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.
Apple has a long history of being ironic, and not in the positive sense of the word. Their latest bout of ironic shenanigans: accusing Samsung and Motorola of being "anticompetitive." Frankly, this is such an outrageous accusation that I just don't know where to start with it.
Lately, it seems like news about patent lawsuits and bullying is worse than most Hollywood gossip. Frankly, most of the suits are about as justified as Hollywood gossip, if not less. Nevertheless, there are bright spots - such as when the big dogs step up alongside developers to help fight back the patent trolls. Such happened yesterday, when it was revealed that Google has joined Apple in the fight against patent troll Lodsys' claims against developers.
In a decision with potentially far-reaching consequences, a German court handed down a preliminary injunction halting all distribution of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the European Union today, after a motion was filed by Apple for just such an order.
The suit in question is over nine patents, most of which relate to broad smartphone functions and concepts. The patents are so broad that Apple sued Nokia over them (yes, the exact same nine patents) last year in the same German court, and that suit ended in a settlement widely presumed to be a victory for Apple.
When Google's General Counsel, David Drummond, posted the first real public response by the search giant to the intellectual property war being waged on Android, the techblogosphere just about peed their collective pants in excitement. Everyone loves a good flame war, it's true. Google called out Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle - by name - publicly. It doesn't get much better than that.
Unfortunately, this probably isn't going to help Google's ongoing battles with those companies, and it's not going to help the company's public image, either.
Well, it seems Lodsys has gotten a lot more gravitas in the last few months due to the success of its patent-trolling efforts. The company's legal reps have amended a complaint filed in the Eastern District of Texas (also known as the "rocket docket" district for the speediness and plaintiff-friendliness of its trials), and it's a doozy.
From Lodsys's Complaint
Lodsys has sued Rovio over Angry Birds for Android (and iPhone), along with Electronic Arts (EA), Atari, Square Enix, and Take-Two Interactive - and many others (37 total, in fact).
Android's latest indirect legal tussle to come to a head, a patent suit between HTC and Apple, was ruled on last week by the US ITC (Court of International Trade) - finding the Taiwanese manufacture liable for two counts of patent infringement. This news has spread like wildfire through every corner of the tech blog world. But is there really anything that's changed right now (or even in the near future) because of the outcome of this suit?
Apple's at it again, this time back on its "We own the words 'App Store'" reign of terror. While a judge denied Apple's request to bar Amazon from using "Appstore" in a preliminary injunction before the issue is decided at trial, that isn't stopping the world's most infamously litigious tech giant from going after everyone and their brother using the words.
And until the Amazon trial is settled or decided (it's on the docket - for October 2012), Apple is free to go about threatening and pursuing more legal action, even though its trademark on the words "App Store" remains actively contested (by Microsoft) in its bid for certification at the USPTO.
In what was a largely expected ruling, a district court judge in California yesterday denied Apple's motion for a preliminary injunction against Amazon attempting to bar the use of the word "Appstore" in conjunction with the Amazon Appstore.
The standard set for enforcing such an injunction is high - generally, the infringement on the trademark must be so clear that there isn't a genuine debate about whether or not consumers are likely to be confused, the infringement should be relatively obvious.