Ruling claims Apple's non-SEP lawsuits amount to 'first shot fired'
In a judgement that has bewildered international patent and legal analysts, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has rejected Apple's complaint against Samsung that the latter was using FRAND-pledged standards-essential patents (SEPs) for bargaining leverage and as threat of litigation in order to strike unjust licensing deals. The Korean FTC has essentially said that suing or seeking product injunctions over SEPs is perfectly okay -- if your company is based in South Korea.
Makes patent trolling a violation of Unlawful Trade Practices Act
The Senate in the State of Oregon passed a bill on February 14 that adds a ban on patent trolling in accordance to Oregon's Unlawful Trade Practices Act. Senate Bill 1540 had overwhelming support in the Senate, with a 30-0 with no abstaining votes. The bill will now be passed to the House Judiciary Committee for review.
New ruling speaks towards weakness of IP address as a definite identification
In a ruling likely to complicate mass-piracy lawsuits, a judge in Washington state tossed out a lawsuit accusing eight "John Does" and four named individuals of illegally downloading the movie Elf-Man. The presiding judge has declared that an IP address alone isn't sufficient to identify a user, and lacks sufficient granularity of identity to sue the possessor for copyright infringement.
Claim to have received marketing materials by providing info
A trio of Boston area plaintiffs have filed suit against Apple in Massachusetts, claiming that they were forced to provide their home ZIP codes when making purchases at an Apple Store in Boston using credit cards. The men claim that under commonwealth law, it is illegal to compel customers to provider more personal information than is required by credit card issuers to verify the transaction -- apparently unaware that credit card companies use ZIP codes to verify transactions.
Police cite visible-monitor law
A California driver is reportedly set for one of the first legal skirmishes over the use of Google Glass while driving. After being pulled over for traveling 80mph in a 65mph zone on Interstate 15 near San Diego, Cecilia Abadie received a second citation for "driving with a monitor visible" due to the electronic eyewear.
Commission cites foreign-ownership rules
The Federal Communications Commission has reportedly sided with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), stalling Pandora's application to acquire a terrestrial radio station based in Rapid City, South Dakota. The commission is said to have notified the streaming music company of the decision, which cites foreign-ownership rules as a remaining hurdle, according to a Billboard report.
Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, others accused of conspiracy
What started out as an informal "gentlemen's agreement" between tech competitors to stop "poaching" each other's employees has turned into a major legal headache for a number of Silicon Valley firms, with class-action status re-affirmed on Tuesday with a denial of the defendant companies' permission to appeal request. Some 64,000 employees of the named firms can now proceed with a trial that charges the companies of conspiring to suppress wages and opportunities.
Cites previous experience, but had to hire anti-trust assistant
Michael Bromwich, a friend of Judge Denise Cote and her appointed antitrust monitor ordered to review changes to Apple's antitrust policies, reiterates in his latest legal brief in a war of words with Apple that the company has been "uncooperative" with regards to his extra-legal investigations and denying Apple's claim that he was conducting a "broad and amorphous inquisition" that had little to do with Apple's e-book business.
Call appointment of personal friend as antitrust monitor 'flatly unconstitutional'
In a new editorial that could have been written by Apple's legal team in a candid moment, the Wall Street Journal rakes Apple e-book trial judge over the coals for both recent and previous missteps, from "essentially [ruling] before hearing the evidence" to appointing a personal friend with no experience in antitrust issues (and requiring an $1,000-per-hour assistant) as an inquisitor who believes his job is to "investigate Apple all over again" in an unconstitutional manner.
New e-book version aimed at all employees; includes anti-trust, anti-corruption guidelines
Perhaps in response to the ongoing Department of Justice e-book case, Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell on Wednesday sent a company-wide email to employees - backed up by a video from CEO Tim Cook - that encouraged them to review the company's Business Conduct Policy, recently updated and now available in iBooks format. The policy is meant to govern interactions with "customers, business partners, government agencies and fellow employees."
Damages award now in the hands of the jury, time to decision unknown
Apple and Samsung are wrapping up the retrial of the vacated damages from the first omnibus smartphone patent trial from 2012. In closing arguments, Apple is arguing that Samsung cannot refute that it had improperly used iPhone related patents, and did so willingly, in its design process of more than a dozen devices. Samsung doesn't deny infringement, but believes that Apple is overstating how important the patents at stake actually are, and is asking far too much money to compensate for the unlicensed use.
