Patent trolls cost companies $29 billion in 2011

By on June 26, 2012 at 5:05 PM.

Patent trolls cost companies $29 billion in 2011

Patent Troll Suits Total $29 Billion

Patent trolls — that is, entities that purchase patents in bulk and sue other companies for infringement despite not making any products of their own — have rapidly become the bane of the technology industry. But few could have imagined that patent trolling would cost companies a whopping $29 billion a year in expenses, as a new study from Boston University claims. Per Bloomberg, researchers at the BU School of Law have found that businesses paid that massive sum on 5,842 infringement claims filed in 2011 by non-practicing entities, the polite term that the legal community uses for patent trolls. More →

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British libel reforms push ISPs to out Internet trolls

By on June 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM.

British libel reforms push ISPs to out Internet trolls

Internet Troll Law UK

Anonymous trolls in the United Kingdom may have to think twice before calling someone a “n00b” or “teh sux0r” online. That’s because the U.K. House of Commons this week will start a debate on reforms to British libel law that will provide incentives for Internet Service Providers to reveal the identities of online posters accused of libelous and defamatory speech, The Guardian reports. To be fair, The Guardian says that the plaintiff in the libel cases does have to show that they have “suffered serious harm to their reputations, or are likely to do so, before they can take a defamation case forward,” so the average Internet troll won’t likely be affected. More →

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Facebook reportedly acquired 750 patents from IBM

By on March 22, 2012 at 5:55 PM.

Facebook reportedly acquired 750 patents from IBM

Facebook on Thursday acquired 750 patents from IBM in an effort to boost the company’s defense and counter new lawsuits, according to Bloomberg. The patents reportedly cover various technologies relating to software and networking. The acquisition would more than double the size of Facebook’s portfolio, which currently includes at least 56 issued patents and 503 filed U.S. patent applications. The patent acquisition comes after Yahoo, a business partner of Facebook, filed a massive patent infringement lawsuit against the social networking site. More →

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Apple seeks up to $15 per Samsung, Motorola Android phone sold in proposed settlement

By on March 6, 2012 at 2:35 PM.

Apple seeks up to $15 per Samsung, Motorola Android phone sold in proposed settlement

Apple is currently locked in dozens of lawsuits around the world with various Android vendors, but the Cupertino-based company is apparently willing to negotiate terms that would end a number of its outstanding spats. According to sources speaking with Dow Jones Newswires, Apple has proposed settlements to at least two Android smartphone vendors. Under the terms of Apple’s proposed deals, which were reportedly offered to both Samsung and Motorola, the company would collect royalties of between $5 and $15 for each Android handset sold. If this report is accurate, the move represents a sharp departure from Apple’s strategy under former CEO Steve Jobs who vowed to spend every last dollar Apple had in an effort to destroy Android. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said, according to Walter Isaacson’s recent biography of the Apple co-founder. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” More →

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German court throws out two suits in Apple-Samsung patent spat

By on March 2, 2012 at 8:25 PM.

German court throws out two suits in Apple-Samsung patent spat

A German court has thrown out a third lawsuit Samsung recently filed against Apple regarding a 3G patent, along with one of two slide-to-unlock suits Apple filed against Samsung, FOSS Patents reported on Friday. Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court ruled that Samsung’s standard-essential patent covers a method of computing a certain mathematical result, however the specifications of 3G/UMTS don’t require a phone to perform said computation. Therefore, a handset merely uses the result and while Samsung may own the path to get there, it doesn’t necessarily own the destination. Judge Voss has previously dismissed two other 3G/UMTS suits filed by Samsung. Read on for more. More →

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Steve Jobs used patents to pressure Bill Gates into 1997 investment in Apple

By on March 2, 2012 at 12:30 PM.

Steve Jobs used patents to pressure Bill Gates into 1997 investment in Apple

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was no stranger to legal battles involving the patent system. Apple is currently waging war on a number of Android vendors and the company’s former CEO vowed to crush Google’s mobile platform before his untimely passing last year. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple boss. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” But more than a decade before the iPhone even existed, Apple was locked in patent battles with Microsoft that would end up saving the company from the brink of bankruptcy. Read on for more. More →

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Apple cleared in Germany of infringing on one of seven Samsung patents

By on January 20, 2012 at 8:15 AM.

