August 13, 2011

National briefs: 8/14/11

A decision by San Francisco Bay Area transit officials to cut off cell phone service at some of its stations to thwart a planned protest drew an angry response Saturday from one transit board member who said she was shocked that officials acted as 'this type of censor.'

Bay Area Rapid Transit officials have said they shut down power Thursday evening to cellular towers for stations stretching from downtown to San Francisco's airport after learning protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate its demonstration.

#Chunghwa Picture signs pact with #IntellectualVentures

LCD panel maker Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd yesterday said it had teamed up with a US patent-holding company as an increasing number of technology firms worldwide resort to patent lawsuits to ward off potential competition.

#iOS Is Half Of New #Enterprise #Mobile Activations

#Apple just wins everything these days, it seems. A new report says that Apple mobile devices were half of net new enterprise activations since the launch of the iPhone 4. Android is behind with 30% of net new activations.

This is pretty eye-opening because Apple has been somewhat famous as never getting a foothold in the enterprise, despite building a beloved consumer brand and great products. Even back in the 1980s, the Macintosh failed in large part because companies went with the IBM PC.

What is Google's real market share in the US? - Gabriel Weinberg's Blog

As the US government looks into #Google from an antitrust context, a central question has to be what is their real search engine market share in the US? As someone who runs a search engine, I've followed and studied the numbers floating around for a while. And yet they've never really sat right with me.

Comscore and Hitwise are two primary providers of search engine market share numbers. Their two latest reports peg Google's share at around 65% in the US, and that's generally what the press reports.

The #Patent World War

In this particular case, though, #Apple 's claims have nothing to do with hardware or software. It's all about looks. Apple owns a Community design right on the iPad in Europe, which covers the appearance of the product. And of all the tablet computers out there, the Galaxy Tab might be the one that looks most like an iPad.

Still, when you get down to the appearance of something as simple as a tablet, how convincingly can you argue that one ripped off the design of another? If you're not talking guts or software, then you're talking about two flat, rectangular objects, glass on one side, metal and plastic on the back.

Yeah, they really do look a lot alike, because how else are you going to make a tablet? Are you going to make it circular? Tubular? Rhomboid? They might be about the same size, but that's just the size that fits well in human hands. Will Samsung be able to get out of this by just painting a racing stripe on the back and calling it a day?

#Android Accounts for 53% of Ad Impressions

#Google 's Android operating system accounted for 53 percent of advertising impressions in the second quarter, according to Millennial Media's latest report.

Millennial, the largest freestanding mobile ad network, said Apple's iOS posted a 27 percent share of impressions, growing 4 percent from Q2 2010. Millennial expects Apple to gain share next quarter with the launch of the iPhone 5 in the third quarter....

Overall, smartphones led the network's smartphone, feature phone and connected device mix with 67 percent of impressions. Connected devices, which includes tablets, MP3 players, gaming consoles and electronic readers, saw a 13 percent.

Why It's A Terrible Time To Buy A #Smartphone

#Google is planning to introduce a major revamp of #Android later this fall. The new system software, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, will combine the best elements of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The idea is to create one master OS that can work just as easily on a smartphone as it can on a tablet.

If Google follows its usual protocol, Android 4.0 will be released on a Nexus-branded handset soon after the software is announced. This device will be the first device to run Android 4.0--and probably the only device to run 4.0 for at least a few months

#Smartphone #camera can almost do it all

But as smartphone makers have increasingly realized the potential of the built-in camera, there's been a deluge of phones with cameras that can match -- and sometimes outperform -- low-end dedicated devices in a snap.

A new entrant to the market should inspire some more competition in the phone camera sphere: the myTouch 4G Slide smartphone, made by HTC and available through T-Mobile.

It has an 8-megapixel camera and plenty of the settings you'd find on a normal digital camera. The device takes crisp, bright photos and is simple to use. With it in hand, you'll be missing some pocket camera features, but mostly you'll be apologizing to your increasingly dusty digital friend.

#Patent App Shows How #Apple Makes Touch Displays Fingerprint-Proof

All that swiping and tapping on your #iPhone takes a heavy toll on the screen, leaving it a streaked and grimy mess.

Apple’s been battling our greasy fingers for years, and a recently discovered patent application describes a new way of making sure our oily fingers don’t mar future generations of gadgets from Cupertino.

#Google Steps Up to Defend #Android Developers From #Patent Troll #Lodsys

Google has intervened in an ongoing intellectual property dispute between smartphone application developers and a patent-holding firm, has learned, marking the Mountain View company’s first public move to defend Android coders from a patent troll lawsuit that’s cast a pall on the community.

The company says it filed a request with the United States Patent and Trademark office Friday for reexamination of two patents asserted by East Texas-based patent firm Lodsys. Google’s request calls for the USPTO to assess whether or not the patents’ claims are valid.

