Samsung on Monday confirmed that it recently filed a new complaint against Apple in France, alleging that the Cupertino-based company’s iPad and iPhone devices infringe on three Samsung-owned patents. Unlike the case that recently saw a German judge ban sales of Samsung’s GALAXY Tab 10.1 tablet by the company’s local arm, Samsung’s complaint in France covers patents rather than the physical design of the devices in question. The suit targets Apple’s iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G as well as the iPad and iPad 2, and the patents in question cover the UMTS communication standard according to AFP. The complaint was first filed in July and a preliminary hearing will take place in December. More →
The United States government has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, saying that such a deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the U.S. wireless market. Bloomberg reports that the complaint was filed by the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday, and the government is asking for a declaration that the proposed merger would violate U.S. antitrust laws. The complaint seeks to have the deal blocked as a result. “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the U.S. said in its filing. AT&T has argued that it needs T-Mobile’s spectrum in order to improve service quality and cover the majority of the U.S. population with 4G LTE service.
UPDATE: AT&T has issued a statement in response to the DOJ lawsuit. The FCC has issued a statement as well, as has Sprint. More →
Dutch technology news site Webwereld on Friday uncovered new images that suggest Apple may again be tampering with photographic evidence used in its case against Samsung. In this instance, it appears as though an image submitted to a court in the Netherlands intentionally misrepresents the South Korea-based company’s Galaxy S II smartphone. While the Galaxy S II is both wider and taller than Apple’s iPhone 3GS, the image Apple submitted as evidence shows a device that is exactly the same height as the iPhone that appears next to it. This past Monday, Webwereld revealed that Apple may have altered the dimensions of an image of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in an effort to make it look more like the iPad when submitted as evidence to a German court. While that instance seemed extremely dubious — Apple’s legal team actually presented an image where the physical proportions of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 were altered to match the iPad — the Galaxy S II image seen above appears to just be reduced in size. The accusations are serious nonetheless, and Samsung’s legal team is undoubtedly examining the images in order to determine whether or not to take action.
Two separate lawsuits have been filed against Apple in China, accusing the tech giant of selling refurbished iPhone smartphones as new devices in multiple Beijing Apple Stores. Lead by well-known consumer rights advocate Wang Hai, two customers have filed formal complaints against Apple in a Beijing court. The suits both allege that Apple Store locations sold refurbished iPhones to the complainants under the guise that they were new devices. Only when the customers discovered that their manufacturer warranties expired less than one year from their respective dates of purchase did they realize something was awry. To make matters worse, Wang says that when one such customer went back to the Apple Store to confront them, the staff there allegedly tried to trick her by modifying her warranty expiration date. “It’s cheating to sell refurbished products as new ones,” Wang told Global Times in an interview. “It’ll be discrimination against Chinese consumers if the case turns out to be true as refurbished cellphones are also sold in other countries, but at a cheaper price.” Four other consumers in Beijing have come forward to claim they were duped into purchasing refurbished iPhones as new, however no additional lawsuits have been filed at this time. Images supplied by Wang of a customer receipt and a confirmation that the customer’s warranty expired in less than one year follow below.
In a post penned by Larry Page on Google’s company blog, the CEO explains why Google decided to shell out $12.5 billion to purchase smartphone vendor Motorola Mobility. While Page had plenty to say about Motorola’s extensive history and its leading role in Android’s explosive growth, he also points to what many believe to be one of the leading factors behind the deal: patents. “We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android,” the CEO wrote on Google’s blog. “The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to ‘protect competition and innovation in the open source software community’ and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.” Read on for more. More →
The European Commission now has a total of nine formal antitrust complaints targeting Google, Reuters reported on Tuesday. “The new complaints come from small companies,” one source told the news outlet, and another said two of the complaints were new while three came from national regulators. Until Tuesday, the EC had only confirmed that there were four total complaints. Microsoft has also filed a formal complaint with the European Commission and its general counsel, Brad Smith, said that the search giant “has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Microsoft has argued that Google has a 95% grip of the European search market. The European Commission is also investigating Google for anticompetitive advertising practices and, in June, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States announced that it will investigate Google’s business practices. The search giant has said in the past that it will be fully compliant with the investigation. More →
A U.S. District Judge in Texas has ruled that patent holding firm Personal Audio cannot seek additional damages from Apple relating to a patent that the Cupertino-based company was recently found to be infringing. Personal Audio was awarded $8 million last month when Texas judge Ron Clark ruled that Apple’s iPod was infringing one of its patents covering playlist implementation. Following the win, the holding firm filed a second lawsuit alleging that additional Apple devices such as the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 also made illegal use of this patent. Judge Clark said Friday, however, that the $8 million in damages Apple paid in early July is all Personal Audio will see from Apple related to this patent. “The court finds that the jury’s selection of lump sum as the appropriate form of reasonable royalty clearly represents a damages award giving Apple a fully paid up license that covers all past and future use of the patented technology,” the Judge said in his decision. Personal Audio has not indicated how it will respond to the judge’s ruling. More →
Amazon has stopped directly selling the Nintendo 3DS citing customer complaints as the cause of its decision. The portable gaming console currently has 359 reviews and an average of 4/5 stars on Amazon’s website, which suggests customers are happy with the unit itself, but the online retailer has posted a note that states:
While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it’s described here. (Thanks for the tip!)
