Hard to say how exactly, but everyone aware of the licensing between each other could lead to some hilarious later complaints 'hey, wait, you're charging us this much, and them HOW much?!??!" That IBM 'accidentally' sent the full version of the license to Reuters, and then went 'oops'... Wonder if it was an accidentally on purpose. They may be feeling that their part of the deal isn't as good as they'd have liked. And of course, Microsoft is never happy when their business practices are opened to scrutiny. This Apple vs Samsung court time now is going to keep being repeated, both in appeals, and other companies getting upset with each other. Apple's certainly caused some serious havoc in the phone business, wonder if this was the levels they imagined. As always, no matter who wins (this stage), we all lose cool tech. Wish they'd just sorted it out amongst themselves with reasonable licensing fees.

Re:Nerf bat in play (4, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#40826003)

Methinks we're going to see who the real villains are in this story. Apple may be evil and all, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Note that Apple being villain and all is all due to the fact that they make their patent dispute public, unlike the rest of the field which hides it under a thick veil of secrecy. I'd be very interested to know exactly who gets paid what over there.

Re:Nerf bat in play (1, Interesting)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#40826089)

The reason Apple does it publicly, is that they have to defend their image as spectacularly innovative. They couldn't just have handed over the patents to a proxy and sued with that - although it would have been a lot less risky. They need to defend the idea that rounded corners are innovative, not just in court but in public opinion as well (at least, the part of the public that buys their products).

Re:Nerf bat in play (1)

Grey Ninja (739021) | about 2 years ago | (#40826153)

The part of the public that buys their product will be very willing to continue buying their product. Because it's the evil Samsung stealing from their beloved Apple. A court decision will not change their mind, any more than it would change our minds if Apple won.

Re:Nerf bat in play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826273)

I think you're conflating two different issues.

The current "patent war" going in the mobile world is really just an extended business negotiation. Eventually Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and every other rat-bastard corporation is going to form a patent pool and use it to lock out competitors in the mobile space. The lawsuits are just the last-minute offensive before the cease-fire.

However, Apple's "round corners" design patents aren't really part of this. That's purely Apple's arrogance about Samsung photocopying their designs in a far too obvious way.

Re:Nerf bat in play (2)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#40826391)

Eventually Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and every other rat-bastard corporation is going to form a patent pool and use it to lock out competitors in the mobile space.

Eventually, maybe, when they get any competitors which would require such a monster portfolio to stop.

Right now, the junior partner, patent disadvantaged due to its young age, is Google. It is the indirect target of all these lawsuits, the monster they want to stop. It's just too popular (not least in Washington) to sue directly without a proxy.

Re:Nerf bat in play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826497)

Google's code drops is the only reason that no-name brands like Huawei are stealing marketshare from Samsung et al. (Note this is ALL Android 2.x ... hmmm.)

Now that Google has bet $12B on Motorola, they will be forced into 'conventional viewpoint' and realize that competition in the Android market needs to be 'managed' through a licensing regime. They might be on the short-end of the stick, but Google is smart enough to know that it's better to be in the cartel than outside of it.

Re:Nerf bat in play (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#40826747)

Eventually Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and every other rat-bastard corporation is going to form a patent pool and use it to lock out competitors in the mobile space.

...and then chinese companies come along, copy all of their designs, and there is absolutely nothing that google, apple, samsung, microsoft, etc can do to stop them

Re:Nerf bat in play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826285)

Sense: you no make.

Re:Nerf bat in play (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#40826323)

I'm not so sure. Apple has publicly claimed at several occasions that they dislike the patent system and find it hurtful. And in the long run, the suing spree that Apple is currently leading could do a lot of good. Already some judges have made public statements that the patent system is just out of control.

All in all, Apple is raising awareness on the silliness of the patent system, and I think that's good. And I can't imagine that nobody at Apple is aware of that fact.

Re:Nerf bat in play (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#40827025)

Really? they declared patents hurtful? Was this before or after they declared that they will sue all their competitors and claimed that the competitors "stole" from them things that apple never even developed?

Re:Nerf bat in play (3, Interesting)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#40827127)

It was well after they had started their suing spree. The way I see it is this: If you want to be competitive and survive you have to play by the rules. The rules state that you can't use some stuff that is patented without explicit permission and/or licensing fees which are not guaranteed to be granted or even fair unless your patent if a FRAND one. If ${BigCorp} wants to be competitive they have to enforce those rules on their patent, to counteract the fact that they're paying everyone up on theirs and thus bleeding money to the competition with no counterpart.