August 12, 2011

#Motorola to join #Apple, #Microsoft in #Android #patent racket

It's not surprising that after the $4.5 billion sale of Nortel's patents to a group dominated by Google's competitors, mobile investors such as Carl Icahn called upon Motorola (of which he owns over 11%) to do more to monetize it's patent holdings. Apparently Motorola's CEO Sanjay Jha agrees, this is what he had to say yesterday speaking to Oppenheimer's Technology and Communications conference:
I would bring up IP as a very important for differentiation (among Android vendors). We have a very large IP portfolio, and I think in the long term, as things settle down, you will see a meaningful difference in positions of many different Android players. Both, in terms of avoidance of royalties, as well as potentially being able to collect royalties. And that will make a big difference to people who have very strong IP positions.
It was also reported that Motorola is willing to make a Windows phone, an alternative to it's strong ties with with Android-run handsets.

Unlike HTC, Wistron, and others that have agreed to pay Microsoft up to $15 per Android (and Samsung's willingness to negotiate a deal), Motorola has thus far fought back vigorously, embroiling itself in bitter legal battles across the globe with both Microsoft and Apple over Android tablets and phones. But it seems Motorola is ready to join its competitors in seeking licences fees from other Android makers. After all if you can't make an Android phone or tablet without being brought to court by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and others, why not join them in extorting royalty fees from other Android makers?

The news may be a disappointment to those hoping Motorola's patents could be used to fend off those suing Android makers for royalties, keeping the licensing costs closer to the zero dollars Google charges instead of the high-range estimated of $60 dollars in licensing fees, the costs of which will obviously passed on to the customer, making Android far less appealing. Now there's nothing Jha said that rules out some sort of licensing arrangement directly with Google, but it won't be cheap. Reminds me of that old nursery rhyme:

There Was An Old Woman
There was an old woman who swallowed a fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly,
Perhaps she'll die.
There was an old woman who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.
There was an old woman who swallowed a cow,
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.
There was an old woman who swallowed a horse,
She's dead—of course!

#Oracle Asks To Probe #Google Model To Prove #Android Value

Oracle Corp. has asked a California court to let it conduct a probe of Google Inc.'s business model, in hopes of proving that Google's Android mobile software is a considerable source of revenue.

Oracle's legal effort comes amid an antitrust investigation of Google by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, focused in part on Google's competitive use of Android.

For the Good of Tech: Fix Our Broken #Patent System Now!

I have this long-held belief that our patent system is broken. Maybe even unfixable. These days, there's a growing Greek chorus pointing out the same problems.

#Software code is often used as an offensive weapon (in every sense of 'offensive'), or as a shield against patent attacks. But I don't think you should be able to patent an algorithm or a problem-solving idea, any more than you can patent the phrase 'More tacos, please' or the idea of brushing your teeth exactly twice a day.

#Patent Holders Trying To Drag 3rd Parties Into Patent Disputes

If you thought bogus patent lawsuits were crazy now, just wait and see what might happen if a court rules the way two companies are arguing they should. The EFF has filed an amicus brief in two cases in which patent holders are arguing that they can drag third parties into patent lawsuits if those third parties do one part of a claim, while someone else does the rest. If you think about this, and are aware of current patent lawsuits, this is a horrifying prospect. Think Lodsys on steroids, where individual consumers could be sued for patent infringement, merely for making use of what a service provider offers.

#Google Videos Brings Movie Rentals to #Android Phones

Google’s Videos app, the official video player for Android Market movie rentals, has been updated to work on Android smartphones. Previously, the app was only supported on Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), the Android tablet operating system.

The latest update is not compatible with all Android phones, however, only those running the two latest versions of Android for smartphones: Android 2.2 (Froyo) and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

The Battle Continues: #Samsung To Appeal #Apple ’s European Injunction

As expected, Samsung has decided to fight back against Apple’s preliminary injunction to ban sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 across the European Union (excluding the Netherlands). On August 25, the rumble continues, as Samsung will go to court in Dusseldorf, Germany to appeal the court’s decision, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Brian Kahin: The Age of Disablement (#patent, #Android, #Oracle)

Too many companies are now embracing legal weapons on large-scale -- and social capital is suffering. Times change. When hearings were held on software patents in 1994, Oracle was vehemently opposed to software patents:

Our engineers and patent counsel have advised me that it may be virtually impossible to develop a complicated software product today without infringing numerous broad existing patents.

That was in 1994. The number of software patents issued annually went up five-fold in the next 15 years to nearly 40,000/year. The number of lawsuits over software patents has gone up eight-fold. Having recently acquired Sun and its vast portfolio of patents, Oracle is suing Google over Android's implementation of Java. Yet when Google adopted Java for Android four years ago, Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz blogged about how delighted he was. Oracle recently deleted the posting. And Schwartz's entire blog...

