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Google Says, "Apple needs to Share!"

Is Google going to hand over it's proprietary search algorithms due to it's more than ubiquitous use by billions of people around the globe?  This is strange logic.  How can a large company such as Google think it can simply state that another companies hard work and investment should be considered as free to those who wish to use it?  This is a disturbing trend and one with no small level of foretelling from the America Invents Act.  Is it possible that corporations such as Google have been emboldened by the large company leanings of the AIA?  There is a clear favorite in the race to innovate in regards to the AIA and it is not the small inventor.

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Google General Counsel Kent Walker wrote:

While collaborative [Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs)] play an important part in the overall standard setting system, and are particularly prominent in industries such as telecommunications, they are not the only source of standards. Indeed, many of the same interoperability benefits that the FTC and others have touted in the SSO context also occur when one firm publishes information about an otherwise proprietary standard and other firms then independently decide (whether by choice or of necessity) to make complementary investments to support that standard in their products. … Because proprietary or de facto standards can have just as important effects on consumer welfare, the Committee’s concern regarding the abuse of SEPs should encompass them as well.

As Sewell writes:

The capabilities of an iPhone are categorically different from a conventional phone, and result from Apple’s ability to bring its traditional innovation in computing to the mobile market. Using an iPhone to take photos, manage a home-finance spreadsheet, play video games, or run countless other applications has nothing to do with standardized protocols. Apple spent billions in research and development to create the iPhone, and third party software developers have spent billions more to develop applications that run on it. The price of an iPhone reflects the value of these nonstandardized technologies — as well as the value of the aesthetic design of the iPhone, which also reflects immense study and development by Apple, and which is entirely unrelated to standards.

NTP gets it right.

Patent licensing company NTP, best known for a big settlement with Research In Motion, has reached a deal with most of the rest of the wireless industry.

NTP said Monday it “has reached a mutual resolution with 13 companies,” including all four major U.S. cell phone carriers; device makers including Apple, HTC, Motorola, Samsung and LG; as well as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. NTP sued the carriers in 2007 and and filed more suits in 2010.

Details on the pact are fuzzy, with a press release from NTP not even saying that the company is getting money, let alone how much. NTP got more than $600 million from RIM after a protracted legal battle.

NTP’s outside lawyer, Ron Epstein, told AllThingsD that his client was compensated but didn’t offer any details on the amount the company received.

“NTP was happy with the outcome,” said Epstein, who heads Redwood City, Calif.-based Epicenter IP Group. The deal, NTP said, provides broad coverage for all parties to NTP’s patents, including eight related to wireless delivery of email. NTP’s suits, which had been on hold, have now been dismissed.

With the pact — and past deals with Nokia and RIM — NTP has now reached licensing agreements with most of the wireless industry, though there are still a few firms Epstein says the company is approaching about licenses.

What’s unique about the deal, Epstein said, was the fact that NTP managed to get all of the parties to come together and work out a single settlement. That, he said, was a first in his 20 years of practicing patent law.

“We believe this is potentially a new model for how these significant patent portfolios might be licensed,” Epstein said.

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