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Ugly FCC Certification Labels On The Back Of Your Gadgets Are On Their Way Out, Thanks To A New US Law

Consider devices like the HTC One, or any of Sony's recent Xperia flagships, or the Moto X with its wood and leather options. These are gadgets with decades of engineering inside of them, but which have nonetheless been painstakingly designed to look gorgeous on the outside. And nothing spoils that quite like a big honkin' FCC-required ID and safety label hiding on the metal finish. Manufacturers can try to make it blend into the phone's default color, or hide it behind a battery cover or on a bezel.

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Patent Troll Successfully Squashed After Rackspace Chooses To Engage Over 'Screen Rotation Technology'

In a triumphant post to its blog today, Rackspace announced that Rotatable Technologies is now "an ex-patent troll." This new designation for Rotatable Technologies comes after the US Patent and Trademark Office declared its patent (6,326,978) unpatentable. Last year, Rotatable Technologies decided to go after Rackspace over the patent, demanding $75,000. Rackspace chose to fight not just the case but the patent itself.

What is patent 6,326,978? It was a patent covering "a display method for selectively rotating windows on a computer display including a window for a computer display having a frame and a display portion.

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[Oops] NVIDIA Name Drops 'HTC Nexus 9' In Legal Docs

There was an interesting little tidbit buried in the legal filings related to NVIDIA's patent suit against Qualcomm, which was just announced last week. The issue surrounds various GPU technologies that NVIDIA says Qualcomm is using without a license. More interesting than all that legal mumbo-jumbo is what NVIDIA had to say about an upcoming Tegra K1 device—the HTC Nexus 9. Yes, they actually said it.

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Samsung And Apple Agree To End All Patent Disputes Outside The US

It's not a complete truce, but Samsung and Apple are backing down slightly from their ongoing patent war. The companies have issued a joint statement announcing the agreement to end all patent litigation between the two outside the US. Cases in the US will continue, though.

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Apple first sued Samsung in 2011 for copying the look and feel of iOS in its TouchWiz Android skin. Samsung fired back, and the battle has raged on across the globe ever since.

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US Senate Passes Bill To Re-Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking

The devices you buy from US mobile carriers are almost always locked to a single network, and unlocking them has been a legal gray area for the last few years. Now Congress is finally taking action to remedy that. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act has been passed by the Senate, matching a House bill passed in February. As you can imagine, consumer rights groups are pretty jazzed.

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Minnesota Becomes The First State To Require Smartphone Kill Switch, Also Bans Some Cash Transactions For Used Phones

California lawmakers have been working on a bill for some time that would require a so-called "smartphone kill switch" in every phone, but Minnesota has beaten California to the punch and become the first state to enact such a law. It mirrors the California law very closely, but goes a step further by banning some cash sales of used phones.

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The main provision of the bill covers how the proposed kill switch requirement would work.

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The Netherlands Sets An Example For The World, Becomes First Country To Legalize Carrier-Free SIM Cards [Updated]

In an ideal world, a phone's SIM card would work with whichever carrier you choose. No having to sell a Verizon HTC One to switch to an identical one on Sprint. A device with a carrier-free SIM card could go wherever its owner wanted it to. The only problem is, such a product is currently illegal across most of the planet. Only in the Netherlands is the story starting to change.

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European Commission Looking Into Free-To-Play Games, Suspects False Advertising

Google (and Apple) representatives are having a sit-down with members of European Commission member states and the Consumer Protection Cooperation today to talk about apps. Specifically, the commission is asking some hard questions about in-app purchases following complaints from consumer protection groups in Denmark, Britain, and several other EU nations.

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The issue revolves around the use of the term 'free' in the descriptions of games that push in-app purchases. The commission fears these listings could be misleading, especially to children.

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California Court Says Using Mapping Apps Behind The Wheel Is Okay

Many states, California included, have passed strict laws in recent years meant to reduce distracted driving caused by cell phones. However, the laws lag behind the technology, and that has led to some conflicting opinions on what the statutes mean. After some legal wrangling, a California court of appeals has ruled that it is not illegal to use mapping software while driving.

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Google Responds Forcefully To Microsoft And Apple-Led Patent Assault, Seeks Direct Ruling On Nexus Devices

Despite it being the holiday season, there is little jolliness in Google's legal department. Google has just filed a lawsuit against Rockstar. No, not the game maker of GTA fame. This legal attack is aimed at the Rockstar patent holding company owned jointly by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Sony, and Ericsson. Rockstar has been going after Google and various Android OEMs for patent infringement and Mountain View has apparently had enough.

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Rockstar's patents come mostly from the purchase of the Nortel portfolio a few years ago, but Rockstar itself is merely a litigator of patents – it doesn't make anything.

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