Tag - Patent troll
A fourth lawsuit against Apple over alleged infringement of patents used by FaceTime has been filed, this time by Straight Path Group. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern California District Court, claims that FaceTime infringes on five patents previously owned by NetSpeak, which made the popular VOIP application WebPhone in the mid-1990s. As with previous suits underway by patent trolls VirnetX, VOIP-Pal, and Uniloc, the suit covers older and more general audio-video patents allegedly used by Apple in its FaceTime and Messages technologies.
Non-practicing entity Uniloc, whose sole source of revenue is patent lawsuits and licensing, has taken to the patent-holder haven of the Eastern Texas Court District to sue Apple over four VOIP patents it claims are being infringed by Apple's Messages app. The company has filed dozens of lawsuits against big tech firms, but had its largest win -- a $388 million judgement against Microsoft -- overturned. While Apple's Messages gained some VOIP components in 2014, Uniloc has waited until now to file suit.
US District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap has denied Apple a chance at a new trial to clear its name from charges that it willfully infringed on patents owned by patent troll Smartflash last February, but has decided to retain the dismissal of the original $532.9 million awarded to the company for damages, clearing the way for a damages retrial later this month. Judge Gilstrap reversed the jury's award, but not its findings of infringement, after he determined his own instructions on calculating royalties may have confused the jury.
US Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal has shut down a non-practicing entity, or patent troll, seeking to relaunch suits against cellphone manufacturers Sony, Amazon, and Apple, among others, over 4G patents. Patent aggregation company Acacia and subsidiary Adaptix has been denied further suits over new products launched by the companies using the same technology, with the judge saying that it must be satisfied with existing lawsuit results and patent agreements in place.
A federal judge in the notoriously patent-friendly Eastern District of Texas has suspended a jury's award of half a billion dollars to a non-practicing patent entity (colloquially known as a patent troll) who sued Apple after reviewing his own instructions to the jury which may have created a "skewed damages horizon" that they responded to with the large award. The change does not reverse the overall finding that Apple infringed on Smartflash's patents, or a possible future patent invalidity finding, but a new damages-only trial is now set for September 14.
Non-practicing entity and patent holdings company WiLan has again lost to Apple in the second of three proceedings against the iPhone maker. The US District Court for Southern California granted Apple's motion for a summary judgement, following a finding that the two LTE patents the Canadian patent troll was accusing Apple of infringing were invalid, and therefore not infringed. Apple previously won a jury trial brought by WiLan in Texas over different wireless patents.
Oregon isn't the only state that has been moving forward with legislation to curb patent trolls, recently. The Kentucky Senate has moved forward in a bill to put restrictions on patent trolls acting in bad faith in their allegations according to FOSS Patents.
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.
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.
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.