Apple Licenses Patent to Nokia and IBM, Offers Samsung the Same

According to a licensing agreement that The Verge has uncovered, Apple is willing to share its secrets. The company licensed a patent to IBM and Nokia and after failed settlement negotiation in November 2010, offered the same to Samsung Electronics.

In light of Apple’s many patent lawsuits against multiple companies, it is hard to believe that the computer giant would be willing to offer its technology to anyone. It appears that Apple does play nice with its competitors. According to The Verge, patent #7,469,381 involves the” scrollback behavior of iOS that displays a background texture when you scroll beyond the edge of a document of webpage.”

Apple used this specific patent as an example when it tried to get an injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy mobile devices. The court denied the injunction and part of that denial included a general discussion of how past licensing behavior affects injunction decisions. The recorded court discussion included statements that confirmed that the patent had previously been licensed to IBM and Nokia and had also been offered to Samsung as part of settlement negotiations.

This information contradicts industry assumptions about Apple’s hardball approach to others copying its design. The Verge asserts in its article that the fact that Apple licensed the patent in question is significant because the company believes that it is a strong patent from its iPhone-related portfolio.

“Offering up a distinctive software feature covered by a strong patent indicates a level of willingness to negotiate that we simply haven’t heard from Apple in the past — it’s a far cry from Steve Jobs telling his biographer that he was willing to go “thermonuclear war” on Google and Android OEMs for infringing Apple’s patents,”

It is interesting to see Apple give up a little of its design ideas when it tries so hard to stop 0ther companies from impeding on patents and copyrights.

[Via: Apple Insider / The Verge]

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik