Patent infringement lawsuit clears Apple, but fails invalidity bid
Apple has prevailed in a patent lawsuit concerning the sale and distribution of DRM-protected content, but did not win on all points. The lawsuit brought against Apple by ContentGuard has been dismissed after a jury found Apple did not infringe on five antipiracy patents, but at the same time the jury decided Apple did not do enough to prove the patents were invalid in court, meaning that other companies could still be sued over the very same patents in the future.
Apple picks up second femtocell-related patent
Apple has been granted a further patent on Femtocell technology which is typically used in network base stations that use low-power cellular connections and are designed to be operated in homes and smaller businesses. This new patent, number 9,191,839, has been issued regarding methods of configuring Femtocells and it follows an August patent regarding access to wireless signals using the technology.
Patent details keyboard with pressure sensitivity, haptic feedback
Apple is looking into ways to use Force Touch to create new types of keyboard, according to a newly-granted patent. Published on Tuesday, patent number 9,178,509 for the "Ultra low travel keyboard" effectively replaces the mechanical switches used in traditional keyboards for what could be best described as a static key, one that can in theory take up less physical space and potentially lead to Apple using thinner keyboards in its MacBook range.
Retracting bumpers could engage during a fall to protect phone screen
Smartphone displays may become better protected in the future, if Apple puts into production an idea revealed in a recently-published patent application. The "Active Screen Protection for Electronic Device" application suggests a way for a display to avoid being cracked or smashed in the event of a drop or a hard knock, by triggering the appearance of retractable bumpers around the screen that takes the force of the impact instead of the glass.
Apple avoids $533 million in penalties awarded by East Texas patent jury
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.
Smart smoke detection patent could alert authorities if an iPhone detects fire
A recently discovered patent filing suggests Apple has considered adding the ability for an iPhone or an iPad to warn users of a potential fire. Patent number 9,123,221 describing "Wireless device networks with smoke detection capabilities" could lead to a future iPhone helping protect lives and property by discovering nearby smoke, and using its network connectivity to pass alerts to other nearby electronic devices to save others.
Bone conduction, multiple microphones used for noise cancellation proposal
Apple is experimenting with ways to use bone conduction technology with its EarPods, in order to make calls through headsets clearer for both parties. The patent application, recently published but originally filed in February last year, explains a system where untethered earbuds include a multitude of sensors and microphones that can combat background noise and wind, allowing the wearer to be better heard by the other party of a call.
Korean rival again on the hook for around $900M in infringement damages
Samsung has been given the cold shoulder in a bid to yet again re-try the original patent infringement case that found the Korean company guilty of copying Apple patents and other infringements, and originally awarded Apple some $1 billion in damages (later reduced to $930 million). Barring a Supreme Court review, Samsung has now exhausted its appeals on the first trial verdict, and still owes Apple some $548 million from the first trial.
Temporary backups can be saved to other devices, Apple filing suggests
Apple has come up with a way to use multiple iPhones as a "secure ad hoc data backup," in case the primary device is damaged or destroyed. The patent application, recently published but initially filed by Apple in February last year, suggests that in the event of poor or no data connectivity, the user's data could be temporarily transferred to one or more devices owned by friends, with the peer-to-peer connection being used to store backup data.
New patents show how Liquidmetal could be combined with other metal alloys
Two patents recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) suggest Apple is still working on developing production processes for Liquidmetal. The two patents describe methods for casting bulk metallic glass (BMG) in different ways, including allowing multiple BMGs to surround other alloys, as well as techniques to melt BMG feedstock using horizontal cold crucible induction melting (CCIM) systems.
New trial to determine damages to patent troll set for September 14
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.
Spotify Taste Rewind suggests songs from previous decades
Spotify is trying to get its users to discover older songs they may like, by launching a promotional site. Taste Rewind allows users to select three artists from a list that they have recently played on Spotify, reports VentureBeat, with the site then providing playlists of songs the user may enjoy from each decade between the '60s and the 2000s. While a neat software toy that may help introduce younger listeners to older tracks they could enjoy, the results do not apparently cover the entirety of Spotify's catalog, and can come up with some odd suggestions. For example, a test using Nicki Minaj, Skrillex, and Ellie Goulding brought up a playlist for the '60s headed up by Leonard Cohen.