Improper use of trial-obtained data claimed by Apple
According to Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal of Federal Court of the Northern District of California, Samsung and its law firm Quinn Emanuel should face sanctions for their reveal of Apple confidential data following the landmark smartphone patent trial between the pair in 2012. The court order, filed Friday, is a significant change from the previous opinion by the judge, in which he claimed that "an abundance of caution" was needed before calling for sanctions. Yet another hearing on the matter is scheduled for December 9, after the completion of the damages retrial on select devices from the first trial.
No laws broken, no action to be taken as foreign sales mount
The SEC investigation of Apple's foreign cash holdings and whether the company was dodging -- legally or otherwise -- any tax responsibility to the US has closed with the agency planning to take no further action on the matter. Following somewhat fiery hearings in Congress that some say used Apple as a scapegoat for the wider issues of US companies taking advantages of tax loopholes -- which Congress inserted into the tax code in the first place -- the agency appears to have found Apple doing nothing wrong within the boundaries of the current law.
Request to monitor e-mail escalated to threats of fines, jail time
Encrypted e-mail service Lavabit was pressured by the FBI to provide private SSL keys for all of its traffic, according to unsealed court documents that provide more details about the service's shutdown. The Texas e-mail provider's refusal to provide details about one specific account, believed to be that of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, forced the courts to threaten daily fines and possible imprisonment if it continued to disobey the FBI's order.
Aio Wireless using a different shade than T-Mobile
T-Mobile has launched a suit against AT&T's Aio Wireless brand, claiming that the company is violating a copyright on use of the color magenta, and is willfully trying to confuse and steal customers from T-Mobile. The lawsuit, filed on Friday, is seeking immediate cessation of the color use, and a rebranding of the store's graphical assets.
Ruling made in 3Taps versus Craigslist case launched in 2012
In what is likely to be a controversial ruling, Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern California District Court has ruled that changing IP addresses or using proxy servers to mask user identity and accessing public websites that a user has been prohibited from visiting is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in the US. The ruling was handed down to ad aggregator 3Taps, who was accused of republishing Craigslist ads, in violation of the partially eBay-owned marketplace's terms of service.
ITC decision, hearings on Samsung and DOJ e-book case
Tomorrow will mark a busy and important day on several legal fronts for Apple, as it awaits a much-watched International Trade Commission decision on its complaint against Samsung. In addition, two separate but important federal court hearings will be held on Friday; one related to another Apple-Samsung matter stemming from the first trial, and another where Apple will get to argue the deficiencies of the Department of Justice's proposed settlement over the e-book price-fixing case. Apple plans to appeal the DOJ verdict.
If granted, Samsung's request would delay the upcoming damages retrial
Yesterday, in the latest bout of gamesmanship between Apple and Samsung in Judge Lucy Koh's courtroom, Apple filed a motion opposing Samsung's request for an entirely new patent trial on the '381 "rubber-banding" patent. Samsung has already challenged the patent that the Korean company was found to be violating in the federal patent trial last year, but is filing for the new trial based on statements that Apple made defending the patent before the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) in a series of invalidation hearings.
Report says companies may have been close to a deal last February
A new report says that Apple and Samsung have continued to hold talks in the hopes of reaching legal settlements on their numerous complaints with each other, including high-level private meetings in Seoul late last year. Talks are ongoing, but there is no sign of an imminent settlement, unnamed sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. According to some redacted documents filed as part of one of the US ITC cases, the sticking point appears to be Samsung's push for a "universal" cross-licensing deal.
Inheritance of fraud from previous company heads caused lower sentences
Former bosses at Olympus have avoided going to prison over the $1.7 billion accounting fraud scandal. Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, a previous chairman at the camera company, and auditing officer Hideo Yamada received three year sentences that are suspended for five years, while executive vice president Hisashi Mori was handed sentence for two and a half years, suspended for three.
Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 to allow DRM circumvention
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has come under attack by a newly-proposed legislation. The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 seeks to legalize the unlocking of cellphones, as well as clarifying that the DMCA should only apply in cases where circumventing digital rights management or other copyright systems will aid in copyright infringement itself.
