Patent hints at curved device development
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple patent protection for a manufacturing process that focuses on curved touchscreens. Patent No. 8,603,574, spotted by AppleInsider, describes a fabrication method that attempts to minimize a curved touchscreen's substrate and film thickness without distorting or damaging the integrated components.
Threat of antitrust investigation by EC if Nokia overreaches with patents
Nokia has been warned by the European Commission (EC) to avoid becoming a "patent troll," once the company completes the sale of its Devices and Services arm to Microsoft. Joaquin Almunia, head of competition and vice president of the EC, reconfirmed the Commission's approval of the purchase, but advised that there is a danger that Nokia could try to "extract higher returns" from its patent portfolio.
Bill aims to reduce frivolous litigation
The US House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill that aims to reduce negative impact from the practice derisively known as patent trolling. Passing by a wide margin of 323 to 89, Rep. Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) Innovation Act (PDF) focuses on a range of litigation reforms to help protect businesses against frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits.
Infringing competitior questioned validity of key patent-in-suit
A last-minute move during the damages retrial by Samsung has failed to stop Judge Lucy Koh from moving forward with the trial's results, where once again the Korean company was found guilty of infringing on several Apple patents, but ordered to pay $112 million dollars less to Apple in damages than the first jury's just over $1 billion dollar initial judgement. Samsung had attempted to stop the proceedings on the grounds that a key patent-in-suit during the retrial might be found invalid.
Inventor argued that iPhone equalled computer plus phone
An inventor named Richard L. Ditzik has discovered, thanks to a jury, that an iPhone isn't just a computer and a phone slapped together. The inventor, through his company NetAirus Technologies, has sued Apple (though strangely, no other smartphone makers) claiming in a just-decided case that the iPhone 4 violated a patent that described a method for computers to make phone calls through Wi-Fi and cellular networks. A jury, in an unusual majority vote, disagreed that Apple was in violation.
Legal dispute noted in IPO filings
In an amended S-1 filing with the SEC, Twitter has revealed that it has been threatened with a patent-infringement lawsuit by IBM. In a letter sent to the former ahead of its IPO, IBM accused the company of violating US Patent No. 6,957,224: "Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators," No. 7,072,849: "Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service," and No. 7,099,862: "Programmatic discovery of common contacts."
Samsung payment to Nokia for patent licenses to be determined in 2015
Nokia has made an agreement with Samsung which lets the Korean manufacturer license part of Nokia's patent portfolio for five more years. The extension to an existing patent licensing deal, revealed today by Nokia, will allow Samsung to avoid any potential lawsuits from Nokia in the future, and at the same time provides Nokia with funds after it sells off its mobile device arm to Microsoft.
Partial license terms of Apple and Nokia deal known to many Samsung execs
Samsung and its attorneys in its smartphone patent battle with Apple were grilled today by Federal Court Judge Lucy Koh over alleged mishandling of confidential Apple and Nokia documents. Apple calls the misuse of the documents released by law firm Quinn Emanuel a "massive unauthorized disclosure of highly confidential information" that gives Samsung an edge in negotiations with some of Apple’s business partners, including Nokia itself.
Details app that recognises item or media, returns Amazon store page
Rumors of an Amazon-created smartphone have had a boost, thanks to a recently filed patent application. The unearthed filing for "User guided object identification" provides details for how a smartphone can recognize an object and then provide the user with an appropriate Amazon product page, a feature that was mentioned in a rumor from earlier this month.
Prototype integrates six displays
Nokia recently submitted a patent filing for a smartwatch concept that features modular display components. The application describes a wearable device with up to six displays, each capable of showing separate content as the band is rotated around the wrist.
Hands-free input for stereo, climate control
Google has submitted a patent application for gesture-based controls inside automobiles. The company describes various ways that hand gestures could be used to adjust a car's climate control system, change the seat position, open or close the windows, or control stereo playback and volume.
Display producers to work together rather than continue legal action
Samsung and LG Display are ending their display-related patent lawsuits against each other, with a view to working together on the technologies in the future. The agreement, which effectively ends a courtroom battle that commenced in September 2012, was rumored to have been close to dropping in March of this year, but has only just finished.
Geolocation used to improve service
Apple is currently seeking patent protection for technology that is designed to improve speech recognition through location awareness. A Thursday filing titled "Automatic input signal recognition using location based language modeling." describes a system that automatically associates voice input with location-specific language models and geographic information such as nearby businesses and street names.
