A heavily redacted version of the 10-year patent settlement between Apple and HTC was filed by Samsung on Wednesday. The new document revealed a lot more than was originally offered by Apple.
Samsung is seeking to convince Judge Koh that Apple does not deserve to win an injunction against their products if the Cupertino is willing to accept monetary compensation for patent infringements.
However, as expected, Apple has implemented anti cloning clauses in the deal to ensure HTC does not slavishly copy their products in the future. The deal focuses more on Apple’s utility patents rather than their design patents.
Mueller writing for Fosspatent, had this to say about the deal:
[quote] I’ve been saying for a long time that at a minimum Apple needs to defend the distinguishability of its products, or its business would be subjected to totally unfettered, margin-destroying commoditisation. The Apple-HTC agreement defines a very important term: Distinctive Apple User Experience. That’s what Apple seeks to protect and that’s something that is not for sale. The first time that an anti-cloning provision in an Apple license agreement was mentioned in public was this summer when an Apple executive testified in open court that Microsoft has a license to all Apple patents but that the parties agreed to an anti-cloning provision.
The Apple-HTC agreement requires the parties to resolve through arbitration any dispute over whether or not an HTC product is an “HTC Cloned Product” or whether a feature in an HTC product is an “HTC Cloned Feature”. If the arbitrators determine that an allegation of cloning was baseless, HTC is fine. If there is a finding of cloning, HTC will have 90 days to remedy the problem, and if cloning doesn’t end at that point, Apple “will be entitled to seek an injunction from any applicable court of competent jurisdiction with respect to such Cloning during the Term, subject to applicable governing law”.[/quote]
However, Mueller has a very good piece on whether this is the sort of deal Steve Jobs would have approved. Or is Tim Cook taking a more pragmatic approved to the patent war?
According to Mueller:
[quote] Apple’s March 2, 2010 press release was also consistent with what, according to the Isaacson biography, Steve Jobs told then-Google CEO (and now-Google executive chairman) Eric Schmidt a few weeks later. Reportedly, Jobs told Schmidt that he wanted Google to stop using Apple’s ideas in Android. And he said that he didn’t want Google’s money. This is now again a matter of interpretation, but I view it this way: Apple still doesn’t accept money in exchange for letting someone infringe the inner circle. As I said in my previous post, it’s distinctive user experience is not for sale.
What’s key here is to interpret “don’t want your money” commercially reasonably, not literally. In the world of business, the question is usually just whether the price is right, and “not for sale” can mean “unless you make me an offer I can’t refuse”. For example, if a soccer club comments on rumors that another club is poaching a player and says “we won’t even negotiate”, it usually just means that they want an insanely high price. If Google could (which it obviously can’t) acquire Apple, it would get to own all of Apple’s technology, too. What Steve Jobs realistically meant to tell Eric Schmidt was that Apple values its distinctive user experience so much that it would never sell it to Google (and its device makers) at a price at which those could still have a viable business, so there’s no point in negotiating.[/quote]