Amicus curae brief claims verdict will stifle innovation, hurt consumer choice
Silicon Valley powerhouses are giving opinions on the ongoing Apple versus Samsung court battles. In an amicus curae filing, Dell, Ebay, Facebook, Google, and HP are asking the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals that Samsung turning over full profits of some phones found in violation of Apple patents would set a dangerous trend, and threaten the entire industry with waves of patent infringement lawsuits which would stifle innovation, and limit choices for consumers.
New offer exceeded judge's recommendation at last settlement refusal
Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has accepted a revised settlement offer from the two parties in the case, which would end the Silicon Valley worker poaching class-action suit. The $415 million counter-offer is $90 million more than the older deal, and exceeds what the judge asked for to approve the deal. Focusing dissent on what attorneys and a objector asked for individually, Judge Koh has set the next hearing for July 9, which should end the case once and for all.
Company is one of many under investigation for aggressive-but-legal tax avoidance
Apple paid more than twice as much in taxes in Australia for 2014 as it did in 2013, but still managed to grow profits in the country -- despite increasing scrutiny about its legal but aggressive tax avoidance techniques. According to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Apple paid AU$80.4 million in taxes for 2014 ($64 million US) compared to just AU$36.4 million (roughly $32 million US at the time) in 2013.
Companies could potentially pull older music to avoid paying
A new lawsuit has targeted Google, Rdio, Sony, and Apple (including Beats Music) over the music royalties associated with pre-1972 recordings, new reports say. Zenbu Magazines, which owns copyrights on many pre-1972 songs, says that the companies have been making money streaming recordings without paying their copyright holders. Within US copyright law, compositions have been protected since 1831, but sound recordings were only added in 1972, meaning that while owners of pre-1972 compositions have been paid for public performances, people holding equally-aged recording rights typically haven't.
Negotiations fruitless for two years, telecom firm says
In response to an Apple lawsuit over LTE patents, Ericsson has filed one of its own, according to Reuters. The Swedish firm notes that a license agreement between the companies has expired for some time, and that two years of negotiations have yielded no results. It's asking the court to determine whether a tendered license offer is fair.
Sensor supplier gave Apple 'sweetheart deal' that hurt profits, suit charges
A new lawsuit filed against gyroscope and accelerometer supplier for Apple, InvenSense, accuses the company of failing to tell investors about the concessions it made to secure a recent deal. InvenSense parts are used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Executives should have warned investors, the suit alleges, that Apple was given a "sweetheart deal" that would hurt profits. "Instead of revealing the true condition of the company and its prospects, defendants hid those facts from investors and chose to issue strong guidance and paint a picture of a bright future with a new mega-customer," the complaint reads. More seriously, the suit charges that investors were led to buy stock at inflated prices, while insiders sold off $5.3 million in shares.
Company trying to push iCloud subscriptions, plaintiffs suggest
A new lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on Tuesday, accuses Apple of failing to inform people how much space iOS 8 will consume on a device, while simultaneously prompting them to buy online storage via iCloud. Specifically the suit claims that iOS 8 can occupy as much as 23.1 percent of device memory, but that not many people realize this when making a purchase. The plaintiffs are seeking damages, as well as changes by Apple to comply with state law. The case is being pursued as a class action.
Spanish Uber service temporarily halted while company fights taxi drivers association in court
Uber is closing its Uberpop ride-sharing service in Spain, following a court request. The service is temporarily suspended in the country, as Uber is planning to appeal a court ruling granting an injunction requested by the Association Madrileña Del Taxi, the taxi drivers association of Madrid, as well as working with politicians to make the service legal in the country.
Some material already in hands of Competition Bureau
The Federal Court of Canada has agreed to order Apple's Canadian division to turn over documents to the Competition Bureau, Reuters reports. Apple has already handed over some requested documents, but may not be handing over as much as the Bureau wants or needs. The Chief Justice for the court, Paul Crampton, is due to sign the order later today.
