Google has announced a new initiative today that might, if we're lucky, slowly lead to some meaningful changes in how patent litigation is approached. Or, alternatively, make it easier to highlight the jerks who are ruining it for everyone. The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge gives would-be inventors a pool of patents that Google promises to never sue anyone over, "unless first attacked." That last part is where eyebrows go up, though.
First, some context: there are 10 patents in the mix, which already isn't a lot. The company says more will be added over time. For these ten patents, Google is ensuring that any company, group, or developer working on open source software may use the technology without worry of being sued by the search giant. Read More
When you try to think of companies that have a motivation to sue over smartphone patents involving Android, Fujifilm may very well be close to the bottom of the list, but you'd be wrong. The company has recently filed a lawsuit against Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility for infringing four of its patents.
The brouhaha began back in April 2011 (for those counting, that's a solid four months before Google even announced its acquisition of the company). Fujifilm claims that several Motorola phones infringe on one or all of the following patents which include, in dramatically oversimplified terms for the layman:
Two weeks ago, the judge in Apple's case against Motorola ordered Google and Moto to hand over details on Android development. Naturally, Motorola appealed, and managed to change Judge Posner's mind. While the company isn't getting away scot-free (or at least, not yet), he did say that "[Apple's] motion is vague and overbroad and Motorola's objections are persuasive." In other words, Apple needs to tone down their request and make sure things are relevant and specific (or in my words, "Apple needs to stop requesting all the shit they can think of").
Presumably from here Apple will try to narrow things down as little as possible to get the request to hold, at which point Motorola will appeal it and both sides will hope for the best (before doing it all over). Read More
Seeking damages for California residents who have purchased defective Android apps and were disallowed a refund, Android users Dodd Harris and Stephen Sabatino are suing Google under the pretext that the search giant's 15-minute refund window is unfair.
The pair claim that Google's pocketing of a 30% commission on defective apps and denying a refund after 15 minutes is wrong, using the practices of other app stores (those run by Amazon and Apple) to illustrate their point. This may not be the best comparison, however, as Apple's store has a "vetting process," meaning not all sellers are allowed to provide their wares to the public, whereas Google's Play Store is an open market. Read More
British Telecommunications plc (aka British Telecom, or BT) has joined the long list of litigants looking to catch Google on alleged patent infringement, filing a lawsuit with the US District Court for the District of Delaware claiming that Google infringed six of its patents with Android and other services.
BT is out for blood, seeking damages as well as an injunction over patents ranging from "Service Provision System for Communications Networks" to "Storage and Retrieval of Location Based Information in a Distributed Network of Data Storage Services." Among the services named as prime examples of infringement are Google Maps, Places, Offers, Music, Location-based advertising, Google+, and of course Android. Read More
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.
- First off, a little history: as Daily Tech points out, Steve Jobs famously said "We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." What changed? Well... I don't like to get into the politics of Android vs. Apple, as I think Apple truly makes some great products, and have occasionally recommended them over alternate products.
Last month, Microsoft took bookseller Barnes & Noble, the company responsible for the Nook and Nook Color, to court over some patents infringed because B&N used the Android operating system in the Nook and Nook Color. This is definitely nothing new in the world of mobile devices. It happens all the time, especially with companies like Apple and Microsoft trying to take complete dominance of every arena they enter. That's not the big story here. The big story is the extremely, and I mean EXTREMELY douche-tastic way Microsoft is trying to attack Android with these patents.
One of Android's biggest advantages (besides being vastly superior, of course) is that it costs exactly nothing. Read More
Have you ever been annoyed by SMS spam that attempts to convince you to pay for new Paris Hilton ringtones or something else you probably don't want? It appears that Verizon Wireless has too, as they have filed a federal lawsuit outlining a fraudulent SMS scheme that targeted its customers.
Among the violations that the scammers allegedly performed on Verizon customers:
- misappropriating approved short codes for unapproved “shadow” campaigns that did not comply with Verizon Wireless’ consumer protection and disclosure policies
- blocking certain IP addresses from accessing the websites associated with these shadow campaigns
- re-directing visitors to shell websites, preventing Verizon Wireless and its auditors from finding the shadow campaign websites in the normal course of monitoring Premium SMS campaigns for compliance
Customers who think they might have been on the receiving end of this scheme and think they might be entitled to a refund can visit www.premiumsmsrefunds.com to get the full scoop. Read More
Looks like Sprint's $10 per month "premium data" fee (I like to call it the "4G tax") is coming back to bite them - a class action lawsuit was recently filed against the carrier.
Customers of the HTC EVO 4G as well as the Samsung Epic 4G may be "interested to know" that they can call the law offices of Scott A. Bursor at 646-504-7781 to confirm that they have indeed been charged the $10/month fee. His plaintiffs' argument is that Sprint's customers are already promised unlimited data within the $69.99 "Simply Everything" package.
Thing is, while the plaintiffs certainly do have the right to sue, I have my doubts about this here lawsuit making it anywhere. Read More