Small press had use 'ibooks' for imprint, never registered trademark
Of the many contentious and complex legal battles Apple has had to fight, some are easier to sort out than others. In a New York courtroom on Wednesday, Judge Denise Cote -- who is also handling the complicated battle between Apple and the Department of Justice over e-book pricing -- made short work of a trademark dispute between Apple and a small-press publisher of sci-fi and horror novels. At issue was Black Towers' line of "ibooks" it obtained in the purchase of a smaller rival, and Apple's "iBooks" trademark.
Initial ruling found Apple not guilty of infringement, likely to be upheld
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has once again delayed a full-panel ruling on Samsung's complaint that Apple violated patents related to the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. The preliminary ruling in September by a single judge held Apple blameless of any violation, with the full ITC judgement being the final word on the subject. The ruling is now expected on May 31, barring any further delays.
New act proposes patent trolls pay legal costs if suit lost
The second bill intended to quash "patent trolls" has been introduced by the sponsors of the original failed bill. Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) are sponsoring the SHIELD act of 2013, which intends to create a "loser pays" system where certain patent holders will be forced to pay the defendant's legal bills in entirety if the holder loses the suit. Debate on the bill may be held up by the possible upcoming Federal budget cuts, but the representatives believe it will come up for a hearing fairly soon.
Suit sets the table for an industry-wide discussion about cable practices
Cablevision Systems has filed an antitrust lawsuit with the US District Court in the Southern District of New York, accusing Viacom of mandating that it pay for more than a dozen poorly-viewed cable networks as a prerequisite to access more popular channels. The lawsuit could possibly affect the status quo between content owners and operators of selling bundles of cable channels, as opposed to an a la carte offering.
Both Apple and Microsoft claim Google not following FTC decree
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published submissions it received regarding the standards-essential patent abuse case against Google. Of note, both Apple and Microsoft claim that Google still has not retracted all of Motorola Mobile's complaints it inherited against the pair, despite the search engine saying it would -- as well as the agreement with the FTC mandating it would do so. Besides just the US refusal, Google is also defying the decree in German courts, specifically refusing to retract cases against Microsoft, despite the company being a "willing licensee" of the standards-essential patents at stake in the trials.
Broadcaster believes product violates licensing, copyright
After being blocked in its first attempt to legally enjoin Dish Network's Hopper DVR pre-trial, Fox Broadcasting has asked a federal judge to stop customers from "place shifting" video content to smartphones and computers with the new Hopper with Sling. The suit, filed in Los Angeles, demands Dish disable the "rebroadcasting" of all content from the set top box before a trial which has yet to be scheduled.
White House to respond to petition in near future
A petition demanding the legalization of phone unlocking has reached its threshold for a response from the White House. The 100,000-signature goal on We The People has been met with two days left to run, forcing the Obama administration to address the issue of unlocking being removed from the exceptions to the DMCA.
Governmental consumer advocacy groups brings suit
MacMagazine.com.br has reported that the Brazilian Institute of Politics and Law Software (IBDI) has sued Apple, claiming that the company has introduced "planned obsolescence" and implements unfair business practices in regards to the fourth-generation iPad. According to the suit, Apple could have implemented all of the features of the iPad 4 in the third-generation iPad, and willfully chose not to -- knowing that it could roll out the improvements piecemeal in a quickly-released fourth-generation iPad just seven months later.
Ruling requires police stations to provide accused more than phone
A recent ruling by an Alberta, Canada judge has set precedent with his pronouncement that police must provide an accused with Internet access in order to properly exercise right to counsel. Christoper McKay, 19, was accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, and told police he wanted a lawyer. He was told that there was a toll-free number to contact a lawyer, but was unable to find assistance, and later told the court that he assumed he had used his Hollywood-perpetuated "one phone call" and did not think directory assistance was a "viable search engine" to hire a lawyer.
Google not responsible for content of hosted advertisements
A landmark ruling in Australia's High Court has found that Google is not responsible for messages or content provided by paid advertisers served by the search engine. The finding ends a six-year legal fight between Google and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which accused Google of engaging in misleading and deceptive behavior regarding the content of paid advertisements.