Decision reached in less than 24 hours
The jury for the iPod/iTunes DRM lawsuit has ruled that Apple didn't violate antitrust laws by blocking music from rival storefronts in iTunes software updates, Reuters reports. The verdict was rendered in less than a day, following closing arguments on Monday. Had the jury swung in favor of the plaintiffs, the company could have owed some $350 million in penalties.
Claims Apple was taking on 'predatory pricing' by Amazon
At least one, and possibly two, of the three judges overseeing the appeal of the e-book antitrust verdict against Apple, have expressed strong doubt about the entire basis of the case against the iPhone maker - with Dennis Jacobs, was "openly hostile to the [US] government's case" on the first day of proceedings, says Agence France-Presse. Apple is accused of conspiring with book publishers to artificially inflate the costs of e-books, with a particular aim at undermining Amazon. Jacobs today argued, however that Apple was a "new entrant" into an established e-book world, "breaking the hold of a market by a monopolist who is maintaining its hold by what is arguably predatory pricing."
Carriers may have been discouraged from selling rival phones
More details have emerged on the Canadian Competition Bureau's investigation into Apple's carrier deals, Reuters reports. Most important may be the Bureau's specific goals, which are to learn if Apple has been discouraging carriers from offering discounts or other incentives for competing phones, or even offering those phones at all. "The contractual obligations [with the carriers] may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services," reads an affidavit from Vincent Millette, the head of the Bureau's probe.
Faulty soldering once again blamed
A second class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple over the 2011 MacBook Pro. The new case originates in Canada, specifically from a Montreal-based lawfirm, Lex Group Attorneys. Like the original US case, the new suit states that Apple shipped MacBooks with bad soldering of an AMD graphics chip to the logic board, and that this led to a variety of graphics problems. To get it fixed, some customers were forced to pay out-of-warranty repair costs that could scale up to $600, despite Apple apparently being at fault.
Complaints say contracts may have been anti-competitive
The Canadian government's Competition Bureau is investigating complaints that Apple used anti-competitive clauses in the contracts it signed with phone carriers, Reuters reports. Although the Bureau stresses that it has yet to uncover any wrongdoing, it has only this week asked for a court order that would force Apple to turn over necessary documents. The organization hasn't said if it's pursuing similar orders for the carriers, which include Bell, Rogers, and Telus.
Attorneys search for new lead plaintiff in class action
As anticipated, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has disqualified the final plaintiff in the iPod DRM lawsuit, Marianna Rosen. The Associated Press writes that Rogers sided with Apple, which pointed out that iPods bought by Rosen were either from outside the eligible time window or on a credit card associated with her husband's business. The judge says she is "troubled" by "the failure of plaintiffs' counsel themselves to investigate sufficiently," but notes that the case will continue if another lead plaintiff can be found, since she has a duty to the "millions of absent class members."
Sentencing takes place over three years after guilty plea
Former Apple supply manager Paul Devine has been sentenced to a year in prison -- and repaying $4.5 million -- for accepting kickbacks, says the Associated Press. Devine actually pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering in 2011, but wasn't handed a sentence by a San Jose federal court until last week. No explanation for the delay has been given.
Purchase dates may still put whole case at risk
Following the revelation that the two plaintiffs in the ongoing iPod DRM lawsuit may have bought their iPods too late or too early, one of them has withdrawn, reports the New York Times. Melanie Tucker bought one iPod in 2005, and an iPod touch in 2010. The suit only addresses iPods bought between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009.
Lawyers say $930M award overblown compared to actual damages
The lower court -- and the jury -- "made a mistake" when it said that Samsung infringed design and trade dress patents with its smartphones, lawyers for the Galaxy maker argued during the first day of appealing Apple's $930 million trial win. One attorney, Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, noted that that the targeted Samsung phones didn't carry Apple logos, didn't have Home buttons similar to an iPhone, and also had speaker slots in different locations than Apple products. "Apple was awarded Samsung's total profits on those phones, which was absurd," she added, though Samsung's claims on "total profits" from the phones is considered highly suspect.
