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Apple wants to FRAND you

And by “you” I mean Apple’s competition in the mobile market. FRAND, which stands for fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory, is a kind of gentleman’s agreement that tech companies like Apple, Google, Nokia, HTC, et al, look to when negotiating licensing fees from one another. Something like swiping a finger across your phone’s screen to scroll through different apps. That idea patented by Apple, so when Motorola and HTC want their phones to do the same thing, they asks Apple to be a FRAND and license the idea to each of them. The problem is that there’s no standard as to what’s fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory. If Apple wanted to really hurt another phone maker, it could license the technology to one company but not another. This would be un-FRAND-ly. And this is how

a lot of battles begin in the Patent Wars.

The Wall Street Journal reports: “In a letter to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, Apple said the telecommunications industry lacks consistent licensing schemes for the many patents necessary to make mobile devices, and offered suggestions for setting appropriate royalty rates that all members would follow.

Is this how the Patent Wars will end - through a FRAND-ship decree? I doubt it, but if this is as much of a problem as Apple claims, hopefully there can be a resolution, which would lead to less litigation and more innovation... and ultimately more cool stuff for you and your computer boxes.

About the author

Marc Sanchez is the technical director and associate producer for Marketplace Tech Report where he is responsible for shaping the sound of the show.

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