License Stories October 19, 2015

What OS X El Capitan’s license really says, according to a programmer/lawyer

We all know the features of OS X El Capitan pretty well by now: Split View multitasking, new San Francisco system font, overhauled Notes app, and smaller changes throughout. Before anyone upgrades to El Cap, however, we’re all faced with the usual scrolling wall of text that we’re asked to read and agree to before ever using OS X: the licensing agreement.

I’m guessing virtually no one reads beyond the first paragraph if even that, but Robb Schecter, a self-described programmer/lawyer, took for one the team this year and translated El Cap’s license into plain English. These 7 points tell me more than I admittedly knew before:

License Stories March 23, 2015

Pro Tools 12 now available with new subscription models

After first announcing and showing off new licensing plans with Pro Tools 12 in January, today the latest version of Pro Tools has arrived at last alongside the new subscription plans on Avid’s online store.

Highlights for Pro Tools 12 include a new “Avid Cloud Collaboration” feature that lets users collaborate in real-time from different locations using built-in chat and other collaboration features, and a new “Avid Marketplace” for finding talent and accessing apps, plug-ins and third-party content.

For the first time, Avid is making Pro Tools, with version 12, available through license subscriptions starting at $29.99/month. An annual update is available for $199 (the one-time price of Apple’s competitive Logic Pro X), while the annual subscription plan will go for $299. Lastly, Avid has perpetual licenses starting at $899.

(via The Loop)

License Stories February 10, 2015

Apple’s comms chip supplier Qualcomm fined almost $1B in Chinese anti-trust case

Qualcomm, which makes baseband communications chips for Apple and licenses 3G and 4G patents to other smartphone manufacturers, has been fined almost a billion dollars by the Chinese government in an anti-trust case. The company was found to have abused its dominant position in wireless chip technology by charging “unfairly high” licensing fees to manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.

The 6B Yuan ($960M) fine is the largest fine ever imposed on a foreign company, reports the GuardianChina’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that the fine was calculated as 8% of Qualcomm’s 2013 revenue in China. China is responsible for around half of Qualcomm’s total revenue.

Chinese regulators said that Qualcomm bundled together patent licenses, forcing Chinese companies to buy unwanted licenses in order to get the core 3G and 4G ones they needed. Qualcomm said that it was disappointed by the ruling, but has agreed to separate out its licenses to allow companies to purchase only the ones they need.

The ruling is unlikely to impact Apple this year, as the company orders its baseband chips from Qualcomm rather than licensing patents, but may have an impact next year. KGI predicted last month that Apple would be buying 30% of its baseband chips from Intel in 2016.

Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters

License Stories March 5, 2014

Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

FOSS Patents discovered that while Apple was asking a court to sanction Samsung for using confidential information about a patent deal between the Cupertino company and Nokia, Apple inadvertently made the very same information public.

As part of a patent dispute between Apple and Samsung, Apple was required to share the terms of the patent licensing deal with Samsung’s lawyers, Quinn Emanuel. The agreement was that the documents – marked Highly Confidential – Attorneys’ Eyes Only – would only be viewed by the lawyers. Instead, Quinn Emanuel passed them onto Samsung execs, who allegedly used the information as ammunition in the company’s own patent negotiations with Apple …  expand full story

License Stories October 24, 2013

Apple publishes its improvements to the open-source components of Mavericks, as bound by the code licenses

Today, Apple has made available the open-source components of OS X Mavericks’ code to the public. Apple regularly does this for both iOS and OS X as prescribed by the license agreements of the open source code Apple uses.

License Stories February 18, 2013

Microsoft-office-mac-price.

According to Computerworld, Microsoft raised its pricing on Office for Mac 2011 during its Office 365 event last month by as much as 17 percent and stopped selling multi-license packages of the application suite. The move is likely to drive customers to its Office 365 program for PC/Mac that is $99 a year for a family.

The move puts Office for Mac 2011 on the same pricing schedule as the new Office 2013 for Windows. The price increases and the disappearance of the multi-license bundles also makes Microsoft’s Office 365, a software-by-subscription deal the company has aggressively pushed, more competitive with traditional “perpetual” licenses.

It’s not clear when Microsoft raised prices. The oldest search engine cache Computerworld found with the new prices was Feb. 2, so the company boosted them before then, likely on Jan. 29, the day it launched Office 2013 and Office 365 Home Premium. Microsoft did not mention the changes to Office for Mac in its press releases that day, or otherwise publicize the move on its Mac-specific website.

Indeed, Apple now offers Office for Student/Professional for $140/230Amazon still says it is $119 but notes that Office 2011 is an older version and the newer version that includes a key card is $139 marked down to $131 with a new SKU. You can still buy the multi-user packs at significant discount, but those likely are only while supplies last. expand full story

License Stories December 3, 2012

Judge rules Apple vs. HTC patents can be exposed to public, pricing and royalty amount to remain under-wraps

Josh Lowensohn for CNET:

In an ruling tonight, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh said that while details of pricing and royalty rates for patents from both companies should be kept under wraps from public view, the same does not hold true for the rest of the agreement.

“This Court has repeatedly explained that only the pricing and royalty terms of license agreements may be sealed,” Koh wrote in a ruling. “There are compelling reasons to seal pricing and royalty terms, as they may place the parties to the agreement at a disadvantage in future negotiations, but there is nothing in the remainder of the agreement that presents a sufficient risk of competitive harm to justify keeping it from the public.”

