Is balance of power shifting in mobile patent disputes?
An interesting article on the main site touches on Android and patent disputes. John Tothill, Partner at Dehns Patent & Trademark Attorneys, contrasts the approaches of Android manufacturers and Apple. He writes:
The Android manufacturers are primarily trying to enforce patents that have been declared to be essential to the mobile phone standards (such as the 3G standard) that all such devices must operate to. This has a number of consequences.
Firstly, as the patents have been declared to be essential to the relevant mobile phone standards, in many cases Apple will be unable to avoid infringement of the patents in question.
However, to allow for this, the standards setting bodies correspondingly require a holder of a standards essential patent to grant licences to that patent on FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) terms, and it is understood that any potential infringer who offers to accept such a licence would not then be at risk of an injunction preventing them from using the patented invention.
Motorola Mobility and Samsung have tried to argue in the German Courts that they should be entitled to injunctions and that Apple should pay higher royalty rates on the basis of their standards essential patents, where Apple have not yet taken a licence.