Apple is causing more mischief over in Germany today, having received an injunction from a Munich Regional Court against phone manufacturer Motorola for utilizing slide-to-unlock style lockscreen methods patented by Apple. Motorola intends to appeal the ruling. The basic point to take away is this: the court ruled that Apple's patent on the concept of moving a tracked image from left to right in order to unlock a phone is valid, and it seems likely that every slide-to-unlock implementation on Android would be infringing in their eyes.
Apple is at it again, bringing a motion for preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus in the United States Thursday. The motion is based on a handful of powerful patents, which FOSS Patents has labeled "the patent equivalent of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Here's FOSS' breakdown:
the "data tapping" patent based on which the ITC ordered an import ban against HTC
a patent related to Siri and unified search, which must be of huge concern to Google with a view to its core business
a new slide-to-unlock patent that even had the head of the Taiwanese government profoundly worried
a word completion patent that provides major speed improvements for touchscreen text entry
Three of the above patents were apparently granted only recently (after September 2011), while the "data tapping" patent may sound familiar to those who followed Apple's case to the ITC against HTC.
Congress is a lot like a slot machine - once in a while, something good comes out. A new bill introduced by Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts would require cellular carriers in the US to disclose to end users upon purchase of a mobile device any tracking software present on said device, or any such software that might be installed at a later date by the carrier, manufacturer, or OS provider (that would be Google for Android).
A recent Newsweek article has been making the rounds claiming, through an unnamed Apple "insider," that Apple has spent north of $100 million litigating its various grievances against HTC since late 2010. Verifying the accuracy of this number is pretty much impossible. But that doesn't really matter. It may just as well be $80 million, $150 million, or $300 million - the conclusion drawn would remain the same: Apple is spending quite a chunk of income on its growing lawsuit habit.
Adding another suit to the series of legal skirmishes falling under the overarching battle between Apple and Android Manufacturers, Motorola Mobility has filed a new lawsuit in Florida, accusing Apple of infringing on a handful of technology patents. This suit is hot on the heels of a preliminary U.S. ITC decision that Moto had not infringed on Apple's patents, and comes as an addition to an existing Florida lawsuit (which began in late 2010).
This a cause I think we can all get behind. Back in 2010, the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress issued a rulemaking statement exempting smartphones and DVDs from reverse engineering laws under the DMCA. Previously, companies like Apple had used these provisions to threaten criminal prosecution (as well as civil action) against those who "jailbroke" (rooted) devices such as the iPhone (or iPad). The exemption to these penalties put in place by the Copyright Office extended to the "jailbreaking" (or, as we know it in the Android community, rooting) of all smartphones (it also extends to things like bootloader unlocking).
The ridiculous and wasteful patent war continues, with a German court confirming that Apple has filed two new suits against Samsung. The first is against 10 phones including the SGSII, and the second against 5 tablets. Details are light at the moment, but evidently Apple is using these two (unsurprisingly very vague) patents in the smartphone suit:
Yes, seriously - their patents are basically for a shape. Readers familiar with the current lawsuit situation in the tech world know the situation is violently out of control, and close followers of AP have heard my thoughts on just how hypocritical and ridiculous Apple is.
International Trade Commission Judge Theodore Essex decided in Washington today that Motorola Mobility did not violate three of Apple's Patents, as the Cupertino tech giant had claimed. Two of the patents related to touchscreen features, including multi touch, and a device's ability to recognize various types of manual input, like sliding and pinching gestures. The third, as Bloomberg explains, "is for a way to add components without having to run an installation program or rebooting."
This case comes as one of many in a long saga of attacks on Android for alleged patent infringement, part of an effort by Apple across four continents to prove that Android copies pieces of the iPhone's functionality.
Reports from CES 2012 indicate that Windows Phone 7 may be a competitive mobile platform, however Microsoft has decided to hedge its bets and continue making money from Android by signing a patent-licensing agreement with LG. The terms of the agreement will likely require LG to pay Microsoft royalties for all LG tablets, phones, and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome OS platform. This deal likely mirrors Microsoft's ten previous patent-licensing agreements with Android and Chrome OS manufacturers, including Samsung, HTC, Acer, and ViewSonic.
In a not too surprising move, toy maker Hasbro has sued ASUS, claiming that the Transformer Prime tablet's name infringes trademarks related to Optimus Prime and Transformers children's toys.
Hasbro filed the lawsuit late last week in Los Angeles federal court, seeking damages and a temporary injunction. Hasbro wrote to paidContent: