Copyright troll Rightraven has been ordered by a judge in Nevada to forfeit all of its intellectual property in order to pay its debts, Wired reported. The company was established in 2010 with the goal of suing blogs that republish sections of newspaper articles without permission. Rightraven saw early success and secured a number of small settlements for its clients, but it never won a case that was brought to trial, instead amassing debts amounting to approximately $200,000 owed to various defendants. The company’s domain name was auctioned off last year in an effort to begin raising money, but it sold for just $3,000. Now, U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro has ordered Righthaven to surrender its 278 copyrighted articles to the court so they can be sold at auction, the proceeds of which will be used to pay as much of the company’s debt as possible. More →
Lemko Corporation, a private software and systems developer, on Wednesday filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility alleging that it stole trade secrets and is financially benefiting from the misappropriation of Lemko’s source code. The company claims that Motorola hired an engineer who developed unique, protected code while employed by Lemko, and proceeded to implement the source code on Motorola’s servers without licensing the technology. The code in question relates to server side network-based positioning technology. Read on for more. More →
Apple and Samsung are among the companies expected to take part in an upcoming sealed-bid auction of RPO’s manufacturing assets and patent portfolio, which covers technology surrounding the company’s Digital Waveguide Touch (DWT) solution. California-based RPO Inc. filed for bankruptcy in April of this year, and an auction to liquidate its protected manufacturing processes and IP portfolio will take place on November 3rd. The company’s DWT technology, which is touted as a superior touch solution that eliminates the need for a touch-sensitive layer, is seen as appealing to Apple, Samsung and other vendors seeking new methods to improve their smartphone and tablet displays. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft’s alleged strategy of forcing Android partners into intellectual property licensing deals with threats of legal action is once again under fire. In a report released on Friday, intellectual property management firm M-CAM offered a no-holds-barred analysis of Microsoft’s “license or we sue” strategy. The firm said Microsoft is offsetting its own failures in the mobile space by forcing more successful companies to pay royalties on Android device sales, and it likened Microsoft’s strategy to that of “a deranged Easter Bunny.” Read on for more. More →
A Samsung executive has gone on record in stating that the South Korea-based electronics giant plans to take a more active role in combating Apple in the companies’ ongoing war. “We’ll be pursuing our rights for this in a more aggressive way from now on,” Lee Younghee, head of global marketing for mobile communications, told the Associated Press in an interview on Friday. Lee stated that Apple has been “free riding” on Samsung’s wireless patents and the company will finally take a more proactive stance in defending its intellectual property. Read on for more. More →
Back in July — less than a week after Google’s general counsel Kevin Walker took to the company’s blog to launch a war of words against rivals and their patent trolling — Google bought more than 1,000 patents from IBM’s portfolio. This past Tuesday, the U.S. Patent Office published records showing that the tech giant has purchased another 1,023 patents from IBM, this time covering technologies that range from “COMMUNICATIONS ON A NETWORK” to “SELF-ALIGNED DOUBLE-GATE MOSFET BY SELECTIVE EPITAXY AND SILICON WAFER BONDING TECHNIQUES.” The IP transfer took place last month, Bloomberg reports. This move is the latest in a long line of steps Google is taking to protect Android and its partners, the most high-profile of which is its current effort to acquire Motorola Mobility and its massive portfolio of 25,000 issued and pending patents. 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.