Both sides call on experts, supporters
Samsung's appeal of a 2013 US patent trial verdict - which, after more legal wrangling, finally awarded Apple $930 million -- is going to court today. Lawyers for Samsung are arguing that those damages were excessive, and that most or all of them should be tossed out, contrary to the jury's carefully-considered determination. A brief has been filed by 27 law professors in support of the company's position.
Operations head played a 'hands-on' role in sapphire deal
A committee of bondholders and unsecured creditors for GT Advanced have asked for Apple's senior VP of Operations, Jeff Williams, to be made available for a "short, half-day deposition," according to the Wall Street Journal. The request was made through a Monday filing with the US Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire. The committee states that "it is clear that Williams played an important, substantial and hands-on role in managing the relationship between GTAT and Apple in connection with the matters that are directly relevant to the Apple settlement motion."
Exec admits tactics pushed prices up
In a new interview with Fortune, Apple's senior VP for Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue defends his company and his own actions as they relate to the ongoing e-book price-fixing scandal. Apple is hoping to overturn a bench-trial verdict that found it guilty of conspiring with publishers to drive up prices; if it fails to win the appeal, the company will owe $450 million in damages and legal fees. Cue insists that the company is continuing to fight the verdict on principle. "We feel we have to fight for the truth," he says.
Emails show Apple CEO wanted to keep other services off iPod
Evidence from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is likely to be central in an antitrust case against the company set to go to trial tomorrow, notes the New York Times. The plaintiffs charge that Apple's now-defunct DRM restrictions on iPods -- which limited people from copying purchased tracks to unauthorized devices, but had the side effect of limiting options music bought on the iTunes Store, obtained elsewhere in a DRM-free format, or ripped from a CD -- represented anti-competitive behavior, in turn leading to higher prices. Jobs recorded a video deposition prior to his death in 2011, which the plaintiffs' lawyers intend to use, alongside emails written by the CEO.
Software company turns to court over unfulfilled Freedom of Information Act request
Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday, seeking information relating to the agency's probe into the software giant's tax records. The suit, filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, accuses the IRS of "unlawfully" withholding information that was requested through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Settlement should cover other companies such as Time Warner, Suddenlink
Cisco is said to be preparing to pay a $188 million pre-tax charge to settle a lawsuit brought against it by Rockstar, the Apple-led patent holding firm born out of the remains of Nortel Networks. The company recent mentioned a $188 million payout in an earnings call. The connection to the settlement can be made, as Cisco has asked the judge in the lawsuit to stay litigation because it has signed a "term sheet" with Rockstar.
Second pager-related suit in two months
Apple has been ordered to pay a Texas firm, Mobile Telecommunications Technologies, $23.6 million for illegally using pager patents in its products. A federal jury in Marshall, Texas has ruled that six patents owned by MTel are still valid, and were infringed by products including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and the AirPort router line. The patents were originally issued in the mid- to late-1990s, and are either recently expired or set to expire soon.
Where to Watch offers streaming sites, online episode purchases as viewing alternatives
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) introduced a new tool last week that aims to make it easier to sift through the streaming services on the Internet find legal channels to view hit television shows and movies. Where to Watch is referred to as a "one-stop shop" for connecting film and television fans to their desired entertainment, directing them to numerous legal viewing platforms with only a few clicks.
Computer builder 'caught off guard,' believes fallout will affect employees, community
Custom computer builder Velocity Micro is stuck in a legal battle between two computing powerhouses after Samsung lumped the company in with Nvidia over a patent dispute. The Virginia-based company issued an open letter today admitting it is confused by the whole situation, adding that it intends to fight the suit that will drain company resources.
