Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Apple gets support from Cisco on need to curb FRAND abuse

This is my fourth blog post today on a FRAND statement by a major tech company. In the first one, I published an Apple letter (dated November 11, 2011, but discovered only yesterday) to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), proposing a framework that would give meaning to FRAND. Microsoft issued a statement today that also advocates a set of helpful FRAND rules (four items in that case). Google, quite unfortunately, proposes a definition of FRAND that makes mockery of the term. But for the final post today, I have good news: Cisco Systems wrote a letter to ETSI last week that is a wholesale endorsement of Apple's proposals.

I obtained this letter only today. Here it is:

12-01-31 Cisco Letter to ETSI Endorsing Apple Position

The letter advocates "a more consistent and transparent application of FRAND", "encourages discussion of the issues raised in Apple's letter", and would like to see "ETSI's prompt adoption of the framework set out in Apple's letter" by ETSI.

Cisco holds a large number of standard-essential patents but has for a long time promoted reasonableness and restraint. Cisco isn't a party to any of the ongoing mobile patent wars. It doesn't have any vested interest in one outcome or another of those disputes, but it cares a lot about the issue of FRAND abuse and decided to speak out.

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