ANALYSIS-Apple going after Google in tablet spats? | Reuters

The maker of the iPad and iPhone has sued three of the largest manufacturers of Google's Android-based devices -- Samsung, Motorola and HTC -- for multiple patent infringements across multiple countries, pointing out "slavish copying" of design and "look and feel."
While the lawsuits don't take direct aim at the operating software -- yet -- many of the features under contention are connected to and enhanced by it. Apple CEO Steve Jobs once referred to the software as being the soul of any device when he introduced the company's iOS 5 system in June.

Brian Marshall, an analyst with Gleacher & Co, said Apple is starting to flex its patent muscle with some early success but its real battle is with the Android software. 'Apple doesn't really care too much about the actual OEMs.'

On #Amazon CEO's curious 'airbag phone' #patent

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has personally attached his name to a most intriguing patent for a phone that has a half dozen tiny airbags.

The idea, as presented in the patent, is that if someone accidentally drops his or her phone, the always-on accelerometer will detect that it's falling too quickly and will deploy the miniature airbags to cushion a potential impact with the ground or floor.

That's the craziest of the ideas mentioned in the patent application. Other possibilities suggest puffing out streams of gas to slow down the fall, or using springs instead of airbags.

Will #Apple Play Hardball with #HTC in #Android #Patent Battle?

For now, the trouble in assessing litigation risks stems from an inability to determine how punitive Apple will actually be if it wins a final ruling, expected to be made by the U.S. International Trade Commission in December, that HTC infringed on two of its patents having to do with the recognition and storage of email addresses and phone numbers.

HTC lost a preliminary ruling on those patents on July 15.

Quite a few analysts believe Apple and HTC might come to a cross-licensing agreement that will cost HTC a fixed sum per handset. HTC has most likely already made provisions for such a settlement, these analysts say, and it would be unlikely to do excessive long-term damage to the company.

August 11, 2011

U.S. Judge Slaps Around Brazilian Court In #Zynga v. #Vostu | TechCrunch

So last month Vostu filed a response to Zynga’s lawsuit. That response also brings up another defense – that the lawsuit is retribution by Zynga over a failed attempt by Zynga to create a “strategic relationship” with Vostu. That should have been the end of the news cycle for a while – U.S. courts never really decide anything, so a year could go by before we heard about this case again. 
Everything above is standard lawsuit behavior. But Zynga’s next move was a good one. They filed another lawsuit, this time on Vostu’s home court – Brazil. They also sued Google for distributing the games (notably they did not sue Facebook, their golden goose). A Brazilian judge quickly granted Zynga’s request for an injunction. Vostu had to shut down its games in 48 hours.

#Motorola signals intent to begin #patent action against other #Android licensees

While Google has accused #Apple, #Microsoft and #Oracle of a conspiracy to bring down its Android platform using patent infringement claims, Google's own licensees are suing each other, with Motorola intimating its intent to join this trend.

Motorola is one of few companies to move exclusively to Google's Android platform; Samsung, LG, HTC and other leading mobile makers have retained relationships with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, or maintain their own mobile platform, like Samsung's Bada.

#Android trounces #Symbian, #iOS in Q2, study finds | The Digital Home - CNET News

According to the research firm, 46.8 million Android #smartphones were sold to end users worldwide in the second quarter, helping the platform secure 43.4 percent of the market. Last year, Android sales hit 10.7 million, giving the platform 17.2 percent ownership of the market.

Last year, it was Symbian that dominated the smartphone space with 25.4 million unit sales and 40.9 percent share. But in just 12 months, that platform's market share has dropped to 22.1 percent on 23.9 million unit sales during the last quarter, Gartner found. Apple's iOS platform came in third with 18.2 percent market share on 19.6 million units sold.

Gartner: #Smartphones boom, overall #mobile sales drop - Computerworld

Mobile phone sales floundered during the second quarter in the wake of the earthquake in #Japan. But smartphone sales continued to grow, as #Android extended its lead in the operating system race, according to market research company Gartner.

Overall sales of mobile devices to end users totaled 428.7 million units in the second quarter of 2011, a 16.5% increase compared to the same period in 2010, but a 4.4% decrease from the previous quarter, as the availability of components was affected by the earthquake in Japan.

#Software Is Just Math. Really.

First, Patel makes the common argument that the #patent system’s value comes from the way it encourages disclosure of useful technologies. This seems like an argument for software patents that could only be made by someone who’s never developed software (which Patel concedes he hasn’t). I’ve known and worked with a lot of computer programmers over the years in a lot of different parts of the software industry, and I’ve never met a computer programmer who finds patent filings a useful source of technical information.