Three patents at core of Jawbone-Fitbit infringement fight
Jawbone is attempting to increase the pressure against competitor Fitbit, this time by filing a patent infringement suit. The second lawsuit between the two wearable fitness tracker manufacturers has Jawbone claiming some of Fitbit's products infringes on its patents relating to a "wellness application using data from a data-capable band," and is seeking an injunction to halt any further Fitbit sales in the United States.
Patent infringement damages upheld, but trade dress conviction tossed
A US Court of Appeals has "split the baby" in a decision that preserves Apple's victory against Samsung in its first patent-infringement trial, but will also result in a likely significant reduction of damages due from the Korean company. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in California has upheld the jury's finding that Samsung copied design and utility patents from Apple, but has tossed the same jury's finding of guilt regarding "trade dress" violations.
Suits filed in UK, Germany, The Netherlands over expired licensing terms
In addition to a barrage of lawsuits in the US and complaints to the International Trade Commission, technology company Ericsson has now filed separate but related lawsuits in the UK, Germany, and The Netherlands alleging that Apple is using mostly standards-essential Ericsson patents without a license, following a collapse of negotiations over a fair rate that allowed Apple's license with Ericsson to expire.
Researchers work with Apple on DNA testing app for evaluating genetic traits
A leading research and academic technology review publication has revealed that Apple is working with researchers on building DNA-testing apps using ResearchKit, the company's API for medical research software. The apps would require volunteers to submit DNA samples, helping scientists at institutions such as UC San Francisco examine the causes of premature birth by studying genetic factors, while another study will look at disease-connected genes gathered through the study.
Patent Purchase Promotion initiative aims to reduce patent lawsuits
Google is starting up a new experimental program where it will acquire patents from inventors and companies wishing to sell. The Patent Purchase Promotion is framed by the search company as a way for it to "remove friction from the patent market" caused through the sale of unwanted patents to non-practicing entities, also known as "patent trolls," and the ensuing litigation.
Zhizen turned loose patents into Siri clone, then sued Apple as copycat
After two legal defeats, Apple has won its case on appeal in a lawsuit brought by Zhizhen Network Technology that dates back to 2012. The Beijing Higher People's Court has ruled that Apple did not violate any patents held by the Shanghai-based Zhizhen, and thus no infringement has occurred. Apple first attempted to have the Zhizhen patent, which covered only "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," invalidated, but later sued the government and the company when authorities ruled in favor of Zhizhen.
Apple, BlackBerry, others partnered on former Nortel patents
The Rockstar Consortium, a group comprised of Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony, will see a windfall on its 2011 purchase of some 4,000 patents from Canadian tech giant Nortel, with Apple expected to gain at least $392 million from the holding, one analyst says. Wells Fargo's Maynard Um has used BlackBerry's reported gain of 17 percent of a base figure in predicting Apple's share of the profits.
Apple, Ericsson at loggerheads over fair rate for standards-essential patents
The US International Trade Commission has announced a formal investigation into a complaint filed by Ericsson -- along with a handful of court cases -- following a lawsuit by Apple over what the iPhone maker says is a dispute about a fair rate for some standards-essential and LTE patents. The battle began earlier this year, when Apple complained to a court about "excessive" rates Ericsson wanted to charge for previously-licensed LTE technology.
Ericsson source of latest barrage, court filings made in Eastern District of Texas
On February 26, Ericsson filed two complaints with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and seven complaints in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Apple, asserting 41 patents covering many aspects of Apple's iPhones and iPads. The patents include standards-essential patents related to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards, as well as other patents that are critical to features and functionality of Apple devices, such as the design of semiconductor components, user interface software, location services and applications, as well as the iOS operating system.
Jury declares Samsung infringed on pair of modem patents
Samsung has lost a patent infringement lawsuit over Bluetooth 2.0, to a non-practicing entity called Rembrandt IP. A jury in an East Texas federal court ruled the manufacturer had infringed three claims on two patents, numbers 8,457,228 and 8,023,580, relating to modem compatibility, with Rembrandt being given $15.7 million in compensation and royalties on future Samsung devices using Bluetooth.
Agrees to changes in licensing terms of essential 3G, 4G patents in China
Qualcomm has agreed to pay a fine to end an antitrust investigation in China. The settlement, which involves the chip producer handing over 6.09 billion yuan (approximately $975 million) to China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), as well as performing other actions, after the NDRC declared Qualcomm had violated an anti-monopoly law.
