Sony and LG settle patent fight, sign cross-licensing deal

By on August 11, 2011 at 9:00 AM.

Sony and LG settle patent fight, sign cross-licensing deal

Sony and LG have reached an agreement over a patent battle that involved several consumer electronics devices including televisions, the PlayStation 3 and phones, Reuters reported on Thursday. The two companies have agreed to enter a cross-licensing deal. “LG and Sony recently agreed to drop patent infringement lawsuits against each other,” an LG spokeswoman confirmed. Sony originally filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an attempt to block the sale of several LG phones, including the Rumor Touch. LG fired back and argued that Sony was using its patented Blu-ray technology inside the PlayStation 3. More →

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Apple requests court hearing in Lodsys case

By on August 9, 2011 at 7:30 PM.

Apple requests court hearing in Lodsys case

Apple has requested a court briefing in addition to its motion for an intervention against Lodsys, a company that has been chasing after iOS and Android developers and accusing them of infringing on its patents. Here’s a quick back story: Lodsys argues that developers who use its in-app payment technology aren’t covered under Apple’s license. Instead, Lodsys believes that each developer needs its own license. Apple disagrees and has said that developers are covered under an umbrella license. Lodsys has argued that Apple simply has an “economic” interest in the lawsuit but the Cupertino-based company has fired back and said developers are “precisely the type of supplier-customer relationship courts have found sufficient to permit intervention.” Most recently Lodsys added Electronic Arts, Atari, Square Enix and Take-two Interactive to the lawsuit. More →

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Samsung, Apple and Google considering bids on InterDigital's patent portfolio

By on August 3, 2011 at 11:41 PM.

Samsung, Apple and Google considering bids on InterDigital's patent portfolio

Apple, Google and Samsung are examining InterDigital and its 8,800-patent portfolio, and at least one is expected to bid on the company, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. InterDigital is based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and analysts from Algorithm Capital and Dougherty & Co. said the firm could be worth as much as $5 billion. InterDigital owns patents related to transferring data over wireless networks and its inventions have been used in Android and BlackBerry smartphones as well as the iPhone, Bloomberg said. “The fight between Apple and Samsung is getting serious, so if the assets go to Apple, it could be pretty risky for Samsung,” Shinyoung Securities Co. analyst Lee Seung Woo told Bloomberg. “To hedge the risk, Samsung could go ahead with bidding, although they may have to pay a big premium.” All three companies are beefing up existing patent portfolios as the legal battles between each company heat up. Most recently, Samsung acquired memory maker Grandis and Google purchased 1,000 patents from IBM. More →

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Spotify sued by PacketVideo for patent infringement

By on July 30, 2011 at 12:45 AM.

Spotify sued by PacketVideo for patent infringement

Spotify launched in the United States less than two weeks ago and it is already the target of a patent infringement lawsuit. A firm called PacketVideo is suing and alleges that Spotify is infringing on patent 5,646,276 for “a device for the distribution of music information in digital form.” The patent describes a method of accessing music through a “central memory device” that is connected to a “communications network and has a databank of digitized music information.” Surely, your computer, mobile devices and the cloud  are all “central memory devices” that can be used to access Spotify over communications networks, but the lawsuit sounds a bit far fetched to us. After all, there are dozens of competing services such as Rhapsody, Apple iCloud, Amazon, Pandora and Slacker that offer a similar experience. According to TechDirt, PacketVideo purchased the patent in question in 1995. More →

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Hulu sued for patent infringement

By on July 29, 2011 at 7:31 PM.

Hulu sued for patent infringement

A firm named Rovi Corp has filed a complaint with the U.S. District court of Delaware alleging that Hulu infringes on one of its patents. Rovi Corp is not often in the headlines but its client list sports names of big hitter tech firms. Reuters said that Rovi licenses technology to Apple, Comcast and Microsoft and is even used to support the back-end of BlockBuster’s On Demand service and Best Buy’s CinemaNow. Hulu was put up for sale on June 24th and a number of companies are rumored to have been considering a bid on the streaming media company, including Apple. Hulu has yet to comment on the lawsuit. More →

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Apple’s Mac OS X infringes on HTC-owned S3 patents, ITC rules

By on July 27, 2011 at 4:53 PM.

