Apple Offers Royalty-free Licensing for nano-SIM Patents

To help sweeten the pot in its efforts to make the nano-SIM the new standard for cell phones and smartphones, Apple has committed to royalty-free licensing for all of its patents related to the form factor. The iPhone and iPad maker shared that detail with the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) ahead of a planned vote on the standard this week.

Apple wants its nano-SIM to be a new standardThe letter, shared with FOSS Patents, addressed a major concern of other smartphone makers over Apple potentially owning all of the patents related to future SIM cards in smartphones.

“Apple’s letter has removed this roadblock, if it ever was any, through an unequivocal commitment to grant royalty-free licenses to any Apple patents essential to nano-SIM, provided that Apple’s proposal is adopted as a standard and that all other patent holders accept the same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity,” Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said.

He added that Apple’s offer shows the company is more interested in pushing a new standard for the small cards that link handsets to user accounts than making money off of the related patents.

Apple has the backing of European cell service providers, but rival handset makers aren’t excited about the proposed standard. Nokia, for example, thinks it has a better design for future SIM cards that’s technologically superior to Apple’s nano-SIM.

The biggest hurdle for Apple’s nano-SIM in the European Union right now looks to be Nokia’s place as the single largest vote holder on the ETSI panel. Apple, however, is working to build up more votes of its own to unseat Nokia and take the top spot for itself.