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charlesarthur : patent   51

HTC suspends UK sales due to patent claim, Xiaomi targeted too • Android Authority
Hadlee Simons:
<p>Patent licensing firm IPCom says HTC infringed a 2012 UK court ruling. Back then, the UK High Court ruled that HTC infringed upon IPCom’s patent 100A, which determines how emergency calls are prioritized on 3G networks. The patent in question was obtained by IPCom as part of a deal with Bosch in 2007.

HTC was permitted to use a workaround when launching phones in the UK, the patent firm claimed, but says the brand’s Desire 12 doesn’t use this workaround. The Taiwanese company has therefore decided to suspend sales of the Desire 12, IPCom asserts, but the bad news doesn’t stop there.

“Furthermore, HTC has signalled that it is taking steps to suspend sales of all its mobile devices in the UK,” IPCom’s press release noted.

The patent licensing company says it’s also in negotiations with Xiaomi regarding its alleged patent infringement. It says the Mi Mix 3 slider flagship uses the offending patent.</p>

Wonder if HTC forgot how to do the workaround. Then again, it's news that it sells any phones at all in the UK. Stopping sales will probably save it money - or at least forgo some losses: HTC only did about $14m in sales in July, and probably made an operating loss of half that (ie it spends $3 for every $2 it brings in). The patent stuff, though, is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/dec/22/htc-ipcom-germany-patent-retailers">all very 2011</a>.
htc  patent 
14 days ago by charlesarthur
Exclusive: Intel launches blockbuster auction for its mobile portfolio • IAM
Richard Lloyd:
<p>In what looks set to become one of the highest profile patent sales in years, Intel has put its IP relating to cellular wireless connectivity on the auction block. The company is seeking to divest around 8,500 assets from its massive portfolio.

The news comes as the chip giant searches for a buyer for its 5G smartphone modem business having announced in April that it was pulling out of the market. That was after as it had become increasingly clear that the company, which has been the supplier of 4G modem chips to Apple for the last few years, was struggling to release a 5G product even though the rollout of the next generation of mobile technology is well underway.

The auction offering is comprised of two parts: the cellular portfolio and a connected device portfolio. The former includes approximately 6,000 patent assets related to 3G, 4G and 5G cellular standards and an additional 1,700 assets that read on wireless implementation technologies. The latter is made up of 500 patents with broad applicability across the semiconductor and electronics industries.</p>


Not quite a fire sale, but there isn't anything left of the building now that Apple isn't going to buy 5G modems from it.
intel  wireless  modem  patent  5g 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple violated Qualcomm patent, US trade judge rules • WSJ
Asa Fitch:
<p>A US trade judge recommended that some iPhones be barred from import on Tuesday after finding that Apple violated a patent held by Qualcomm, handing the mobile-phone chip giant a victory in its long-running feud with its erstwhile business partner.

The decision from the US International Trade Commission judge means that Apple, which has its iPhones assembled overseas before sending them to the US and other markets, could be barred from selling iPhones that infringe on a Qualcomm patent covering strategies for conserving power and improving battery life. The judge’s two-page order didn’t specify which iPhone models it covered.

The decision by ITC administrative law judge MaryJoan McNamara, however, is subject to review by the full six-member ITC as well as by the Trump administration, either of which could change the findings and reverse the recommended ban. Presidents have vetoed ITC moves before, including in 2013 when the Obama administration prevented an ITC ban on the sale of some iPhones and iPads from taking effect after Samsung Electronics Co. won a case there.</p>


Not so helpful to not specify the iPhones. But it won't be the 2018 models, since Apple now uses Intel modems.
apple  qualcomm  patent 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple granted patent for interchangeable ‘universal’ AirPods with biometrics and improved fit • 9to5Mac
Alex Allegro:
<p>This patent filing comes just days after a new Ming-Chi Kuo report which signaled for updated AirPods in the first quarter of 2019 set to include wireless charging. It seems clear the next AirPods refresh will most likely focus on improving upon the current design. But this patent shows that in 2020 and beyond, Apple is interested in creating an ultimate earbud that can fit anybody, with an array of biometric sensors capable of tracking health measurements along with detecting ear placement.

One of the points touched upon in the patent is how biometric sensors need to be pressed firmly against the skin to work best, and in a few of the designs outlined in the document, foam is used to expand the bud against the ear canal.