We’re working to fix the problem as quickly as possible.
It remains unclear but Amazon could have stopped selling the 3DS because of a mistake in its original listing or due to customer complaints on how the product arrived. Techland is speculating that cause could be the “rubber feet” on the top lid. These feet are supposedly not adequate enough to prevent the screen from rubbing against the keypad while the console is closed. Gamers can still purchase the Nintendo 3DS from third-party retailers on Amazon.com however, and from a number of additional retailers across the country. More →
Patent holding firm Personal Audio LLC is suing Apple for patent infringement surrounding IP covering playlist implementation on multiple Apple devices. The firm was recently awarded $8 million from Apple by a Texas judge who found that the Cupertino-based company’s iPod made unauthorized use of Personal Audio’s IP. Now, the firm’s new suit alleges that additional Apple products are infringing on the same patent. Devices covered in the new complaint include the iPhone 4, the fourth-generation iPod touch, the iPad 2, the fourth-generation iPod shuffle and the sixth-generation iPod nano. Apple has made headlines countless times over the past few months as a result of suing nearly all of its major mobile competitors for patent infringement. While some companies believe Apple should focus on building innovative products instead of suing all of its competitors, Apple seems to think its IP is being used illegally and therefore must be protected vigorously. Apparently, Personal Audio holds a similar belief. More →
HTC on Tuesday responded to Apple’s new round of patent infringement claims by dismissing them publicly and suggesting that Apple should focus on competing in the mobile market instead of suing all of its competitors. Apple filed a new patent complaint with the International Trade Commission earlier this week that asked the Commission to block the import and sale of HTC’s mobile devices that it claims infringe on Apple patents. The move was the latest in a series of complaints filed by each company against the other over the past 16 months. “HTC is disappointed at Apple’s constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market,” HTC general counsel Grace Lei said of Apple’s latest filing. “HTC strongly denies all infringement claims raised by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights.” HTC has consistently denied Apple’s claims of IP infringement since Apple filed its first claim in March 2010, and an ITC lawyer said earlier this year that siding with HTC in this series patent disputes would be best for the public. More →
Apple on Monday filed a new patent complaint with the International Trade Commission looking to block the sale of several HTC devices it claims infringe on Apple patents, Bloomberg reports. Apple recently filed a similar complaint with the ITC looking to block the sale of several Samsung smartphones and tablets that Apple feels copy the iPhone and iPad. The move was the latest in an ongoing legal battle between Samsung and Apple surrounding multiple patent disputes. Apple’s patent disputes with HTC date back even further, however — Apple first filed a patent complaint against against the Taiwan-based smartphone maker early in 2010. HTC responded by denying claims that it was infringing on Apple patents, and the company later filed a countersuit in May 2010 alleging that Apple was in fact infringing on five of its patents. An ITC lawyer said earlier this year that siding with HTC in the patent disputes was best for the public, but today’s filing suggests that Apple is undeterred by the lawyer’s recent comments.
Google’s plan to acquire ITA Software may result in an antitrust probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), two sources speaking to Bloomberg said Tuesday. The FTC is currently waiting for the Justice Department to render a decision on whether or not the acquisition will stifle competition among firms competing for clicks in the travel search engine market. Both the FTC and the Justice Department are capable of executing an antitrust investigation, and some pundits believe the scale of this probe could match that of the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation of Microsoft during the 1990’s. The search engine giant “could fight the FTC, but that’s going to cost a lot of money and time,” Keith Hylton, an antitrust law professor at Boston University School of Law told Bloomberg. Google also faces an antitrust probes abroad. On March 31st Microsoft filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations and practices in the European Union, alleging that Google has made it harder for other firms to compete in the search market there. Google announced that it had plans to acquire ITA Software, a firm that helps airlines manage flight times and sell tickets at the best prices, in July of 2010. Google hopes to use the acquisition to create new flight search tools that will allow consumers to find better flight options and prices. More →
Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations in the European Union. “Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of the European consumers,” said Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith. “Google has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Smith added that Google has a 95% grip on the search market in Europe and that the company has aimed to stop any other firms from creating a competitive search alternative. Smith also argued that Google, since acquiring YouTube in 2006, has restricted other search engines from properly accessing YouTube videos for search results. More →