Steering mechanism in Samsung cleaner copies patent, claims Dyson
Samsung has found itself in yet more legal trouble, thanks to a recently-launched vacuum cleaner. Dyson, a manufacturer of bag-less vacuum cleaners, believes that the Samsung Motion Sync cleaner revealed at IFA last week uses a similar steering mechanism to its own cylinder cleaner, one that Dyson patented in 2009.
Mitsubishi, Philips, Thompson allege Motorola willfully violating patent
Adding to Google's legal woes due to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a coalition of companies consisting of Mitsubishi, Philips, and Thompson have filed suit in the Southern District of Florida over the MPEG-2 video codec standard. The complaint alleges that Motorola Mobility is willfully violating patents licensed through the MPEG-LA licensing group and is continuing to receive profit through the group despite no longer paying for a license since December 31, 2010.
Tech companies, business mags, now politicians say SEP injunction unfair
As the deadline nears for the ITC's ban on some older models of iPhones and iPads to take effect, a growing chorus of companies and individuals have begun calling for an overturning of the ban by the Obama administration in the wake of a lack of action. Two Republican and two Democratic senators have signed a letter urging United States Trade Representative Michael Froman (who has been delegated the decision) to reverse the ITC ban, mostly on the grounds that sales injunctions over Standards-Essential Patent (SEP) disputes are unnecessary.
Patent shows similar system used in Asus PadFone
Samsung has been granted a new patent that allows for a smartphone to be docked into a larger screen and effectively turned into a tablet. The patent appears to be similar to the system used by Asus in newer versions of itsPadFone range of devices, though the actual way that the smartphone slots into the tablet dock is slightly different.
One patent key in 2012 Apple versus Samsung trial, other at USITC
An "anonymous party," likely Samsung or one of its affiliates, has requested the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) reexamine two design-related patents crucial to the Apple versus Samsung patent battles. One patent being reexamined was responsible for most of the damages in the landmark US Apple versus Samsung patent lawsuit in 2012, and the second is intertwined in an Apple action against Samsung at the US International Trade Commission, due to have a final ruling in August.
Surprise ruling affects AT&T 3G versions of iPhone 4, iPad 2, older models
[Updated with Apple and Samsung statements on the ruling] Despite finding in September that Apple had not violated Samsung's patent rights and that Samsung didn't have a "domestic industry" that utilized the patents in dispute, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has nonetheless issued a limited ban on older iOS products that utilize a disputed SEP Samsung patent in a surprise ruling on Tuesday. The ban reflects an apparent change in the "domestic industry" portion of the finding, which would normally shield Apple from import bans. The ruling primarily affects the iPhone 4 as sold by AT&T, though other older models are also included in the injunction.
Google called itself a neutral third party, judge questions impartiality
Magistrage Judge Paul S. Grewal, the judge in charge of pre-trial discovery issues in the second Apple vs. Samsung patent trial, has ruled that Google must provide Apple search terms used in the unearthing of documents related to the case. Google is now compelled to "produce search terms and a list of custodians that Google used in response to requests for production Apple served on it." The seven-page ruling makes a point clear -- Apple wasn't seeking further discovery, it just expressed concern on the information Google pulled for discovery.
Tablet design includes kickstand, Surface-style keyboard
A patent application by Nokia shows the company not only thought about creating a tablet, but also incorporating a keyboard into the cover. The application, titled "Apparatus Cover with Keyboard," was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in October 2011, long before Microsoft revealed its Surface tablets, complete with the Touch Cover.
Vacated products from first trial holding up payment, conclusion of first trial
Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California in San Francisco has entered an order on the recent battery of Apple and Samsung motions brought in regards to the first contentious smartphone patent trial. While there aren't any clear decisions on any legal matters, Judge Koh has left open the door for a full retrial on the 14 accused products that need, at the very least, a new damages declaration.
Google patent application details GPS-based camera settings
Google has filed a patent application with the USPTO for using a GPS to alter the settings on a camera. The abstract in the filing suggests that a weather report based on a specific physical location could give the camera important data to optimize its settings for a photograph or video recording, such as how much ambient light there is to work with, reports Engadget. While it is possible that the method may not make its way into digital cameras, it is possible it could appear in a Google-produced handset, like the X Phone, in the future.
Application uses Glass to superimpose controls over other devices
Google has applied for another patent relating to its head-mounted display project, Glass. Titled "Wearable Computer with Superimposed Controls and Instructions for External Device," the application details how the headwear would provide information and virtual controls for other electrical items, such as a refrigerator.
OLED lawsuit dropped, settlement details unknown
Samsung is reportedly dropping its lawsuit against LG over the alleged leakage of details relating to Samsung's OLED and LCD technology. Part of an ongoing feud between the two companies, the suit has apparently been laid to rest, after both parties were supposedly in discussions over the matter this month.
'Device independent message distribution platform' patent granted
Twitter has been issued a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for Twitter itself, a request it filed in 2008. The patent, described as a "Device independent message distribution platform," is listed as invented by Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone, both of which are founders of the micro-blogging service.
Smart Pause in S4 similar to Smart Video in Optimus G Pro
LG is accusing Samsung of infringing a patent relating to eye-tracking technology. A patent for the Smart Video feature of the LG Optimus G Pro, which automatically pauses a video when the user looks away from the device, may have been infringed by a similar feature called Smart Pause in the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Ruling first of three court proceedings between the pair in two weeks
The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany has ruled in an LTE patent suit brought by Huawei against ZTE, with Huawei has winning an injunction in the country against ZTE. The ruling prevents it from selling LTE base stations in Germany. Despite the injunction, a minor victory was won by ZTE, as it is still allowed to sell USB "4G" modems. The devices were deemed to be not infringing, and cleared by the court.
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.
Nokia takes fault in court ruling of need for 'causal nexus'
After asking for an extension, Nokia has filed an amicus curae ("friend of the court") brief in the Apple versus Samsung patent battles, supporting Apple's position of a permanent injunction against some Samsung products. Nokia's filing believes that the case is currently headed towards a "compulsory-licensing system, wherein patent holders are forced to license patented technology to competing firms, which could in turn harm incentives to innovate."
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.
Authors describe direct display onto retina
The US Patent and Trademark Office has published a Google patent application that appears to describe many of the technologies used in the company's Glass wearable display system. The authors describe the limitations to current wearable displays, including traditional screens that block the wearer's vision or heads-up displays that typically serve as passive headwear reliant on signals from external sources.
Cook was keen to defend supply chain
Tim Cook was opposed to suing Samsung in a lengthy patent battle over its products, according to a report. Cook is said to have been against the lawsuits in the first place due to Samsung's important role as a component supplier for the iPad and iPhone, with analysts estimating around $8 billion in parts were bought by Apple from Samsung.
Ruling will save Samsung billions, but still guilty and liable to Apple
Late on Tuesday, Judge Lucy Koh issued a handful of new rulings in the ongoing resolution of the first Samsung vs. Apple patent-infringement trial, which Apple won with a jury finding of willful infringement and a liability ruling of just over $1 billion. In a surprise move, the judge overruled the jury's finding of willfulness, saving Samsung a possible tripling of damages under US law. Samsung, however, lost its challenge to the jury findings overall, with Koh denying vacating motions and a proposal for a retrial.
Filing claims Motorola should be held to Google's license standards
Google has suffered a setback in the next step of its federal case regarding Microsoft's potential abuse of the H.264 video codec. The head of the MPEG-LA licensing group, Lawrence Horn, declared in a court briefing that Google's agreement with the group and monetary restrictions on licensing fees applies to companies it acquired -- meaning Motorola's claim of Microsoft's patent abuse likely won't net the search engine hundreds of millions of dollars per year, as it has requested from Microsoft. Motorola, as a subsidiary of Google, is held to the same licensing standards as originally signed by Google in 2004.
Application could see future use in Project Glass devices
Google has applied for a patent concerning a Project Glass-style pair of glasses with built-in bone-conducting headphones. The application, titled "Wearable Computing Device with Indirect Bone-Conduction Speaker," would theoretically allow the wearer to hear audio played from the device privately without resorting to use earphones or external speakers.
Increase in international customers brings added expense
Just before Apple's blockbuster results, media streaming company Netflix announced a modest profit for the fourth quarter of 2012. The company reported $945 million in revenue, which generated $8 million in profit. Additionally, 27 million streaming subscribers were added in the US, more than two million than the previous quarter.
Mode automatically reduces screen contents, brightness
Microsoft has filed a patent application for a mode that will make a smartphone less obtrusive in certain situations. The application for "Inconspicuous Mode," filed in July 2011, would reduce the amount of information on screen, as well as lowering sound volumes and altering other phone settings, depending on the environment the phone finds itself in.
Evenly-applied ruling redacts some post-trial filings on both sides
Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials in the US, has tossed some declarations from both companies attached to briefs and other court filings that were "not explicitly articulated within the briefing page limits." In the order striking the declarations, the judge said that "the Court has not relied on any of this documentation in ruling on the parties' post-trial motions," possibly indicating other post-trial orders are expected soon.