Obviously, this is a departure from the traditional plastic mold used by Apple in both EarPods and AirPods. However, in the pursuit of a universal fit, Apple might deem expanding foam as the best option as opposed to hard plastic.</p>


Foam would be a nice feature. AirPods aren't uncomfortable, but they're too big for some ears. There has been some indication that the new versions will come after iOS 12.2 - currently in beta - is official.
airpods  apple  patent 
january 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple to pull some iPhones in Germany as Qualcomm extends global wins • Reuters
Jörn Poltz and Stephen Nellis:
<p>Qualcomm’s win in Germany comes weeks after it secured a court order to ban sales of some iPhone models in China. Apple, which is contesting both rulings, has continued to offer its iPhones in China but made changes to its iOS operating system in the wake of the Chinese order.

The German victory may affect only a few million iPhones out of the hundreds of millions that Apple sells each year. Still, it is a small but clear win in a complex legal battle that will spin into overdrive in the coming months as antitrust regulators and Apple both take Qualcomm to court in the United States…

…Qualcomm is not pursuing the software patents in the Chinese case in other jurisdictions and suffered an early loss while pursuing a US sales ban on the US version of the hardware patent at issue in Germany.</p>


The phones being pulled are the iPhone 7 and 8. It feels like a rerun of 2010, with the Samsung bickering.
qualcomm  apple  germany  iphone  patent 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple says iOS update will avoid Qualcomm patents, China iPhone ban • Ars Technica
Timothy Lee:
<p>On Monday, Qualcomm announced that a Chinese court had banned the sale of most iPhone models. However, Apple's newest models, the iPhone XS and XR, were not covered by the ban because they had not yet been introduced when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit late last year.
Qualcomm remedied that oversight this week, asking the same Chinese court to ban sales of the XS and XR.

But Apple isn't ready to capitulate to Qualcomm's demands. The company claims that the ruling is specific to an earlier version of iOS, iOS 11. Apple claims that the current version, iOS 12, doesn't infringe Qualcomm's patents—though Qualcomm denies this. The iPhone models mentioned in the ban continue to be available for purchase in China.

Apple has asked a Chinese court to reconsider the ban. And on Friday, Apple told Reuters it would push out a software update to work around Qualcomm's patents, clearing the way for Apple to continue selling all iPhone models in China. Apple claims that Qualcomm's patents cover "minor functionality" of the iPhone operating system.</p>


Probably won't be that easy; Qualcomm likely feels it's finally found some winning ground.
apple  qualcomm  china  patent 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
Vigilante engineer stops Waymo from patenting key lidar technology • Ars Technica
Mark Harris:
<p>Following a surprise left-field complaint by Eric Swildens, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rejected all but three of 56 claims in Waymo's 936 patent, named for the last three digits of its serial number. The USPTO found that some claims replicated technology described in an earlier patent from lidar vendor Velodyne, while another claim was simply "impossible" and "magic."

Swildens, who receives no money or personal advantage from the decision, told Ars that he was delighted at the news. "The patent shouldn't have been filed in the first place," he said. "It's a very well written patent. However, my personal belief is that the thing that they say they invented, they didn't invent."

The 936 patent played a key role in last year's epic intellectual property lawsuit with Uber. In December 2016, a Waymo engineer was inadvertently copied on an email from one of its suppliers to Uber, showing a lidar circuit design that looked almost identical to one shown in the 936 patent…

…Remarkably, Swildens does not work for Uber or for Velodyne, nor for any other self-driving developer—he works for a small cloud computing startup. Swildens became interested in the patent when it surfaced during the Uber case, and he saw how simple Waymo's lidar circuit seemed to be. "I couldn't imagine the circuit didn't exist prior to this patent," he told Wired last year.

Swildens' research uncovered several patents and books that seemed to pre-date the Waymo patent. He then spent $6,000 of his own money to launch a formal challenge to 936. Waymo fought back, making dozens of filings, bringing expert witnesses to bear, and attempting to re-write several of the patent's claims and diagrams to safeguard its survival.

