Apple, BMW, Google, Dell, Tesla and others Voice Concern that the EU may adopt Qualcomm's Patent Value System
In January Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Sues Qualcomm for $1 Billion Claiming Unfair Exclusionary Tactics and Charging Excessive Royalties." The Fair Trade Commissions in both South Korea and Taiwan have found Qualcomm guilty of abusing their monopoly by unfairly pricing their patents in relation to products. These judgements helped Apple's case against Qualcomm but that could all turn on a dime if the EU decides to favor Qualcomm's methodology of charging patent fees in Europe. Today Apple, Google and others have voiced their concerns to the EU that adopting such a system would broadly hurt innovation.
Today we're learning from Reuters that Apple, Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler have warned EU regulators that adopting patent fee guidelines which favor Qualcomm and Ericsson could hurt consumers and hinder innovation.
The companies' lobbying group, the Fair Standards Alliance (FSA), voiced their concerns in a letter dated Oct. 16 to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska and their colleagues.
The Reuters report states that "Sources say the latest Commission draft favors the patent fee model used by world No. 1 smartphone chip designer Qualcomm and Ericsson, which predominates in the tech industry and is based on how much value a technology adds to a product. It is opposed by Apple, Google and others in Silicon Valley, who favor fixed fees.
Bienkowska's officials, who are leading the drive, are now seeking feedback from other units in the Commission and aim to finalize the guidelines by the end of November.
"The European Commission risks jeopardizing Europe's potential to be a world leader in the Internet of Things by supporting a patent licensing system which rewards a few entrenched patent-holding companies at the expense of innovative companies and ultimately consumers," the FSA said in the letter seen by Reuters.
FSA members include Alphabet unit Google, Intel, Dell, Deutsche Telekom, Hyundai, Tesla and Cisco.
The European Commission's spokeswoman Lucia Caudet stated that in order "To make the licensing framework work and play a lead role in global technological innovation, all actors need to work together to strike a balance between patent holders and implementers.
Being that the EU is so anti-American, they may very well decide to chose Qualcomm's patent licensing fee schedule just to screw American companies. As we've noted earlier, key markets had ruled against Qualcomm's licensing scheme of pricing patents as being excessive. If the EU ends up favoring the Qualcomm system, it will put a major dent into Apple's war with Qualcomm. And considering that the EU hammered Apple with the largest tax fine in history, the EU many decide to put the knife into Apple's back a little deeper for hurting EU companies like Nokia and Ericsson in the past with the debut of revolutionary iPhone.
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