Saturday, February 11, 2012

Samsung Patents for Apple Lawsuit: Is US 7706348 an Essential Patent for 3G Smartphone?

US 7706348, titled “Apparatus And Method For Encoding/Decoding Transport Format Combination Indicator In CDMA Mobile Communication System”, is one of key patents that is used to sue Apple. Recently, Apple claimed that Samsung violated FRAND commitments specified in ETSI’s IPR policy.

An essential patent is defined as patent that contain one or more claims that are infringed by the implementation of a specification for standardized technology. Thus, if a 3G Smartphone product is implemented following the standard specifications, it should infringe some essential patents.

US 7706348 relates to an encoder for transmitting a transport format combination indicator (TFCI). It is based on Samsung’s proposed TFCI coding scheme, which is a part of TS 25.212 specification during the 3GPP’s standardization process. Even if the proposal was not accepted as a standard, it is widely adopted by Smartphone manufactures.

The issue is whether a patent proposed during a standardization process, but not specified in the standards, could be an essential patent.

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