It seems Apple isn't making many friends over at the patent examiner's office lately - yet another high-profile patent used by the company in litigation has been deemed wholly invalid on a preliminary basis.
The patent in question is often called the "pinch-to-zoom" patent, because that's basically what it patents - a pinch gesture to zoom in on content on a display. This patent had been used successfully by Apple during the first Samsung lawsuit, with numerous (all but two) Samsung devices found to infringe it. Read More
Samsung has officially sought to end all of its claims requesting bans of Apple products in Europe, according to a company official. The decision comes on continued probing by the European Union's anti-trust body, on allegations that Samsung is abusing its standards-essential patents by seeking product bans for their infringement. Note that this does not mean Samsung has dropped its lawsuits - merely the injunction demands involved in them.
Standards-essential patents have played a pretty important role in the mobile patent wars to date, though that role has been one which is increasingly under question. Read More
Breaking news coming out of California's Northern District Court tonight, as Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the now-infamous Apple v. Samsung trial, has issued post-trial rulings on the parties' respective motions.
Jury Misconduct (Vel Hogan)
Judge Koh ruled that no jury misconduct occurred during the Apple v. Samsung trial, and that she would refuse to entertain the issue further. The judge will not even hold an evidentiary hearing on the matter, meaning Samsung failed in even at the most basic level in arguing its case for a new trial on account of Vel Hogan's alleged biases. Read More
Get on the edge of your seats, everybody - it's patent time again. Today, the USPTO handed down what's called a preliminary invalidation finding on a rather infamous Apple software patent regarding touchscreen heuristics. This patent was known as the "Steve Jobs patent," as its first listed author is the late Apple cofounder (let's keep the Jobs insults to a minimum in the comments, please). This comes after the preliminary invalidation of Apple's also-infamous "rubber-banding" patent back in October. Read More
A redacted version of the HTC-Apple patent licensing agreement was published in the public record today as part of the Samsung v. Apple trial, and AllThingsD has a copy. It's 143 pages long (to be fair, only about a fifth of that is the actual settlement), so let me give you the skinny.
First, what has HTC agreed to? Well, it's actually not super complicated to distill down: basically, HTC can use Apple's functional software patents under the license, except those covered under an "anti-cloning" rule and which are part of the "distinct Apple user experience" - unless those features are part of the core Android OS that HTC does not control. Read More
In case you forgot, Google was involved in a little spat with Oracle earlier this year, in which a jury decided that Oracle's patents were not infringed by Google, and a judge came to the conclusion that Oracle's assertion regarding API copyright infringement was untenable.
Judge Alsup's reasoning in denying Oracle's infringement claim was, to anyone with a technical background, quite reasonable. Oracle had claimed that while the amount of line-for-line literal infringement Google committed against the 37 infringed Java APIs through its Dalvik virtual machine was minimal (read: 97% of Google's code was original), the fact that Google had copied created its functional equivalent constituted copyright infringement. Read More
The word "unredacted" is experiencing quite a spike in usage this morning, on news that HTC and Apple are being required to produce the full, uncut version of their patent licensing agreement for use by Samsung's legal counsel. The document in question, which had previously been provided sans 33 words (some of which were, presumably, numbers), was requested by Samsung last week for the purpose of arguing against Apple's post-trial motions for permanent injunctions against infringing Samsung products. Read More
It was bound to happen. Really, it was inevitable at this point, however today we've gotten official word that Samsung is requesting to add the newest iPad, the iPad Mini, and the latest iPod Touch to its lawsuit against the Cupertino company. This isn't shocking so much as it is entirely expected. Still, while HTC and Apple are busy settling their differences and the patent wars seemingly cooling off—if only a bit—this is a solid reminder that the two manufacturers with the most to gain (and lose!) from this fight aren't backing away from each other. Read More
HTC CEO Peter Chou has come out swinging against allegations that HTC is paying "$6-8 per handset" in royalties to Apple, calling the estimates "outrageous." Of course, those estimate were indeed just estimates, and they were also commented upon by HTC insiders at the time as being a little on the high side.
So, what do we take from Mr. Chou's statement? HTC is probably paying a royalty, but a $6-8 royalty (that's about 1-1.5% on a $600-800 smartphone)? Read More
After the dismissal of two of its cases against Motorola - one in Wisconsin, one in Illinois - Apple hasn't exactly been on a roll when it comes to Google's newly-purchased hardware arm. Motorola, too, hasn't done very well, with its own counterclaims in the same Illinois case also being dismissed, and by making an unexplained last-minute withdrawal of a major ITC case it was filing against Cupertino.
At the time, my first instinct when Motorola withdrew its software patent case against Apple was "settlement talks are on the table." While today's news still doesn't shed too much light on that particular event, it comes with its own bright spots of hope. Read More