Samsung: Without Us, There Is No iPhone

| Analysis

A Samsung executive laid it out: Without the Korean company's patents there can be no iPhone, at least not one that works. Shin Jong-Kyun, President of Telecoms and IT at Samsung, told reporters in Seoul that the truth will out, and that Apple couldn't make the iPhone without using Samsung's patents.

Captain Obvious!!


The comments come in the wake of a decision on Tuesday by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to review a preliminary decision in September that found Apple did not violate four Samsung patents, two of which are standards-essential patents used in 3G wireless networks.

"The truth never lies," Mr. Shin told reporters, according to The Korea Times. "Without Samsung-owned wireless patents, it’s impossible for the Cupertino-based Apple to produce its handsets. As you know, Samsung is very strong in terms of portfolios of wireless patents."

Mr. Shin has the right of it, too. Apple can't make a cellphone or smartphone that works on most of the world's wireless networks without using technology governed by patents owned by Samsung. That is the very nature of building standards around patents submitted by companies like Samsung that, when accepted, become "standards essential patents" or SEPs.

Companies submit their patents to standards bodies so that they can then earn guaranteed royalties. In return, they promise to license those patents under so-called fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) rates.

Accordingly, if Apple's iPhone works on, say, a 3G network, it does so using technology covered by a host of SEPs owned by companies like Samsung, Nokia, Motorola Mobility (Google), and many other companies.

Then again, Apple has never denied this, meaning that Mr. Shin was making an argument that no one on the planet disputes. What Apple has done is argued that Samsung has failed to honor its FRAND commitments, and that in some cases, it is covered by licenses already paid by companies like Qualcomm who make the chips that use those technologies.

According to Apple, Samsung has asked for many times more in licensing fees than it charges competitors, and that it did so in order to force Apple to license its own utility and design patents it feels Samsung is violating. Samsung has, of course, argued that its requested rates are appropriate.

In August, a U.S. jury found that patent exhaustion protected Apple from infringement claims on some patents. That case is being appealed.

In September, an administrative law judge for the ITC ruled that Apple didn't violate four other patents, including two SEPs. That's the case that will now be reviewed by a full panel of judges, the case that sparked Shin Jong-Kyun's comment.

"The re-evaluation decision by the USITC doesn’t necessarily mean Samsung is better-positioned for the fight with Apple," Mr. Shin said. "But Samsung will do its best. Samsung’s legal team is effectively responding to this fight. Yes, a new trial for the case is a possibility."

We should note that The Korea Times article misidentifies Mr. Shin as CEO of Samsung and also Samsung's mobile "chief." His proper title is President of Telecoms and IT, as stated above.

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That’s why executives should keep their mouths shut sometimes and leave the talking to their lawyers. Apple will _jump_ on this statement. Mr. Shin just told the world that these patents are essential, and that means their rights to withhold these patents from anyone, and to charge what they want to charge, are greatly reduced.


The absurdity of this statement is that nobody else could produce a phone that works without Samsung’s patents—everybody uses and shares these patents. What this guy is really saying is that they know they need Apple’s ideas to create their own products that people will actually want to buy. Samsung was a second-rate phone producer until Apple came along—look at Bada, and all the rest of their junk. In fact, our family has owned several Samsungs through the years—and they were all garbage—so much so, that long before this so-called patent war, I swore I’d never buy another Samsung product—everything they’ve made that I’ve owned turned out to be garbage—printers, cameras, phones—all of it. The only way Samsung has made any real money is by aping Apple across the board—of _course_ they _must_ admit that they need Apple, so part of their strategy is that they have to try to convince everybody that it’s just the same as Apple needing Samsung—but it’s not the same thing at all. The patents Samsung has, they created knowing others would use them, and they created them to be licensed—to become a standard, and thus, virus-like, insinuate themselves. Apple, on the other hand, wanted to create something unique, and something they alone could sell, and Samsung (together with Google and others), rather than create their own—and truly innovate, has chosen rip off Apple. It’s two different worlds, two different approaches. Samsung wants to keep their cake while eating it all away. Sadly, in our collectivistic society, I fear that Apple will lose in the long run, and society will lose as well. Things don’t bode well…

mutley dastardly

The Samsung executive says it right - there’ll always be some patent into the war chest from Samsung that can be applied to Apple. It’s a very broad company with tons of different hardware.
A hardware company like Samsung has so much inventions there’ll always be some patent to hit Apple with. It’ll never stop - until Apple swallows it’s pride.

Samsung may be the smaller company in value - Apple gave Samsung an opportunity and free Ad’s by starting this patent-war.

Apple will be the looser - whether it’s an american company or not. And when i’m honnest - i’m not buying products of one of those who’s spending more on lawyers then on research and service.

