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Apple Reportedly Licences Design Patents to Microsoft

By - Source: The Wall Street Journal | B 28 comments

It feels like the legal battle between Apple and Samsung has been going on forever. The two companies have been trading blows in court for over a year now, with both claiming the other is utilizing technologies that infringe upon patents that don't belong to them. Apple says Samsung copied the iPad and iPhone when designing its Galaxy line of smartphone and tablets, while Samsung says Apple is infringing on its wireless patents. Apple is this week making its case in front of a U.S. judge, and the Cupertino-based company just recently revealed it had licensed product and design patents to a major competitor. In turn, this company promised not to copy Apple's designs.

The Wall Street Journal cites Apple's patent head Boris Teksler as saying Apple tried to strike up a licensing deal with Samsung before going the lawsuit route. Teksler says Apple offered licenses to its patents in several meetings with Samsung, but that the design and technology patents at issue in the trial taking place in California were not among them. However, one company does have licensing rights when these patents are concerned, and that company is Microsoft.

WSJ reports that Teksler on Monday disclosed that Microsoft was allowed license to these design and technology products but that the agreement with Redmond contains certain provisions. Namely, Microsoft had to promise it wouldn't copy Apple's own designs.

"There's a clear acknowledgement that there is no cloning as part of this provision," he's quoted as saying.

Details on the deal between Apple and Microsoft are pretty scarce, so it's not yet known what Microsoft is and isn't allowed to do with its devices, nor do we know if these patents relate to hardware or software. We do know that Samsung wasn't given a similar deal. The Verge reports that Microsoft and Apple's cross-licensing deal from 1997 contained similar provisions regarding copying products, and it's thought the new agreement might be similar to the one made in the 90's. 

The Apple/Samsung suit continues in San Jose this week. Word on the street says it might wrap up as early as next week.

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  • 4 Hide
    freggo , August 14, 2012 8:17 PM
    "Apple licenses Design Patents to Microsoft"

    Why would I want to license a design which, by the terms of the license, I can not use?
    That makes no sense, now does it.
    :heink: 
  • 7 Hide
    ericburnby , August 14, 2012 8:19 PM
    Funny. Samsung tries to say they aren't valid patents and Microsoft licenses them.

    Funnier are the 3 patents Samsung is suing for. Are you ready for these heavyweights?

    1. A method for determining if e-mail is plain text or contains a photo and taking an action based on that.
    2. A method to allow you to send a photo from an album/viewer, and after you send it you can return the the same place you left off.
    3. A method to play music in the background on a mobile device.

    Absolutely brilliant, Samsung. You know how to "bring the big guns" to Aplpe's knife fight. /S
  • 4 Hide
    makaveli316 , August 14, 2012 8:21 PM
    I think the fall of Apple would be great not only for the advancement in technology, but for us consumers also. I pray for that day to come.
    Apple is like the religion in the middle ages, controlling the sheep and erasing the intelligent.
  • Display all 28 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 14, 2012 8:42 PM
    YOU CANNOT PATENT A SQUARE WITH ROUND EDGES!

    MS IS JUST HELPING APPLE OUT AGAINST FOREIGNERS!

    AMERICAN PROTECTIONISM AT ITS LOWEST!

    APPLE WILL FAIL AND THEN THE ISHEEP WILL WITHER.
  • 7 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 14, 2012 8:48 PM
    What are the chances that the amount MS had paid for the licensing is exactly the same amount or less than:-

    A) Estimated lawyers fees for a similar courtroom bitch-fight

    paid for by:-

    B) Fees garnered from Android licenses

    MS never loses any of it's own money, avoids all of the bad press and manages to come up smelling of roses, brilliant
  • 3 Hide
    shafe88 , August 14, 2012 8:52 PM
    APPLELOSESINTHEENDYOU CANNOT PATENT A SQUARE WITH ROUND EDGES!
    I wounder if you can patent the middle finger, cause I would like to patent it and sue Apple every time they use it.
  • 2 Hide
    penguintech , August 14, 2012 9:20 PM
    i think this is just sad..... sad...... sad..... apple is big enough as it is, and everyone is already drinking their kool-aid, I think they should stop the nonsense and just sell their stuff....
  • 4 Hide
    hotroderx , August 14, 2012 9:48 PM
    ericburnbyFunny. Samsung tries to say they aren't valid patents and Microsoft licenses them.Funnier are the 3 patents Samsung is suing for. Are you ready for these heavyweights?1. A method for determining if e-mail is plain text or contains a photo and taking an action based on that.2. A method to allow you to send a photo from an album/viewer, and after you send it you can return the the same place you left off.3. A method to play music in the background on a mobile device.Absolutely brilliant, Samsung. You know how to "bring the big guns" to Aplpe's knife fight. /S


