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).
Back in April, before Toshiba had officially revealed the name of its upcoming tablet, one Babyfacemagee did some serious detective work to figure out that it would be called the Thrive - and ended up being dead-on. Fast-forward a few months, and we're hearing rumors of a new, slimmer, sexier Galaxy Tab-fighter from Toshiba.
While we've yet to hear (or see) anything official from the company, Babyfacemagee seems to have come through with the name once again.
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.
I never know how to feel about torrent (in this case, management) applications. On the one hand, torrenting is a brilliant and efficient way to share information in a collective and low-cost (read: free) fashion. On the other, it's the single largest gateway to piracy in existence. And it could kill you.
But it's clear torrenting applications are very much legal. So why has Google removed a popular torrent management application, Transdroid, from the Android Market?
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):
Engadget is reporting via a number of tipsters that the popular PlayStation emulator PSX4Droid has been pulled from Android market. Google's statement on the issue?
"We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies."
Well, that's helpful. Actually, upon a short perusal of the US Patent and Trademark Office database, the reason became clear to us: PSX4Droid is infringing on a trademark owned by Sony for the acronym "PSX." This means PSX4Droid probably just needs a name change before being given the green light for republication.
Amazon's upcoming Android Market competitor, the Amazon Appstore, is in hot water for its namesake. On Monday, Apple filed a lawsuit in a California federal court claiming Amazon had infringed on its trademark of the phrase "App Store." Apple applied for a trademark to this name way back in 2008, but it wasn't approved until January of 2010. Since then, Microsoft has filed a dispute with the trademark office alleging that the grant was improper.
The Android market is filled with apps of questionable legality. But oftentimes, overpriced, branded theme and clock apps like those you'll find here are considered relatively harmless - who's stupid enough to buy them, anyway? Still, apps in this category are in clear violation of registered trademarks - and that doesn't sit well with their holders.
Google even has a page for developers and copyright holders to submit DMCA takedown requests for apps on the Market.
You would think that large hardware manufacturers, such as HTC and Motorola, would dedicate at least a few hours to trademark searches before naming their products and investing millions of dollars into promotional efforts for said products. That would be a fair assumption, right? It seems like the answer sometimes is: not exactly.
Last week at MWC, HTC unveiled 6 new devices, one of which was bearing the name ChaCha (that's one of the Facebook phones).