Apple Gave Samsung the Opportunity to License Its Patents

By , Dec 3, 2011

Among its various patent lawsuits with Samsung and other Android partners, Apple has made one thing clear: it’s in the business of making great products, not licensing patents. It’s not in it for the money, it’s in it to ensure that its unique products stay unique.

But that doesn’t mean that Apple won’t license low-level iOS patents. It’s already done so with companies like Nokia and IBM. And as it turns out, Apple has even tried to offer Samsung the opportunity to license its patents. But for some reason, the Korean company declined…

The Verge reports that Apple has licensed at least one patent to the aforementioned companies and offered it up to Samsung in a series of failed negotiations last year. The patent relates to the “scrollback” feature in iOS, which shows a textured background when a user over-scrolls on a website.

“What’s more, Apple’s sued Samsung, Nokia, and HTC over ’381, which would usually indicate that Cupertino thinks it’s a strong patent, and the court agreed that Apple was likely to prove Samsung was infringing with its Galaxy devices. Offering up a distinctive software feature covered by a strong patent indicates a level of willingness to negotiate that we simply haven’t heard from Apple in the past.”

Why Samsung chose to turn down the chance to license this Apple patent — a patent that it is getting sued over — is still unclear. Perhaps it saw Apple’s terms for the licensing agreement as unfair. Maybe it felt the patent was invalid, though Nokia and IBM obviously bought into it.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see that Apple tried to negotiate with Samsung on the patent front. Apple certainly isn’t known for such behavior.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/iagucool Igor IcyClawz

    They try to make money from everything, even a dang texture in the background!
    Did Apple ever get license to use a front screen button? Screen glass? and many other things which existed long before, they just took them, used them and marked them as “their patents”, which they don’t even have any ownership to. They want money from any company that uses glass, plastic, round corners, icons with labels… I mean come on, those are basic stuff for everything. The fact that they want to sell a “license” to anyone means that they took something as their own. It’s like if I take a shirt and print a photo of, for example, Cameron Diaz, and then sue people who print the same photo on their shirts! Who the hell confirmed that Apple owns copyrights for things that I’ve seen long before “iPhone” existed??

    • Erinveer Rehal

      I do agree that this is stupid. But I think the reason is because the front screen button, glass screen were patented over 15 years ago. Patents only last <15 years.

      • http://www.facebook.com/iagucool Igor IcyClawz

        LOL those are just technical details…
        As am answer to “And as it turns out, it’s even tried to offer Samsung the opportunity to license its patents. But for some reason, the Korean company declined…”, I know why they declined – they told them “We won’t buy any license from you for something you DON’T FREAKING OWN.”

  • Anonymous

    I like how people get mad at Apple for these patents they own. Do you know they when they apply for these patents it’s up to the patent office to decide if these are unique or general ideas/designs.

  • http://twitter.com/iphoneblogr iphoneblogr

    “Apple’s not in it for the money.” HA!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shu-Tse/100003031122741 Shu Tse

    Wow, usually this sites bias is within bounds, but this article is really piling it up. First of, Apple is definitly in it to make money. To ensure it they try to patent their design to the utmost detail.
    Because if you want to solely preserve your design you don’t offer any license at all. If you believe your product is great and solemly want to bring consumers a great experience, then you don’t patent it at all.

    And the whole “Ibm and nokia didn’t find it unfair” argument is really poor and childish.

    Last up, this article is practicly the story about samsungs 3g patent article in reverse, including the license offer. Neither party is innocent, but being biased is one thing, being hypocrit and illogical is another.

    Written with my iPhone, the only smartphone I ever liked.

    • http://www.facebook.com/henri.par Henri Parmentier

      If Samsung would go hard on Apple then they can stop selling right away.

      The patent for 3G data transmission is in Samsung’s hands.. Apple can start counting their pile of cash if Samsung wins this battle XD

      Oh, and no… i’m not android biased , I use webos :P

    • Anonymous

      I respect your opinion, but in the same right have my own. First off, Apple is in the business of making products. It doesn’t make much of its nearly $30 billion-per-quarter in revenue licensing patents.
      A good example of that would be Microsoft, who currently makes money on over half of all Android products sold due to its patent licensing.
      Apple, on the other hand, patents its products to protect its inventions —like every other company in the world.
      Obviously it’s not working, over 70% of the general public can’t tell a Galaxy Tab 10.1 from an iPad unless it’s powered on. And that’s why there’s lawsuits.