Apple’s Mac OS X infringes on HTC-owned S3 patents, ITC rules

United States International Trade Commission judge James Gildea has ruled that Apple’s Mac OS X operating system infringes on two patents owned by S3. Judge Gildea also ruled that the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch do not infringe on S3′s patents, however. The patents in question are related to NVIDIA graphics chips used in Apple’s Mac computers, but it is unclear which devices exactly are infringing on S3′s technology. HTC purchased S3 for $300 million in early July, and a different ITC judge recently ruled that the Taiwanese company is guilty of infringing on two patents owned by Apple related to a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data,” and a “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data.” HTC’s chief financial officer Winston Yung said on Tuesday that his company was willing to bury the hatchet with Apple and that the two companies have to “sit down and figure it out.” More →

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Lodsys goes after top-dog gaming firms Atari, EA, Rovio in patent suit

By on July 22, 2011 at 11:40 PM.

Lodsys goes after top-dog gaming firms Atari, EA, Rovio in patent suit

Lodsys, the company that has been accusing iOS and Android developers of illegally using its in-app purchasing technology, is now also targeting high-profile gaming firms such as Atari, Electronic Arts, Angry Birds lab Rovio, Square Enix and Take-Two Interactive. According to FOSS Patents, Lodsys had this to say about Rovio:

Defendant Rovio has infringed and continues to infringe, directly, indirectly, literally, under the doctrine of equivalents, contributorily, and/or through the inducement of other, one or more claims of the ’565 patent. Rovio makes, sells, uses, imports, and/or offers to sell infringing applications, including but not limited to Angry Birds for iPhone and Angry Birds for Android, which infringe at least claim 27 of ’565 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271.

Read on for more. More →

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Customers sue AT&T to block T-Mobile acquisition

By on July 22, 2011 at 3:00 PM.

Customers sue AT&T to block T-Mobile acquisition

A handful of AT&T’s customers are now fighting against its planned acquisition of T-Mobile. Law firm Bursor & Fisher filed lawsuits against AT&T on behalf of 11 AT&T subscribers in an effort to block the merger, AllThingsD reported on Friday. The lawyers have created a pitch site titled FightTheMerger.com and argue that The Clayton Antitrust Act gives “anyone who may be affected by a proposed merger” the power to sue in a federal court. “Government enforcement is an important part of the antitrust laws, but the Clayton Act also permits private parties who may be adversely affected to challenge a proposed merger,” one of the lawyers, Scott Bursor, said. “That means any AT&T cellphone, data or iPad customer who will suffer higher prices and diminished service because of this merger can sue to stop it from happening.” Reportedly, the AT&T customer agreement contract blocks customers from filing class-action lawsuits against the carrier. Bursor & Fisher says subscribers can instead file arbitration suits and argues that section 2.2 of AT&T’s customer agreement says customers could win a $10,000 payment. On Wednesday, Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman Herb Kohl asked the FCC and the Justice Department to block the merger. AT&T responded immediately and reaffirmed in its second-quarter earnings that the merger is on schedule for closure during the first quarter of 2011. More →

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Cell phone retailers must now warn consumers of radiation risks in SF

By on July 21, 2011 at 7:01 AM.

Cell phone retailers must now warn consumers of radiation risks in SF

The city of San Francisco has approved an ordinance that will require cell phone retailers to warn customers about the dangers of cell phone radiation, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. The ordinance, which was passed in a 10-1 vote, asks that phone retailers “post general warnings” about risks. It’s unclear what exactly will be required of the retailers, and researchers have flip-flopped on whether or not there are any real risks associated with mobile wireless devices. On May 31st, the World Health Organization published a report that said cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic,” but The Economist fired back shortly after and said there’s no way the devices cause cancer. A second group wrote published a separate report in an issue of Environmental Health Perspectives and argued there is evidence “increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults.” A similar law was passed last year that required cell phone makers to publish specific absorption rate (SAR) figures on boxes of cell phones, but the CTIA sued before the law took effect.  More →

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Kodak win in patent case against Apple will stand, ITC says

By on July 19, 2011 at 5:44 PM.

