Tag - Patents
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.
Apple has been granted a pair of patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office, for two different types of imaging technology. One patent filing describes a "transparent electronic device" that could be used for augmented reality, while another suggests a potential design for an "electronic device with wrap around display," one that could be employed in the creation of smartphones and tablets with curved screens.
A pair of patents have been granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office today, with the two applying to audio. One patent describes a way a speaker on a device can resist liquid, preventing damage to internal components, while another mentions bone conduction technology that could be used within Earpods and other audio headwear, with the patent itself relating to improving voice quality in calls.
Three panel judges at the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) have voted to invalidate a pair of patents that Smartflash is utilizing against Apple, and other companies. While the total of invalidated patents being used by the non-practicing entity is now three, the process can potentially drag on for years.
The California Institute of Technology has filed suit against Broadcom and Apple over four specific and highly-technical Wi-Fi patents, accusing Broadcom of infringement -- and thus Apple, which uses Broadcom Wi-Fi radios in most of its products. At present, Caltech is seeking a jury trial and both a sales injunction on possible infringing products and "adequate" damages for the alleged infringement.
VirnetX has asked a Texas court to force Apple to stop offering its FaceTime and iMessage services to its users, following its legal victory against the computer producer earlier this year. At the same time, VirnetX is not happy with the $625 million verdict it has already got in terms of damages for Apple infringing on its patents in February, with it wanting the court to add at least $190 million on top of its existing reward.
Fitbit is now less likely to endure an import ban for some of its fitness trackers into the United States, following a ruling made by a US International Trade Commission (ITC) judge yesterday. In a dispute between Fitbit and Jawbone over alleged patent infringement, ITC Judge Dee Lord ruled the last of the contentious patents owned by Jawbone to be invalid, though the ordeal is not yet over for either of the companies involved.
TiVo, the manufacturer of TV set-top boxes, has agreed to be acquired by another company that is also quite big in the digital video recorder business. Rovi will be paying $1.1 billion, made up of approximately $277 million in cash and the remainder paid in stock, to acquire the DVR producer, with the deal apparently being seen as a way for Rovi to significantly increase its patent catalog by including TiVo's collection to the pile.
If you learn just one thing from slicing week by week through Apple's four decades of history, then you really haven't been paying attention. The odds, though, are that the one thing you will learn is that contracts are really important. Microsoft beat Apple over copying the Mac because the Windows maker had better lawyers, for one thing, and the sheer number of lawsuits flung everywhere rivals the number of patents involved. Consequently, if you were going to do something that crossed a contract, you would sort out the paperwork first.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE