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.
I don't know all that much about German intellectual property law, or the German standard for issuing preliminary injunctions, but I can tell you one thing: this would almost certainly never happen in a U.S. Read More
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. Google isn't a tech startup anymore, they're a multinational corporation. And we need to start looking at them that way, especially when it comes to lawsuits. Read More
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). The latter publishers were all sued for iPhone games.
This, in our book, says little for Lodsys's credibility. Read More
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? Not really, no. Even the long-term, worst-case-scenario implications aren't exactly terrifying - and here's why.
As many sites have pointed out, HTC has vowed to appeal the ruling of the ITC. Read More
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. Read More
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. Here, according the presiding judge, Apple failed to meet that burden, and was unable to establish any clear likelihood of confusion among consumers. Read More
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. While yongzh did not publish any Sony emulators himself, it does seem that the big guys are taking an active interest in the emulator situation on the Market.
Update 2: Google has issued a generic response to our inquiry asking what led to the takedown:
Thanks for checking in.
I'm not an attorney. This is not legal advice.
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. Google's approach is one of the modern corporation - during the 1990's and 80's, when civil litigation was actually more prevalent, in-house counsels for major corporations often preferred to settle potentially high-dollar suits rather than risk wasting piles of cash on defending them, only to lose in the end. Read More
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):
Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words “app store” together denote a store for apps.
- Apple, Inc., 2011
Now, from a legal perspective, this makes a bit more sense given what Apple is arguing (not to say that the merits of their case don't look shaky.) From a common sense perspective, this is one of the most hilariously backward things I (and I'm sure you all) have ever read. Read More
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. Modu was famous for developing extremely small smart/featurephones (like the little guy in the thumbnail), a market that all but dried up in the US by the time Modu was founded in 2007. Read More