Apple Offers Royalty-Free Patent Licenses to Approve Nano-SIM Standard

Last week, we reported that Apple was trying to go against rival smartphone makers over the next industry standard for miniaturized  SIM cards. Apple is suggesting its own nano-SIM proposal in Europe’s standards’ body, ETSI. The company is said to have already won over  support by ”most of the European operators”.

Today, FOSS Patents reports that it has seen a letter sent by Apple to the European Telecommunications Standards Institutes (ETSI) regarding a royalty-free license of its nano-SIM design patent should be adopted as the next-generation standard and holders of other patents related to the standard offer similar terms to ease adoption. Supposedly, this would allow Apple to create smaller and thinner devices.

A perfectly reliable source that I can’t disclose has shown me a letter dated March 19, 2012 that a senior Apple lawyer sent to ETSI. The letter addresses the primary concern of critics of the proposal. The FT said that “the Apple-led proposal has caused some concern among its rivals that the US group might eventually own the patents”. But 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.

Motorola, Research In Motion, and Nokia are also said trying to push their own standards for these so-called “nano-SIM” cards. Nokia has raised objection about Apple’s use of a “drawer” to protect the nano-SIM card.

 

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