We are on the verge – and in the process – of making the wireless technology jump from Fourth Generation (4G) to Fifth Generation (5G).
This is a quantum leap forward – arguably bigger than all the previous jumps combined. 5G will birth the Internet of Things. Where your “smart” car talks to the “smart” road – which talks to the “smart” stoplight…. Where your appliances talk to your phones – and the manufacturers.
You (rightly) think data privacy is important now? The amount of data flying around on 5G – will be orders of magnitude larger.
The way the world works is: The country that gets to the next level first – gets to set the global standards. Thank God – the US has thus far reached every new level first.
As we hurtle towards 5G, there are only two countries in contention to set the standards – US…and Communist China. Guess who we don’t want to win that race. For data privacy reasons – and a litany of others.
Currently, we hold a narrow but decent lead. And as has been the case with our lead at every jump along the way – we hold that lead thanks to a San Diego, California company called Qualcomm.
Qualcomm created the smart phone – in that they invented the way cell phones can connect to the Internet.
Let us pause for a moment – and think of the trillions of dollars that one invention has created out of nothing….
Ok, pause over. In exchange for unleashing these trillions of dollars – all Qualcomm asked was an infinitesimal fraction of that coin in lease payments on the patent they hold on that invention.
Qualcomm has kept inventing, and kept inventing – delivering US first to each new wireless network ahead of the rest of the planet.
Qualcomm has kept inventing, and kept inventing – and kept making phones and tablets better and better and better.
Other companies – like, say, Intel, China’s Huawei and South Korea’s Samsung – spent the last two decades trying to out-invent Qualcomm. And failed at so doing – again, and again, and again.
Qualcomm continues to do it first – and do it best.
Speaking of devices – and infinitesimal patent license fees: Behold Apple’s iPhone and iPads.
Apple needed Qualcomm’s cutting edge tech – so Apple signed all sorts of contracts to lease Qualcomm’s cutting edge tech patents.
To put this in monetary perspective: The iPhone XS Max starts at $1,100. On which, Apple is contractually obligated to pay Qualcomm…$20. A minuscule 1.8% of the base retail price.
Except two years ago – Apple stopped making their patent payments to Qualcomm. Despite the many contracts they themselves signed. Which means ever since – Apple has been trafficking in hundreds of billions of dollars in stolen goods.
As bad as that is – the Barack Obama Administration did something far worse.
Just three days before Donald Trump was sworn in, the Obama Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – working closely with Thieving Apple – filed an antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm. Obnoxiously and bizarrely claiming Qualcomm’s patents make them a monopoly.
Ummm…that’s what patents do. They guarantee the holder exclusive rights to the patented things. They invented them – they are theirs. Let’s check the dictionary, shall we?:
“Patent: (A) government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.”
Suing a patent holder for being a monopoly – is like suing Shaquille O’Neal for being tall. That’s just the way it is.
If The FTC Case Against Qualcomm Seems Like a Clown Show Right Now, It’s Because It Started That Way
This ridiculous lawsuit has continued to shamble forward throughout the Trump Administration – because of bizarre bureaucratic inertia.
Magically, mystically, the Obama-holdover FTCs case ended up…in front of an Obama-appointee judge: Judge Lucy Koh. Whose court is in San Jose, California – a half hour drive from Apple’s world headquarters in Cupertino.
Judge Koh is right in line with all of rest of the Obama Administration – she REALLY doesn’t like patents.
Which of course means she is right in line with all the rest of the Obama Administration – she REALLY doesn’t like the Constitution. Since patents are mentioned for protection by name therein.
How do we know Judge Koh doesn’t like patents? Because she regularly rules against their enforcement and protection.
Good News for Samsung: Judge Lucy Koh Cuts Fine for Apple Patent Infringement
And she has repeatedly ruled against Qualcomm in her preliminary decisions in the Obama-holdover FTC case. To wit:
Qualcomm Must License Patents to Rival Chipset Makers: Judge Koh Grants FTC’s Partial Summary Judgment Motion
Get that? In this ridiculous decision, Koh may as well have mandated Coca-Cola share its formula with Pepsi and RC Cola. Yes, it’s that stupid.
Things aren’t looking very good – at all. And things are looking to go very bad – very soon.
Qualcomm’s Fate In Judge Koh’s Hands As FTC Trial Wraps:
“The U.S. Federal Trade Commission urged U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to scrap Qualcomm’s ‘no license, no chip’ business practice….”
Get THAT? Qualcomm’s business practice is: If you don’t pay for the license for our chip – you can’t have our chip.
Just as Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s business practice is: If you don’t pay to rent our car – you can’t have our car.
And one lone Obama-appointee judge – may be about to rule that fundamental, perfectly reasonable business model…illegal.
Which would be one lone Obama-appointee judge – unilaterally destroying the entire US patent system.
Which would be one lone Obama-appointee judge – unilaterally destroying Qualcomm.
And if Qualcomm goes away – the US’s leadership on 5G goes away.
Which hands by default the global 5G network – to Communist China.
National Security officials loathe this Obama-holdover case. Defense Department Officials loathe this case. State Department officials loathe this case. Because they all know the massive implications of a bad ruling.
There remains a silver bullet. A President Trump waiver.
The FTC is made up of five voting Commissioners – one of whom also serves as Chairman. It is three of the President’s Party – two of the other.
So the Trump FTC – is 3-2 Republican. Which means the FTC can vote to stop this Obama-holdover nightmare mess.
FTC Chair Simons Recuses from Qualcomm Antitrust Case:
“Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons has recused himself from the agency’s antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc.
“The recusal, confirmed by agency spokesman Peter Kaplan Nov. 2, comes as the parties seek to work out a settlement in the case, which will require a majority vote by the five-member commission. Without Simons, a party-line vote would mean a 2-2 split.”
Why the recusal? Simons – about three years ago – billed Qualcomm a half hour’s worth of legal work…on a totally unrelated matter.
That isn’t overly cautious – that is patently absurd.
Trump can sign a waiver – and relieve Simons of his recusal.
The Trump FTC – can then vote to end this Obama-holdover nightmare mess case. Instantaneously.
And at this point – instantaneously is required.
Please, Mister President – end this insanity.
This first appeared in Red State.