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.
Judge questions award, demands more information
US District Judge Richard Seeborg said he has "significant concerns" about a proposed legal settlement with Facebook accusing the social media site of violating the rights of its members through the "sponsored stories" feature. Facebook is slated to pay $20 million to lawyers and charities as part of the settlement. In an effort to convince the judge that the package is a good value for the plaintiffs, Facebook attorneys claim that the settlement payout plus changes to privacy settings represent $123 million in value to the suing class and Facebook users.
Samsung's own emails tell the tale, Apple claims
In the buildup to next week's trial between Apple and Samsung, Apple plans on letting Samsung's own words defeat it in court. An unredacted copy of Apple's court brief says that Samsung was willfully and blatantly violating Apple's design patents, and was fully aware of similarities between the Korean manufacturer's products, and the iPhone and iPad.
Samsung case against Apple in Australia set to collapse
Australian Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett has labeled the case brought before the court by Samsung against Apple over 3G patents as "ridiculous," reports Bloomberg. Samsung is countersuing Apple in Australia in response to Apple's assertions that Samsung has copied its hardware and software designs and implementations. According to Bennett, if the case was between any other two companies it would be immediately ordered to mediation.
New ruling removes textbook copy fees, video game music tax
The Supreme Court of Canada issued a sweeping set of rulings in the five copyright cases it heard last December, including a case covering iTunes store song sample length. The court has affirmed that "fair dealing" ("fair use" in the US) must be interpreted on the side of the user, and not on the side of copyright holders, except in the case of extreme abuse of the fair dealing statute. In the same session, the court ruled that supplemental taxes applied on downloadable video games weren't a legal "communications" tariff.
Retailers receiving letters instructing them to stop sales
Apple's lawyers have reportedly begun to contact Galaxy Tab 10.1 vendors and point to the recent injunction on the device, in an apparent effort to get them to stop selling the enjoined tablet. Letters related to the tablet injunction were mailed on June 28, and letters focusing on the Galaxy Nexus were sent on July 3, before the smartphone injunction was stayed. The order demands, at a minimum, cessation of Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales, but also requests that demonstrably similar products be discontinued as well.
Samsung asking 700 questions, Apple 49
Late Wednesday afternoon, Apple and Samsung filed their prospective juror screening questions for their US District Court patent dispute scheduled for the end of this month. People selected from the jury pool to serve on the Apple and Samsung jury will have to answer 700 questions put forth by Samsung, and 49 by Apple, unless Judge Lucy Koh orders some narrowing. Samsung's questionnaire spans 40 pages, and Apple's covers six. The discrepancy in the size of the questionnaires may be an attempt by Samsung to bewilder potential jurors who lack strong technical abilities, or could be a simple attempt to delay the trial further -- behavior the company has already been punished for engaging in.
HTML to XML conversion method covered by 1999 patent
Non-practicing entity (colloquially known as a "patent troll," or company that derives all or most of its income off of patents it does not actually utilize) EMG has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Google in the notoriously NPE-friendly District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in the Tyler Division. The lawsuit accuses Google of infringing EMG's 1999-dated patent on a simplified navigation system on smartphones and tablets. The patent seeks unspecified monetary damages, and a preliminary plus permanent injunction to prevent Google from distributing its Chrome Mobile browser in the United States.
Questionable legality of warrants, evidence cited for delay
The pending extradition hearing for MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom has been postponed to next year. The hearing, which was originally scheduled to take place on August 6 was delayed by a New Zealand judge until March 2013. Two pending judicial reviews on the search warrants used by police, and the questionable legality of handoff to evidence to the FBI and subsequent transfer to the United States forced the delay in proceedings.
Judge deems Galaxy Tab to be 'not as cool' as Apple designs
Samsung has won against Apple in a UK intellectual property case over the design of the Galaxy Tab. Judge Colin Birss of the High Court of Justice has ruled that consumers are unlikely to confuse the Galaxy Tab and the iPad, going so far as to call former "not as cool" as Apple's design.
Over $2.9 million claimed for document production alone
Accompanying documentation filed with Judge William Alsup on Thursday night, Google head lawyer Robert Van Nest argued that Oracle must pay the search engine giant $4 million to cover the costs generated during this year's Java court battle. A public list of itemized expenses was not made available, but the bill included $2.9 million for organization of copied court-necessary documents, $143,341 for transcript services, and $986,978 for compensation of the court-appointed experts. Oracle is expected to contest the fees.
