license Stories February 10, 2015

Comms chip company Qualcomm fined almost $1B in Chinese anti-trust case

Qualcomm, which licenses 3G and 4G communications patents to smartphone manufacturers, has been fined almost a billion dollars by the Chinese government in an anti-trust case. The company was found to have abused its dominant position in wireless chip technology by charging “unfairly high” licensing fees to manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.

The 6B Yuan ($960M) fine is the largest fine ever imposed on a foreign company, reports the GuardianChina’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that the fine was calculated as 8% of Qualcomm’s 2013 revenue in China. China is responsible for around half of Qualcomm’s total revenue.

Chinese regulators said that Qualcomm bundled together patent licenses, forcing Chinese companies to buy unwanted licenses in order to get the core 3G and 4G ones they needed. Qualcomm said that it was disappointed by the ruling, but has agreed to separate out its licenses to allow companies to purchase only the ones they need.

The ruling should reduce costs for Chinese smartphone makers, but it isn’t known how significant the saving may be, and it’s unlikely to show up as a price-reduction for consumers.

Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters

license Stories October 4, 2014

Samsung and Microsoft initially inked an Android patent licensing deal back in 2011, but since then, Samsung’s dominance in the smartphone has grown incredibly fast. The South Korean company, according to court documents that become public on Friday, is now saying that it no longer wants to pay the royalties to Microsoft.

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license Stories March 7, 2013

Google today announced that it has struck a deal with MPEG LA that will allow it to license patents essential to Google’s VP8 and previous generation VPx video compression technologies. The deal will allow Google to stop MPEG LA’s efforts to form a “VP8 patent pool” made up of the 11 patents Google has licensed today.

It will also allow Google to sublicense the VP8 technology to others and sublicense “VP8 techniques in one next-generation VPx video codec.”

Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google Allen Lo said the deal is a “significant milestone”:

“This is a significant milestone in Google’s efforts to establish VP8 as a widely-deployed web video format. We appreciate MPEG LA’s cooperation in making this happen.”

The press release (below) didn’t provide any financial information related to the licensing agreement: expand full story

Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Samsung is already using the Immersion haptics technology in a couple of its products including the Galaxy S3, but today the two companies announced a multiyear licensing agreement that would allow Samsung to bring Immersion’s TouchSense and Integrator technology to new devices.

“We are very pleased by Samsung’s broad adoption of our haptic technology, and we believe that this agreement marks an important milestone in our strategy to monetize our technology more fully within the mobile market,” said Immersion CEO Victor Viegas.

The Integrator tech works together with Immersion’s TouchSense technology, and it is described by the company as an option for OEMs “that automatically add haptics into the Android UI and applications and provides an easy way to customize the overall tactile feel of the device.”

The press release also noted that the deal extends to “Samsung’s prior and future use of simple forms of haptic effects, sometimes referred to as Basic Haptics, in its smartphones and other mobile devices.” expand full story

license Stories January 16, 2012

Microsoft is not stopping on its mission to sign patent licensing agreements with just about every Android vendor around from Samsung to Acer, and over 10 others. As of its latest agreement with LG, the company now collects royalties from over 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the United States. According to a deal with HTC inked in May, that figure could be as much as $5 per device sold. Now, Microsoft is apparently in talks with Pantech, South Korea’s third biggest smartphone vendor, for a similar licensing agreement.

Pantech confirmed the discussions to Yonhap News (via The Next Web):

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license Stories September 28, 2011

This morning word broke that Microsoft and Samsung entered a cross-licensing agreement that would see Samsung paying royalties on their smartphones and tablets running Android. This prompted the following statement from Google:

“This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft. Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.”

After these claims of extortion, Microsoft’s head of communications Fran Shaw took to Twitter (above), to respond. His second Tweet read, “I would encourage the folks in MV in slowly read graf 5 of our blog on the topic today. Here’s the link again: bit.ly/oZbi3X

The paragraph he’s referring to is below, which clearly shows Microsoft’s intent to continuing pursuing these types of deals with other Android vendors. expand full story

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