#USPTO ’s Future Budget

Fee-Retention Unlikely: The #Senate and #House of Representatives have each passed #patent reform measures, and the two bills are remarkably similar. The arguably greatest difference between the two is that the Senate Bill (S. 23) includes a substantial guarantee that the USPTO will be able to actually spend the money that it collects in user-fees. The House Bill (H.R. 1249) does not include that guarantee. At this point, it appears most likely that the House Bill will be accepted in the Senate and that the PTO will be left without any budgetary protections from the congressional appropriations process.

Correcting Patents at the District Court

CBT's Patent No 6,587,550 covers a system of charging an 'advertising fee in return for allowing' e-mail from an authorized sender to pass through an ISP. Return Path's Bonded Sender program (developed by Cisco) is very similar, except that the program has no advertising fee but rather charges an annual license fee.

#Google Wastes No Time Putting #Games On #Google+: #AngryBirds, #Bejeweled, #Zynga On Board

For all the hype it has gotten and all the users it has gained, it’s easy to forget that Google+ has only been out for a month and a half. But they’re moving fast to ensure they don’t flop again in the social space. And today brings the biggest “next step” yet: Games.

Gaming has obviously been a huge part of the success of Facebook over the years. It has been so popular, in fact, that one company, Zynga, has become a major player in the gaming space, and will soon go public as a result. And guess who is on board with Google+ Games too? Yep. Zynga.

The #patent system isn’t broken — we are

There is a fundamental problem with patents in the United States.

It is us.

By that I mean all of us: the companies and people who directly interact with the patent system, the media that reports on those interactions, the analysts and experts who inform the media, and finally the large, active, and vocal readership that we try and service with our reporting. As a group, we have accepted and let lie the lazy conventional wisdom that the patent system is broken beyond repair, a relic of a previous time that has been obsoleted by the rapid pace of technical innovation, particularly in software, and that it should perhaps be scrapped altogether.

#Google Tells #ITC Judge: #Microsoft Revealed Our Secret #Android Source Code

Google has asked a judge at the International Trade Commission to sanction Microsoft, saying that the company revealed “highly confidential source code” to an expert witness in violation of the court’s rules. The expert accessed the source code as part of Microsoft’s ITC case against Motorola, which alleges that some Android-powered Motorola phones violate Microsoft patents.

Microsoft’s ITC case against Motorola is one of several “proxy battles” against Android-powered phones. Microsoft wants to use patents to collect royalties on every Android-powered handset, and has reached settlements in some cases, including with HTC. But Motorola is fighting back hard, and launched its own ITC counter-suit not long after Microsoft kicked off the fight. Both ITC cases are still pending

#AngryBirds Maker Seeks $1.2B Valuation

#Rovio Entertainment Oy, the Finnish creator of the “Angry Birds” #mobile -phone game, is in talks to receive funding that would value the company at about $1.2 billion, two people with knowledge of the discussions said.

#Apple Granted Key #IPhone Patents

The patent for the integrated touchscreen, which Apple originally filed in September 2009, describes a way to stack touch-sensitive circuits to the pixels of an LCD display, making phones that are 'thinner, brighter and require less power.' This could make it difficult for other companies, who came out with their own thin, bright smartphones in later years, to claim Apple stole their patents, since Apple has had its own patent for the technology pending for nearly two years.

Meanwhile, Apple's Steve Jobs and Senior Vice President Scott Forstall filed for the voice mail patent on June 28, 2007, just one day before the first iPhone launched. The patent details Apple's visual voice mail system, including the option to pick a voice mail message from a list and control its playback.

The voicemail manager system is part of several lawsuits that have been settled in recent years. Klausner Technologies sued not only Apple, but AT&T and Verizon over the patent, which covers selectively listening to voice mails. Apple, AT&T and Verizon all later settled with Klausner, and the company's patents are now listed in the newly granted patent's references section.

Blame #Congress, Not #Apple, for Patent Woes

Apple is mixed up in all kinds of patent issues. As a result, the company has been accused of unfairly trying to kill Google’s #Android platform, and of being a “patent troll.”

But such criticism is misplaced. First, the accusations are false. Second, the real blame should be reserved for the US Congress, which has the power to fix our broken patent system, but year after year fails to do so.

#Motorola Confirms It was Sued By #Apple in #Germany

Motorola Mobility confirmed a report from yesterday that Apple has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against it in Germany.

#Apple targets #Motorola Xoom in patent battle

Apple’s legal complaint against #Samsung, which resulted in the Korean company’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 being hit with a Europe-wide injunction, also mentions a legal complaint against Motorola over its Xoom tablet.

The iPad maker has also made a complaint about JAY-tech, a German manufacturer, according to intellectual property analyst Florian Muller. JAY-tech’s tablet, though smaller than the iPad at 7-inches, looks very similar to Apple’s device.

