The smartphone industry is caught in a maelstrom of patent litigation, with Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and other major companies entangled in a complex matrix of lawsuits. But other parts of the tech world also have their woes. A federal court has just ordered Marvell to pay $1.5 billion to Carnegie Mellon University over two hard-disk patents. The judge in case slammed Marvell with “enhanced penalties” for deliberately infringing on Carnegie’s intellectual property. More →
According to Apple, Samsung has stolen a number of key iOS features and design elements, and used them when making its Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Back in 2012 a jury agreed to some extent, and Apple was ultimately awarded nearly $1 billion in damages as a result. Now, Apple and Samsung find themselves in Judge Lucy Koh’s California court once again to argue over whether or not Samsung stole a different set of patents owned by Apple.
Wondering exactly what Apple is claiming Samsung swiped in its Galaxy smartphones this time around? Here’s everything you need to know: More →
The Korea Electronics Association has submitted a petition to Fair Trade Commission opposing Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone unit. Koreans are restating the theory that many industry observers have been speculating about in recent months: the loss of its handset operations may unleash Nokia as a sort of megatroll with the power to cripple the profitability of most Asian phone vendors. More →
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 →