‘Patent trolls’ cost tech companies $500 billion, kill innovation

By on September 21, 2011 at 7:00 AM.

‘Patent trolls’ cost tech companies $500 billion, kill innovation

According to The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls, a new study published by the Boston University School of Law, patent trolls are responsible for $500 billion of “lost wealth” between 1990 and 2010, and for a decline in innovation. The study defines patents trolls as “firms that license patents without producing goods,” otherwise known as non-practicing entities. The researchers have found patent trolls, typically smaller firms, often sue large companies for technology patent infringement to make a quick buck. The lawsuits have resulted in an average of $80 billion of lost wealth per year during the last four years. Read on for more. More →

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AT&T offers to sell assets to Sprint in bid to win T-Mobile deal approval

By on September 20, 2011 at 1:01 AM.

AT&T offers to sell assets to Sprint in bid to win T-Mobile deal approval

AT&T has approached several U.S. wireless carriers offering to sell assets, spectrum and wireless subscribers in an effort to win the government’s blessing for its planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA, Bloomberg reported on Monday. MetroPCS, Leap Wireless, CenturyLink, Dish Network and Sprint were among the the companies approached in the private talks. AT&T’s move is no doubt a response to recent lawsuits that were filed by the Department of Justice and Sprint. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on August 31st in an attempt to block the merger, which it said would “remove a significant competitive force from the market.” Seven U.S. states also joined the DOJ’s suit last week. Sprint sued on September 6th and said the merger would “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market. AT&T’s discussions to sell assets may not be enough to sway the Department of Justice in AT&T’s favor and the talks are still preliminary, Bloomberg said. More →

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Shareholder sues HP for bailing on webOS, TouchPad

By on September 16, 2011 at 10:21 AM.

Shareholder sues HP for bailing on webOS, TouchPad

HP shareholder Richard Gammell has filed a class-action lawsuit against HP after the company made the drastic decision to kill off the TouchPad in August, which resulted in a 20% drop in share price the following day, Reuters reported. Gammell argued in the suit that HP failed to inform investors the webOS operating system was no longer a major part of the company’s plans moving forward, and that the company had revamped its business plan without telling shareholders. Those actions, Gammell argues, artificially inflated HP’s share price. Gammell is seeking damages for any HP investor who purchased stock between November 22, 2010 and August 18th, 2011. More →

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AT&T bites back at Sprint’s attempt to block merger

By on September 6, 2011 at 5:45 PM.

AT&T bites back at Sprint’s attempt to block merger

Sprint announced that it was suing AT&T in an effort to block its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA on Tuesday morning. Later in the day AT&T issued the following statement in response to the suit:

This simply demonstrates what we’ve said all along – Sprint is more interested in protecting itself than it is in promoting competition that benefits consumers. We of course will vigorously contest this matter in court as AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile USA will: help solve our nation’s spectrum exhaust situation and improve wireless service for millions; allow AT&T to expand 4G LTE mobile broadband to another 55 million Americans, or 97% of the population; and result in billions of additional investment and tens of thousands of jobs, at a time when our nation needs them most.

On August 31st, the Department of Justice filed a related lawsuit in an attempt to block the merger. On the same day, AT&T responded to the DOJ suit and said that its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA is in the best interest of consumers and “the facts will prevail in court.”

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Sprint sues to block AT&T/T-Mobile merger

By on September 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM.

Sprint sues to block AT&T/T-Mobile merger

Sprint announced on Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit with a federal court in the U.S. District of Columbia in an effort to block AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom. The suit is related to the Department of Justice’s lawsuit, which was filed on August 31st. “Sprint opposes AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile,” Sprint’s vice president of litigation Suzan Haller said. “With today’s legal action, we are continuing that advocacy on behalf of consumers and competition, and expect to contribute our expertise and resources in proving that the proposed transaction is illegal.” Sprint argued that the merger will “harm retail consumers and corporate customers by causing higher prices and less innovation” and said it will “entrench the duopoly of AT&T and Verizon” by allowing those two carriers 90% of U.S. wireless profits and more than three quarters of the market. Sprint also said the merger would “harm Sprint and other independent wireless carriers” and would give AT&T control of backhaul, roaming and wireless spectrum. AT&T responded to the DOJ’s suit last week and said the deal is in the best interest of consumers and the “facts will prevail in court.”  Read on for the full press release from Sprint. More →

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AT&T could sell 25% of T-Mobile to sway feds in favor of acquisition

By on September 2, 2011 at 7:15 PM.