    Your so right I mean seriously how ridiculous is Samsung really suing over such things. Its not like there suing over something substantial like a product being a rectangle. Which is pretty much the entire bases of Apples Lawsuit. We all know a rectangle can be designed in so many different ways. I mean Samsung should be ashamed of them self's really.

    /end sarcasm

    I wonder how long before Apple starts suing anything with the letter D saying it infringes on there design rights. D does kinda look like a rectangle if you don't look two closely.
  • -2 Hide
    AndrewMD , August 14, 2012 10:05 PM
    makaveli316I think the fall of Apple would be great not only for the advancement in technology, but for us consumers also. I pray for that day to come.Apple is like the religion in the middle ages, controlling the sheep and erasing the intelligent.



    Really... lets see, if Apple did not bring out the original iPhone we would have an Android that looks so much like a Blackberry right now. We would be all subjected to the tracking ball that RIM integrated into their units and we would all have low resolution screens.

    Yeah, this is called the butterfly effect. You take that important piece out of history you gamble that we would be in the same place today.. In fact if not for Apple, we would probably still be on Windows Mobile 10 built on CE..

    I'm just saying, you can hate a company all you want, but to want them completely destroyed is just narrow minded thinking.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , August 14, 2012 10:05 PM
    Interesting. Not sure what the aim of licensing Apple's design is, but it certainly helps to convince Apple that any resulting products from Microsoft that is sleek and "cool" is not an unabashed copy of Apple devices, like what Samsung did.

    In other words, I take it as Apple isn't the monster that some publications are making them out to be.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , August 14, 2012 10:18 PM
    Apple wins the court case easily, Samsung pays big fines, then starts stealing designs from Microsoft.

    Samsung is the least innovative hack job of a company in the world and will get what's coming to them. These Asian thieves aren't getting any more money from me!
  • 3 Hide
    demonhorde665 , August 14, 2012 11:28 PM
    claiming a patent on a tablet design is like claiming a patent on all pick up trucks or coupes. There is just so much you cac do with a flat style pc , what next is apple gona sue papper maunfactures because paper is shaped like an ipad ?

    God i hate apple and wish they'd go shove their ipad up their iholes
  • 2 Hide
    demonhorde665 , August 14, 2012 11:35 PM
    AndrewMDReally... lets see, if Apple did not bring out the original iPhone we would have an Android that looks so much like a Blackberry right now. We would be all subjected to the tracking ball that RIM integrated into their units and we would all have low resolution screens. Yeah, this is called the butterfly effect. You take that important piece out of history you gamble that we would be in the same place today.. In fact if not for Apple, we would probably still be on Windows Mobile 10 built on CE.. I'm just saying, you can hate a company all you want, but to want them completely destroyed is just narrow minded thinking.


    umm you are so wrong in this instance, the tablet was just a natural evolution in pc's quite a few years before apple ever came along with their ipad idea , Star trek and countless science fiction novels featured the idea of a computer in a tablet like enclosure. apple made no enourmous leap in this design really.

    I do hate apple , but lastly i do agree with you they should not be wiped out , but for very different reasons , apple shouldn't be wiped out because it would put a lot of people out of jobs. but there is NOTHING revolutionary or new design wise about a tablet PC. in fact i think paramount should sue apple for copying the star trek data pad.
  • 0 Hide
    house70 , August 15, 2012 12:35 AM
    "There's a clear acknowledgement that there is no cloning as part of this provision,"

