This week the Department of Justice issued a business review letter (BRL) relating to Avanci’s proposed 5G licensing platform for patents declared as potentially essential owned by its globally diverse thirty eight licensors. In direct contrast to creative claims attempted by Continental, Robert Bosch, Bury, Gemalto and Daimler in their antitrust complaint to the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition (DG COMP) European Commission, the US Department of Justice undertook vigorous traditional antitrust analysis of end device licensing and affirmed Avanci’s licensing model after recognizing its numerous procompetitive benefits. In today’s inter-connected antitrust environment, this analysis helps guide the DG COMP analysis of this matter as well as a potential review by the European Court of Justice.
It seems that Unified Patent’s year plus PR campaign (see) against HEVC assets in the US has run out of steam. While their COO’s incoherent rants about Velos Media may be amusing, as I detailed earlier the campaign was misguided and rife with factual errors.
Velos, whose members include BlackBerry, Ericsson, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, and Sony, has the right to license well over five thousand HEVC patents. These six companies invested significant R&D into developing the HEVC standard. According to the Velos website, their collective technical contributions account for around 40% of the mandatory and optional features of the standard. Technical contributions are a widely accepted indicator of patent quality (3.6), and a strong indicator of underlying research and development, which in turn has been correlated to positive economic growth and quality patents (e.g.). Surely a single forum to license such a substantial portion of the technology would be a good thing and “should be encouraged” (p8) because it can save licensees hundreds of millions of dollars in transaction costs. But seemingly not, according to Unified. Read more
As I have documented elsewhere, Apple, for quite a long time has been engaged in a sophisticated long-term quest to devalue (p7) standard essential patents (“Essential Patents”). This strategy is aimed at reducing, if not eliminating, payment for proprietary technology that runs Apple’s products but is developed by other companies, and Apple regularly utilizes fake advocacy and hypocrisy. Indeed, in 2012, the same year when an independent WIPO study found Apple to have a “uniquely aggressive [patent] litigation history” see (p34), Tim Cook argued (presumably with a straight face) that it was “fundamentally wrong” to sue people over Essential Patents. Apple’s long play to lower Essential Patents royalties has included manipulating standards development organization rules; commissioning misleading “studies” about the total SEP royalty stack; and pouring millions upon millions in lobbying and “academic” research.
Over the course of my 20+ years practicing law, I have had the honor of working with many individuals at the cutting edge of all aspects of intellectual property. I consider myself very lucky that most of these folks, in addition to being luminaries in the industry, are good people and have welcomed me into their professional world with open arms. To celebrate these individuals, I am inaugurating a series of interviews.
My talk for PatSnap is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChQYjVMamu0
My talk for PatSnap is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFnxo_1Tt_0
My talk for PatSnap is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjgdgRy47Ms
My presentation for PatSnap is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWrcfuYyRHU
Previously we addressed some of the key omissions in Unified Patents’ article “FRAND SCAM.” This post discusses the article’s failure to address the heavy criticism of the royalty calculations in the TCL decision forms the basis for the key arguments in the article. For a long time industry analysts have criticized the TCL decision on a number of grounds (see, for example, this thoughtful article by Richard Vary at Bird & Bird):