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Motorola To Collect Royalties For Android 176

Posted by timothy
from the everybody-wants-a-piece dept.
tlhIngan writes "It looks like Motorola wants to join in on the Android patent licensing fun enjoyed by Microsoft and others. (Yes, the same Motorola that makes Android phones.) Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha has stated they plan to collect licensing royalties from other Android manufacturers. Given Motorola's involvement in the mobile industry, they certainly do have the portfolio to go with it. It's interesting times ahead for Android."
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Motorola To Collect Royalties For Android

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  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @08:31AM (#37078402)
    Motorola is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) player in the mobile market. Expect the other big players that dont already have cross-licensing deals with Motorola to be begging for such a deal.

    Android has a strong future, but its no longer "free beer!" .. at least in the phone space.
  • by kdart (574) <keith@dart.gmail@com> on Saturday August 13, 2011 @08:35AM (#37078410) Homepage

    Android is based on Linux and other open-source software. Google also open-sourced most of their own contributions under an Apache license. I don't see that as evil. Now the patent trolls are going after them with overly broad patents (yet another indication of the broken patent system), primarily due to the success of Android. The patent infringement allegations have not been proven. Android is just simply better but the established players can't deal with that.

    Google's biggest mistake was using the Java language. That has always been a legal time bomb, since it was never made an open standard.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @08:53AM (#37078478) Homepage Journal
    Lets use more appropriate words for the definitions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 13, 2011 @08:54AM (#37078482)

    I had the great misfortune of spending a large portion of my life living and doing business under a Communist dictatorship. There was a reason Communism failed; those of us subjected to it hated it! But after reading more and more about how "intellectual property" impacts American businesses, in many ways it makes the Communist system sound better. While we had a lot of bullshit bureaucracy to deal with, it was nevertheless much more efficient than this American nonsense.

    When developing a product, we didn't have a larger proportion of the development cost going towards lawyers and IP legalities than we had going to the engineers and manufacturers who actually created the product!

    We didn't have products forced out of the marketplace due to licensing problems, depriving consumers of devices that are otherwise safe, useful, and valuable.

    We didn't have businesses whose sole purpose was to leech off of the hard work of others by requiring licensing of their "intellectual property". Even the committees and other bureaucratic bullshitters we had to deal with, which in many ways were leeches as well, provided some minimalistic amount of beneficial coordination and consensus-building.

    It's no wonder so many Asian countries are wiping the floor with America these days, economically speaking. You Americans have built yourself a "free market" that's extremely stupidly regulated in all of the wrong ways, and extremely inefficient, as well!

  • by Concern (819622) * on Saturday August 13, 2011 @09:06AM (#37078520) Journal

    It starts with a few companies who "only" want to collect $5, or $10, or $35 per Android device. I suppose we can all nod our heads and agree that the mighty should be able to throw their weight around. It feels right. Who cares about the details - we're sure Linux must have stolen something. Otherwise how could it be so great? And so cheap?

    But nothing stops the flow of new complaints. Do you know how many software patents there are? How many new applications per day? How many are obvious, trivial, or overly broad? Soon it will be a dozen companies collecting a Linux tax - forget merely on Android - and then it will be 30. A gold rush will ensue - get on the list of people who have to be paid off. Name your own price - the world's high tech giants will have to pay up! But, oh dear. iOS will suddenly have the exact same problem. Do you know how many patents they violate? So will Windows Phone. So will Blackberry. So will those little "learn to read" kiddie computers they sell in Toys R Us. So will everyone.

    When it finally becomes more than just a few pariahs and evil actors in the tech industry who try to enforce their patents, it ends with every product having dozens and then hundreds of lawyers showing up to tax them. The only question is, how much economic damage will we do to ourselves before we finally take the obvious step and abolish software patents - which were never even allowed in the first place in Europe, India, and China. This economically pernicious barratry is so obviously stupid that it makes the US an object ridicule abroad.

    The tacit policy of allowing software to be patentable reduces competition, stifles innovation, breaks healthy markets, and diverts money to billion-dollar portfolio buys instead of jobs. The only thing it reliably accomplishes is enriching lawyers - the least economically productive activity imaginable.