Intellectual property: #Patents against prosperity

This is apparently a patent on streaming music over the internet. Naturally, you are familiar with #PacketVideo 's popular music streaming service. Oh, you're not? I guess that's because they don't offer one. So, #Spotify is trying to make money offering a service that will make consumers happy. (I'm using it right now. I think it's terrific.) PacketVideo is trying to make money doing what? Shaking down Spotify?

Here's where Mr Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures comes in. Intellectual Ventures owns a huge portfolio of patents. Quite possibly they also have some sort of patent that covers streaming music over the internet. Intellectual Ventures makes money through a sort of protection racket that helps Spotify defend themselves against companies like PacketVideo. For a considerable fee, a company can access Intellectual Venture's storehouse of patents and use them defensively against companies claiming patent infringement.

#Patent Owner With Ties To #IntellectualVentures Sues 100+ #Media Companies

Although this news is fairly old at this point, the Intellectual Ventures connection to Mission Abstract Data’s lawsuit against 116 media companies seems to have gone relatively unreported until last week. That’s when Tom Ewing (who runs an IP consulting firm) left a comment on Joff Wild’s article about NPR’s unflattering portrial of the IP world and IV in particular. Specifically, Tom mentioned that “[a]n IV-connected outfit called Mission Abstract Data LLC sued 116 radio stations in March for patent infringement. One could imagine that IV may have long-term plans for making itself heard in the media.”

Mission Abstract’s patents have a quite a history, including being the subject of a license agreement between Concert Technology Corporation and IM Networks (formerly Sonicbox), despite neither company having an apparent connection to the patents. Concert recently announced its offering of covenants not to sue in ICAP’s upcoming auction. Hopefully, a copy of the license agreement requested from the USPTO will shed some more light on this transaction.

#Nokia Still Top #Smartphone Maker - #Apple, #Android

Gartner, which counts sales of mobile handsets to end users rather than units shipped by individual handset makers, said Nokia sold a total of 97.87 million smartphones in the second quarter compared with 111.47 million units a year earlier, and had a total market share of 22.8%, down from 30.3%. 
Apple Inc. was the world's fourth largest handset vendor and third largest smartphone vendor, with a 18.2% smartphone market share for its iOS operating system, up from 14.1% a year earlier. Smartphones running Google Inc.'s Android operating system more than doubled their market share to 43.4% from 17.2% last year. 

#Android Part of #FTC 's #Google Investigation: Report

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly looking into whether or not Google's forces Android OEMs to use its own search and location services.

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly expanding its investigation into Google's search business to include the company's Android mobile operating system and Web services.

Board of #Patent AppeaIs Backlog: Only Growth

Operating at this rate, it will take 3 1/2 years for the BPAI to dispose of the cases already in its docket. Thus, assuming that the BPAI takes appeals in-turn, an appeal docketed today will not be decided until the year 2015.

#Motorola ’s Sanjay Jha openly admits they plan to collect IP royalties from other #Android makers

As you have probably heard, a major patent war is raging in mobile industry, and competitors are ganging up on Android, exploiting Google’s weakness in intellectual property assets. Mostly by suing manufacturers of Android devices for various patent infringements. If Google loses in this fight, Android vendors might have to pay $60 per device in patent fees eventually. It’s no wonder many people are worried about Android right now.Amidst this Android patent insecurity,

Motorola recently started touting the strength of its IP portfolio. Nothing surprising here. Motorola is one of the oldest players, with one of the strongest patent portfolios in the industry. Heck, they invented the mobile phone and have been at it for decades. If other mobile industry players decide to go after Motorola’s Android devices, Moto has a lot of patents to retaliate with.

#Oracle v. #Google - A Potpourri of Filings and Orders

It's been a busy several days in terms of new filings and orders in the Oracle v. Google case. Most of these relate to various discovery requests, and there is no clear winner with each side scoring some points. Without further ado, let's dig in.
First up is a Google précis seeking to suppress the now famous Lindholm email. Not surprisingly, Oracle opposed this. And Judge Alsup's decision? He issued an order (271) [PDF] denying Google's request but also denying Oracle's request to compel Google to produce the document. Basically, Judge Alsup says it is up to the magistrate to settle this dispute. Let's call it a draw.

#Microsoft ’s biggest #mobile failure and success: #Android

Back in 2007, when #Apple released the first #iPhone, anyone could have told you it had the potential change the mobile business as we knew it. The intuitive, visual and app-centric platform was in stark contrast to the text-based, bland and bulky smart-phone systems from Nokia and Microsoft.

But Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in an interview with CNBC (embedded below), laughed at the iPhone, balking at its $500 price tag and writing it off as a business option because it didn’t have a keyboard.

“Right now we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year; right now, Apple’s selling zero phones a year. In six month’s they’ll have the most expensive phone by far ever in the marketplace. And, we’ll see,” Ballmer said with an amused grin. “Let’s see how the competition goes.”