Kodak win in patent case against Apple will stand, ITC says

The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Tuesday its May ruling that Kodak did not infringe on Apple’s patents will stand. The two companies have been locked up in two separate legal battles for the better part of this year. Here’s how it started: Kodak first filed lawsuits against Apple and Research In Motion and accused both firms of infringing on its camera patents. That case was called “In the Matter of Certain Mobile Telephones and Wireless Communication Devices Featuring Digital Cameras, and Components Thereof.” A judge has already ruled in favor of RIM and Apple in that lawsuit, and it could end up costing the camera maker millions of dollars. Shortly after that case was filed, however, Apple responded with own suit against Kodak titled: “In the Matter of Digital Imaging Devices and Related Software.” That’s the suit that Kodak won in May and the one ITC ruled today will stand. “We are pleased that the commission has confirmed the ALJ’s finding that there is no violation by Kodak,” David Lanzillo, a Kodak spokesman, told Bloomberg. More →

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Microsoft hit with lawsuit over Windows Phone ‘Really’ ads

By on July 14, 2011 at 11:10 PM.

Microsoft hit with lawsuit over Windows Phone ‘Really’ ads

A company called Cellrderm has taken Microsoft to court over its Windows Phone “Really” advertisements, according to Adweek. Cellrderm, a gag company that creates commercials for a fake Cellrderm “cell abuse aid” product, argues that it owns the copyrights to the creative content used in Microsoft’s ads and that Microsoft copied its work in its “Bedroom” and “Bathroom” commercials. You’ve probably seen the ads on TV: in one, a man is too busy on his phone to pay attention to his wife in the bedroom. In another, an executive drops his phone in the urinal and reaches to pick it up. “The Microsoft commercials copy both the sequence of events and the character interplay found in the Cellrderm commercials,” the company wrote in the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. “The Microsoft commercials also copy other copyrightable expression, including but not limited to clothing, gestures, character appearance, camera angles, and other visual elements from the Cellrderm Commercials.” Cellrderm is seeking damages and has asked the court to block Microsoft from airing the commercials. More →

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Judge shoots down Apple’s ‘App store’ suit against Amazon

By on July 7, 2011 at 12:04 PM.

Judge shoots down Apple’s ‘App store’ suit against Amazon

A U.S. judge has shot down Apple’s request that Amazon stop using the word “Appstore” to describe its mobile application marketplace. Apple originally filed a lawsuit against Amazon in March of this year arguing that Amazon’s “Appstore” infringed on Apple’s “App Store” trademark. Amazon immediately responded calling the claims “baseless,” and now the court has taken its side. “The evidence does show that Apple has spent a great deal of money on advertising and publicity, and has sold/provided/furnished a large number of apps from its App Store,” Judge Phyllis Hamilton, said. “However, there is also evidence that the term ‘app store’ is used by other companies as a descriptive term for a place to obtain software applications for mobile devices.” Hamilton argued that Apple’s use of the phrase “App Store” was “more descriptive than distinctive.” Microsoft and Apple are also fighting over the term — and Microsoft has said that the term “App Store” is “generic for retail store services featuring apps.” Apple’s case against Amazon is currently being heard by an appeals board. More →

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Samsung asks ITC to block import of Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

By on June 29, 2011 at 1:35 PM.

Samsung asks ITC to block import of Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Earlier this week Samsung filed a complaint with ITC against Apple and asked the government agency to block the import of Apple’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad. The battle between Apple and Samsung has been long drawn out. In April Apple sued Samsung over the Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab, and other products, alleging that Samsung was infringing on its intellectual property by creating copycat devices. Samsung bit back later that month and sued Apple in its own intellectual property lawsuit. Both Apple and Samsung requested that the other company show its upcoming products, but the court forced Samsung to show its new devices and denied access to Apple’s next iPhone and iPad. Apple filed another patent lawsuit against Samsung last week, again alleging that the company making unlawful use of protected IP. According to FOSSPatents, a decision on the import band could be reached in 16 to 18 months. The legal battles could take a toll on Apple and Samsung’s relationship; Apple remains the largest buyer of Samsung’s LCD products, and FOSSPatents said there are reports that Apple is planning to drop Samsung from its list of component suppliers. More →

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