After years of fighting in the courtroom, Google and Microsoft have decided that enough is enough. In a joint statement, the two tech giants announced that they have reached a settlement and are ending the 20 or so lawsuits underway in the US and Germany. Read More
The world of technology patents is in bad shape. When John Oliver decides that he needs to spend 15 minutes explaining exactly how bad patent trolling has become, you know something rots in the USPTO. Google is trying to stem the tide of patent trolling and litigation via the simple expedient of throwing a ton of cash at the problem. They want to buy your patents.
Well, maybe not your patent in particular - odds are pretty good that they're only interested in technology and software patents, and even then, only so that some fly-by-night LLC with a dozen lawyers and no physical address won't sue them in the future. Read More
If you follow patent litigation news, the name "Lodsys" has the same kind of weight as, say, Kim Jong Un or Robert Ford: when you see it, you just know something crazy is going on. But it looks like the legendary patent troll has fallen on hard times, as its website domain has been allowed to expire. The domain is currently being held by Register.com, which has not re-listed it for sale. Perhaps the one-man company and overly eager patent holder and his lawyers have run out of lawsuits - we can only hope.
If you're not familiar with Lodsys, it is (or perhaps was) a Texas-based LLC formed exclusively for the holding and "protection" of four US patents originally awarded to one Daniel Abelow. Read More
In a triumphant post to its blog today, Rackspace announced that Rotatable Technologies is now "an ex-patent troll." This new designation for Rotatable Technologies comes after the US Patent and Trademark Office declared its patent (6,326,978) unpatentable. Last year, Rotatable Technologies decided to go after Rackspace over the patent, demanding $75,000. Rackspace chose to fight not just the case but the patent itself.
What is patent 6,326,978? It was a patent covering "a display method for selectively rotating windows on a computer display including a window for a computer display having a frame and a display portion. The method allows the user to rotate the window about a preselected rotation point..."
The patent goes on at length to describe the mechanism by which just about every mobile device in existence rotates its display based on the device's orientation. Read More
It's not a complete truce, but Samsung and Apple are backing down slightly from their ongoing patent war. The companies have issued a joint statement announcing the agreement to end all patent litigation between the two outside the US. Cases in the US will continue, though.
Apple first sued Samsung in 2011 for copying the look and feel of iOS in its TouchWiz Android skin. Samsung fired back, and the battle has raged on across the globe ever since. Apple won that original case against Samsung a while back and was awarded $1 billion in damages, but other cases haven't proven nearly as fruitful. Read More
Asus has lately become the king of anime-style transforming electronics, with their Transformer tablet line and Padfone devices. It looks like Google is paying attention, at least when it comes to conceptual hardware. US patent 8,649,821, granted to Google in February of this year, describes a laptop with a built-in and detachable cell phone, with the two working in tandem for various functions. While Android and Chromebooks aren't specifically mentioned in the patent documentation, it's easy to assume they were on the engineers' minds, since it was filed in September of 2012.
The basic idea is that the laptop can borrow the cell phone's wireless connection for on-the-go Internet access, as well as use the removable handset as a speaker and microphone for VOIP calls and other obvious functions. Read More
Apple and Google have been fighting it out over patents ever since Android devices went on sale. Until today, that involved more than 20 ongoing lawsuits (in the US and Germany) between the two technology behemoths. In a joint statement earlier today, Apple and Google have announced all that is over. They will be ending the patent cases and will instead work to reform patent law.
This certainly sounds great, but it's probably not as significant as you're imagining. Apple and Google aren't entering into any sort of cross-licensing agreement. They simply won't fight about patents in the courts anymore. This deal ends direct litigation between Apple and Google, but also the cases between Apple and Motorola (which it still technically owns). Read More
You can't run a tech company these days without infringing on someone's patents, and if you feel that you're infringee material, the Eastern District of Texas is the place to set up shop. SimpleAir, a Texas-based "inventor-owned technology licensing company," took Google to court over push messaging systems used in Android. Last month a jury found that Google infringed on all five of the asserted claims, leaving the company liable to pay up to $125 million for damages. Now we have a final number: $85 million.
The math here is simple. First, the jury found that Google's Cloud to Device Messaging (CD2M) and Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) infringed on all five claims made in patent number 7,035,914. Read More
It wasn't that long ago when Google announced that it had entered a cross-licensing deal with Samsung, and just two days ago, it entered one with Cisco as well. Not to be left out, Samsung announced today that it, too, had signed a deal with Cisco. As a part of this deal, both companies will have access to the other's patent portfolios for the next ten years.
Like the deals that came before, this agreement aims to reduce the risk of unnecessary patent lawsuits in the future. In March of last year, Google started an initiative called the Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge, which provides a pool of patents the company owns that it won't sue anyone ever as long as everyone's playing along nicely. Read More