updated 07:35 am EDT, Mon March 26, 2012
Apple courts ETSI with royalty free nano-SIM cards
Florian Mueller in an uncommon leak Monday morning has understood that Apple is promising to offer its proposed nano-SIM standard royalty-free. In a letter originally sent to ETSI on March 19, a senior attorney at Apple understood that the company had "caused some concern" among competitors over its owning the patents and would give free licenses in return. As expected, the condition was that the nano-SIM become the defining standard and that others agree with a view to doing the same.
The move has no real penalty for Apple and is potentially a strategic move against Motorola, Nokia, RIM, and others also proposing a smaller SIM card to the European standards body. At least Motorola and Nokia currently charge for standards-based patents for technologies like 3G, and neither is known so far to have promised that they wouldn't charge a royalty rate for using their nano-SIM designs.
Google has publicly advocated for open standards in Europe and might be pressured into recommending Apple's format for that reason, or else advocating that its acquisition target Motorola offer any patent licenses royalty-free.
Regardless of pressure, the step reflects Apple's recent declarations that it would refuse to sue over standards-based patents. Despite claims of being innocent of violating Apple patents, both Motorola and fellow Android supporter Samsung have been suing over 3G standards as their main defense and asking for what has been alleged to be excessive rates. The tendency to rely on standards patents for lawsuits has led to an EU investigation of Samsung that may spread to Motorola as well.