Apple back in November asked the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to clarify its rules regarding standards-essential patents under Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms, according to a report filed by The Wall Street Journal today.
Apple decried the industry’s lack of adherence to FRAND terms in the “cellular arena,” according to a copy of a letter sent to the ETSI, which was posted online by FossPatents.blogspot.com. The company called for creation of a FRAND licensing framework for standards-essential patents based on three basic elements: appropriate royalty rate, no royalty rate and no injunction.
The request by Apple would see the ETSI create an industry average for standards-essential patents, as well as a structure for defining an appropriate royalty rate for said patents. Additionally, Apple asks that companies that have agreed to FRAND terms be forbidden from seeking an injunction related to those standards-essential patents which have been licensed.
Apple controls over 140 patents which it says have or will be deemed essential to cellular communications and thus covered under FRAND terms.
Apple has seen ongoing patent spats with Motorola Mobility and Samsung Mobile recently. Just last week, Motorola Mobility chose to enforce an injunction it had won in a German court back in April relating to a standards-essential patent that Apple chose not to license.
The enforcement led to Apple on Friday pulling its iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and 3G-capable iPads from its German website. However, Apple immediately appealed the decision and was granted a suspension of the injunction and all of the pulled devices were back online in Germany by Monday morning.
Key to suspension of the latest German injunction of Apple’s products was the company’s submission and pending review of a new patent licensing offer to Motorola Mobility. Apple in the past has accused both Motorola and Samsung of monopolizing standards-essential patents by declining multiple licensing offers from Apple and then filing for an injunction in lieu of an agreement. It’s a practice that Apple appeared to be hoping to abolish in its appeal to the ETSI for a FRAND licensing framework.