    Yeah. That's why there is a magnetic dock for the power cable on the new Surface tablet, among other things.
    There is a clear acknowledgement that Apple will not sue MS because they are also a US big company, and it would cost them a lot more than just closing their eyes to this.
    OTOH, Smasung is the Asian company that NEEDS to be squashed, right, Apple? Also, they are directly your competitors, because they make phones and tablets, some of them better than yours, so you need to eliminate them with stupid patents lawsuits. MS, they don't really represent a threat (yet), because WinMobile is just in it's infancy and their future tablets are not even here yet.
    Last, but not least, the lawsuit is going on in your backyard, with an already biased judge at the helm. Not much expected to go wrong for Apple in this case; in a potential lawsuit against MS you would have to fight from equal positions, and that is something cowards don't do.
  • 0 Hide
    Gundam288 , August 15, 2012 1:09 AM
    house70"There's a clear acknowledgement that there is no cloning as part of this provision,"Yeah. That's why there is a magnetic dock for the power cable on the new Surface tablet, among other things.There is a clear acknowledgement that Apple will not sue MS because they are also a US big company, and it would cost them a lot more than just closing their eyes to this. OTOH, Smasung is the Asian company that NEEDS to be squashed, right, Apple? Also, they are directly your competitors, because they make phones and tablets, some of them better than yours, so you need to eliminate them with stupid patents lawsuits. MS, they don't really represent a threat (yet), because WinMobile is just in it's infancy and their future tablets are not even here yet. Last, but not least, the lawsuit is going on in your backyard, with an already biased judge at the helm. Not much expected to go wrong for Apple in this case; in a potential lawsuit against MS you would have to fight from equal positions, and that is something cowards don't do.

    Apple isn't afraid of MS because they are slowly moving to the "walled garden" for their OS like Apple currently is. The app store in Win8 is proof of that to me.

    To the people who say they just want to distribute software, MS has had Games For Windows Live Marketplace for the PC and have pretty much kicked it to the curb going for "The App Store". GFWL could have been installed by default and expanded in win8 to give access to it on day 1, but instead they went with the app store. And I beleave a bigger cut in the ammount of money they get on every "app" or "game".
  • 0 Hide
    deicided , August 15, 2012 1:16 AM
    AndrewMDReally... lets see, if Apple did not bring out the original iPhone we would have an Android that looks so much like a Blackberry right now. We would be all subjected to the tracking ball that RIM integrated into their units and we would all have low resolution screens. Yeah, this is called the butterfly effect. You take that important piece out of history you gamble that we would be in the same place today.. In fact if not for Apple, we would probably still be on Windows Mobile 10 built on CE.. I'm just saying, you can hate a company all you want, but to want them completely destroyed is just narrow minded thinking.



    And this is based on what ? as there have already been alot of coverage of phones that the "original" Iphone looks like that were released years before it. The only thing apple brought to the table that was productive for the smart phone market was multi touch nothing more nothing less.
  • -1 Hide
    chiefbox , August 15, 2012 2:32 AM
    How else would Microsoft (and Bill gates) continue to "INNOVATE" !!!
  • 2 Hide
    darkavenger123 , August 15, 2012 9:01 AM
    ericburnbyFunny. Samsung tries to say they aren't valid patents and Microsoft licenses them.Funnier are the 3 patents Samsung is suing for. Are you ready for these heavyweights?1. A method for determining if e-mail is plain text or contains a photo and taking an action based on that.2. A method to allow you to send a photo from an album/viewer, and after you send it you can return the the same place you left off.3. A method to play music in the background on a mobile device.Absolutely brilliant, Samsung. You know how to "bring the big guns" to Aplpe's knife fight. /S

    At least Samsung didn't try to patent a square with round edges. Their claims sound like blueprint for a super computer by comparison to Apple's "It's my square!" claims.
  • 3 Hide
    lamorpa , August 15, 2012 11:25 AM
    APPLELOSESINTHEENDYOU CANNOT PATENT A SQUARE WITH ROUND EDGES!MS IS JUST HELPING APPLE OUT AGAINST FOREIGNERS!AMERICAN PROTECTIONISM AT ITS LOWEST!APPLE WILL FAIL AND THEN THE ISHEEP WILL WITHER.

    You Caps Lock key is stuck. No one reads comments in all caps. Inexpensive keyboards are available on Craigslist.
  • 0 Hide
    deicided , August 15, 2012 11:34 AM
    I like how everyone is laughing at Samsungs claims...but seriously do any of you remember having a phone that couldn't play music if you were doing anything else...IT WAS FREAKING HORRIBLE!!!!
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