License Stories November 12, 2012

Analyst estimates Apple will get around $7 per HTC phone sold yielding $180-$280M annually

On Friday, a press release confirmed Apple and HTC reached a global settlement regarding two patent infringement lawsuits that would include a 10-year licensing agreement and dismiss the current lawsuits between the companies. There was no other information on the deal at the time, but today Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu claimed to have the specifics (via BusinessInsider):

Apple will get $6-$8 for every Android-based HTC phone sold, says Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee… HTC sells 30-35 million Android smartphones annually, so it will generate $180-$280 million in annual revenue for Apple. Since there is no almost cost associated with that revenue, it should be pure profit. But, Apple made $41 billion in net income during its last fiscal year, so it’s not like this HTC money means much.

The Wall Street Journal also reported today that the settlement would indeed include licensing fees.

License Stories October 12, 2012

After allegations that Apple was copying the classic Swiss Railway clock design for its new Clocks app in iOS 6, Apple was expected to meet with Swiss Federal Railways SBB to presumably find some sort of resolution. SBB made an official announcement on its website (via TheVerge) today, claiming it has reached an agreement with Apple:

The Swiss Federal Railways SBB and Apple have reached an agreement on the use of the SBB station clock on devices like iPad and iPhone. That the two parties have governed in a license agreement.

Swiss Federal Railways is not disclosing how much the agreement is for, but it said Apple has agreed to its licensing terms for use of the Hans Hilfiker designed railway station clock design. There is also no word how this might affect Mondaine, the watchmaker that currently has rights to the design for its watch faces, but it looks like Apple won’t have an issue using the design in iOS: expand full story

License Stories March 26, 2012

Update: Nokia has responded to reports that Apple is offering to license its nano-SIM patents royalty-free by claiming Apple does not have patents “essential to its nano-SIM proposal” (via ITworld):

“We are not aware of any Apple Intellectual Property which it considers essential to its nano-SIM proposal. In light of this, Apple’s proposal for royalty-free licensing seems no more than an attempt to devalue the intellectual property of others.”

In recent weeks, reports popped up that suggest Apple is attempting to push a new standard for miniaturized SIM cards. In May 2011, Reuters reported Apple “submitted a new requirement to (European telecoms standards body) ETSI for a smaller SIM form factor.” More recent reports from the Financial Times confirmed other companies, including Motorola and Nokia, were attempting to push their own “nano-SIM” design. At the time, FT said Apple had support from “most of the European operators.” Ahead of the Smart Card Platform Plenary meeting with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute this Thursday and Friday, Foss Patents reports Apple is promising the ETSI it will license any Apple-owned patents related to nano-SIM free of charge to its competitors: expand full story

License Stories February 10, 2012

Apple, today, has filed a lawsuit against Motorola over their use of Qualcomm technology, as reported by Reuters. Apple explains that Motorola has breached a contract pertaining to their use of a patent license and “asks this Court to enjoin Motorola from prosecuting and 4 enforcing its claims against Apple in Germany.”

Specifically, Apple is suing Motorola over their claims that Apple is illegally using Qualcomm’s baseband chip. In its lawsuit, Apple asks the court to ban Motorola from being able to sue Apple over Apple’s use of Qualcomm’s technology:

Permanent injunctive relief restraining Motorola and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, agents, employees, servants, licensors, successors, assigns, and all those acting in concert with them, from prosecuting patent infringement proceedings against Apple based on Apple’s use of the Qualcomm MDM6610 chip and other Qualcomm components licensed under Motorola patents in any forum other than this Court

The root of the lawsuit is essentially Apple’s strike-back at Motorola for attempting to stop sales of Apple’s 3G products in Germany. The lawsuit’s referencing of Qualcomm’s chips is a nod to the iPhone 4S, which uses a Qualcomm baseband chip, not being removed for that short amount of time when Apple won a temporary injunction of Apple’s 3G products in Germany.

The full lawsuit filing can be viewed here.

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License Stories August 9, 2011

Frankly, it feels like lawsuits are taking too much of our time and mind space lately – and they aren’t fun to think about.  So here’s a roundup of the more exciting lawsuits news of the last hour:

MacRumors:

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple and 5 of the 6 major book publishers, alleging they “colluded to increase prices for popular e-book titles to boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.”

On Lodsys (important if you are a App developer with an auto-updating app):

Apple insists to intervene in Lodsys lawsuit against app developers. Apple still requests a court hearing on its motion. Things may still take some more time, but there will be no more written pleadings unless the court asks the parties to address particular questions in more detail. At this stage it’s possible that the court decides very quickly, and I continue to be reasonably optimistic that Apple’s motion will be granted.

At some point, we should start referring to Lodsys by the name of its parent company, Intelectual Ventures. 

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License Stories May 23, 2011

Apple has finally made a public statement on the Lodsys matter.  According to the Loop, Apple says that Lodsys has no claim to patent infringement because Apple has already purchased indemnity from Lodsys.

“Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the App Makers are protected by that license,” wrote Bruce Sewell, Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

While it is good to hear Apple finally come out with a statement on the matter, it doesn’t seem like the end of this case for everyone involved.  Interestingly, we’ve been hearing that Apple is offering to help protect indy developers with representation against Lodsys.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple and Lodsys haven’t been negotiating behind the scenes for a long time now.  Lodsys probably only went to indy developers when Apple decided it didn’t owe Lodsys any more money and negotiations broke off.

Full text of the email to Lodsys (via Macworld) below:

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