updated 01:25 pm EST, Sat February 4, 2012
Motorola royalty demands of Apple uncovered
Newly uncovered documents from Apple's opposition to a Motorola attempt to silence its requests have uncovered Motorola's demands for a 3G patent license. In explaining why it needed to get details of Qualcomm's patent deal with Motorola, Apple mentioned that Motorola had wanted a 2.25 percent royalty on Apple product sales as its attempt at a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) patent licensing offer. Florian Mueller, who unearthed the details, saw it as likely an excessive rate given that Apple wouldn't only be licensing from Motorola and that it could significantly raise the price of selling an iPhone or 3G iPad.
Apple has been making a slew of requests, mostly in the US, to head off Motorola's so far mixed attempts to ban Apple 3G devices in Germany. It has both been hoping to use the concept of patent exhaustion from Qualcomm, in which Qualcomm's license with Motorola exempts Apple from paying itself, as well as talking to other companies to find out whether their rates are lower. Requests have gone out to HTC, LG, Nokia, and Ericsson, although Apple dismissed this last request itself.
It may have precedent. Samsung had made a higher 2.4 percent request in the Netherlands and ultimately had its ban request denied for what the court saw as abuse of 3G standards. The Korean firm's actions have been concerning enough to regulators that it's now facing an EU investigation, and Motorola's rate isn't significantly lower.
The Qualcomm request would mostly have relevance to Motorola's attempt to ban the iPhone 4S. Motorola likely wants the same 2.25 percent rate for all 3G products, however, and rejecting one could have major ramifications for Motorola's push to stop sales of earlier devices.