Company didn't warn people about obstructions
Apple will have to face a lawsuit charging that it didn't warn people they would lose text messages if they switched away from the iPhone, US District Judge Lucy Koh has ordered. The plaintiff in the case, Adrienne Moore, says that iOS' poor handling of text messages interfered with her contract with Verizon, which she kept after switching from an iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S5 in April. Koh argues that Moore has the right to show that Apple disrupted the contract and broke California's unfair competition law, and that she doesn't have to claim an "absolute right to receive every text message." The judge has, however, dismissed some claims linked to another state consumer protection law.
Nationwide preliminary injunction granted, company exploring further options for survival
Aereo was dealt another blow in its battle to survive today thanks to a New York court. US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of broadcasters in a 17-page decision, putting a nationwide preliminary injunction in place against the startup. As a result, Aereo can no longer operate its "Watch Now" system that allowed television programs to be rebroadcasted over the Internet.
Man arrested in April for violating weapons laws convicted for printing two firearms
In what could be the first conviction for making a firearm with a desktop 3D printer, a former Japanese college employee was sentenced to almost two years in jail earlier this week after being arrested earlier this year. The 28-year-old man was convicted for printing at least two functional and lethal firearms, capable of firing bullets -- in violation of Japan's strict gun laws.
Judge dismisses appeal over High Court ruling, assets won't be made public
In the legal battle between file-sharing entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and Hollywood movie studios, a judge has dismissed an appeal that could have saved the Megaupload founder from detailing his current financial assets. The dismissal upholds a July decision, forcing Dotcom to turn over an affidavit for his worldwide assets to the Hollywood studios suing him for copyright infringement in a civil suit.
Claims decision contradicts statutes, Supreme Court precedent
Patent holding firm VirnetX has filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, requesting a rehearing of a September decision tossing a $368.2 million verdict against Apple, and asking it to reinstate a District Court's damages award in full. In a press release, VirnetX says the decision was "contrary to the patent statute and Supreme Court precedent." It also asserts that it should receive damage payments on the basis that the District Court properly construed the claim term "secure communication link."
Google asks Supreme Court to weigh in over Java API use in Android
The battle between Google and Oracle could be heating up again in the near future, as the search giant has petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the case for a final ruling. Previously, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal District overturned a lower court ruling that found Google didn't infringe upon Oracle copyright by using pieces of open-source Java APIs in Android without a license.
FTC settlement involves providing refunds to customers affected by premium SMS subscriptions
AT&T has been hit with a $105 million fine for allowing "premium" SMS subscriptions and other charges to be applied to customer accounts, a practice known as "cramming." The carrier has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the charges, with the majority of the settlement devoted to paying back affected customers.
Legislative proposals help, hinder home rental services in San Francisco
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors have voted to legalize residential room rental services. The vote on the "AirBnB law" passed by seven votes to four, establishes a legal framework to short term rental services, and while it is considered a positive act for participants in such schemes, the motion also introduces a number of new restrictions to abide by.
Search engine has scrubbed 'tens of thousands' of links to stolen photos
Google has responded to the letter threatening legal action should Google not purge the Internet of stolen, and sometimes intimate, photos of celebrities. The search engine has denied that it is intentionally profiting on the scandal, and instead has acted quickly and appropriately to takedown requests by removing "tens of thousands" of images from Google search results.
Lawyer claims Google 'despicable' for capitalizing on celeb misfortune
Google is being threatened with a lawsuit that "could well exceed" $100 million, with over a dozen celebrities complaining that the search engine giant failed to remove stolen private images from the Internet. A letter from attorney Marty Singer claims that Google is showing "despicable, reprehensible conduct" for "failing to act expeditiously and responsibly to remove the images" that were pilfered from various celebrity online photo storage accounts, including Apple's iCloud service.
Nearly 6,000 songs uploaded by employees under company instruction, without licenses
Another blow was dealt to Grooveshark today, as a New York judge found that its parent company infringed upon copyright by uploading 5,977 songs. Identified by its parent company Escape Media Group, Grooveshark employees -- including founders Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg -- were found to have participated in illegal uploads, some under instruction by the company.