Initial ruling favored Apple, criticized Samsung FRAND abuse
A US International Trade Commission final ruling on Samsung's complaint against Apple will be delayed two and half weeks until February 6, rather than the original January 14 date, according to a scheduling notice from the trade organization. The move does not necessarily signal anything, but is seen as unusual were the full commission planning on simply approving Judge James Gildea's preliminary ruling, which rebuked Samsung harshly for patent abuse.
Ongoing fees between $2 and $5 per handset expected in future
The first part of Research In Motion's settlement with Nokia has been paid, a week after the two companies agreed to end all of their outstanding patent battles. The one-off payment of 50 million euro ($65 million) by RIM will be followed by currently-unknown ongoing payments, as part of a patent licensing agreement between the mobile phone manufacturers.
Request mirrors similar ban complaint by Ericsson one month ago
Samsung has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, seeking a ban in the US on the import and sale of Ericsson devices. The ban request comes less than a month after Ericsson requested the same ban on Samsung devices, with both ITC complaints stemming from the patent dispute between the two companies.
Company claims the feature infringes on non-SEP patent
According to a South Korean news site, Samsung has launched a patent-infringement lawsuit in Korea against Apple over the iOS version of Notification Center, saying it violates their patent. The feature, which debuted almost two years ago, is also similar (but not identical) to an Android feature called Status Bar for which Google recently received a US patent. Apple most recently brought the Notification Center over to the Mac in OS X Mountain Lion.
UK court invalidates Motorola patent, hands win to Microsoft
A High Court judge in England has ruled that a key Motorola patent being used against Microsoft is invalid, which should result in the lifting of an injunction against Apple. The Motorola patent, for syncing messages across many mobile devices, forms the basis of an injunction that prevents Apple's iCloud push notification from being used in Germany. Apple is likely to ask for a hearing on staying the ban pending the outcome of any appeals. Judge Richard Arnold not only ruled the patent invalid, but said it should be revoked, since it threatens many other modern services.
Nokia, RIM reach agreement ending all outstanding claims
Struggling smartphone giants RIM and Nokia have reached a settlement ending all outstanding patent claims between the two companies. A statement issued by Nokia indicates that the settlement is heavily weighted in its favor. Nokia will receive a one-time payment from RIM while the Canadian company will also furnish Nokia with ongoing payments, although the details of which remain undisclosed.
Swiss company licensing efforts with Netflix fail
Patent holder OpenTV has launched a lawsuit against Netflix on Wednesday, claiming the company is misusing its patents on viewer recommendations, digital rights management and video playback. The owners of OpenTV, Kudelski SA, have been attempting to negotiate licenses for the patents in question for a year, but Netflix has signed no agreement with the Swiss company.
Pender finds Moto proximity sensor patent invalid
In a preliminary ruling, the US International Trade Commission has again found that Apple's iPhone did not infringe on a Motorola patent regarding proximity sensors, another win for the Cupertino company in a string of almost-exclusively favorable ITC rulings. Judge Thomas Pender ruled again that the Motorola patent, now owned by Google, is invalid. The ruling came as a part of an appeal against his earlier August decision, which covered both the sensor patent and several 3G-related ones. The ruling is preliminary, and will be reviewed by a full panel.
Judge: no proof of lost sales; jury presumably followed the law
Both Apple and Samsung have won minor victories in the first group of post-trial hearing rulings from Judge Lucy Koh. Late Monday afternoon, Koh issued her initial rulings following the December 6 post-trial hearing between Apple and Samsung regarding matters raised by the verdict of the first smartphone patent trial. The judge has refused product sales embargoes desired by Apple on the infringing Samsung devices, saying that when only a small amount of the product is found to be infringing, it fails to merit a ban on the whole product. Additionally, the judge rejected Samsung's motion for a mistrial based on juror misconduct, saying that inadmissible statements after the trial didn't count as "evidence properly before the Court" to consider a hearing to examine the jury.
Intel had said Apple, HP indemnified in product use
An International Trade Commission lawsuit brought by technology company X2Y Attenuators against Intel -- claiming that the chipmaker had stolen X2Y's technology and used in chips purchased by other manufacturers -- has failed, with a preliminary ruling by Judge David Shaw that not only did Intel not infringe on the three energy-conditioning patents in question, but that two of the X2Y patents were invalid. Also named in the lawsuit were Apple and HP, since both use certain Intel chips in their products. Both companies were also cleared.
Qualcomm concerned with release of business-confidential info
A letter condemning Apple as a habitual patent infringer filed by Qualcomm with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has been completely withdrawn by the communications chip manufacturer. Qualcomm claims the letter wasn't "appropriately authorized" and that it doesn't want the commission to consider the submission in any way, and to act if it never received the missive.