Is a round corner patentable? NO way.
Is a swipe patentable?  no - we use to swipe all our live - so it’s obvious.
The us-patent system is so bad, it’s ruining the healthy IT-competition, this means IT will grow outside the us and will sooner or later destroy the US-IT with it’s own weaponry. Patents…

The fact is - that Apple produces its stuff in China - and whether you buy a Samsung Phone or an Apple - you’re making the trade gap bigger and bigger. The only one who takes your money is Apple. Between 25-50% on the iphone - 30% on every single gadget you buy (thru the apple store). And not to say you cannot use anything else than what is bought thru their app-store.

Well i don’t like to be locked in - so i’m not buying this stuff. Not from Apple not from Samsung. I want open stuff - i want to choose from multiple stores - and hell no - i don’t want to pay any taxes to Apple, Microsoft, google, ebay, paypall…

It’s time to wake up in the US! You’re wasting your hard earned cash - you’re giving it away - and sooner or later the debt(s) will have to be paid back. Where’s this debt?
In chinese/japanese hands?

You don’t want apple to win - just read - all the documents are available - read the stuff - be better informed than this! You’ll see what a dirt-digging-business the IT realy is.

There’s no honor in being a fanboy - it’s just expensive, too expensive maybe. You may loose more than your money - maybe your freedom too, if you’re not careful…

Read 1984 - it’s getting more real than you think. Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Ebay… All candidates for big-brother.


Of course, this works many ways. Samsung couldn’t make a phone without using technology patented by Nokia, Motorola, and others. That fact, alone, makes his statement disingenuous and absurd.


From years of following all of this patent crap, and from this being ground out in the past, I see you got this all wrong.  Most companies who issue a license to a component manufacturer do not extend (and in most agreements this is explicitly stated) that licence to purchasers of that component.  Now if the company who manufactured the component also produced the phone this would be a mute point.  But the licensing company usually reserves the right to sue on down the line, but in most cases don’t do it.  With Apple this a special treat since they sue everyone else with frivolous crap.

But “fair and reasonable terms” is relative after all, so if frivolous crap is worth a Billion, then these real patents are worth about $3 or $4B.  Is that not what MS is up to with Motorola, to find out what amount the court will deem “fair and reasonable” only when the smoke clears they will find out that this value amount will be relative to what MS charges for it’s crap.  What goes around comes around.


A huge amount of the trolling content in forums on this site is generated by guests. See examples above. If a guest came to my home and peed on my rug (thanks and a tip of the hat to the Coen brothers) I wouldn’t invite him back.

Please consider this a formal request to eliminate guest comments. If someone wishes to frequent this site and voice opinions, he or she should register like the rest of us. Then those of us who seek a discussion containing valid information, civility and informed opinion can choose to ignore them if we desire.

If you insist on continuing to allow these hit and run trolls to devalue the site with their anonymous phantom crapping, then please give the rest of us an option to ignore guest posts.



Craigf, couldn’t agree more!  Mutely sounds like the type that wants everything for free! Wants all this cool tech stuff, but not prepared to pay for any of it. I don’t want to have to filter crap like that, I’ll 2nd that for eliminating guest comments.


Gslusher - the statement is not disingenuous or absurd, its true.  Your statement, while it might be true, is disingenuous.  Unless you can back up that claim with the patents you’re talking about that is.


Exactly - no more guest comments from people who have valid opinions but don’t blindly support the authors or apple!  We need more sycophantic discussion about how awesome apple is.


bathrobe - get a life!


Samsung will see the day when they are not manufacturing anything for Apple. They can join the rest of the pack for the race to the bottom. Bottom dwellers have this certain stench. Always trying to pollute the environment with their poor quality products.

Lee Dronick

Not all guests are flamebaiting trollboys and not all registered guests are rabid toadies. This is a problem on most every website and blog that allows unmoderated comments.

Can rounded corners and swipe gestures be patented? Obviously the answer is yes. Maybe rounded corners isn’t something that should be patentable, but can a physical design be copyrighted? Recently Apple got into Dutch over a Swiss clock design even though they did not rip off the clock movement. Did they knowingly do that or was some designer told to come up with something out of the Bauhaus School? On the other hand this morning I read a story about Restoration Hardware copying a chair design, see link at the end of my comments.
The swipe gesture in electronics? I am pretty certain that Apple was the first to use it. Prior to that we were pushing physical buttons, but yes maybe sliding switches. That should be Apple’s for a few years.

Anyway if we don’t like the current patent laws then we need contact our Congressional Representative and Senators to request that the patent laws be changed. It is probably going to be up to us, because big money created the mess and likes the status quo.

We all follow in the footsteps of giants, some concepts and designs can be traced back to Heron, Archimedes, and other ancient engineers and artists. That being said if someone in these days puts things together in a new way then they get to benefit from that, at least for a while. If a musician arranges 8 notes in a new way then that tune is copyrighted even if the notes themselves are not.

Now see this story about ripping off the design of a chair:

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