Claims company knowingly infringed on two 3D UI patents from 1996
Apple has been named in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Wednesday by patent non-practicing entity (NPE, often nicknamed "patent troll") TriDim Innovations. The NPE accuses the iPhone maker of knowingly infringing on a pair of patents from 1996 that covers a 3D workspace user interface, and claims that the company's Cover Flow technology, bought from Steel Skies in 2006, violates the two patents. Time Machine and Mobile Safari in iOS 7 and 8 also use the technology.
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.
Reports initially claimed patent was Apple invention
The reassignment of a Kodak-held remote control camera system patent to Apple has been blamed for a 12.17 percent drop in GoPro shares on Tuesday. The patent is credited to three people -- Keith Stoll Karn, Marc Krolczyk, and Kazuhiro Joza -- who reassigned it to Kodak in 2012. Apple acquired a variety of Kodak patents that year, however, as part of one of two consortiums that raced to snap up some of the bankrupt imaging company's intellectual property.
Will collect royalties from parties such as Cisco and Google
(Updated with correct purchase price, lawsuit settlements) A subsidiary of San Francisco-based RPX Corporation, RPX Clearinghouse, is buying patent assets held by the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium, according to an announcement. Rockstar was formed by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony in 2011 in order to buy some 6,000 patents in the wake of Nortel's bankruptcy. Although roughly 2,000 of the patents have already been separately distributed, RPX has entered into a deal in which it will receive license payments from a syndicate of over 30 companies, such as Cisco and Google.
Philips to end all lawsuits under terms of the cross-license patent agreement
Those considering picking up a Nintendo console in the near future no longer have cause for concern, as the Japan-based hardware and software developer ended its patent dispute with Philips on December 2. The two companies were locked into an infringement battle over motion technologies used inside of Nintendo's consoles, dating back to 2011, which could conceivably have resulted in a sales ban.
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.
Cook works to influence Republican's high-tech stance
Apple CEO Tim Cook's stay in DC on Tuesday involved meeting Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, the latter's office has confirmed. Hatch is the chairman of the Republican Party's High-Tech Task Force, and has been supporting a number of tech-related agendas. One of these involves addressing patent trolls -- patent-holding firms that make their income solely through licensing deals and lawsuits. Hatch backed a Senate patent reform effort this year, and may well bring the issue up again in 2015.
Posts proof it notified Apple in September
A Chinese smartphone maker, Digione, is claiming that the iPhone 6 may violate a phone design patent. The patent was submitted to China's State Intellectual Property Office in January, and approved in July. On Monday, the company took to Sina Weibo to post proof that it sent a letter to Apple in September, notifying it about the issue and suggesting that "a communication with goodwill would contribute to solving potential legal disputes." So far, Apple appears to be remaining silent.
Agreement reached November 12, set to end year-long legal battle by end of 2014
Google's legal battle with the Rockstar Consortium over claims that the search company infringes upon seven patents with the Android operating system appears to be coming to an end. According to a filing submitted to the US District Court of the Eastern District of Texas on November 17, both parties have agreed to settle their dispute.
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.
Terms of the deal unknown, but covers 'a broad range of products and technologies'
South Korean electronics manufacturer LG and advertising giant Google announced in a joint press release that an agreement was been reached between the two businesses for patent licensing. The agreement will span a decade, encapsulating current and future patents from both companies. No terms were announced for the agreement, but it doesn't appear to be limited to specific technologies.
Sonos asks Denon to stop copying its wireless speaker system
Sonos is suing Denon for patent infringement over a set of wireless speakers it released earlier this summer. The Denon Heos range is apparently violating four patents owned by Sonos relating to wireless audio products, prompting Sonos to file a lawsuit in its incorporation state, Delaware, against Denon's parent company D&M Holdings.
Company directly refers to plaintiff as 'patent troll,' calls for continued patent reform
Non-practicing entity GPNE, which had tried to sue Apple over alleged infringement of expired pager-related 3G wireless patents, has come away completely empty-handed after a jury exonerated Apple of all charges. The firm, which has attempted to sue or sued most other big-name tech firms over the same or similar patents, had sought $94 million in damages (which Apple had referred to as an "attempt to extort money" from the iPhone maker), but was awarded nothing.
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."
Could theoretically bring Bose products back to Apple Stores
Bose has settled its lawsuit against Apple-owned Beats Electronics, filed in July over patents connected to noise cancellation technology, says Bloomberg. The companies have submitted joint filings to a Delaware court, and asked the US International Trade Commission to halt an investigation. Had Bose's original demands been met, imports of Beats' Studio and Studio Wireless headphones would've been blocked. The terms of the settlement are unknown.
