Can This Apple, Google Discussion Fix Patents?

PatentsApple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) were among the companies that met with international regulators on Wednesday to discuss the issues around standards-essential patent licensing, but couldn’t reach any conclusion. The meeting was organized in Geneva, Switzerland, by the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency, and featured representatives from companies, regulators, and academics.

“Today’s event has gone a long way to help clarify the positions of various stakeholders in determining the effectiveness of FRAND commitments and the impact of litigations surrounding standards-essential patents,” ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau chief Malcolm Johnson said, according to ZDNet. Johnson, who said it was a “heated debate,” added that a second meeting will be held on Thursday. “Any attempt at providing market players with clear, transparent, effective and up-to-date patent policies and guidelines … would work to the benefit of the industry as a whole,” Johnson said.

Apple has been a huge winning stock pick for Wall St. Cheat Sheet Newsletter subscribers. Don’t waste another minute — click here and get more of our CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

“The ITU will not interfere with bilateral negotiations. However, taking into account the concerns voiced by some participants today regarding the effectiveness of current FRAND commitments and impact on standards-essential patents … I believe clarification in this regard could be a significant contribution from the ITU in addressing the current difficulties.”

Several patents are branded FRAND, or fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, if companies agree that they have intellectual property that is essential to certain standards, such as 3G. Companies holding such patents are expected to license them at a reasonable price, even to rivals. However, with the mobile and tablet rivalries holding high stakes, some companies have tried to use the patents as a battle strategy.

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said the discussions made it clear that the industry was “deeply divided” over the standard-essential patents issue. The main two points of the debate were related to injunctive relief over standard-essential patents and the appropriate royalty base.

Apple and Google were joined by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Samsung, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), among others.

Don’t Miss: Will Apple Earnings Blow Hot?