AT&T could sell 25% of T-Mobile to sway feds in favor of acquisition

AT&T is prepared to make sacrifices in an effort to sway the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission in favor of its planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, Reuters reported on Friday. On August 31st, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against AT&T in attempt to block the merger, a move that is said to have caught both AT&T and T-Mobile USA’s owner, Deutsche Telekom, off-guard. “AT&T is pretty determined that they can find a solution, and they are pretty confident,” one source told Reuters, which noted AT&T’s “two-track” plan that includes possibly selling off as much as 25% of T-Mobile, including customers and spectrum, if the deal is approved. It is still unclear who could be a potential customer for the assets, however, as the government could investigate Sprint or Verizon Wireless if either carrier chose to purchase those assets. Reuters said U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle will preside over the case and said Huvelle is known for moving swiftly. AT&T has asked for an expedited hearing and the case could be heard within the next two months. More →

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Deutsche Telekom caught off-guard by DOJ’s move to block AT&T/T-Mobile deal

By on September 1, 2011 at 10:15 PM.

Deutsche Telekom caught off-guard by DOJ’s move to block AT&T/T-Mobile deal

The U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to file a lawsuit in an attempt to block AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA caught Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann off-guard while he was meeting with a team of managers and his supervisory board, a board member told Bloomberg on Thursday. Deutsche Telekom, AT&T and T-Mobile had all been confident that the deal would be approved in March of next year. Speaking during the IFA trade show in Berlin, head of Deutsche Telekom Germany Niek Jan van Damme echoed AT&T’s commitment to continue to fight for the deal’s approval. “We’re staying in it,” Van Damme said. “Other scenarios were not being discussed. When you are in a deal, you stick to that deal, a clear focus on that deal.” Obermann has said his company will work with AT&T to contest the DOJ’s lawsuit, which Van Damme seemed to shrug off. “When it comes to larger M&A deals in the US, these things happen,” he said. “This isn’t an exception. We have everything under control.” If the federal government does successfully block the deal, AT&T will be required to pay T-Mobile USA $6 billion in cash and assets. More →

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Apple, RIM sued by software maker Openwave over patents

By on August 31, 2011 at 7:30 PM.

Apple, RIM sued by software maker Openwave over patents

Openwave Systems has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Apple and Research In Motion with a Delaware federal court and the U.S. International Trade Commission. Openwave believes products from both firms infringe on five patents related to how “mobile devices connect to the internet,” Bloomberg reports. The iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry Curve were all named in the suit. Openwave said it filed the lawsuits after it did not “receive a substantive response” when it offered both firms the option to license its technology. It hopes the threat of having the ITC block imports of the products “will lead the companies to negotiate licensing agreements.” “Openwave invented technologies that became foundational to the mobile Internet,” Openwave CEO Ken Denman said. “We believe that these large companies should pay us for the use of our technologies, particularly in light of the substantial revenue these companies have earned from devices that use our intellectual property.” More →

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Microsoft moves to block sale of Motorola Android phones

By on August 23, 2011 at 9:15 AM.

Microsoft moves to block sale of Motorola Android phones

Microsoft opened its case in front of the United States International Trade Commission on Monday in an attempt to block Motorola Mobility from selling its Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour and Backflip smartphones in the U.S. Microsoft believes that Motorola Mobility is infringing on seven of its patents related to how a user interacts with calendars, contacts, email and more. “We have a responsibility to our employees, customers, partners and shareholders to safeguard our intellectual property,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for litigation David Howard told Bloomberg. “Motorola is infringing on our patents and we are confident that the ITC will rule in our favor.” Google recently announced its intentions to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in an effort to bolster its patent portfolio and help its Android partners fight in lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft. A Motorola Mobility spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the company is “vigorously defending … against Microsoft’s patent attack business strategy,” and that the company has also “brought legal actions of our own in the U.S. and in Europe to address Microsoft’s large scale of infringement of Motorola Mobility’s patents.” The U.S. ITC expects to conclude its investigation of the matter by March 5th. More →

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Shareholder sues Motorola Mobility over Google sale

By on August 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM.

