Two Hon Hai employees and a MacTop Electronics executive have been found guilty of leaking information about Apple’s iPad 2 ahead of its release. The trio was arrested in December last year following an investigation by authorities in Shenzhen, China. Xiao Chengsong, general manager of Shenzhen MacTop Electronics Co., former Hon Hai employee named Hou Pengna, and Lin Kecheng, a Hon Hai research-and-development employee, were all sentenced on Tuesday in a Chinese court. Hou was sentenced to one year in prison and fined 30,000 yuan, Lin was sentenced to 14 months and fined 100,000 yuan, and Xiao was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and fined 150,000 yuan. More →
Charges have been filed by federal prosecutors in Seattle against a Microsoft employee accused of wire fraud. Robert D. Curry was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with stealing $515,000 from Microsoft using a series of wire transfers sent from Microsoft to Curry’s bank account. According to Curry, the transfers were payments for services rendered but prosecutors contend that Curry provided no such services. According to the charges, Curry created a shell company and used one of Microsoft’s vendors, which was unaware of Curry’s actions, to funnel money into his account between April and November last year. The FBI claims Curry collected a series of fraudulent payments from Microsoft, having misled the company by claiming the payments were being made to Microsoft vendor Pentad Solutions. Prosecutors say Curry used the stolen funds to pay for high-end audio equipment, credit card bills and a ski vacation. More →
A bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved Dish Network’s winning bid and gave it the OK to acquire Blockbuster for $320 million. Dish’s bid topped other bidders including Cobalt Video, a group of hedge funds lead by Monarch Alternative Capital, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn earlier this week at an auction for Blockbuster’s business and assets. New York Judge Burton Lifland gave his approval in bankruptcy court, and Dish will now assume control of 1,700 remaining Blockbuster locations, the company’s DVD-by-mail business and its streaming video business. Now that a judge has approved the deal, Dish is expected to pay roughly $228 million for Blockbuster when factoring in the value of the fallen video giant’s remaining cash and other assets. Proceeds from the sale will help Blockbuster’s creditors, which include multiple movie studios and Carl Icahn, reclaim a portion of the $1 billion they are collectively owed. More →
A federal judge ruled on Monday that Apple, Inc. did not infringe upon the patents of company Mirror Worlds in the creation of its Cover Flow interface. Mirror Worlds filed its initial lawsuit in 2008, claiming that Apple copied technologies protected by its “document stream operating system” filing from 2004. Back in 2010, a U.S. District Court ruled in the plaintiffs favor and awarded Mirror Worlds $625.5 million in damages. Apple appealed, and the ruling was overturned by a federal judge citing a “lack of foundational support” for the charges. “In this case, Mirror Worlds may have painted an appealing picture for the jury, but it failed to lay a solid foundation sufficient to support important elements it was required to establish under the law,” reads the ruling. “Accordingly, the Court rejects Mirror Worlds’ case as to infringement and damages, while affirming it as to validity and inequitable conduct.” More →
An International Trade Commission panel on Friday ruled on a patent infringement suit filed by Nokia against Apple in May 2010. In the suit, Nokia alleged that Apple’s iPhone infringed on multiple Nokia patents covering wireless data transmission, data encryption and other related technologies. The ITC found that Apple did not infringe on any of the five patents named by Nokia in its complaint. The suit was one several patent-related suits exchanged by Nokia and Apple in recent years in the United States and in Europe. More →
Time Warner has been ordered by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington to identify hundreds of people accused of illegally downloading movies over its broadband network. The ISP had previously argued that identifying the accused parties would be “unfairly expensive and time-consuming,” and it asked that the judge reject the subpoenas for subscriber information. Of the three pending cases where subpoenas for subscriber data were issued, the judge agreed to quash one, as the plaintiff, Maverick Entertainment Group, failed to properly serve the subpoena in compliance with the law. The other two stand, however, and Time Warner will have to identify approximately 250 subscribers. Maverick, one of three movie companies currently seeking the identities of anonymous Internet users who are accused of illegally downloading their copyrighted materials, has 10 days to re-issue the subpoena or it may lose access to the identities of over 700 users. More →
Remember how Kodak filed suit against Apple and RIM a year ago alleging patent infringement? Well, late yesterday, a U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled that Kodak’s case — which related to low resolution previews of videos that are displayed on-screen while recording full resolution video — is invalid. Kodak had previously won claims against LG and Samsung, after which it was able to put a licensing deal in place worth a reported $864 million. Things might not turn out that well this time around, however. RIM has filed a federal suit challenging other Kodak patents and Apple is suing Kodak for patent infringement of its patents. More →
Clifford Cretan, the judge who signed the search warrant in the Gizmodo iPhone case, issued a ruling on Friday that unsealed the contents of the highly controversial Jason Chen search warrant. Most of the details have already been discussed ad nauseum, but a few juciy tidbits have emerged:
- Apple, the company, not an individual employee nor any other entity, reported the missing phone.
- the case was filed, in part, as a trade secrets violation which partially explains why the search was handled by the REACT (Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team) crimes unit.
- Steve Jobs personally called Brian Lam to request the phone’s return. Lam agreed but with the condition that Apple provide a letter confirming the phone belonged to the Cupertino company.
- Brian Hogan, who reportedly found the iPhone at the bar and sold it to Gizmodo, is identified as a suspect.
- Jason Chen is being investigated for possible receipt of stolen property, theft and copying of a trade secret, and destruction of property worth more than $400.
- Hogan was turned in by his roommate, Katherine Martinson, who was afraid of being caught up in this legal mess after Hogan plugged the iPhone prototype into her computer.
- Prior to being searched by the police, Hogan and another roommate, Thomas Warner, hid Hogan’s computer, thumb drive, flash card, and the serial number stickers from the iPhone prototype. These items were found inside a local church, scattered amongst some bushes, and on the ground outside of a convenience store.
- Hogan reportedly claims that Gizmodo paid him $8500 for the phone with a bonus once it was officially unveiled as the new iPhone. Hogan is said to have shown off a box of money totaling $5000 to his roommate.
- No charges have been filed yet but they are expected in the near future. Presumably, Hogan is a focus but there is no word on whether Gizmodo or Chen will be included.
So there it is, folks, our taste of hollywood-style high tech gossip. Hope it keeps you entertained and informed as this lurid interesting story continues to unfold.