  • by andydread (758754) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @09:23AM (#37078588)
    Motorola 'may' collect royalties on phones that violate their hardware patents including Android phones. Its not the same thing as collecting royalties for Android or any particular feature of the operating system itself. It still sucks in my opinion but lets get real here this is not about software patents which remain the bulk of the problem with companies like Microsoft, Eolas, Lodsys and Apple. Software is already protected by copyright it should not be stifled with patents. And people on here parroting the notion coined my Microsoft Public Relations such as "Developers should indemnify users" are pathetic trolls. When you claim that developers should 'indemnify' users you are claiming that in order to write software or be a developer you have to have billions of dollars and a massive legal department in order to write code and distribute it. That is a farce notion pioneered and spread throughout the press by Microsoft PR against open source after the SCO fiasco which they funded.
  • by CowTipperGore (1081903) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @09:27AM (#37078610)

    This one of several blogs I've seen make this claim the past two days, and I'm honestly still at a loss to explain their assumption. There is nothing in Jha's quote to indicate they are going after other Android makers. The blog linked from the summary says during its Q2 earnings conference call Motorola hinted that it is ready to join Android patent racket, and start demanding licensing fees for its IP from other Android manufacturers.

    He based that claim on these comments:

    With new entrants in the mobile space, resulting from the convergence of mobility, media, computing and the internet, our patent portfolio is increasingly important...Probably a little less well known is our strength in patent portfolio in non-essential patents, which are capabilities that are important to have in delivering competitive products in the marketplace...As we go forward, I think that the introduction of number of players with large revenues, which have come into the marketplace as a result of the convergence of the mobility, computing, internet and other segments, I think that that creates an opportunity for us to monetize and maximize the shareholder value in a number of different ways and we evaluate all of them all the time.

    From that, the blogger now knows that Motorola plans to collect $60 per handset from HTC and Samsung. Or so he says. Now, he's made a new post, using a new quote from Jha to cement his position. He claims that this week Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha reiterated this message, and made it even more clear – they do indeed have plans to start collecting IP royalties from other Android makers. What did Jha say that so clearly showed Motorola's plans to sue their Android brethren?

    I would bring up IP as a very important for differentiation (among Android vendors). We have a very large IP portfolio, and I think in the long term, as things settle down, you will see a meaningful difference in positions of many different Android players. Both, in terms of avoidance of royalties, as well as potentially being able to collect royalties. And that will make a big difference to people who have very strong IP positions.

    That seems more likely (to me) to say that Motorola is not HTC and will not be paying Microsoft blackmail money. In fact, they may be able to extract their own pound of flesh from Microsoft and Apple. What in that passage gives any hint that Motorola will be pursuing other Android manufacturers? I'm at a loss.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 13, 2011 @09:27AM (#37078612)
    Precisely!! Those companies innovated once upon a time and they spent billions, BILLIONS! Therefore, they need to be paid now and forever for products made by other companies that compete with their own products (which btw are not doing so great). It's only fair after all. You write software, I write software, we write similar software, you wrote something before I did, ergo I owe you money for my work. Bulletproof logic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 13, 2011 @09:28AM (#37078620)

    There's a distinction between patents for hardware and methodology and patents for software. IMHO the software patents should all be invalidated and the tech sector would almost immediately improve. Much of software could still be protected under the copyright and trade secret systems, but this constant legal maneuvering between the major players and their attorneys would be ended. Think of the money saved from that alone.

  • by Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @09:44AM (#37078706) Homepage

    Actually, mobile phone patents are one area where the patents indeed are very specific. Most of the oldest companies in the industry (Nokia especially) had to do significant amount of R&D to get the whole industry to where it's now. It's far from the likes of software patents - mobile phone patents are deserved and the companies that have them have spend billions to develop the technology. It's only fair that someone who wants to profit from that research pays some of the costs via patent licenses.

    Patents for manufacturing processes are one thing (and I support them), patents for use of language (and ideas) are the tools of bandits. If Nokia wants to double dip and charge people who use their phone and charge people who don't use *their* phones or *their* components - then I'll call thuggery. But we're not talking about manufacturing processes with Nokia or Motorola - it's "idea" patents - which is banditry practised by big players over small players (bullying) - and ultimately bad for Business (shitting in the water supply). When Nokia's patents are for software that pays a royalty to the people and companies that wrote the code libraries, or compiler they where build with - and a royalty to every language they were based on - including the English language (why doesn't anyone think of Shakespeare's children?) then I 'll indulge you in your bullshit justifications. Until then I'll call them what they are - bullshit.

    Your justifications smack of the sort of servile paganism that believes if they worship and pay tribute with words to the powers that be - then they too will share in those powers. It doesn't work with worshipping football teams or "stars" either. Of course you may hold large blocks of shares with one of those companies in which case you are protecting your interests and I unreservedly retract the accusation that you are no better than the cock-sucking thieving liars, thugs and bullies you defend.

    P.S. Welcome to Slashdot. Today you're the new guy.

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