Shareholder sues Motorola Mobility over Google sale

A Motorola Mobility shareholder has initiated a class-action lawsuit against the company after CEO Sanjay Jha announced intentions to sell the firm to Google for $12.5 billion. The shareholder hopes to block the sale and argues that Motorola Mobility failed to shop around for the best price. “The offered consideration does not compensate shareholders for the company’s intrinsic value and stand-alone alternatives going forward, nor does it compensate shareholders for the company’s value as a strategic asset for Google,” investor John W. Keating said in the lawsuit. “Motorola has experienced an economic resurgence since separating into two separate companies,” he added. “The Android smartphone technology it relies on continues to gain ground on Apple’s iPhone.” If the deal is approved, Motorola Mobility will pay its investors $40 per share in cash. More →

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27,000 South Koreans sue Apple over iPhone privacy concerns

By on August 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM.

27,000 South Koreans sue Apple over iPhone privacy concerns

27,000 people have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple in South Korea over concerns Apple collected private location data, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. The group is seeking 1 million won per person in damages, or about $930 each and just over $25 million total. In early August, the Korean Communications Commission fined Apple 3 million won ($2,829) following the “Locationgate” scandal that occurred earlier this year. Apple has stood by its claims that the location-tracking was the result of a bug that was fixed in a software update. The iPhone maker was also sued in the United States by two consumers in Florida and by one man in Puerto Rico. Apple paid South Korean lawyer Kim Hyung-suk $945 this past May after he filed a lawsuit against the company, and that is the only other recorded pay-out at this point regarding the iOS location tracking bug. More →

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HTC sues Apple for patent infringement… again [updated]

By on August 16, 2011 at 9:55 AM.

HTC sues Apple for patent infringement… again [updated]

HTC filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court of Delaware alleging that Cupertino-based Apple Inc. is infringing on three of its patents. The patents are related to Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac computers, and HTC is seeking triple damages for willful infringement and compensatory damages. The two companies have been locked in legal battles for months, but we’re a little surprised at HTC’s move given the company recently said it was disappointed in “Apple’s constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market.” Apple first sued HTC for patent infringement in March and a judge with the United States International Trade Commission found HTC guilty of infringing on two of Apple’s patents in July. HTC said that it will appeal the ITC ruling and has argued that it has a strong case against the iPhone maker.

UPDATE: HTC’s press release is now included after the break. More →

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Apple allegedly doctored evidence in patent case against Samsung

By on August 15, 2011 at 4:30 PM.

Apple allegedly doctored evidence in patent case against Samsung

Apple has managed to block sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and in the European Union, but new evidence from Computerworld’s Dutch sister site Webwereld.nl suggests the iPad maker may be tampering with evidence. According to the report, Apple is using an image of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that is purposely distorted to look more like the iPad. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.36 (the proportions of the device itself, not the display) while the iPad is shown with a 1.30 aspect ratio. However, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet itself actually has a 1.46 aspect ratio. “This is a blunder,” Klos Morel Vos & Schaap lawyer Arnout Groen told Webwereld.nl. “That such a ‘mistake’ is made in a case about design rights can scarcely be a coincidence. The aspect ratio of the alleged Galaxy Tab is clearly distorted to match the iPad more closely. Inasmuch as this faux pas will have consequences for the case is of course up to the judge. But at least a reprimand by the German court seems to be in order,” he added. Samsung is set to appeal the European Union ban on August 25th. Read on for a comparison image of the alleged doctored Galaxy Tab 10.1 next to the real one. More →

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