Apple's stance is not to license, but to restrict which is their perfect right. Some people don't like it.

The fact that they play by today's rules is a necessity. It doesn't imply at all that they like the rules.

Re:Nerf bat in play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40827841)

Apple has publicly claimed at several occasions that they dislike the patent system and find it hurtful.

[citation needed]

Not that I'm calling you a liar, and I'm also not calling Apple liars, but claiming the very opposite of what you wrote would be much more in tune with, you know, their actual behaviour.

Re:Nerf bat in play (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#40829153)

Here it is for the link [tomshardware.com] . There are plenty of other reports if you want.

Here is another link [slashdot.org] to another response that illustrate that what Apple is doing it not necessarily what Apple would like to be doing.

Re:Nerf bat in play (4, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 2 years ago | (#40826537)

The reason it is public is because Apple are using their patents in the courts to restrict competition from entering the market rather than licencing for a reasonable sum to make money.

I don't think this has anything to do with "image". Rather they realise that this is a critical time in cornering a market that will continue to pay off for them for a long time.

Just like the iPod made the iPhone purchase a "no brainer" for many people the iPhone makes (or will make) the iPad or Apple TV (etc etc) a no brainer. Once people are invested in the iTunes/Appstore ecosystem they are more likely to stay there (and keep spending more money there).

Removing credible alternatives to the iPhone from the market doesn't just mean more iPhone sales now, it means more recurring sales down the road too.

Re:Nerf bat in play (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 2 years ago | (#40829477)

Patents ARE A MONOPOLY. There is no LEGAL reason Apple has to share. Apple wants to SELL iPhones. They want to protect that multi billion $$$ from poachers. There are plenty of ways to make tablets and phones that aren't "just like" iDevices.

I'm reminded of the Dyson Vacuum commercial. They were the first ones to make bagless vacuums really work and to sell them.. Then every body started copying. If you're not going to ENFORCE legit patents, why play the game?

Re:Nerf bat in play (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#40830385)

They need to defend the idea that rounded corners are innovative

They never claimed rounded corners are "innovative". They did, however, claim that rounded corners are cornerstone of the iPhone/iPad design, and that Samsung blatantly copied that in a way that would confuse consumers.

Re:Nerf bat in play (3, Insightful)

Dupple (1016592) | about 2 years ago | (#40826117)

If differing companies are paying differing licensing rates on the same patents it would change all future negotiations. It's no wonder MS and Motorola have filed emergency motions. Who is charging how much for what is something that I doubt most companies want revealing. Particularly Microsoft, with it's claims against Andoid. We know of FAT and probably activesync, but they claim patents on a great deal more.

What I'd like to see is the consequences of this case eventually shedding light on the US Patent Office and why some of the more dubious patents are granted. This case could easily be far wider ranging than it first appears.

Re:Nerf bat in play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826445)

They are all evil, because the only thing they seek is profit.

Re:Nerf bat in play (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#40826473)

Watch out! There is evil all around you, and there has been for years!

You are surrounded, resistance is futile.

"We all lose cool tech" (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40826013)

I doubt that is true. What this is really about is monopolistic business practices in the US and how they distort the global market. I suspect that the US Government doesn't actually want too much light shed because then the EU competition commission might get involved, and that might shame the US equivalent into action.

However, I doubt any of it is much of a brake on real technical progress. The limitation on that, at the moment, is battery technology. And that has been the limitation on mobile technical progress since the first mobile phones.

Re:"We all lose cool tech" (4, Interesting)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 2 years ago | (#40826429)

Maybe, I do think though there must be a slight fear from anyone creating tech that a few key players may try and claim later. Many tech companies must be dragging lawyers in to design sessions perhaps, just to cover themselves. Having lawyers over your shoulders is going to get people thinking how not to get infringed, maybe not what's the best way to solve a problem. Having knocked out a few UI's with things that, in retrospect, /could/ be close to what Apple are claiming (though on a terminal, not a mobile device) in... late 80's/early 90's, so many of these things look familiar, and may be the thing we'd have come up with. Getting it prototyped/designed on an Amiga, then working on x-windows, with the later MS Windows versions looking very similar. If I'd have made a version for a mobile version, it'd have looked the same again, icons on the bottom, scrollable top part. That a UI I created 20+ years ago, copying my own design onto a mobile device could get me sued for crazy bucks, scares the living snot out of me. The point about it dragging in the euro stuff though is I think spot on, and why this really is going to be crazy for a time yet. The nerf bat really can take out some odd bystanders.