The USPTO was not impressed. In March, an examiner noted that a re-drawn diagram of Waymo's lidar firing circuit showed current passing along a wire between the circuit and the ground in two directions—something generally deemed impossible.</p>


As everyone on Twitter has been saying, not all heroes wear capes.
selfdrivingcar  patent  lidar 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Oct 2017: Appeals court keeps alive the never-ending Linux case, SCO v. IBM • Ars Technica
Cyrus Farivar:
<p>A federal appeals court has now partially ruled in favor of the SCO Group, breathing new life into a lawsuit and a company (now bankrupt and nearly dead) that has been suing IBM for nearly 15 years.

Last year, US District Judge David Nuffer had ruled against SCO (whose original name was Santa Cruz Operation) in two summary judgment orders, and the court refused to allow SCO to amend its initial complaint against IBM.

SCO soon appealed. On Monday, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that SCO’s claims of misappropriation could go forward while also upholding Judge Nuffer's other two orders.

As Ars reported, SCO (then named Caldera Systems) filed suit (PDF) against IBM in March 2003 for allegedly contributing sections of commercial UNIX code from UNIX System V—which the SCO Group claimed it owned—to the Linux kernel's codebase. SCO Group claimed that the alleged presence of its proprietary code in the open source kernel devalued its proprietary code. By making the source code available, IBM had violated its license agreement with SCO Group, according to SCO. Along the way, SCO filed for bankruptcy, and the group claimed that anyone who used Linux owed them money. All the while, Novell successfully claimed ownership of the allegedly infringing code and agreed to indemnify Linux users.

If SCO is ultimately successful, it could stand to take in billions of dollars from IBM.</p>

I had thought that Apple-Samsung was the longest-running patent case around, but my thanks to Stormyparis who pointed out in yesterday's comments that this one is, oh my lord, still going. This article dates from October 2017, but since they haven't wrapped it up, it's still on.
Sco  ibm  patent  lawsuit  longrunning 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple and Samsung settle seven-year-old iPhone patent dispute • WSJ
Maria Armental:
<p>Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, but the companies filed a notice in California federal court on Wednesday saying that they had reached an resolution and agreed to drop the legal case with prejudice, meaning another complaint can’t be filed on the same claims.

Apple declined to comment, referring instead to its comment last month after a federal jury decided the South Korean electronics giant violated patents related to Apple’s iPhone design. Samsung was ordered to pay $539m.

“We believe deeply in the value of design,” the company said at the time. “This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone, and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design.”</p>


Can we say <em>finally</em>?
apple  samsung  patent 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple's $539m in damages is a ‘big win’ over Samsung • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman:
<p>Apple sought about $1bn in a retrial of a case that originally produced a verdict of that amount in 2012, while Samsung argued it should pay only $28m this time.

Jurors in federal court in San Jose, California, decided only on damages Thursday. It was already established that the South Korean company infringed three of Apple’s design patents - covering the rounded corners of its phones, the rim that surrounds the front face, and the grid of icons that users view - and two utility patents, which protect the way something works and is used.

“Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages,” Samsung said in a statement after the verdict. “We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.”

John Quinn, a lawyer for Samsung, told the judge the verdict isn’t “supported by the evidence,” and that the company would raise its objections in court filings.

Apple said in a statement that the case “has always been about more than money.”

“We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers,” the company said.

The basic question for the jury was: should Samsung have to pay damages based on sales of its smartphones or just their components that infringed the iPhone maker’s patents?

A $1.05bn jury verdict in 2012 was whittled down by a previous retrial in 2013, along with appeals and adjustments. After Samsung agreed to pay some damages, the case went to the US Supreme Court in 2016 and was returned to US District Judge Lucy Koh with an order to revisit $399m of that award. Now Samsung has to pay an additional $140m.

The verdict is a “big win” for Apple, said Michael Risch, a law professor at Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania. After the Supreme Court’s ruling, “Apple’s upside should have been capped at what it won before,” he said. “Beating that number at trial is a huge victory given that the Supreme Court has theoretically ruled against it.”

That also makes it a “huge loss” for Samsung, “and shows the risk it took by continuing to fight,” he said. “Samsung’s luck with the jury ran out this time, and Apple received a bigger proportion of what it sought.”</p>

It feels like this case and its spinoffs have been going on forever. Samsung overplayed its hand, though. The benefit it got from its copying have been far bigger, though.
Samsung  apple  patent 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
BlackBerry goes after Snapchat in saddest patent lawsuit ever • Gizmodo
Rhett Jones:
<p>BlackBerry is gradually feeling out its new niche as a veritable patent troll. Following a complaint it filed against Facebook last month, the company has filed fresh litigation against Snap, creator of Snapchat, for allegedly infringing its messaging patents.

