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Old 06-08-2012, 01:24 AM
Brendan Hugo Brendan Hugo is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: California, USA
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Default Stop fighting like school girls says FTC, may disallow bans on basis of standards


The last few years have brought the tech world untold joys. Smartphones, LTE, 2, 4, 6, 8 and above core CPUs—and with them, endless piles of lawsuits and petitions from companies trying to get a leg up on their opposition. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sent a letter to its counterpart, the International Trade Commision (ITC) stating its position on the matter of these bans and lawsuits. Namely, that many of these requests for bans and lawsuits should be thrown out from the get-go, because many of them revolve around industry-accepted standards, not trademarks or company-specific technology.

For example, copying the Google Maps application and re-launching it under a different name and color would be considered a reasonable lawsuit. But the various squabblings of the likes of Microsoft, Motorola Mobility, Samsung, and Apple over standards such as 3G and H.264 video are just ludicrous, and should not be allowed to bog down the system, let alone succeed.

Quote:
"Simply put, we are concerned that a patentee can make a RAND [reasonable and nondiscriminatory] commitment as par of the standard setting process, and then seek an exclusion order for infringement of the RAND-encumbered SEP [standard essential patent] as a way of securing royalties that may be inconsistent with that RAND commitment."

"Hold-up and the threat of hold-up can deter innovation by increasing costs and uncertainty for other industry participants, including those engaged in inventive activity. It can also distort investment and harm consumers by breaking the connection between the value of an invention and its reward -- a connection that is the cornerstone of the patent system." -FTC in letter to ITC
I couldn't agree more. I'm all for protecting copyright and giving dues to innovators. The short-lived ban against Apple that Samsung—and myself—enjoyed a few months ago notwithstanding, if you own a patent that is licensed the world over, and somebody forgets to cross a t, it shouldn't result in a nation-wide ban. As I find myself saying more and more often in more and more parts of life: can't we all just play nice in the sandbox children? Innovators innovate, manufacturers manufacture, consumers consume, and everybody goes home happy—plenty to go around.

What do you think is causing this? Frankly, I think a lot of it is jealousy. Jealousy over public opinion, jealousy over advanced technology. Even if it's a lame reason, I'd really like to think that these lawsuits are for some reason other than a momentary—perceived—sales advantage. And even if that is so, if the Galaxy S III is out of stock for a week or two, are you going to run out and buy a 4S? But I digress. What do you think, will the FTC take this letter and do something official with it? And why all the lawsuits and pointless one-day bans? Is there anything of value to these disagreements, or are corporations effectively trying to stick a patent on the inch and the centimeter?

[CNET]
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