Exactly (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40826793)

Among those "Monopolistic business practices" must be included "Using the USPTO as a barrier to trade by allowing trivial patents by large corporations and making it prohibitively expensive for small companies to oppose them in court". The US patent system is now designed to achieve the exact opposite of its original goals, just as in the late 2000s the credit ratings agencies were gamed so as to give good ratings to junk debt, at the instigation of the banks, thus doing the exact opposite of what investors imagined.

Makes a change from their CEO scaring us (4, Funny)

phonewebcam (446772) | about 2 years ago | (#40825987)

Which he does [wordpress.com] very well indeed [northupinfo.com] .

Re:Makes a change from their CEO scaring us (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#40827509)

I'm not a phrenologist or anything, but anyone with a tongue like that should be treated very suspiciously. It's a sign of the devil.

get pussy riot out of jail you cocksuckers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826127)

seriously

Re:get pussy riot out of jail you cocksuckers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826301)

it's a long way to the bottom when you rock n roll.
what the fuck putin? obama is teh scumbagg0r with cannabis but you, you won't even allow music and art.

Live on the west coast?
INSIST ON STATEWIDE CAFR audits, start with waterboarding the money crunchers. THEY are the domestic terrorist bankster and official enabled targets. They are hiding all the bullshit. Understand the math, then yell "Fuck taxes" at the top of the lung. Stop enabling the 5 corporate media giants, and the food poisioning monsanto's. Support your local farmers, lemonaid stands and hot dawg carts! Only allow sheriff's who allow commerce, who know common sense, and obey their oath to the US Constitution. This crap they got going in Sacramento is corrupt official dogshits. Watch as nobody can predict the next bankster bailouts, or mathematical budget errors. Forget impeaching the puppets, Arrest the treasuror of California right now. Put guns in face of the non delivery of gold 1:1 dollar for dollar. Not guns in the face of retards smoking crack in the alley. Guns in the faces of teh Carbon tax people. We already have enough problems without playing some fucking UN game.

Re:get pussy riot out of jail you cocksuckers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826431)

And ole Japan, you fukushima disaster. Hiding the readings, censoring the media, rigging the fucking science I'm seriously surprised you haven't been invaded and removed from power. GOVERNMENT + TEPCO, jesus tits. USA better stop fucking around. TEST THE MOTHERFUCKING FISH ON THE WEST COAST!

A really stupid question (1)

syngularyx (1070768) | about 2 years ago | (#40826135)

Why? I really don't understand what they are afraid of

Re:A really stupid question (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#40826183)

A list of what was swapped.
It could show a pool of simple buy out innovation ranging from large and small firms bought up/out over many years.
This would show a lower quality of projected in house skill.
Real world testing, prior art claims.
The ratio of look and feel, trade dress vs real world wireless telecom physics.
Legal questions over the quality and use of patents could dilute a strong legal and US political position in other cases.

Of course it should be made public (2)

oobayly (1056050) | about 2 years ago | (#40826139)

If you're expecting the state to pay because you throw your toys out of the pram then everything should be made public.

Don't want your dirty laundry aired in public, then either grow up or pay an independent arbitrator to make the decision. What is it with people wanting to eat their cake and have it too?

Re:Of course it should be made public (1)

outsider007 (115534) | about 2 years ago | (#40826157)

I think I agree with you but I have no idea wtf a pram is.

Re:Of course it should be made public (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826161)

i think it's some kind of european train or something

Re:Of course it should be made public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826263)

I can see why you'd be confused, a pram does rather remind me of a shopping trolley, and in the US a trolley is apparently some type of primitive train

Re:Of course it should be made public (4, Informative)

andrewbaldwin (442273) | about 2 years ago | (#40826211)

I think I agree with you but I have no idea wtf a pram is.