Practice punishable by fines, imprisonment, for unlocking
Phone unlocking without carrier permission is now illegal in the United States. A 90-day transition period, permitting the practice after an exemption added to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was reversed in October, has now run out, something that now forces customers to either ask and potentially pay carriers for unlocking services, or to buy phones that have been unlocked beforehand.
Dunn, Beatty, Gollogly not guilty of financial misstatements
A Canadian court today acquitted three former executives from Nortel Networks on charges they had misstated Nortel's financial results from 2000 to 2004. Frank Dunn, Douglas Beatty, and Michael Gollogly -- Nortel's former chief executive, chief financial officer, and corporate controller -- were accused of misstating the company's earnings over the four year period and benefiting to the tune of 12.8 million Canadian dollars ($13 million) between them in bonuses. The men had faced up to 10 years in prison over the charges.
Mandatory viewing of anti-piracy video part of measures
Details on how Verizon will allegedly implement its "six-strikes" anti-piracy policy, set to roll out this year, have surfaced online. Warnings, bandwidth throttling, and obligatory viewings of an anti-piracy video will be applied to connections of alleged infringers, before their IP address will be passed over to the MPAA and RIAA, in order for legal action to take place.
East Carolina University claims trademark infringed by Cisco
Cisco is being sued for trademark infringement over one of its marketing campaigns. East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina has announced the start of legal proceedings in a federal court, over the use of the slogan 'Tomorrow Starts Here' in a Cisco campaign shown on television, print publications, augmented reality, and also online.
July Facebook post could net Netflix a civil claim
Netflix and its CEO Reed Hastings have been informed by the Securities and Exchange Commission that they could face a civil claim over a post a statement Hastings posted to Facebook over the summer. This past July, Hastings' Facebook page announced Netflix had surpassed a billion hours of user streaming for the month of June, the first time the service has done so in its history. That post, though, may have violated regulations regarding fair disclosure, the SEC has reportedly told Netflix.
Plaintiff open to 'settlement with an interesting number'
Carlos Bazan-Canabal, who says he is a partner in both of the firms that recently earned a $2.7 billion judgment against Internet giant Yahoo in a Mexican court, says that he and his partners would be willing to accept a legal settlement for less than the initial judgment. Bazan-Canabal is named as strategic planning director in both Worldwide Directories S.A. de C.V and Ideas Interactivas S.A. de C.V., and he says the two firms are prepared to listen if Yahoo makes them an offer. Bazan-Canabal says that "if we can reach a settlement with an interesting number, we would go for it."
Yahoo cites procedural errors, application of law
Sources within Yahoo say that the company has solid ground upon which to appeal a surprise $2.7 billion judgment handed down by a Mexican civil court last week. Details in the case remain murky even today, but sources familiar with Yahoo's plans indicate that the company believes the decision rests on shaky procedural ground and that there were multiple errors in the application of laws. Yahoo's appeal will likely be held by a panel of three judges in a superior court in Mexico City, though when that appeal may be filed is unclear.
Mexican court hands down non-final judgment
A Mexican court has handed down a non-final, $2.7 billion judgment against Yahoo over a suit related to a Yellow Pages-type listing service. The case involved an alleged breach of contract with Worldwide Directories S.A. de C.V. and Ideas Interactivas S.A. de C.V., and it was filed against both Yahoo's US branch and its Mexican branch. At present, the case is something of a mystery to media outlets, as Yahoo did not mention it in its most recent 10Q filing, which lists major ongoing litigation.
Deloitte, KPMG charged with missing obvious signs
The saga surrounding HP's multi-billion dollar Autonomy write-down took new turns and added new players today, with the announcement of a second shareholder lawsuit over the faltering computer giant's acquisition of the British software firm. The new suit names not only HP's board of directors, officers, and former executives, but also Deloitte and KPMG, two of the Big Four audit firms, as defendants. The suit alleges that the firms missed multiple red flags that should have alerted them to flaws in Autonomy's accounting.
HP rebuffs Lynch's request for details of accusations
The fallout from HP's $8.8 billion write-down on Autonomy continues apace, with former Autonomy chief Mike Lynch now requesting that HP provide more details on allegations that Autonomy engaged in improper accounting. Lynch has defended autonomy, claiming that the company's finances were "handled in accordance with applicable regulations and accounting practices," and states that he "utterly reject[s] all allegations of impropriety." HP, for its part, has challenged Lynch to submit to questioning under oath about Autonomy's finances.