#Apple, #Samsung, #Maidenform, #Louboutin: Intellectual Property

Apple also has patent-infringement claims against #Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. over its Xoom tablet computer. Motorola sued Apple first in Germany in April, and Apple responded by filing claims in May, said Christa Smith, a spokeswoman for Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility.

“Motorola has reviewed Apple’s claims and believe they have no merit,” Smith said. “We intend to vigorously defend Motorola’s own product designs.”

The companies also have dueling litigation in the U.S. -- Motorola Mobility filed the first complaint against Apple at the U.S. International Trade Commission in October, and Apple countered the same month. The commission has the authority to block imports into the U.S."

U.S. #Patent No. 7996916

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is poised to issue U.S. Patent No. 8,000,000, which is scheduled to happen on Tuesday, August 16, 2011. The USPTO notified Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. that it will receive U.S. Patent No. 8,000,000 via Issue Notification sent July 27, 2011. Kuddos to the commentor known as LB, who first discovered that Application No. 11/874,690 will yield U.S. Patent No. 8,000,000. See comment 8 to my article from yesterday titled U.S. Patent Office Closing in on Patent No. 8,000,000.

#HTC to buy stake of Beats Electronics for $309 million | Reuters

Smartphone maker HTC will buy a 51 percent stake of U.S. company Beats Electronics for $309 million, it said on Thursday, its latest move to fend off rising competition and enhance its branding.

#Rovio, #EA Urge Court To Let #Apple Join #Lodsys Patent Suit

Electronic Arts and Angry Birds developer Rovio have submitted a federal court filing insisting that Apple should be allowed to intervene in a patent-infringement lawsuit against developers of iPhone applications.

#Cisco and #Twitter join #Linux patent protection pool | ZDNet

In case you’ve been under a rock for the last decade, you might not know that today’s technology wars aren’t over who has the best prices, the most features, or the greatest quality. No, in 2011, instead of working on innovating, tech. giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle, are now wasting their resources on intellectual property (IP) lawsuits. So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that networking powerhouse Cisco and social networking force Twitter, is joining the Linux patent protection group, the Open Invention Network (OIN).

#Sony, #LG Electronics settle bitter patent dispute | Reuters

LG Electronics and Sony said on Thursday that they have resolved patent disputes between the two firms spanning smartphones, TVs and Blu-ray technology, with LG adding that they have signed a cross-licensing deal.

August 9, 2011

Must watch talk between Tim Lee and Julian Sanchez

Preliminary injunction granted by #German court: #Apple blocks #Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the entire EU except for the Netherlands

The leading German news agency, dpa, just reported that Apple has been granted a preliminary injunction against Samsung's #Android-based Galaxy Tab 10.1, barring distribution of the product in the entire European Union except for the Netherlands. I presume that Apple has a separate lawsuit underway in the Netherlands as well. 

The fate of #mobile phone brands

The violence with which new platforms have displaced incumbent mobile vendor fortunes continues to surprise.
  • Nokia’s Symbian platform has gone from 47% share to 16% in three years 
  • Microsoft’s phone platforms have gone from 12% to 1% 
  • Other platforms have gone from 21% to zero 
  • Although far less dramatic, RIM’s decline from 17% to 12% is causing acute pain and anxiety 
This while entrants have grown share in spectacular fashion:
  • Android from zero to 48% (A two year period) 
  • iOS from 2% to 19% 
  • Bada from zero to 4% (two quarters only) 

#InterDigital Inc., filed infringement claims with a U.S. trade panel last month to boost the price of its intellectual property portfolio

InterDigital Inc., owner of about 1,300 U.S. #mobile -phone #patents, filed infringement claims with a U.S. trade panel last month to boost the price of its intellectual property portfolio, Huawei Technologies Co. said. 

The King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company "may be using the commission's investigation process purely for the purpose of inflating its value as it prepares to sell its IP assets," Huawei said in an Aug. 5 letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington.
InterDigital said July 19 it was considering a sale of its patent portfolio. The company filed a complaint with the ITC on July 26 that accused Huawei, Nokia Oyj and ZTE Corp. of infringing seven patents related to so-called third-generation wireless technology.

Patent trolls and property-rights goblins: What Harry Potter can teach us about patents and property rights

But in all the discussion of "patent trolls", I haven't come across the accusation of stolen patents (or murder). The inventor and the “troll” mutually entered an agreement to transfer ownership. Transfer of property rights happens all the time. Someone may construct a shop, and then sell it to someone else, who then charges rent to a tennant. Such transfers of exclusive access to property are common. No one calls the new owner a “property troll” because they neither built nor occupy the shop. The new owner is simply an intermediary who is good at managing property, just as the original builder is good at financing and managing construction, and just as the tenants are good at running a shop. I'd guess that in Australia and America, this accounts for the vast majority of commercial property. 