Pram is a common shortening of "perambulator" ** -- a baby carriage on wheels. These days they're not so common as baby buggies (smaller lightweight versions) have taken their place as 'traditional' prams were bigger, heavier coachbuilt affairs - more room for the baby and with bigger wheels/better suspension but not very practical for transporting in cars.

Throwing ones toys out of the pram is a common expression in the UK. It's roughly equivalent to "throwing a hissy fit" / "having a tantrum" -- ie exhibiting impotent rage and/or childish behaviour, making a lot of noise and fuss yet gaining nothing but causing inconvenience to others as they have to retrieve them [or not]

** Perambulator - in the sense it let the baby and carer go for a walk (perambulate) -- Old fashioned and I don't know anyone who still says perambulator these days [or even said it in my childhood many years ago]

Prams versus baby buggies (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40826683)

Actually, prams were smaller than today's monstrous SUV buggies. The main limitation on folding them was the large wheels, developed in a day when many roads even in towns were gravelled rather than hard surfaced. They require less effort to push than a buggy, partly because of the large wheels with narrow tyres and partly because they have proper bicycle ball bearings for the wheels, and when they come on the market they tend to fetch quite a lot of money. There was one in need of some minor restoration at our local market last week priced at $320 equivalent, and at around 60 years old it still looked better than most buggies after they've bashed into a few pedestrians, lamp-posts etc.

Norland nannies (the expensive, highly trained ones) like them. When I was a small child it used to amuse me to watch them pushing them around St. James's Park or the Serpentine with their small, but usually titled, occupants.

Re:Of course it should be made public (1)

Pikoro (844299) | about 2 years ago | (#40826233)

A pram is a type of baby carriage.

Re:Of course it should be made public (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#40827573)

Parameter random access memory. It's what you zap when your mac starts acting a little.... errrr..oh... never mind

Re:Of course it should be made public (1)

outsider007 (115534) | about 2 years ago | (#40826167)

Also it's Apple and Samsung that are throwing their toys out of whatever a pram is, Microsoft was just standing nearby and got hit by one of them.

According to the Groklaw link... (4, Informative)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 years ago | (#40826207)

...IBM's motion to prevent Reuters from publishing what IBM gave them has been denied already. Those of a conspiracy turn of mind will now cue the old boy network where IBM execs get together with Reuter's execs at the Old Boys Club and work out what Reuters gets for not publishing after all.

Reuters may gleefully print the whole thing, but that seems unlikely. More likely they'll excerpt it anyway, even without any alleged backroom deals.

I know I know, I read TFA. I'm sorry... it won't happen again.

Re:According to the Groklaw link... (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | about 2 years ago | (#40828443)

I know I know, I read TFA. I'm sorry... it won't happen again.

Areyoukiddingme?!

They want other corporate partners not to know (3, Insightful)

tstrunk (2562139) | about 2 years ago | (#40826297)

In my opinion they don't want to keep only the public from viewing these agreements, they want the other corporate partners not to know the details, because they could use it to renegotiate the terms.

Imagine this hypothetical situation:
Microsoft has an agreement both with Sony and with Apple. They both agreed on different but confidential patent agreements.
Sony paid (or swapped) more than Apple.
Apple releases their agreement.
Sony sees this and has a reason to renegotiate.

Re:They want other corporate partners not to know (1)

js3 (319268) | about 2 years ago | (#40827389)

Well duh, why would we have a right to know when the dispute in question has nothing to do with Microsoft?

Re:They want other corporate partners not to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40829809)

Because Microsoft are trying to use their legal weight to stop the agreements from being show in court.

Re:They want other corporate partners not to know (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40827451)

Imagine this hypothetical situation:
Microsoft has an agreement both with Sony and with Apple. They both agreed on different but confidential patent agreements.
Sony paid (or swapped) more than Apple.
Apple releases their agreement.
Sony sees this and has a reason to renegotiate.

As well they should, now that it's public knowledge that everybody copied Sony's phones.

Shopping-online for Swiss watch, High-quality Repl (-1, Offtopic)

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Patents are public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40826661)

Since patents are public, any licensing agreements should also be public. These NDAs and backroom deals are so wrong.

Looks like SCO all over again .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40828669)

microSCO: Linux is violating x amount of my patents
Court: Lets see 'em
microSCO: Can't, they're covered by a NDA ...

Nothing to hide? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40829199)

If they are not doing anything wrong then they have nothing to hide?

Isn't that the way it's always said?

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