If you don't know who Trevor Eckhart is, you might remember a little piece we published earlier this year about a massive HTC data vulnerability caused by the company's data-logging operations. Trevor was the guy who found that vulnerability and did almost all of the legwork in investigating it. Since then, Trevor has been hard at work looking at more mobile data logging applications used by various manufacturers, including one written by a company called Carrier IQ.
A court in Mannheim, Germany today held a preliminary hearing in a patent dispute between Motorola Mobility and Apple Sales International (a European Apple distribution subsidiary), and it seems like Apple's on the ropes.
While the hearing didn't discuss the particular merits of Motorola's patent infringement claim against Apple, the presiding judge issued substantial blows to Apple's defense by indicating that he believed the patent-in-suit was ripe for trial. The judge also seemed to agree with Motorola's reading of that patent (also known as "construction claims") in important ways that would allow it a broader scope of applicability at trial.
Now, this all based on one German online retailer (where imports of the Tab 10.1 were banned), but it's very interesting nonetheless. It appears that a new version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been launched in Germany, called the Tab 10.1N. The difference? So far, all we see is a re-designed bezel and the fact that it's now shipping with Android 3.2. Take a look at this comparison shot from Mobiflip:
The Tab 10.1N is above, and the old Tab 10.1 is below.
Maybe you've heard of a new AT&T LTE handset from HTC called the Vivid. Maybe you haven't. Either way, HTC has gotten itself in a bit of hot water using such a risqué name on the blazing fast beast. By whom, you ask? Why, adult entertainment company Vivid Entertainment, of course.
Vivid is threatening HTC with a possible trademark infringement suit if the name of the device isn't changed.
OK, before I even get into this post, let me be clear: this is based on old news. However, it was news that no one seemed to pick up at the time, and when we discovered it, we thought it was quite interesting.
If you're unfamiliar with Lodsys, let's start with a history lesson. They're better known as the shell corporation offspring of a company called Intellectual Ventures LLC, a patent clearinghouse owned by a group of, shall we say, enterprising individuals.
It looks like there's finally been a new development in the Oracle vs. Google fight. For those who may be out of the loop, Oracle (who owns Sun and the Java programming language) have had patent infringement and copyright lawsuits boiling against Google for quite some time now. The patent claims are essentially related to Google's use of Java in the Android platform. Oracle claims that Android includes code which violates patents gained through the acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
Uh-oh. Sounds like Samsung's lawyers heard about Samsung Mobile President Shin Jong-kyun's little statement that the Galaxy Nexus was designed such that no "known" Apple patents were used or infringed on by the phone. This was probably, to be frank, a very stupid thing to say. Aside from basically challenging Apple to take a closer look at the Galaxy Nexus, there's also the fact that, if Jong-kyun's statement was actually correct and Samsung did design the Galaxy Nexus to avoid Apple patents, that Apple's lawyers would love to quote it at various patent infringement trials around the world.
This could be introduced to a jury as evidence that Samsung had reason to believe, at the point the Galaxy Nexus was designed, that their other products could be infringing on Apple patents.
What do you do if you're a known patent troll and a major company announces a new device that is sure to sell millions of units? Try to sue the heck out of them, of course. That's exactly what's going on with Amazon's upcoming Kindle Fire, the still-unreleased tablet from the online retail giant.
The story goes a little something like this: Amazon announces the Fire for an ultra-affordable price. Everyone is happy and wants this new device, so pre-orders are through the roof.
When Verizon and T-Mobile filed amicus curiae briefs in favor of Samsung in the company's ongoing patent litigation against Apple in the Federal Court for the Northern District of California, we cheered inside a little. It's always nice to see Android and its handset partners have friends in high places.
However, the question of how the court would respond to these briefs remained - as the decision is an entirely discretionary one.
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).