August 29, 2011

Last Week in Patent News: Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Android, Microsoft

(August 21-28)

Hewlett-Packard patent news

HP is spinning off it's PC hardware business is causing some anxiety amongst suppliers. HP will actually continue to make laptops for the Japanese market. Speaking of Asian computer markets, China was shipped 18.5 million units surpassing the US for the first time in the 2nd quater of 2011. Samsung denies any interest in taking on HP's computer business. It's also rumored that Oracle is interested in picking up HP's hardware spinoff. HP CEO defends his dumb decision to kill WebOS, now it's rumored that Samsung may be interested in buying WebOS (but then again it was also rumored Samsung would take over HP's hardware manufacturing). Hackers get Android to run on HP's TouchPad (made to run WebOS). The $99 TouchPad was in such huge demand it crashed a UK retailers website. The demand led to ebay sales of the TouchPad at $300.

Apple patent news

So yeah someone left his CEO position with Apple, Tim Cook takes over. The iPhone 5 will be coming to Sprint and it's rumored T-Mobile too. The iPhone 5 will be a dual-mode phone capable of accessing both CDMA and GSM networks. Ironically, future iPhones may have Samsung manufactured displays, even after losing out on iPhone processor manufacturing after angering Apple with its Galaxy line.  Apple may develop iPhones that recognize a user by its voice. Danie Roy worries about an app that allows another person to remotely disable your iPhone camera (supposedly made for copyright protection) could fall into the wrong hands...

One analyst predicts the iPad will gain even more market share. Apple's computer sales are also skyrocketing. Intel worries it may be losing Apple's MacBook business. Rumors of a cheaper 8 gb iPhone were confirmed, I suspect it will have an important part in increasing Apple's market share in China. The latest rumors of an iPhone 5 release date point to October 7th.  iOS jailbreaking whiz "Comex" has an internship with Apple. India predicted to become a app developing hotspot because of their low-hourly rate. 

Microsoft versus Android

Microsoft began its ITC against Motorola to ban imports from the US. Considering how hollow Apple's "victory" against Samsung in Europe, does Microsoft, with a much, much weaker patent portfolio (more on this later in the week when I have some time...) think it can fare any better? Google needs to request reexamination of Microsoft's patents instead of just calling them 'bogus', I bet it could invalidate 99% of them. 

Android patent news

Interdigital's mobile patents took a hit to their value with Google (potentially) no longer bidding, personally I expect Google to continue bidding in order to inflate the price for it's competitors, just as it did with the Nortel auction. Some believe Kodak's patents may be Google's next acquisition. Google hasn't sought approval of its Motorola buy with China's Commerce Ministry. Bloomberg does it's usually great job giving us the details on the Goolge Motorola deal, the Mobile Gazette has more. The Business Standard has a great article on the effect the buy may have on other Android phone makers and PC Magazine writes about the waning market share of Motorola's handsets amongst other Android makers. And of course speculation of a Microsoft counter-bid continue.

Android gobbled up 61% of all mobile ad impressions from Millennial Media. Tim Conneally calls out the media's recent scaremongering regarding Android malware. Sony's S1 tablet will launch in September.

Verizon won't carry Samsung's Galaxy SII, Eric Zeman thinks it's because Verizon doesn't want it's own LTE phone upstaged. Samsung let slip that it will be making an Android flagship phone Nexus Prime, it's expected to be 4.5" and contain a 1.5 GHz processor. Meanwhile, Verizon's legal chief asked President Obama to intervene in the mobile patent wars.

More mobile patent news

Anders Bylund made a convincing case for Oracle buying Research in Motion. RIM's email services survived the freak East Coast earthquake. RIM's new Blackberries are selling better than expected and are expected to begin carrying Android apps starting in 2012 (Nokia should take note for when its Windows Phone gamble turns sour). DailyTech worries of a mobile duopoly in the US with the 'impending demise' of RIM.

Patent selloff madness to continue.  China's telecom giants Huawei and ZTE are also accumulating large amounts of patents. Meanwhile Korea will be developing an open-source mobile OS to compete with iOS and Android.  A new Intellectual Ventures-like patent behemoth may be forming with Wi-Lan attempts at a hostile take over of fellow troll Mosaid.  Broadcom is expected to increase the speed of its phone processors to attract customers beyond Nokia and Samsung.

More Software patent news

Katherine Noyes of PCWorld wrote a great column making the case for ending software patents. Techdirt also had an enlightening post on the topic 'What Idiot Wrote The Patent That Might Invalidate Software Patents? Oh, Wait, That Was Me'.

Tumbler is expected to reach an $800 million valuation and Linux turned 20.

Social media, free speech, state surveillance news

An Australian policeman worries Facebook's facial recognition technology could undermine undercover police officers. Woman claims she stayed in house for 18 months and hired armed guards because of twitter harasser, he claims his tweets such as "Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. P.S. Have a nice day" are protected under the first amendment...doubt he'll be able to convince a jury of that. Britain backs off its plans to block social media in times of crisis after meeting with Twitter Thursday.

The US woman accused of eavesdropping on on-duty policemen was acquitted and in a separate case an appeals court ruled that laws criminalizing the filming of on-duty police officers was unconstitutional. Mike Masnick at TechDirt gives a great explanation on why BART's phone shutdown was illegal. According to Google, Facebook reached its trillionth page view. A New York judge denied the US government a warrant for Verizon location date. Techdirt takes down the ridiculousness of "twitter influencing" services that apparently the US Government is employing


The award for stupidest "article" I read all week goes to: Android makers: Why not stick a 'sue me' sign on your back?
"By dropping the lawsuits, it would rebalance Apple back into a viable player on the mobile market, without others running afraid of being sued over what is basically a petty patent dispute."
Because you know as things stand, Apple isn't a viable player in the mobile market! Seriously I can't think of one actual coherent point made in the article.

Every week I hope to have the time to do more than a cursory news review of patents outside the consumer electronics/software industry and it just never happens. Rather than feel bad about it and after some thinking I've decided to just concentrate on 'tech' patents instead. Perhaps there will be a time when I can do the interesting topic of genetic patents and others but that time is just not now.

Also make sure to check out Patently-O Bits & Bytes by Lawrence Higgins for even more patent news.


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