Problem #Patent Trolls Inspire New #Legislation

The increase in patent litigation has moved #Congress to consider legislation to stem the practices of "patent trolls:" individuals and companies that use patents to license revenue from other companies or to file-patent infringement lawsuits -- rather than to build and sell products using the patented inventions. Several other changes to U.S. patent law are also under consideration.
Patent trolls' aims are not to further innovation in products or services. Instead, they hold a patent, much like a stock investment, until it can be licensed to another company that is developing a similar product using the patented technology. Or, if a competing product actually comes to market, patent trolls file infringement lawsuits in the hopes of cashing in on their patent investment. 
Patent trolls have been an especially difficult problem for companies to manage. They are reminiscent of cyber-squatters who bought up Internet domain names during the dot-com boom, and, because of patent trolls' behavior, patent-infringement legislation is growing at an incredible pace. In the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (where many of patent-infringement lawsuits are initiated), filings in 2010 increased by 20 percent compared to 2009. 

The Spoilsmen: How #Congress Corrupted #Patent Reform

When legislators first introduced a patent bill in 2005, they designed it to lower the costs of lawsuits burdening Internet and software companies. Lured by the big, juicy settlements to be won by suing huge companies for intellectual property theft, an entire industry had emerged around patent chasing alone. These so-called "patent trolls" don't produce any goods. Instead, they secure unclaimed patents for ideas in use and try to cash out in court.
Trolls file hundreds of lawsuits a year over "low quality" patents -- lobbyist legal jargon for the questionable or downright bizarre patents routinely granted by the understaffed Patent and Trademark Office. In recent years, patents have been approved for products including a wheeled flower pot (patent No. 7,908,942), the crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich (patent No. 6,004,596), a decorative box that can be placed in a casket (No. 7,908,942) and an accounting scheme that helps people dodge taxes by moving stock options around (No. 6,567,790). Once approved by the patent office, it's difficult and costly to overturn the patent in courts, which grant significant deference to the office's decisions. 

August 8, 2011

Politicians and Pundits Make Some Noise About Patent Reform

Politicians and Pundits Make Some Noise About Patent Reform:
"According to an article in The Hill that ran on August 2, soon after both houses of Congress had passed debt ceiling legislation, 'Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said Tuesday that the first jobs bill to move after the recess will be the patent reform legislation.' The bill is one of many expected to come before Congress under the mantle of job creation: 'Reid and bill sponsor Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said the bill, which speeds patent applications, is expected to create 200,000 jobs.'"

#Google Attacks #Oracle ‘720 Patent

via Foss:
As Oracle’s action in the Northern District of California for infringement by Google of seven Java platform patents continues apace, the reexamination at the PTO of those patents grinds on as well.  Oracle’s U.S. Patent No. 7,426,720, for instance, stands rejected as being invalid over the prior art.  Oracle disputed that rejection in a paper filed in early July, and last Thursday, Google commented on Oracle’s filing.
Essentially, Google asserts (1) that the ‘720 patent claims were originally allowed as a result of Oracle’s adding the limitation of copy-on-write to the claims after a final rejection, and that Oracle relied on this copy-on-write limitation to distinguish the claims from the prior art of record, (2) that the copy-on-write technology central to alleged novelty of the ‘720 patent was present in most Unix operating systems as early as 1994, and was widely-known in the art at least as early as 1988, and (3) that Oracle’s filing in July admits that the Bach reference satisfies the copy-on-write limitation.
As always, it is difficult for an outsider to judge how a reexamination is proceeding.  Still, Google appears to be doing well, at least with respect to the ‘720 patent. 

If you want to see more jobs created – change #patent laws

I’m not talking about a new company that had an idea that someone beat us to. No sir. I’m talking about companies that have been doing business the same way for years that are getting hit by patent trolls . These aren’t operating companies that are trying to protect their business. These are companies that aggregate patents and raise capital for the sole purpose of suing companies and extorting money from them.
It’s bad for my little companies. It’s horrific for bigger companies. It’s so bad that  major tech companies are  buying big collections of patents not because they want to own the intellectual property but rather because they want the ability to respond to patent lawsuits with a lawsuit of their own. It’s like playing a game of thermo nuclear war. If all sides have “nuclear patents” they can respond to patent litigation with equal force . In other words, if you have enough “nuclear patents” no one will sue you for patent infringement because you have enough power to respond in kind. Its crazy and costing this country jobs.
Google just bid $900mm to buy a patent collection. Those patents ended up being sold for $4.5BILLION dollars .  That is money that for could have  gone to job creation.