Bloomberg first reported the lawsuit on Tuesday. It claims that BlackBerry has been trying to resolve Snap’s alleged infringement of six of its patents for the last year. “Various letters, calls and an in-person meeting,” as the lawsuit puts it, have resulted in failure to find an acceptable resolution.

It should come as no surprise that the patents relate to BlackBerry’s BBM messaging service that was considered the crown jewels of the company in the days when it was known as “CrackBerry” due to its popularity. Among the features that BlackBerry claims Snap stole, it lists the display of timestamps in the messaging interface, and “mapping techniques to establish and maintain real-time activity location information.”</p>


2010 called - it says its patent lawyers are available for hire any time.
blackberry  snap  snapchat  patent 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple might be fixing the MacBook's most annoying problem • Gizmodo
Alex Cranz:
<p>Apple’s patent suggests three primary ideas. One is to apply a membrane between the mechanism that moves the key (also known as a switch) and the keycap. That’s a funny one to attempt to patent as a number of keyboard makers already do something similar, including Apple. Topre and Razer both make “hybrid” switches that incorporate a membrane and a mechanical component, too. This latest Apple hybrid would simply add another membrane to specifically protect the mechanical elements.

<img src="https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--i4abkGZT--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_470/wf12bocuvdk8jmg7wfus.png" width="100%" />

<img src="https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--RtKj9Zw5--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_470/jgcxjan5kljyodrc2xef.png" width="100%" />
<em>These key switches would use air to clear debris. Image: Apple</em>

The second idea Apple has is using a perforated membrane that would, it appears, emit gas or air with each keypress, effectively clearing the key of debris.

The third idea is to create, essentially, an awning around the keycap that funnels debris away from the key switch.

All three ideas, implemented in a wide variety of ways, can be <a href="http://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?PageNum=0&docid=20180068808&IDKey=F0B1C5BB130C&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fappft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect1%3DPTO1%252526Sect2%3DHITOFF%252526d%3DPG01%252526p%3D1%252526u%3D%2525252Fnetahtml%2525252FPTO%2525252Fsrchnum.html%252526r%3D1%252526f%3DG%252526l%3D50%252526s1%3D%2525252220180068808%25252522.PGNR.%252526OS%3DDN%2F20180068808%252526RS%3DDN%2F20180068808">found in the patent here</a>.</p>


This is well overdue; Apple has a big PR problem with its new keyboards' penchant for sticking. Personally, I'm waiting until that's solved before buying a new one. Though this one I'm using (from 2012) still runs fine - in the past six months it's had a new battery and logic board. Nothing wrong with it.
apple  keyboard  butterfly  patent 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
BlackBerry sues Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram over patent infringement • Reuters
Ahmed Farhatha:
<p>BlackBerry Ltd on Tuesday filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook Inc and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps, arguing that they copied technology and features from BlackBerry Messenger.

Litigation over patent infringement is part of BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen’s strategy for making money for the company, which has lost market share in the smartphone market it once dominated.

“Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features,” Canada-based BlackBerry said in a filing with a Los Angeles federal court.

“Protecting shareholder assets and intellectual property is the job of every CEO,” BlackBerry spokeswoman Sarah McKinney said in an email. However, she noted that litigation was “not central to BlackBerry’s strategy.”

The lawsuit followed years of negotiation and BlackBerry has an obligation to shareholders to pursue appropriate legal remedies, she added.</p>


Facebook isn't impressed. But last year BlackBerry squeezed $940m out of Qualcomm in arbitration over royalties. Chen is nobody's fool. This doesn't have to make a lot to be almost pure profit.
blackberry  facebook  patent 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple has finally won $120m from Samsung patent battle • The Verge
Jacob Kastrenakes:
<p>After years of sparring in the courts, Apple has once and for all claimed victory over Samsung to the count of $120m. The Supreme Court said today that it wouldn’t hear an appeal of the patent infringement case, first decided in 2014, which has been bouncing through appeals courts in the years since.

