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Essential is being sued over its modular accessory technology

Essential Inc, created by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, launched its first smartphone earlier this year. The new company has already been subject to legal action, specifically from case manufacturer Spigen over its use for the 'Essential' brand name. Now it is being sued again, this time by Keyssa Inc, over the phone's connector for modular accessories.

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BlackBerry and BLU settle patent dispute and agree on license agreement

A couple of months ago we learned that BlackBerry CEO John Chen decided a good way to arrest his company's decline was to go into patent lawsuit mode. His first victim was rival manufacturer BLU, against which BlackBerry filed two separate infringement lawsuits covering 15 different patents. One of the suits was mainly based on software while the other looked at hardware, specifically relating to phone signal transmission.

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Qualcomm fined $773 million by Taiwan's FTC for allegedly anticompetitive practices

Yesterday the Taiwan FTC (Fair Trade Commission) fined Qualcomm an incredible $773 million (TWD 23 billion) for allegedly violating antitrust rules in the country over the last seven years. In a press release posted yesterday, Qualcomm says that it disagrees with the decision and intends to seek a stay while appealing. This is after both the Korean FTC imposed a fine of $854 million and the US FTC leveraged its own charges against the chipset manufacturer earlier this year

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Hotspot Shield VPN developer in trouble over lockscreen ads and potential privacy concerns

Lock screen adware in the Play Store is nothing new. Last year, Google had a bit of an epidemic on its hands, when once beloved apps such as ES File Explorer started showing unwarranted overlays while phones were charging. We saw a similar thing with the Peel Smart Remote app earlier this year, and the latest offender appears to be Hotspot Shield VPN.

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Qualcomm files suit against Apple, seeking import ban for infringing iProducts

The Apple vs. Qualcomm drama has taken a turn for the dramatic. Today Qualcomm has fired back its own complaint against the ITC, and filed a suit in California, claiming that Apple is infringing on Qualcomm's patents and that an import ban on the infringing products is justified. The suit is only against products which use modems "other than those supplied by Qualcomm's affiliates," which, presumably, means the Intel modems that Apple has chosen to use in some models. 

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European Parliament wants smartphones and other tech to last longer and be easier to repair

In a plenary session at the European Parliament yesterday, there was an interesting conversation about consumer electronics that could lead to some very positive legislation for smartphone buyers in Europe. MEPs discussed how to ensure that goods and software are easier to repair and update. Essentially, they want to tackle the industry propensity towards planned obsolescence and regular upgrades.

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Nokia and Xiaomi join forces with a business cooperation and patent licensing agreement

Nokia and Xiaomi, two widely known and renowned companies, announced today that they were signing a business cooperation and patent licensing agreement. It's not uncommon to see joint ventures between corporations, but these two seem like an unlikely pair at first glance.

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Le uh-oh: Chairman's personal assets frozen as LeEco's debt crisis worsens

It's been a difficult year for LeEco, and it looks as though things may be about to go from bad to worse. The Chinese tech firm had ambitious plans to break into the US market, particularly with its LeMobile phones, but mounting debt and poor sales leave it in a perilous position. Just last month we learned that Jia Yueting was voluntarily leaving his position as CEO at the same time as around 70% of the organization's US workforce was let go. The LeEco founder, who remained as chairman of the company's private smartphone branch, has now had $182 million worth of personal assets frozen after a missed loan repayment.

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[Update: Contact information to join the lawsuit] One of the LG bootloop lawsuits has been forced into arbitration

Representatives from Girard Gibbs LLP, the firm previously handling one of the LG bootloop lawsuits, contacted us late yesterday with news about the case. On June 29th the court gave an order granting the defendant's motion to compel arbitration, dismissing the lawsuit. That means that right now the suit has been forced into arbitration. 

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This will surprise nobody: Luxury phone maker Vertu is in trouble

For anyone who understandably hasn't heard of it, Vertu is the previously Nokia-owned luxury smartphone maker that tries to convince celebrities and the super rich to shell out up to $50,000 on extravagant devices made from materials such as sapphire and platinum. Vertu phones have tended to be ugly and underpowered, and its business model seems to rely on the adage that wealthy people love to decorate themselves with expensive, superficial accessories. It would appear that even those with money to burn still prioritize a decent smartphone experience, however, and Vertu may be finding that out the hard way.

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