U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Thursday delivered her final judgement on the damages awarded to Apple in its huge 2012 victory over Samsung. The final damages don’t match the initial figure Apple sought, but at $930 million the judgement still represents a huge blow for Samsung. In the summer of 2012, a Northern California jury found Samsung guilty of infringing multiple Apple patents in its smartphones and tablets. More →
42 state Attorneys General on Monday sent a letter to ranking members of Congress showing support for patent reform against patent trolls. The Attorneys General letter uses the term “troll” no less than six times in the letter to describe companies or individuals that would attack companies with “dubious claims of patent infringement and using the threat of expensive litigation to extort money,” thus harming the economy and stifling innovation in the process. The letter proposes several amendments that would make it easier for Attorneys General to fight against patent trolling, in light of recent patent-based trolls attacks that have targeted thousands of businesses and non-profits. More →
In a move that will hopefully start a trend that eventually kills off the patent wars that have plagued the tech industry for the past few years, Samsung and Google have reached an agreement to license each other’s patents. The deal, announced by Samsung on Monday, will see the two companies cross-license each other’s patents covering IP that spans a wide range of technologies for 10 years. More →
The patent war that recently consumed the mobile industry and the media went from a boil to a simmer in 2013, but a new trial between Apple and Samsung set to begin in March could put patents back in the spotlight in 2014. Just the thought of patent battles heating up again is enough to make anyone cringe and according to a new report, Samsung and Apple might finally feel the same way. Unnamed officials at Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) reportedly told The Korea Times that Apple and Samsung have resumed talks and are discussing ways to end their feud once and for all. More →
Rockstar — a consortium of companies including Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry and Sony that purchased 4,000 patents from Nortel in 2011 — is looking to sell a portion of its newly acquired patent portfolio, according to Bloomberg. It has already sold a portion of its patents to Spherix Inc., an intellectual property company. The Nortel patents were highly sought after in 2011, with Apple, Google, Microsoft and other large tech companies vying for them. Rockstar was formed by Microsoft and Apple to team up against Google, which bid $3.14159 billion but eventually lost to Rockstar’s $4.5 billion bid. Sony, BlackBerry and Ericsson also joined the Rockstar group. More →
A court in Seoul, South Korea has determined that several accused iPhone and iPad models do not infringe three Samsung patents. The Associated Press on Thursday reported that the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPad 2 were all cleared of any violation pertaining to the three Samsung patents, which related to multitasking and short messaging service technology. ”We are glad the Korean court joined others around the world in standing up for real innovation and rejecting Samsung’s ridiculous claims,” an Apple spokesperson said following the win on Samsung’s home turf. Samsung had sought to ban all three devices from being imported and sold in South Korea and the company said it plans to appeal the court’s decision. For the time being, however, it represents the latest in a long line of patent losses for Samsung, the last of which took place in California late last month when Apple was awarded an additional $290 million in damages relating to a 2012 decision.
Samsung is willing to go for five years without suing competitors in Europe, to discuss licensing fees with rivals for a year, and to allow an arbitrator appointed by the European Commission to decide on them in case an agreement isn’t reached. But that may not be enough for the Commission, Reuters reported. Apparently, Samsung rivals in the region are not happy with the company’s concessions. “We will take account of the feedback when we discuss with Samsung possible improvements to their commitments in the coming weeks,” European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said at a patent conference organized by Premier Cercle. More →
Despite publicly belittling software patents and lobbying for patent reform that would make it difficult for companies to use such patents in patent-based lawsuits, Google is building an impressive arsenal of patents of its own at a much faster rate than in previous years. While the move may be perceived as an attempt to defend its Android mobile operating system that’s under attack from rivals including Apple and Microsoft – as well as to attack them back – it would appear that Google is protecting all of its interests, across a variety of markets that it’s currently a player in. MIT’s Technology Review reports that this year alone, Google is on track to be awarded about 1,800 patents, putting Google on the top 10 patent recipients list, ahead of companies like GE and Intel. Google is now No. 3 or No. 4 on that list behind the likes of IBM and Microsoft. To help illustrate what a dramatic change this is from the old Google, in 2007 when the iPhone was first introduced, Google was awarded only 38 patents. More →
When the history of the patent wars is written, the auction of Nortel’s mobile patents may be seen as the equivalent of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination which sparked World War I. Reuters reports that Rockstar — an industry consortium that includes Microsoft, Apple, BlackBerry, Sony and Ericsson — has sued Google, Samsung, HTC and Huawei for allegedly infringing the Nortel patents the consortium bought back in 2011 for $4.5 billion. According to Reuters, the Nortel patents being used in the suit “cover technology that helps match Internet search terms with relevant advertising… which is the core of Google’s search business.” In retrospect, Google probably wishes that it had outbid the consortium for the Nortel patents instead of subsequently spending $12.5 billion to buy up Motorola and its hugely overvalued patent portfolio.
HTC is working with Qualcomm to alter a chip design that has been judged to infringe on Nokia’s radio patents, The Wall Street Journal reports. The original ITC ruling on the matter involved only older handsets, but the dispute could engulf the new HTC One flagship model by January. Nokia has a wide and deep portfolio of patents spanning several key areas, including antenna design, power consumption reduction techniques, email transmission, messaging functionality and menu systems. The company has widely been regarded as not pursuing its patent cases against Asian vendors aggressively, while it has focused on it skirmishes with Apple. More →
This is a bit of bad news HTC could certainly have lived without. As troubles continue to mount for the struggling Taiwan-based smartphone vendor, it was dealt another blow on Monday afternoon when the U.S. International Trade Commission found that several HTC smartphones infringe two Nokia-owned patents. The ITC found HTC innocent of infringing a third patent. An injunction preventing HTC from importing several smartphone models could be issued as a result, though it wouldn’t impact the vendors latest smartphones. According to Reuters, the HTC Amaze 4G, Inspire 4G, Flyer, Jetstream, Radar 4G, Rezound and Sensation 4G are the only devices covered in the case. As HTC weighs its options, Nokia was quick to issue a statement. ”Nokia is pleased that the initial determination of the ITC confirmed that HTC has infringed two of our patents,” was all the soon-to-be-former Finnish smartphone maker had to say.
Bill Gates may no longer be running Microsoft but that doesn’t mean he can’t help his company out in his spare time. Ars Technica reports that the Microsoft cofounder is helping Intellectual Ventures, a patent-holding firm that has in the past sued the Google-owned Motorola, acquire more patents and is listed as a co-inventor on 93 patent applications filed by the firm since 2008. Intellectual Ventures, which was cofounded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has around 70,000 patents in its portfolio even though it doesn’t make any products of its own. Indeed, the firm itself told Ars that its mission was not to make products but to “invest in ideas themselves and make them available to other companies” for a licensing fee.
After Apple narrowly escaped a sales ban on its iPhone 4 and iPad 2 late last week, it looks like Samsung might not be so lucky. Apple on Friday won its case against Samsung, which was found by the U.S. International Trade Commission to infringe on the famous ”Steve Jobs patent” as well as an additional hardware patent. As a result, the ITC has issued an import ban on the offending Samsung devices, though an earlier report suggested that the older products covered in the case currently make up less than 1% of Samsung’s sales. President Obama has 60 days to overturn the ban before it goes into effect. Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents has the full story. More →