Bribery of Russian prosecutorial office at heart of matter
Hewlett Packard has pleaded guilty to international bribery charges, as part of a plea arrangement it had previously negotiated. As part of the deal. the company's Russian subsidiary has admitted to charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a transaction arranged with Russia's top prosecutorial office. The company will pay an additional $58.7 million to settle the charges on top of the $108 million it agreed to pay in April.
Judge sets pre-trial conferences, trial commencement
The full Silicon Valley anti-poaching trial involving Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe has been assigned a start date. In a court filing today, the trial will begin on April 9, 2015, with a case management conference set for November 19 of this year. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for December 19, with the judge demanding information on negotiations of a new settlement between the tech giants and the plaintiff class.
Data wrapped up in copyright infringement, legal battle since seizure in 2012
Data from the machines seized in 2012 as part of a warrant search on Kim Dotcom's mansion in New Zealand and the home of Bram van der Kolk will be returned soon, on the order of the New Zealand Court of Appeals. It was announced this week that the court has ordered the police to release clones of the devices and computer seized to Dotcom and his second-in-command at Megaupload. It was ordered that the data be released immediately, but could also be released in pieces if it could speed up the delivery.
Suit claims that Apple was damaged in the processes of price fixing with publishers
It seems that the legal issues involving Apple colluding with publishers to allegedly fix the prices on e-books are taking another turn, as an Apple shareholder has filed a lawsuit in California against CEO Tim Cook and several Apple executives and directors. In the filing it's alleged that the parties involved "showed a reckless disregard for their duties" at Apple, therefore causing "significant damage" to the company in the process.
Appeal filed over 'legal error' by Judge Koh in rejecting deal
Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe are all appealing Judge Lucy Koh's rejection of the $324.5 million anti-poaching settlement that was hammered out last month. The quartet claims that Koh "committed clear legal error" by using her own assessment of the value of the case, rather than that of the participants who had been battling over the matter with the court for years.
Operations can resume, but judge's ruling will be troublesome for future hearings
The Hamburg, Germany court system has reauthorized Uber to operate, at least temporarily. Despite the resurrection, which was based on a technicality, the court did dictate that the service was "probably illegal" as drivers for the service lack a passenger transportation license, similar to the situation that Lyft faced in New York City.
Attorney fees guaranteed to be nixed, rest of deal at risk of scuttling by Judge
US District Judge Charles Breyer has rejected the proposed HP deal to end shareholder litigation against it, at least in part. In yesterday's hearing to move the settlement forward, the judge did concede that "something went terribly wrong" with the HP and Autonomy deal from 2011 and subsequent $8.8 billion write-down of the firm in 2012, but rejected millions of dollars in attorney fees to be paid by HP, by saying "that's out. I'm not going to approve the fee arrangement, period"
Cases dropped without settlement in more than eight countries
In a joint email sent to the press, Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all patent lawsuits against each other in all countries except the US, without any settlement, cross-license agreement or any other consideration. The US court system will be the sole arbiter of the numerous patent disputes the two companies have brought against each other, and comes on the heels of a series of moves to de-escalate the standoffs between them. Samsung and Apple agreed to drop appeals of an ITC case in June.
Attorney general asked to 'immediately initiate legal action' against Oracle
Oregon's Governor John Kitzhaber has asked the state's attorney general to begin filing legal action against the main software contractor behind the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange. Oracle, the targeted contractor, is said to have not delivered on its promises, issuing a website full of bugs, missing a number of deadlines and creating a system with "fundamental flaws" in its architecture.
Clone refill chip manufacturer allowed to seek redress for Lexmark actions
The Supreme Court of the US has ruled against Lexmark, allowing a company it filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against erroneously to seek legal recompense. The unanimous ruling will allow chip manufacturer Static Control Components (SCC) to seek redress against Lexmark for tarnishing its business reputation, when Lexmark falsely induced consumers "to believe that [SCC] is engaged in illegal conduct."
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.