It’s only Tuesday, but the big news this week is already behind us: Google intends to shell out $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility and its portfolio of roughly 25,000 patents. The deal was covered far and wide, but some of the most interesting thoughts surrounding the news came late Monday night from Apple pundit John Gruber. The initial intent of Gruber’s piece was to point out the irony of reporter Dan Lyons’ repeated use of baseless speculation in an effort to discredit “Apple fanboy MG Siegler” of TechCrunch, but it evolved into an interesting commentary on the acquisition itself. Moreover, it brings a few interesting observations to light that went widely overlooked in yesterday’s coverage of the deal. BGR noted yesterday that it was curious Google chose to spend a fortune — nearly two times its 2010 profits, as Gruber points out — to acquire Motorola rather than licensing its patents. The answer might just be that Google, despite its size, was not in a position of power with this deal, and saving Android in the face of unending patent complaints became its top priority. Read on for more. More →
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 →
German news outlet Financial Informer reported on Tuesday that Apple has won a preliminary injunction to stop the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the whole of the European Union except for the Netherlands. The Regional Court of Düsseldorf appears to have sided with Apple’s claims that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes on intellectual property related to the design of Apple’s iPad. Apple has a similar ongoing lawsuit in the Netherlands. Should Samsung continue to sell the tablet, the company could face fines of up to $350,000 for each violation. Foss Patents said the ruling in Germany will go into effect immediately, although Samsung could appeal the decision during another hearing. On August 1st, Apple blocked Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until courts there rule on whether or not the tablet infringes on 10 of Apple’s patents. Samsung agreed not to advertise or sell the device and Apple will pay damages if the South Korean company wins the Australian case.
Microsoft’s Communications boss Frank X. Shaw on Thursday responded to an update posted by Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, which was written in response to Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith’s response to Drummond’s initial claim that Microsoft and Apple were playing dirty with patents. Catch all that? Here’s the gist of it: Google’s David Drummond wrote on Wednesday that Microsoft, Apple and others were “banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the ‘CPTN’ group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the ‘Rockstar’ group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them.” Microsoft’s Frank X. Shaw and Brad Smith each responded on Twitter, saying that Google was invited to the patent party but the company declined the invitation. On Thursday, Drummond updated his original post on the Google blog, stating that Microsoft and Apple’s invitation was disingenuous. Had Google joined the group that purchased the patents, Drummond explained, the joint acquisition would have “eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners.”
Microsoft’s Shaw then shot back on Twitter, saying that Drummond is a liar and Google didn’t joint the group because it wanted the patents all to itself (of course Google’s bids in the Nortel patent auction were seemingly intended to merely drive up the price of the portfolio; it bid $Pi billion at one point). The bottom line is it’s all ridiculous, and each company is out to protect its own interests as can only be expected. It would be great if tech giants could fire all their patent attorneys and build innovative products without having to weave through an obstacle course of patents, but that will never happen under the current system. In the meantime, companies will keep suing each other and in the end, everyone — including end users — loses.
Thanks to royalty payments from awards related to patent complaints against HTC, Microsoft is estimated to have made three times more revenue from sales of HTC’s Android phones than it did from sales of Windows Phone licenses last quarter. Asymco analyst Horace Dediu estimated this past May that Microsoft had made five times more money from HTC’s Android phones than its own Windows Phone platform through the first quarter of this year. In the second quarter, Dediu says Microsoft made approximately $21 million from 1.4 million Windows Phone licenses at $15 a piece, while the company’s $5-per-device royalty from sales of 12 million HTC Android phones brought in $60 million in the quarter. Dediu’s numbers are based on Canalys’ Windows Phone shipment estimates and the 12.1 million handsets HTC says it shipped in the second quarter, though we’re not sure how the analyst determined that 12 million of those devices were Android phones. HTC also sells phones that run Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system and phones based on Qualcomm’s Brew MP platform. More →
Apple sat quiet following Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond’s rant yesterday, as it always does, but Microsoft was not content letting Drummond air his grievances without responding. Drummond on Wednesday penned a post on Google’s blog claiming that Apple, Microsoft and other companies are joining together to “strangle” Android with patent complaints. With all of the patent-related lawsuits against Android partners right now, this certainly seems like a valid complaint. Highlighting a specific example, Drummond wrote that the companies are “banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the ‘Rockstar’ group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them.” Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith disagreed, however, and he pointed out a gaping hole in Drummond’s argument: ”Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no,” Smith wrote on Twitter. Microsoft’s Corporate Communications boss Frank X. Shaw followed up Smith’s note by posting an image on Twitter of an email between Brad Smith and Google’s General Counsel Kent Walker where Walker refuses Microsoft’s invitation to bid on Nortel’s patent portfolio alongside Microsoft and other companies. The image of the email and a transcription of its contents can be seen below. More →