Update 3: ZodTTD, developer of several well-known emulators, recently met a similar fate as yongzh - both his Market account and his apps were removed. Today, he decided to clarify a few things in a blog post, noting that the removal of the apps was not due to an open source violation but rather came as a result of a trademark infringement letter from Sony to Google concerning PSX4Droid's icon.
You've all probably heard bits and pieces of news about a company called Lodsys in the last couple of weeks, (they've been "patent trolling" iOS app developers) even if you don't really keep up on all things fruit-related. If you're not familiar with the story, let me give you a quick rundown.
Lodsys is what we affectionately refer to as a "patent troll" - a company that buys up promising and often vague or [overly] broad patents in a hope of using them to threaten to sue the pants off people that they know might be infringing on them.
The PayPal and Google lawsuit is just another one of Google's seemingly endless big-name legal tangles over the last couple of years. Why is Google litigation such a frequent topic?
At least in part, it's because Google has one of the most aggressive stances towards litigation of any member of the tech industry. Google's reputation for taking its battles to court has become almost notorious (well, except for the "Buzz" incident) - regardless of cost or, sometimes, likelihood of victory.
Yesterday, in the Federal Court for the Northern District of California, Apple filed its response to a counterclaim (filed by Amazon) in its ongoing suit over Amazon's use of the word "Appstore" in its new Android... app store (what else am I supposed to call it, Apple? An app acquisition service?)
The counterclaim contained one of the single greatest premises for a trademark lawsuit I have ever seen (not that I've seen that many):
Last month, Google bid $2 million for the patents of the now-defunct micro-cell phone company Modu, fueling speculation as to just what Google's plans would be with that intellectual property. Today, it was announced that the bidding process for the last remnants of Modu's legacy had ended, and Google was the winner (albeit by a narrow margin of $10,000), with a final offer of $4.9 million.
If you've never heard of Modu before, don't worry - the company came out of Israel, and was generally unknown to most of us in the US-of-A until it started having financial troubles.
File this under "things that look good on paper." On Tuesday, a federal judge for the Northern District of California issued an order forcing Oracle and Google, in their fight over various Java patents allegedly infringed by Android, to reduce the number of patent claims and defenses thereto to a "triable" number. That number? Three. And Google will be allowed eight "prior art references" to defend against those claims. (Note: A "prior art reference" is a way of showing that a patent was trying to patent something someone else had already invented prior to the filing, a complete defense against patent infringement, invalidating the patent in question)
Oracle's complaint ended up amounting to 132 patent claims against Google's Android mobile operating system - a staggering number for any court.
Last month, Microsoft took bookseller Barnes & Noble, the company responsible for the Nook and Nook Color, to court over some patents infringed because B&N used the Android operating system in the Nook and Nook Color. This is definitely nothing new in the world of mobile devices. It happens all the time, especially with companies like Apple and Microsoft trying to take complete dominance of every arena they enter. That's not the big story here.
I would like to say that this comes as a surprise... but I would be lying. Two Michigan women have filed a class-action lawsuit against Google for location tracking features used in Android's GPS, stating that it puts "users at serious risk of privacy invasions, including stalking." Their request? That Google stops selling phones that can track users location. Puh-lease.
This $50 million class action lawsuit comes after Google acknowledged that Android phones temporarily store some location based data directly on the phone after using GPS.
Well, not solely for Android and Chrome - but presumably those products are the headliners affected by this patent bid. Google is currently bidding on a collection of over 6,000 patents held by Nortel Networks, which is selling the portfolio as part of bankruptcy proceedings. Google tossed its name in the hat with an initial offering of $900,000,000 - not exactly chump change.
Many of the patents relate to wireless technology (such as LTE) and data networking, but undoubtedly Google found some of them to be in the particular interest of protecting Android and Chrome, as Google's General Counsel indicted on the company's blog.
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.