Apple’s Director of Patent Licensing and Strategy, Boris Teksler, took the stand this afternoon to provide a look inside the company’s stance on patent licensing — and the meetings and negotiations that took place between Apple and Samsung.
The chain of events that led up to the trial began in summer of 2010, with the release of the Samsung Galaxy S. Teksler echoed the sentiments of other Apple executives we’ve heard from: the company was shocked. “First, they were a trusted parter of ours, and we didn’t understand how a trusted partner could build a copycat product… and so we took it so seriously that Steve Jobs and Tim Cook met with Samsung executives.”
Internally, Apple’s patent portfolio is split into three sections: standards-essential patents, Apple computing patents, and Apple unique user experience IP. “Unlike standards where we have to license, this is an area where we don’t have to license,” Teksler said about the computing portfolio, though it is something they engage in. “We want to get fairly compensated for the work that we’ve done… Second, we want to make sure we safeguard Apple’s differentiating user experience.”
“We strongly desire not to license it.”
Cupertino’s user experience patents are another matter altogether — both for better and for worse. “You don’t really need a license for this,” he told the court. “From our perspective, unless you‘re trying to build an iPhone knockoff or clone, or an iPad clone, you wouldn’t need a license to this set of IP.” If someone is interested, however, Apple’s proprietary nature kicks in. “We strongly desire not to license it… We do so with rare exception, consciously knowing we’re enabling somebody to not build a clone of it.”
As part of its response to the Galaxy S, Apple met with Samsung in August of 2010, giving executives a presentation titled “Samsung Copying iPhone.” It was a detailed explanation of what the company felt were areas in which Samsung was stealing from the iPhone 4, from the “overall appearance of the product, down to the four-by-four arrangement of the icons.” The document also featured pages listing what it felt were infringed patents — with several focusing on patent infringements present in Android itself.
Licensing negotiations continued from there, he said, including an October 2010 presentation where Apple laid out its asks for using its patents. Teksler will be continuing his testimony on Monday, and we’ll be there to let you know what happens.
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