Google has announced a new initiative today that might, if we're lucky, slowly lead to some meaningful changes in how patent litigation is approached. Or, alternatively, make it easier to highlight the jerks who are ruining it for everyone. The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge gives would-be inventors a pool of patents that Google promises to never sue anyone over, "unless first attacked." That last part is where eyebrows go up, though.
If you were wondering if this is the sort of legal story you should pay attention to on Android Police, let me make it easy: it is. This is probably the biggest legal story in the mobile sphere since Apple's victory over Samsung last August. Yeah, that important.
This morning, the FTC announced at a press conference that Google had settled its antitrust claims with the agency, and that Google agreed to two very important stipulations as part of that settlement relating to mobile.
It seems Apple isn't making many friends over at the patent examiner's office lately - yet another high-profile patent used by the company in litigation has been deemed wholly invalid on a preliminary basis.
The patent in question is often called the "pinch-to-zoom" patent, because that's basically what it patents - a pinch gesture to zoom in on content on a display. This patent had been used successfully by Apple during the first Samsung lawsuit, with numerous (all but two) Samsung devices found to infringe it.
Samsung has officially sought to end all of its claims requesting bans of Apple products in Europe, according to a company official. The decision comes on continued probing by the European Union's anti-trust body, on allegations that Samsung is abusing its standards-essential patents by seeking product bans for their infringement. Note that this does not mean Samsung has dropped its lawsuits - merely the injunction demands involved in them.
Standards-essential patents have played a pretty important role in the mobile patent wars to date, though that role has been one which is increasingly under question.
Breaking news coming out of California's Northern District Court tonight, as Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the now-infamous Apple v. Samsung trial, has issued post-trial rulings on the parties' respective motions.
Jury Misconduct (Vel Hogan)
Judge Koh ruled that no jury misconduct occurred during the Apple v. Samsung trial, and that she would refuse to entertain the issue further. The judge will not even hold an evidentiary hearing on the matter, meaning Samsung failed in even at the most basic level in arguing its case for a new trial on account of Vel Hogan's alleged biases.
If you're looking for a Twitter client on Android, you won't be pressed for a lack of choices (just look at the poll options below). But what you may be pressed for is equivalent functionality, speed, and features across those various options.
Welcome to the Android Police Week In Review - your source for the biggest Android stories of the week. Don't forget, you can catch a lot of these stories (and more) on our weekly podcast.
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- Getting to Know Android 4.2, Part 2: The Gallery
- No Nexus 4 You - Anatomy of a Smartphone Launch Disaster
Android at Arms
- Oracle is appealing that lawsuit they lost really badly, and you should probably care at least a little bit about the issues going before the court.
After the dismissal of two of its cases against Motorola - one in Wisconsin, one in Illinois - Apple hasn't exactly been on a roll when it comes to Google's newly-purchased hardware arm. Motorola, too, hasn't done very well, with its own counterclaims in the same Illinois case also being dismissed, and by making an unexplained last-minute withdrawal of a major ITC case it was filing against Cupertino.
At the time, my first instinct when Motorola withdrew its software patent case against Apple was "settlement talks are on the table." While today's news still doesn't shed too much light on that particular event, it comes with its own bright spots of hope.
On Saturday evening, HTC and Apple issued a joint press release indicating the two companies had settled their ongoing legal slapfight. Under a confidential 10-year licensing arrangement, they have agreed to what essentially amounts to a rigid patent ceasefire. Even future patents are covered under the deal (there obviously will be exceptions to any deal, but that's the gist).
Immediately, most people assumed HTC was getting hosed. Then, HTC rep Jeff Gordon issued a slightly cryptic but factually vital statement, saying HTC "does not expect this license agreement to have any adverse material impact on the financials of the company."
Now, whether that means the cost of the license and the savings of not keeping 300 attorneys on retainer will cancel out, or if the settlement basically cost HTC nothing, is not clear.