Investor claims HP misled stockholders
An investor has filed a civil securities lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard, alleging that the computer giant misled stockholders with regard to its purchase of Autonomy. HP bought Autonomy last year, but just last week the company announced it would be taking an $8.8 billion write-down on the purchase, citing misleading statements and other improprieties in Autonomy's financials. Reuters reports that the civil suit is a class action lawsuit, and it was filed in a San Francisco court today. It is not yet confirmed, but the suit may name HP CEO Meg Whitman and former CEO Leo Apotheker as defendants.
Critical patents under dispute could see arbitration
Talks are underway between Apple and Google's Motorola Mobility to resolve disputes over critical smartphone technology patents, according to a court filing. Reports hold that the two companies have been exchanging proposals on binding arbitration that would bring a licensing agreement for standards-essential patents, one that could lead to a general settlement of all of their patent disputes worldwide. Analysts say that, depending on the size and scope of the agreement, the negotiations could result in greater protection for the many licensees of Google's Android platform.
Mexican iFone registered trade name four years before Apple
[Details of the case were severely misinterpreted by the original source, corrected version below] Apple has lost an injunction bid that would have allowed it to continue selling iPhone-branded products in Mexico. A court in Mexico City handed down a ruling last Thursday denying Apple's injunction request on the grounds that the iPhone brand is too phonetically similar to iFone, a brand belonging to a Mexican company that registered its name four years prior to Apple's filing for the iPhone brand mark. The decision stems from a legal action that Apple initially filed in 2009 requesting that the company cease using the iFone brand in order to head off the possibility of consumer confusion.
Rosetta Stone drops trademark infringement suit
Language-learning software maker Rosetta Stone has dropped its trademark infringement suit against Google, it was revealed today, with both companies agreeing to settle all claims and dismiss the suit. The development brings to an end a case originally filed in 2009, dismissed in 2010, and revived in federal court in April of this year. Rosetta Stone had argued that Google committed trademark infringement by selling Rosetta Stone's marks to third-party advertisers for use as search keywords.
Case will go back to California court for reconsideration
A US appeals court has overturned a preliminary injunction that placed a sales ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone. The case will now return to a California court for reconsideration. Apple initially won an injunction against the Galaxy Nexus in June of this year, but today's ruling found that Judge Lucy Koh's court had "abused its discretion" during its decision on the injunction.
Political video led to Google exec arrest
Google's Brazilian unit announced today that the company would be complying with a court order calling for Google to take down a YouTube video critical of a Brazilian mayoral candidate. The video had been the source of some conflict between the Brazilian court and the world's largest search engine, with the court ordering the arrest of a Google executive yesterday. Now, though, Reuters reports that Google will remove the video, though the company lamented it would not be afforded the opportunity to debate the free speech and expression implications of the controversy surrounding the order.
President of Brazil Operations arrested over political YouTube videos
Fabio Coelho, president of Google's Brazilian operations, was arrested today in São Paulo after the search giant failed to comply with a court order to take down a YouTube video. As the BBC reported, a Judge ordered Coelho's arrest yesterday, and Brazilian site G1 confirms that Federal Police took Coelho into custody today. Coelho will not remain under arrest, according to the police, but will be released upon signing a document in which he commits to obey a subpoena.
Seeks $880,514 for each infraction
Samsung has filed an injunction against LG, alleging that LG has continually and egregiously stolen Samsung's technologies in order to compete in the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) market space. Sources tell Yonhap News that Samsung seeks $880,514 in compensation for each case in which LG has used Samsung technologies or made public the confidential intellectual properties underlying those technologies. Samsung is currently the overwhelming leader in the OLED sector, claiming nearly 99 percent of the world's OLED market.
Suit seeks sales ban over Siri, other features
Motorola Mobility announced today that it had filed a new patent infringement suit against Apple at the US International Trade Commission. The suit, as Bloomberg details, alleges that Apple's Siri digital assistant feature, among other features, violates Motorola Mobility patents. The company, purchased by Google in May of this year, is seeking a ban on US imports of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers, essentially Apple's entire product line.