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).
Everyone's getting on the peace train, it seems. T-Mobile, in concert with Verizon's filing last week, submitted an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief to the Federal Court for the Northern District of California this morning in regard to the ongoing patent and trademark suit between Samsung and Apple. Its contents? Basically the same thing Verizon's said - that denying Americans their 4G Samsung devices just for some silly little patent infringement will hurt 4G deployment in the US and decrease access to high-speed mobile broadband.
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).
If you head over to FOSSPatents this morning, you'll find a rather lengthy article about Google's acquisition of Motorola that ends with the following conclusion:
Google bought MMI to prevent the worst for Google's strategy, not to make things better for everyone else.
In a way, the $12.5 billion price represents protection money. But not in the way most people seem to think.
This statement is obviously contrary to the heaps of coverage the Motorola-Google deal received from major news outlets, blogs, and Android enthusiasts.
Early last month, a German court halted the sale and distribution of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 due to a suit filled against Samsung by Apple. Naturally, Sammy appealed the injunction, but the court has upheld the ban on Tab 10.1 sales, citing that "Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible."
This comes as yet another blow against Samsung, as it has already had to halt sales of the Tab 10.1 in a few other countries, as well as pull its Galaxy Tab 7.7 showcase from the IFA conference last week.