It certainly seems like it. Yesterday, Microsoft announced via blog that it had concluded negotiations with Samsung and reached a licensing deal for the same seven patents it previously licensed to HTC for Android (along with other, smaller Android manufacturers). There were rumblings about just what royalty rate Samsung is paying, but the guess is anywhere from $5 to $15 per handset (it's likely on a percentage-of-MSRP basis - so think about 1-3% per $500 MSRP phone).
Well, this is certainly an interesting turn of events. In Samsung and Apple's ongoing attempts to sue the pants off one another in every court conceivable, an unlikely player has stepped into the arena as a voice of reason (sort of).
Verizon Wireless, the US's largest wireless carrier, has requested permission to file a brief in the Federal Court for the Northern District of California on the part of Samsung in one of the many lawsuits it is involved in with Apple.
If you've watched or read any of the major American news outlets today, you might have heard a solid 15 second mention about a little piece of legislation known as the America Invents Act. You probably heard that it brings the most sweeping changes to American patent law in the last half-century, and that it should ease the burden of patent filing for both inventors and the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).
I never know how to feel about torrent (in this case, management) applications. On the one hand, torrenting is a brilliant and efficient way to share information in a collective and low-cost (read: free) fashion. On the other, it's the single largest gateway to piracy in existence. And it could kill you.
But it's clear torrenting applications are very much legal. So why has Google removed a popular torrent management application, Transdroid, from the Android Market?
Companies like YouTube and Grooveshark are at the center of the ongoing controversies around online distribution of copyrighted materials. This controversy reared its ugly head earlier this month when the Grooveshark app was removed from the Android Market. While this disappointed many of the users who stream all their favourite tunes without having to posses an actual digital copy, Google was justified in kicking these pseudo-pirates out of the Market, right?
Among all the awesome (or really bad, depending on your mood) April Fool's jokes today, Google's web form for submitting Android Market copyright infringements towers above all, especially considering it's not a joke, at all. We really doubt that it's intentional because this behavior was present before April 1st arrived to California, and it is mind boggling that something like this would fall through the cracks and get past Google's Quality Assurance.
Amazon's upcoming Android Market competitor, the Amazon Appstore, is in hot water for its namesake. On Monday, Apple filed a lawsuit in a California federal court claiming Amazon had infringed on its trademark of the phrase "App Store." Apple applied for a trademark to this name way back in 2008, but it wasn't approved until January of 2010. Since then, Microsoft has filed a dispute with the trademark office alleging that the grant was improper.
The Android market is filled with apps of questionable legality. But oftentimes, overpriced, branded theme and clock apps like those you'll find here are considered relatively harmless - who's stupid enough to buy them, anyway? Still, apps in this category are in clear violation of registered trademarks - and that doesn't sit well with their holders.
Google even has a page for developers and copyright holders to submit DMCA takedown requests for apps on the Market.
You would think that large hardware manufacturers, such as HTC and Motorola, would dedicate at least a few hours to trademark searches before naming their products and investing millions of dollars into promotional efforts for said products. That would be a fair assumption, right? It seems like the answer sometimes is: not exactly.
Last week at MWC, HTC unveiled 6 new devices, one of which was bearing the name ChaCha (that's one of the Facebook phones).
Twitter's laying down the bird-law this morning, and the owners of Twidroyd, UberMedia, don't have much in the way of good news to tweet about right now (I am so sorry for that entire sentence).
Twitter has suspended access to its social network from Twidroyd, UberTwitter, and UberCurrent - three apps owned by UberMedia. Why? Gizmodo claims it's for the following reasons:
UberMedia "violated Twitter policies and trademarks in a variety of ways." Like "a privacy issue with private Direct Messages longer than 140 characters, trademark infringement, and changing the content of users' Tweets in order to make money."
I don't use Twidroyd, so I have no idea what any of this is all about aside from the trademark infringement issue.