Android implementation of multi-touch patent at stake
The Mannheim courts in Germany have set the date for the legal showdown between Apple, Samsung, and Motorola. After hearing arguments today from lawyers for each party, the date has been set for Apple versus Motorola on August 31, and Apple versus Samsung on September 21. Both suits regard a touchscreen function known as multi-touch, detailing what happens when multiple fingers are pressed simultaneously to different parts of the screen. Apple asserts that both Motorola and Samsung are violating its patents.
Sales restart dependent on Apple response, repeat hearing
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has temporarily suspended the ban on the Galaxy Nexus sales in the US. Sales of the Android 4.0 reference phone will continue until Apple responds to the appeals court and a hearing determines if the ban should be in effect until the end of the patent infringement trial scheduled for July 26. The same appeals court is continuing the ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Ziaoi Bot predates Apple's patents, but not Siri's predecessor
In what could turn out to be another copycat Chinese patent suit inspired by Apple's settlement with Proview, Shanghai-based voice activation developer Zhizhen Network Technology has filed suit against Apple for allegedly infringing a patent related to an invention called Ziaoi Bot, "a type of instant messaging chat bot system." Zhizhen filed for the patent on Ziaoi Bot in China during August 2004, and was awarded the patent in February 2006. Apple allegedly failed to respond to Zhizhen's overtures to resolve the dispute through mediation in May, and the company filed suit in a Shanghai court on June 21.
Oracle, UsedSoft case returns to German Federal Court
Selling used software licenses is legal, according to the European Union Court of Justice. In a judgment published today, a preliminary ruling in a case between Oracle and UsedSoft saw the highest court in Europe side with the German reseller, declaring that software developers and distributors cannot step in and prevent license resale after the initial purchase from them.
HTC devices accused of willfully violating Apple's patents
Despite Apple's harshly-phrased claim that HTC not only continues to infringe a patent in violation of US International Trade Commission (ITC) but is lying about it, the agency denied the emergency request to have the HTC One X and EVO 3G LTE (among others) stopped at the border. The Taiwan-manufactured phones were allowed into the US following injunction after HTC assured Customs and Border Protection that the Apple patent had been engineered around, and the phones were no longer infringing on any patents.
Galaxy Nexus phone appeal in progress
US District Court Judge Lucy Koh rejected Samsung's attempt to lift the injunction against US sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 pending appeal. In the last week, the judge has blocked the sale of the tablet, similarly enjoined the Galaxy Nexus, cleared Apple of infringing a Samsing patent on a standards-essential UTMS technology, and denied Samsung's summary judgement motions summary judgement motions on all 12 of Apple's claims of infringement. Samsung only has (now) six claims left against Apple; Apple has (for now) 12 against Samsung. The injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is primarily based on the "unified search," or Siri patent.
Sales ban effective after Apple pays $2.6 million bond
Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh has issued an injunction against Samsung to stop it from selling the the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the United States. The judge's order becomes effective once Apple posts a $2.6 million bond to protect Samsung against damages if the injunction is overturned.
Further reductions likely given Judge-ordered trial restrictions
[Update] Judge Koh suddenly opted to suspend sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States. Details to follow.
There are some new developments in the Apple versus Samsung "data tapping" patent battle. In a surprise move, Northern District of California Federal Appeals Court Judge Lucy Koh granted a preliminary sales injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet late today. Additionally, Apple has dropped an iPhone user interface design patent claim to help expedite the patent trial, which is scheduled for July 30.
Competitors accused of suing over standards patents
Speaking to attendees at All Things D's D10 conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook answered several questions regarding the ongoing patent wars that the company has become involved in. When asked if the legal battles are a "problem for innovation," the executive bluntly stated "Well it is a pain in the ass." He likened the situation to Apple painting a piece of art and then someone else coming along and signing their own name to it.
Bars deep packet inspection, wiretapping data
The government of the Netherlands has become the first European country to pass a net neutrality law. The legal precedent prevents internet service providers from traffic management except in the cases of congestion and network security, and also includes restrictions on ISPs performing deep packet inspection and other similar wiretapping techniques.