Apple Reiterates Commitment to FRAND Licensing of Standards-Essential Patents Following Intel Deal

In light of its acquisition of the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business earlier this year, including many cellular patents, Apple has shared a letter on its website to reiterate its stance on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory or FRAND licensing terms for standards-essential patents.

Intel 5G Modem
Apple says it values intellectual property and recognizes the important role of developing industry standards, noting that its engineers participate in over 100 standard-setting organizations. Apple touts its own contributions to a wide range of standards, including, for example, cellular, Wi-Fi, and USB-C.

Apple adds that it has "long sought to bring a balanced perspective to the promises and perils of standardization" and is committed to licensing its own cellular standards-essential patents on FRAND terms.

Apple believes owners of standards-essential patents should make licenses available on FRAND terms to any and all interested parties that request a license, adding that standards-essential patent licensees should not be forced to take bundled or portfolio licenses as part of an agreement.

There should also be an objective, reasonable royalty rate that applies equally to all standards-essential licensees, according to Apple.

Following its agreement with Intel, Apple said it would hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation. Apple is widely expected to release its first 5G-enabled iPhones with Qualcomm modems in 2020.

Tag: Intel

Top Rated Comments

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3 weeks ago

Companies love to make these self-righteous (Public Relations) statements about technologies being part of an "open standard". Feel good phrases like "reasonable royalty rates" ... yea right :rolleyes:

Permanently-angry forum members on MacRumors love to make these self-righteous posts about every little thing Apple does (after going out of their way to visit a site dedicated to announcing every little thing that Apple does) :rolleyes:. FRAND is a thing, it helps make our modern communications networks possible, Apple is part of it, "reasonable royalty rates" is wording commonly associated with FRAND. Nothing to see here, and noting to get all eye-rolly about.
Rating: 7 Votes
3 weeks ago


If Apple isn't actively using all the patents, does that make them "patent trolls" ?

Only if they begin suing other companies indiscriminately.

Acquiring Intel's patents was a smart move on Apple's part, a nice ace up their sleeve now that they have to work exclusively with Qualcomm.
Rating: 7 Votes
3 weeks ago
Companies love to make these self-righteous (Public Relations) statements about technologies being part of an "open standard". Feel good phrases like "reasonable royalty rates" ... yea right :rolleyes:
Rating: 6 Votes
3 weeks ago


If Apple isn't actively using all the patents, does that make them "patent trolls" ?


As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.

Pretty much all companies have excess stock of patents that they don't use, they're not called patent trolls because of that.

Patent trolls are the ones that has the clear intentions to buying patents (or a specific patent that they know a specific company need) in order to profit off them by "suing" companies for not paying a specific amount that is not FRAND or reasonable.

As for software patents, they're a joke and never should've been patentable in the first place.
Rating: 6 Votes
3 weeks ago


As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.

Not really. When joining standardization bodies such as 3GPP, companies commit to disclosing standards-essential patents and making them available under FRAND terms.

Pretty much all companies have excess stock of patents that they don't use, they're not called patent trolls because of that.

Yep. The number of patents a company holds, whether they are actually used or not, is often an important factor in negotiating cross-licensing agreements and settlement terms in patent litigations. The Intel patents strengthen Apple's position versus other major patent holders such as Qualcomm and Samsung (some of which are very litigation-happy).
Rating: 5 Votes
3 weeks ago


As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.

Pretty much all companies have excess stock of patents that they don't use, they're not called patent trolls because of that.

Patent trolls are the ones that has the clear intentions to buying patents (or a specific patent that they know a specific company need) in order to profit off them by "suing" companies for not paying a specific amount that is not FRAND or reasonable.

As for software patents, they're a joke and never should've been patentable in the first place.

There is nothing, legally or morally, wrong with being a patent troll. It has the stigma because of the name, troll. The original inventor sold the patent. The new owner can do whatever they want.

Or do you think the original creator can sell it and still use it? Like Taylor Swift selling her songs and then complaining that she can sing them anymore.
Rating: 3 Votes
3 weeks ago


As long they're not standard-dependent and if they are, then as long as they can be licensed to anyone and on FRAND basis; they're not patent trolls (yet). The problem is, FRAND is voluntary.


In nearly all standards processes, including IEEE (e.g. Wi-Fi) and ISO (e.g. HEVC), FRAND terms and patent disclosure is mandated for participants. The issue is that FRAND is nebulously defined, or otherwise does not prohibit current practices like Qualcomm's bundling, and that standards organizations cannot force the hand of anybody who isn't a part of the process.
Rating: 2 Votes
3 weeks ago
I like Apple's stance here that you should be able to pay (a reasonable amount) for licenses to only the patents you NEED. You should not be obligated to take bundled or portfolio licenses as well. That should be Federal Law.
Rating: 2 Votes
3 weeks ago


Following its agreement with Intel, Apple said it would hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation.


If Apple isn't actively using all the patents, does that make them "patent trolls" ?
Rating: 2 Votes
3 weeks ago

As for software patents, they're a joke and never should've been patentable in the first place.


Patents are very important! But software patents should not expire after 20 years like patents on medicine! They should last no more than 5 to 10 years in my opinion.
Rating: 1 Votes

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