Martin Fowler on Software #Patents

Everyone in the software field has seen a parade of patents which do nothing but try to claim rights on techniques that have already been in use for years, let alone developments that while new, are are still obvious to those of us with ordinary skills in programming.
Although this debasement is quite enough to ruin the integrity of software patents, there are some other debasements worth mentioning too. Patents were originally created with a limited time in mind - the 1623 law placed them at fourteen years. This, of course, at a period of time when change was much slower than it is now, let alone than it is in our field. Proper software patents should hold for a shorter period than that. 

Time To Really Deal With The Broken Software #Patent System

I’ve been railing against software patents for a number of years. I believe software patents are an invalid construct – software shouldn’t be able to patented.
For a while, I felt like I was shouting alone in the wilderness. While a bunch of software engineers I know thought software patents were bogus, I had trouble getting anyone else to speak out against software patents. But that has changed. In the last few month the issue of software patents – and the fundamental issues with them – have started to be front and center in the discussion about innovation.

The accidental revolution: How #Apple 's #iPhone transformed enterprise IT

There's a good article over at Fortune about how Apple's iPhone -- always intended as a consumer device -- opened the floodgates for Apple's invasion of the enterprise with mobile devices.
This topic was covered in a March Network World feature that detailed the almost immediate impact of the iPhone on enterprises. As Chris Hazelton, mobile and wireless research director for The 451 Group in Boston, said at the time, "The iPhone enabled Apple to enter a door into the enterprise. But that door has been opened by employees already using the device." 

4 reasons #Windows Phone 7 will beat iPhone and Android

#Microsoft doesn't tend to invest time and capital into market segments it can't dominate, which makes one wonder how it is still a distant fifth in the worldwide #smartphone market. According to IDC, Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will capture roughly 4% of the worldwide smartphone market by the end of 2011.
However, IDC predicts that once the next version of Windows Phone 7 arrives in products later this year, Microsoft will be on firmer footing. In fact, IDC is so bullish on the future of Windows smartphones that it predicts Microsoft will capture more than 20% of the market by 2015, moving ahead of iOS and behind only Android.

#Apple faces infringement lawsuit over fast booting #patent once owned by LG

Apple's facing yet another patent infringement lawsuit -- this time, in Florida, where a company called Operating Systems Solutions (OSS) is taking aim at OS X's fast booting operation. According to court documents, the plaintiff alleges that Cupertino's function (most prominently displayed on this year'sMacBook Air refresh) violates at least one protected claim, which details a four-step method for speedy booting, and involves files like config.sys and autoexec.bat (seriously). Interestingly enough, the patent in question was originally granted to LG Electronics, back in 2002, but is currently owned by the little-known OSS. 

#Apple Becomes Top #Smartphone Vendor For The First Time

In the rapidly growing smartphone market, where (almost) everyone’s a winner, Apple is currently the winningest of them all. According to research firm IDC, in the second quarter of 2011, Apple’s iPhone outsold all other brands for the first time.

Year-over-year, the smartphone market has shifted wildly and dramatically. Apple’s market share jumped from 13% to 19.1% to give it the top spot, but number-two Samsung actually grew by a far greater percentage, from 5.6% to 16.2%. 

August 7, 2011

Hargreaves Report: Patently Sensible Stuff

Hargreaves Report: Patently Sensible Stuff

Although that suggests the main focus of the report is on copyright, one of the most important recommendations of the report concerns software patents:
In Europe, in contrast to Japan and the US, there are restrictions laid down by the EPC on how far computer programs may be patented. Programs considered to make a “technical contribution” - such as controlling a robot, or making the internal operation of a computer more efficient - can be patented; general application programs - such as word processing software - cannot.
However, applications for patents on computer programs face differing interpretations of precisely where this boundary line lies on the part of the EPO and the UK IPO. The EPO, having started from a position similar to the UK, has in recent years become more open to awarding such patents than theIPO. Submissions to the Call for Evidence differed on the question of whether computer programs should be afforded patent protection, but many appealed for consistency between the IPO and theEPO.
This presents a dilemma for an evidence-based patent policy; the evidence points to significant benefits arising from European harmonisation (as discussed in Chapter 3), but also to the UK’s current position of denying or at least severely restricting patents to non-technical computer programs. In this case, the Review believes the balance of evidence lies in continuing to withhold patent recognition of non-technical computer programs as part of a sustained effort to deal with the growing and dangerous problem of thickets. The UK should seek to convince its European partners of the force of this case.

Samsung licenses patents from Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures

Samsung licenses patents from Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures:
Samsung Electronics has struck a long-term licensing deal with Intellectual Ventures, giving the South Korean electronics giant rights to the technology patents held by the Bellevue-based firm run by Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft chief technology officer.
No financial terms were disclosed as part of the announcement. The deal 'grants Samsung access to a broad and comprehensive IP portfolio under terms attractive to Samsung,' said Dr. Seungho Ahn, a Samsung Electronics senior vice president, in the news release.