The International Trade Commission announced on Monday that it will be taking new steps to cut down on the number of lawsuits filed by patent trolls. According to Reuters, the agency will soon require companies to show that they have “a significant presence in the United States” before filing a patent complaint. A pilot program has been created that will be led by six administrative judges who will determine whether a company has a large enough presence in U.S. production, licensing and research to utilize the court. The committee will determine whether or not a company qualifies within 100 days. The ITC has seen an increased number of patent lawsuits in recent years brought on by non-practicing entities. The agency’s latest move to prevent lawsuits from patent trolls was praised by companies like Google, HP, Intel and Oracle.
The International Trade Commission on Tuesday ruled in favor of Motorola Mobility in its patent infringement claim against Apple. The Cupertino-based company’s iPhone and iPad were found to be in violation of Motorola’s Wi-Fi technology patent, however they did not infringe on three other patents that Motorola asserted against the iPhone-maker. “We are pleased that the ALJ’s initial determination finds Apple to be in violation of Motorola Mobility’s intellectual property, and look forward to the full commission’s ruling in August,” Motorola told CNET in a statement. The ruling is preliminary and still must be approved by the ITC’s six-member commission. More →
Barnes & Noble on Monday received some potentially good news following the rejection of its antitrust suit against Microsoft earlier this month. Microsoft is looking to halt the import of the bookseller’s Nook slates, claiming the devices infringe three Microsoft patents. Barnes & Noble argued that the patents in question are invalid because they do not cover new inventions, and the company has a new ally. Jeff Hsu, a staff attorney at the U.S. International Trade Commission, told Bloomberg he recommended that ITC Judge Theodore Essex rule that there is no violation by Barnes & Noble. Microsoft said the recommendation was made before evidence was presented, and it believes Hsu’s opinion may change once the trial gets underway. Bloomberg notes, however, that the ITC staff acts as a third party in the case and there’s no requirement that the judge follow any recommendations. Microsoft claims the Android operating system found on Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader utilizes its protected technology, and the software giant has signed agreements with roughly 70% of Android vendors in the United States to license the technology in question. Judge Essex is expected to release his findings on April 27th.
Barnes & Noble and Microsoft are currently tied up in two separate legal battles, one being heard by the Department of Justice and the other by the International Trade Commission. In March 2011, like previous Android vendors, Microsoft accused Barnes & Noble’s NOOK and NOOK Color of infringing on the company’s patents. The software giant, which takes in roughly $450 million a year through Android royalties, was looking to license the infringed patents to the bookseller, but the company fired back with claims that Microsoft was creating an abusive monopoly. It is now being suggested by patent expert Florian Muller of FOSS Patents that the ITC is likely to reject Barnes & Noble’s antitrust complaint against Microsoft, however. The complete order is not publicly available, but an administrative law judge has reportedly dismissed Barnes & Noble’s patent misuse defense against Microsoft . The judge issued a detailed order that has not yet been made public, but the headline reads, “Initial Determination Granting Microsoft’s Motion for Summary Determination of Respondents’ First Affirmative Defense of Patent Misuse.” The ITC evidentiary hearing will begin on Monday, February 6th. More →
Motorola Mobility has filed a patent lawsuit against Apple in a Florida federal court. The phone maker is accusing Apple of infringing on six patents related to messaging, antennas, software and data filtering with its mobile devices, Reuters said. Motorola also argued that Apple’s iPhone 4S specifically infringes on one of its patents. Just two weeks ago, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Motorola’s handsets did not infringe three Apple patents. The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany also ruled to ban sales of various iPhone and iPad models in December, although Apple has been given the opportunity to remove the infringing technology from its devices to avoid a ban in the country. More →
Apple is said to have spent as much as $100 million on its first round of legal battles with HTC, and the company has precious little to show for it. Newsweek’s well-sourced Dan Lyons cited “a rumor going around among the lawyers” in reporting the staggering figure on his personal blog, and he noted that Apple’s onslaught of lawsuits around the world have yielded precious little for the Cupertino, California based technology giant. Meaningful wins have been few and far between for Apple in its ongoing legal battles against Android vendors. The company did score a victory last month when the International Trade Commission banned the import of several HTC smartphones it deemed to be infringing on one Apple patent, but HTC responded the same day and said a simple workaround was already set to be rolled out. Apple’s aggressive strategy with regard to technology patents could fueled by lost sales or perhaps even by its former CEO’s vow to destroy Android, but it doesn’t seem to be paying off for the time being. Whether or not that will prompt Apple to pump the brakes, however, remains to be seen. More →
The United States International Trade Commission on Friday issued a prliminary ruling stating that Motorola Mobility smartphones do not infringe three Apple patents. “It is held that no violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, 19 U.S.C. § 1337, has occurred in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, or the sale within the United States after importation of certain mobile devices and related software by reason of infringement of one or more of Claims 1, 2, 10, 11, 24-26, and 29 U.S. Patent No. 7,812,828 (“the ‘828 Patent”), claims 1-7 and 10 of U.S. Patent No. 7,663,607 (“the ‘607 Patent”), and claims 1, 3, and 5 ofthe U.S. Patent No. 5,379,430 (“the ‘430 Patent”),” the ITC said in its ruling. Apple filed a formal complaint against Motorola in October 2010 alleging that its Android smartphones infringe multiple Apple-owned patents, and it asked the Commission to ban the import and sale of the infringing devices.