The case revolved around Apple’s famous slide-to-unlock patent and, among others, its less-famous quick links patent, which covered software that automatically turned information like a phone number into a tappable link. Samsung was found to have infringed both patents. The ruling was overturned almost two years later, and then reinstated once again less than a year after that. From there, Samsung appealed to the Supreme Court, which is where the case met its end today.</p>


Thank god that's finished. But: there's still another part, over $1bn (reduced to $400m) which returns to court in May.
apple  samsung  patent 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
A startup funded by iPod creator Tony Fadell is suing Andy Rubin's new company over smartphone trade secrets • Reuters
Stephen Nellis:
<p>Keyssa has been working since 2009 on a chip for mobile phones to transfer large amounts of data without using wires or Wi-Fi connections. In August, Keyssa said it was partnering with Samsung, Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry and others to make its technology a standard feature on mobile phones.

In September, the Essential Phone was released. One of the first devices on the market to feature a wireless connector, the phone uses it to communicate with a camera accessory the company released at the same time.

Keyssa alleged in its lawsuit that Essential engaged in technology and design discussions with Keyssa for 10 months but ultimately ended the relationship. In November 2016, Essential said it would use a competing chip from SiBEAM, a division of Lattice Semiconductor, the lawsuit alleges.

Keyssa alleged that despite Essential's use of a different chip, the final Essential Phone design incorporates many of the techniques developed by Keyssa to make wireless connectors function well in a phone, from antenna designs to methods for testing phones on the manufacturing line.</p>


Headline from CNBC, but story from Reuters. Essential is really getting hit by trucks.
essential  patent  wireless 
october 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple agreed to pay €1.7bn to Nokia for patents • Nokiamob
"Stipe":
<p>In <a href="http://nokiamob.net/2017/07/27/q2-17-nokia-beats-forecasts-technologies-up-90-on-yearly-basis/">today’s financial results</a>, Nokia mentioned that it had increased cash inflow thanks to an “up-front cash payment of approximately EUR 1.7 billion, part of which was recognized in the second quarter 2017 results.” When Nokia announced back in May that it settled all litigation with Apple, they also said that they will update its capital structure optimization program, as one reader pointed out, which means Apple agreed to pay a big one-time amount.

We contacted Nokia to confirm if the “up-front cash payment of €1.7bn ($2bn) (of which a part was recognized in Q2 results)” is from Apple, and Nokia’s PR team confirmed that and invited us to join the investor webcast at 2pm CEST here for more details.

We can conclude that Nokia scored a good deal with Apple.</p>


Nokia confirmed it's from Apple in the conference call. Hardly as if Apple can complain the amount is confidential, given its size and those involved.
apple  nokia  patent 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple patent reveals the exciting possibility of augmented reality smartglasses • Patently Apple
Jack Purcher:
<p>Apple acquired Metaio the creator of 'Thermal Touch' and a new Augmented Reality Interface for Wearables and beyond back in 2015. Their technology is thought to be behind Apple's push into augmented reality and ARKit. This year a Metaio patent application surfaced under Apple for moving furniture in augmented reality. Apple was also <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2017/01/apple-granted-an-augmented-reality-patent-based-on-technology-acquired-from-metaio.html">granted a patent</a> for indoor navigation that covered new capabilities for a future iDevice camera allowing it to recognize building names or paintings and then adding AR identifying markers on the user's iDevice photos.

Today another original Metaio patent application under Apple has surfaced relating augmented reality. More specifically it covers a method for representing points of interest in a view of a real environment on a screen of an iPhone with interaction functionality. The buzz is that the patent covers AR smartglasses as noted in our cover graphic, something that Apple has been adding to a series of new and updated trademarks of late</p>


Augmented reality glasses from Apple seem like an inevitability, as Cybart says above.
apple  patent 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit hit with lawsuit over haptic feedback patents • ReadWrite
David Curry:
<p>Fitbit has been hit with a lawsuit from Immersion, a developer of haptic feedback technology, claiming that the Alta HR and Charge 2 maker has infringed on its patents.

Immersion asks for Fitbit to cease manufacturing of all infringing devices, which, we suspect, includes all fitness trackers currently on the market. Fitbit makes use of haptic feedback for notifications, breathing exercises, and touch control, found on all trackers.

“We are disappointed that Fitbit rejected our numerous attempts to negotiate a reasonable license for Fitbit’s products, but it is imperative that we protect our intellectual property both within the U.S. and through the distribution chain in China,” said Immersion CEO, Victor Viegas.

