Apple offered Samsung a cross-licensing deal prior to trial

As the wave of injunction motions and appeals requests continue in the aftermath of this summer’s high-profile Apple vs. Samsung trial, another interesting tidbit has been brought to light.

According to recently-filed court documents, it looks like Apple tried to offer Samsung a cross-licensing deal involving 3G/UMTS patents back in April, hoping to avoid at least some litigation…

AppleInsider reports:

“A recently unredacted letter from Apple’s property licensing director Boris Teksler to his counterpart at Samsung, Seongwoo Kim, described a reciprocal deal in which each company would pay royalty rates for the other’s 3G/UMTS wireless patents under the same FRAND principles. The letter, which was included in a flurry of post-trial filings, was dated April 30, 2012, just three months before the Apple v. Samsung jury trial began.”

For those unfamiliar with FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms, it’s a set of licensing obligations that are enforced by standard-setting organizations. These rules say that if you own patents that cover industry-essential inventions, you must license them out at a fair price.

The site has the entire letter from Teksler, but here is one of the more interesting excerpts:

“Apple is willing to license its declared-essential UMTS patents to Samsung on license terms that rely on the price of baseband chips as the FRAND royalty base, and a rate that reflects Apple’s share of the total declared UMTS-essential patents (and all patents required for standards for which UMTS is backward-compatible, such as GSM)–provided that Samsung reciprocally agrees to this same, common royalty base, and same methodological approach to royalty rate, in licensing its declared-essential patents to Apple.”

Apple estimates that the deal would result in a $.33 per unit royalty for its patents, and vice versa. This is much lower than Samsung’s original request of 2.4% of the average selling price per unit, but Apple says it has yet to see evidence that any company has ever paid that much for a FRAND royalty.

Either way, the negotiations obviously didn’t make it very far, as Samsung still tried to assert its 3G-related patents against Apple in the trial. The jury, however, would find it not guilty of infringement.

But this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of the two sides talking over wireless patent licensing, and it probably won’t be the last. Samsung just filed a lawsuit against Apple over the 4G tech it used in the iPhone 5. And thanks to the Nortel auction, Apple has a slew of 4G-related patents to fire back with.