Apple cleared in Germany of infringing on one of seven Samsung patents

Apple has been cleared of infringing an Apple patent in one of more than 30 ongoing patent complaints Samsung and Apple currently have filed against each other around the world. Judge Andreas Voss of Germany’s Mannheim Regional Court on Friday ruled that the Cupertino, California-based company’s mobile devices do not infringe on a Samsung-owned patent pertaining to the UMTS standard, FOSS Patents reported. The court has yet to issue a ruling regarding six other patents Samsung has accused Apple of infringing in Germany. “We are disappointed that the court did not share our views regarding the infringement by Apple of this specific patent in Germany,” Samsung spokesman Nam Ki-yung told reporters. “It should be noted that today’s ruling relates to only one of several patents asserted by Samsung in the Mannheim court.” More →

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Apple files new design lawsuit against Samsung in Germany

By on January 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM.

Apple files new design lawsuit against Samsung in Germany

Apple has filed a new complaint targeting 10 Samsung smartphones that allegedly infringe the Cupertino-based company’s design patents. The suit was filed in the Dusseldorf Regional Court, with Apple also filing a separate suit citing five Samsung tablet models. Last month, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab 10.1N that featured a new bezel and a slightly modified design. Apple filed a new complaint seeking to ban sales of the tweaked model, but the Dusseldorf court said it was unlikely to grant an injunction against the redesigned tablet. An appeals court also voiced doubts about the reach of Apple’s European Union design right, which was the driving force behind the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction. The new suits aren’t filed under emergency proceedings, allowing Apple a new procedure against both models. A spokesman for Samsung, who declined to be identified, confirmed to Bloomberg that the company had received formal notice of both suits. More →

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Kodak files patent infringement lawsuits against HTC and Apple

By on January 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM.

Kodak files patent infringement lawsuits against HTC and Apple

Kodak is going through a financial nightmare, with reports claiming the camera company is preparing to file for bankruptcy. In what seems like a last effort to license the company’s patents, Kodak has filed patent lawsuits against HTC and Apple. Kodak claims that both smartphone manufacturers are infringing upon some of the company’s digital imaging patents. The complaint targets the iPad 2, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and the iPod touch (4th generation), claiming Apple’s devices infringe upon four patents. Obviously, the patents all relate to digital images, ranging from capturing them, to transferring photos over email, cellular networks, or wireless LAN networks.

HTC is being sued for the same four patents as Apple, with the addition of  a patent that covers capturing still images while previewing motion images — the same patent is being asserted against Apple and RIM in a concurrent ITC investigation. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents speculates that the lawsuit is part of a last effort sales and marketing strategy to sell the company’s patent portfolio. Lastly, Mueller believes that even though Apple and HTC are suing each other, they will most likely team up to fight off Kodak. At the very least, the two companies could conduct a joint prior art search, or look to narrow the scope of patent claims to avoid liability for infringement. More →

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Samsung promises to turn up the heat in patent battle with Apple

By on September 23, 2011 at 11:15 AM.

Samsung promises to turn up the heat in patent battle with Apple

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 →

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Verizon wants Obama to curtail potential patent war damages

By on August 24, 2011 at 3:20 PM.

Verizon wants Obama to curtail potential patent war damages

Verizon Communications’ chief counsel Randal Milch wants United States President Barack Obama to limit potential damages relating to the ongoing patent wars sweeping technology companies in the U.S. As the number of patent complaints among major handset vendors around the world continues to grow, several companies have turned to the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to have the import and sale of alleged infringing products blocked. Milch recently circulated a chart showing all of the devices that may be banned in the U.S. due to patent complaints seeking injunctions, including the iPhone and several Android tablets, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Instead, the lawyer thinks President Obama should issue a blanket statement declaring that he will overturn any ruling that would block the importation or sale of wireless devices in the U.S. Verizon believes vendors found to be infringing on patents should only be forced to pay royalties to the relevant patent owners. More →

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Google CEO Larry Page explains reasoning behind Motorola acquisition (spoiler: patents)

By on August 15, 2011 at 8:38 AM.

Google CEO Larry Page explains reasoning behind Motorola acquisition (spoiler: patents)

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 →

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Google: Apple, Microsoft are trying to 'strangle' Android with patents instead of competing

By on August 3, 2011 at 5:10 PM.

Google: Apple, Microsoft are trying to 'strangle' Android with patents instead of competing

Apple and Microsoft are playing dirty, according to a new blog post by Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond. Instead of attempting to build innovative products and features, Drummond says Apple and Microsoft are content with filing repeated patent complaints in an attempt to impede Android’s rapid growth. Apple, Microsoft and others are carrying out “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents,” Drummond wrote in his post. “They’re doing this by 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; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile; and even suingBarnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.” Drummond goes on to write that Google intends to support its partners who are being targeted by these patent complaints. “In this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it,” Drummond stated. More →

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