      The IBM and Nokia statement wasn’t an argument, it was a fact. Both companies have licensed the #381 backscrolling patent from Apple.

      Last up, your statement that Apple’s patents are similar to Samsung’s 3G patents is inaccurate. Samsung is being investigated right now by European regulators for antitrust practices for trying to assert its 3G patents against Apple and other companies. Those patents are protected by FRAND, and are necessary to the operation of cell phones. That’s like saying BMW trying to patent the engine is the same thing as Audi trying to patent woodgrain interiors. One is necessary for the operation of the vehicle, and the other is just for aesthetics.

      No hypocrites, or illogicalness here. Just telling it how it is.

      Thanks for reading!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shu-Tse/100003031122741 Shu Tse

        I never stated apple isn’t trying to protect it’s inventions, but whats originality worth if you start licensing stuff? Money. And thats what apple is in for. That’s what IBM and nokia did, agreed that that’s a fact.
        However you implied heavily that it makes the license of apple fair, says who? Well, you. Unless you have inside knowledge of the licenses and dealings, I call that a very subjective implicative argument.

        I’ll give you the 3g thing, they are not fully comparable, but who’s right or wrong in that one still heavily depends on wether samsungs offer was fair. But it has to be according to your logic, because all the other companies went for the samsung 3g license.

        I do not know if that article was yours, if it wasn’t than my last point is mute. Unless ofcourse you are defending idb and not just yourself.

      • Andrew Chong

        “Obviously it’s not working, over 70% of the general public can’t tell a Galaxy Tab 10.1 from an iPad unless it’s powered on.”

        Gee really? where did they pull this number from? 70%? School of the blind and partially blind?
        Oh but I know. Its like Germany (and a few other countries) say things like “All asians/chinese/indians look alike.”

        My kid can tell the diff between a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad. And no, we don’t own either one. Maybe the 70% should join that “Are you smarter than a 5th grader” show.

      • Andrew Chong

        “Obviously it’s not working, over 70% of the general public can’t tell a Galaxy Tab 10.1 from an iPad unless it’s powered on.”

        Gee really? where did they pull this number from? 70%? School of the blind and partially blind?
        Oh but I know. Its like Germany (and a few other countries) say things like “All asians/chinese/indians look alike.”

        My kid can tell the diff between a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad. And no, we don’t own either one. Maybe the 70% should join that “Are you smarter than a 5th grader” show.

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  • Anonymous

    They HAVE to do things like this to make money. Think about it, Apple products are expensive, and they certainly don’t have majority market share, so whatever they sell has to be at high margins (to cover up for lack of volume, relative) and use their intellectual property to cash in on…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1324030340 Sean Zukin

    Actually, apple sells more smart phones, mp3 players and tablets then any other company. Also they are very close to
    overtaking HP as the worlds biggest PC manufacturer according to meg Whitman. Also, apple has a rediculous amount of money, and patents. The reason for this is because they sell on originality and design, and if every other phone and os was apple like, there would be no reason to buy apple products. And as someone said, iPhones are some of the cheapest high end smartphone out there

    • http://www.facebook.com/iagucool Igor IcyClawz

      Dude, you have no idea… iPhone is the most expensive smartphone in my country, yet every spoiled teenager has it.

  • http://twitter.com/olvera0101 jesus olvera

    IPHONE IS AWWWWWWWWWSOME!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shu-Tse/100003031122741 Shu Tse

    As a side note, yes I do think android took a liberal ammount of inspiration from iOS. Even more so does samsung with the hardware, however that shouldn’t justify putting Apple on a high horse, it can pretty much reach anything on it’s pile of money anyway.

    So no, I tend not to believe Apple is a benevolent force who only does good with no eye for profit. With Samsung as the evildoer who won’t accept Apple’s generous offer.

    They are companies who both are trying to screw the world over. The only difference is that Apple is more succesfull at it and hides it better. Yes, a bit melodramatic, but also true. No Siri backwards compatibility WTF? But yeah, the 4s is definitly a grood product.