UPDATE: Motorola’s comments on the ITC judgement follow below. More →
HTC’s chief executive officer Peter Chou recently said his company has already developed a solution to dodge an ITC injunction, which was issued after a ruling that found HTC guilty of infringing two of Apple’s patents. “It’s actually quite rarely used,” Chou said of the feature that violates Apple’s patents, suggesting that the company isn’t afraid of the ban that is set to take effect on April 19th. HTC issued a statement following the ITC’s decision and explained that the patent ” is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.” In other words, don’t worry too much if you have your heart set on buying HTC’s upcoming Elite flagship device set to launch on AT&T early next year. More →
The United States International Trade Commission ruled late Tuesday that Motorola Mobility is guilty of infringing on one of Microsoft’s patents. The patent is related to calendar sync and how one might use a device to schedule a meeting, BBC News explained. Microsoft originally filed a suit against Motorola Mobility in August in an attempt to block sales of several Motorola Android smartphones, such as DROID 2, DROID X and several others, and accused Motorola Mobility of infringing on seven total patents. The ITC judge ruled that Motorola Mobility devices do not infringe on six of Microsoft’s patents, however. Microsoft recently filed a similar lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, and the company has already reached licensing agreements with HTC, Samsung, ViewSonic and several other firms. “The ones who can actually sit back and relax as they watch this are those who have concluded license deals with Microsoft (or other patent holders) and don’t have to worry about possible or actual import bans, possible or impossible workarounds, or further escalation,” patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents explained recently. More →
HTC on Monday responded to a ruling from the United States International Trade Commission that will ban the import of several HTC devices beginning April 19th, 2012. “We are gratified that the commission affirmed the judge’s determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent,” HTC said in a statement sent to BGR via email. “We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.” Monday’s ruling follows the ITC’s initial decision on July 16th that found HTC guilty of violating two Apple-owned patents. It is not immediately clear when HTC will implement the required changes, though it appears from the language in the vendor’s statement that it will be able to push updates out soon enough to circumvent the ITC’s ban.
HTC amended its initial statement shortly before 6:20 p.m. Eastern Time to clarify the technology covered by the ‘647 patent.
A judge with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled Monday that HTC is guilty of infringing Apple’s patents in several devices. The ITC also ordered a ban on the import of several of HTC’s smartphones although it is unclear which models are affected. The ban will take effect on April 19th. “Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has found a violation of section 337 in this investigation and has issued a limited exclusion order prohibiting importation of infringing personal data and mobile communications devices and related software,” the ITC said in its determination. “The Commission has determined that exclusion of articles subject to this order shall commence on April 19, 2012.” Raed on for more.
The United States International Trade Commission recently said that it would review a judge’s decision from earlier this year, which cleared Apple of violating four HTC patents. An ITC judge ruled in October that Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch did not violate HTC-owned patents related to phone dialing and power management. The ITC announcement came just ahead of a decision in a separate case surrounding a complaint filed by Apple alleging that HTC’s smartphones violate several of its patents. Apple is seeking an injunction that would bar HTC from selling its infringing products in the U.S., and the ITC’s ruling is expected on Monday.
The International Trade Commission has ruled that camera technology used in HTC devices does not infringe on patents registered to former Apple subsidiary FlashPoint Technology. HTC is currently locked up in a number of patent spats, and the Taiwan-based company most recently was found to be infringing on a patent owned by IPCom. That ruling resulted in an injunction blocking sales of HTC smartphones in Germany, but HTC is fighting the decision, saying it does not believe the ruling will materially impact its business. In need of some good news on the legal front, the ITC on Tuesday upheld a ruling from July that found HTC not guilty of infringing a registered patent FlashPoint Technology said was being used unlawfully in HTC’s Android and Windows Phone devices. Based in New Hampshire, FlashPoint is a patent licensing firm formerly owned by Apple. The company had previously filed similar suits against RIM, Nokia and LG, and each of the companies settled for undisclosed amounts. More →