Microsoft seeking $6.9 million in interest over Samsung refusal to pay
Microsoft's smartphone patent lawsuit from August was unsealed, showing that Samsung has paid the company over $1 billion in royalties on patents used in Android for just the second year of the agreement, but still owes $6.9 million in unpaid interest. Microsoft claims that Samsung initially ceased making royalty payments, then paid late and refused to pay interest, with Samsung claiming that the buy of Nokia invalidated patent licensing agreements that the pair had signed.
Company's claims ruled invalid; second victory for Apple against patent troll
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.
Users could 'pour' files from one device to another
Apple has won a US patent on an unusual tablet-based graphical interface. The UI would not only make use of touch and motion, as iOS does currently, but simulated physics -- including mass, gravity, friction, and/or drag. A basic example involves selecting multiple files or folders; by drawing a circle around them, users would create a selection "bubble" that could be behave like a floating ball, even bouncing off of screen edges. File and folder size could dictate mass, such that a larger file might move more slowly.
Could theoretically cost Samsung up to $6.46 per unit
Having been denied an injunction by the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple is now pursuing a motion for postjudgment royalties, reports say. While the motion states that the company "believes that it has been and continues to be irreparably harmed by Samsung's infringement and that only injunctive relief would suffice to remedy that harm," it is also asking for back and future royalties from Samsung on infringing devices.
Suit likely to span years, covers most all of Cox's in-home networking
After what AT&T calls "years of protracted negotiations," it has filed suit against Cox Communications, alleging that the cable company has violated seven patents covering general networking, digital video recorders (DVR), and packet loss mitigation. In a change from "normal" patent suits, AT&T is not seeking sales embargoes, but instead looks for a "compulsory ongoing royalty" for products that use the patents in question.
Impact of injunction would likely be minor
Apple will appeal a recent court decision which denied a permanent injunction against a variety of Samsung products, according to The New York Times. If imposed, an injunction would prevent several devices -- like the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II -- from being sold in the US. The financial impact on Samsung would be minor, since the products in question are outdated and/or no longer being sold.
Architecture partly designed by Steve Jobs
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted an Apple design patent on the most recent incarnation of the glass cube sitting over the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City. The original cube -- paid for and partly designed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs -- used 90 panes of glass. In 2011, however, Apple spent some $6.7 million on installing a redesigned, more visually-appealing version of the cube with just 15 panes, taking advantage of advances in glass technology.
Motion involved infamous 'slide to unlock' patent, others
The US District Court for the Northern District of California has again denied Apple a permanent injunction against Samsung products accused of violating three of its patents. Although the court and a jury found that Samsung did indeed infringe Apple IP -- including the famous "slide to unlock" patent -- the judge in the case, Lucy Koh, explains that Apple couldn't show that an injunction was warranted. The ruling is related to one of the post-trial motions stemming from the second Apple-Samsung patent trial. Koh also denied any injunctions on products found guilty of infringing from the first trial as well.
Ruling could have affected outcome of second Apple-Samsung trial
US Federal District Court Judge Lucy Koh has denied Samsung's post-trial request to invalidate two Apple patents, both of which were used successfully to convict Samsung of copying the iPhone maker's technology yet again in the second federal Apple-Samsung trial, held earlier this year. Samsung had filed the motion in early July, based on a recent Supreme Court decision, Alice vs. CLS Banks, which stated that software ideas that were just abstract representations of real-world concepts (such as turning a doorknob) were not patentable.
Apple argued some VirnetX claims were too vague
US District Judge Leonard Davis has issued pre-trial rulings blocking Apple attempts to preemptively invalidate some VirnetX patent claims, and in other cases use invalidity as a defense, reports say. For the former, Apple's argument had been that many of VirnetX's claims are too vague to justify patenting, including the use of terms like "secure name service," "secure name," or "unsecured name."
Finding unlikely to affect judgement or payout, will take years to resolve
A claim asserted against Samsung in the second Apple-Samsung patent trial in California, which had already received a summary judgement of infringement by US District Court Judge Lucy Koh, has been rejected alongside other claims in the same patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office -- the same body that initially granted the patent. The finding, which is a preliminary rejection that is part of a long process, has already been brought up by Samsung in an effort to get out of paying part of the $119 million judgement against it.