It should be noted it is not the first time Immersion has taken a large tech company to court over haptic feedback technology. In 2016, it took Apple to court over its 3D Touch technology; some media outlets have labelled Immersion a patent troll.</p>


Yet more problems for Fitbit.
fitbit  patent 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple granted patent on smart dock with Siri and wireless charging • The Verge
Chaim Gartenberg:
<p>Apple was <a href="http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=0&docid=09711160&IDKey=90D07165BDFF%0D%0A&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect1%3DPTO2%2526Sect2%3DHITOFF%2526p%3D1%2526u%3D%25252Fnetahtml%25252FPTO%25252Fsearch-bool.html%2526r%3D1%2526f%3DG%2526l%3D50%2526co1%3DAND%2526d%3DPTXT%2526s1%3D9711160%2526OS%3D9711160%2526RS%3D9711160">granted a new patent</a> this week, one that’s particularly interesting given Apple’s upcoming HomePod and rumors of a wirelessly charging iPhone 8: an iPhone dock that could have Siri and a wireless charger built in.

<img src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/5t5RAkoY5UrixMdXhbpoY0wHbQo=/0x0:1954x1266/1820x1213/filters:focal(883x748:1195x1060)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/55790511/Screen_Shot_2017_07_19_at_2.59.38_PM.0.png" width="80%" />

The patent, officially for a “Smart dock for activating a voice recognition mode of a portable electronic device,” is pretty broad. It covers a dock that could recognize that an iPhone had been placed into it and activate a microphone that could listen for voice commands to allow users to control a phone from across a room. In other words, it’s a Siri dock. The patent also covers multiple ways of charging said iPhone, including wireless charging, and describes docks that range just simple connectors with a microphone and speaker to full-fledged miniature computers with buttons and displays.

Now, before I go off into rampant speculation, it’s worth remembering that this is a patent, not an actual product announcement. But the interesting part is how this could tie in to Apple’s HomePod strategy.</p>


So it's the Apple iPod Hi-Fi living again?
apple  patent  homepod 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi goes old school to reclaim smartphone crown in China • Bloomberg
<p>Xiaomi Corp. pioneered an online flash-sales model that lifted it to dizzying heights and made it Asia’s most valuable startup, but it’s since fallen on hard times. Now it’s counting on old-fashioned retail to make a comeback, and that’s proving a much stiffer challenge. 

The smartphone maker is going through a major transformation after missed targets prompted a bout of soul-searching by billionaire co-founder Lei Jun. From Harbin in the chilly northeast to glitzy eastern Shanghai, it aims to build 1,000 “Mi Homes” by 2019 - about twice Apple Inc.’s global store count - that will rake in an envisioned 70 billion yuan ($10bn) in sales by 2021.

Xiaomi - which has no real track record running stores or armies of sales reps - wants to set an upmarket tone for its brand by building its own signature outlets. But it’s taking on surging rental and labor costs, while rivals Huawei, Oppo and Vivo have sewn up prime locations by striking deals with hundreds of thousands of resellers.</p>


Oh suuure Xiaomi can make retail outlets work. Suuuuuure.

In related news: Xiaomi <a href="https://www.yahoo.com/news/nokia-chinas-xiaomi-sign-patent-053759497.html">signed a patent deal with Nokia</a>. It's a cross-licensing deal, apparently, though I'd think the money mostly goes to Nokia.

Upshot: Xiaomi's smartphone margins just got worse, and I don't think they were necessarily that great to start with.
xiaomi  retail  nokia  patent 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Lexmark patent racket busted by Supremes • The Register
Thomas Claburn:
<p>Patent law grants patent holders a limited monopoly on their goods for the duration of the patent. But when the goods are sold, patent rights are said to be exhausted, which allows third parties to resell the items without obtaining a license from the patent holder.

Lexmark wanted to prevent competitors from buying used ink cartridges, refurbishing them, and selling them to its printer customers – presumably because it would make more money by controlling that market.

So the company imposed contractual terms to limit resale of ink cartridges obtained through its cartridge Return Program in the US. What's more, it tried to prevent ink cartridges obtained abroad from being resold in the US through claimed patent rights.

In 2010, the printer maker began filing a series of lawsuits in Ohio to enforce its claims against ink cartridge recyclers who acquired cartridges outside the US. Most of the defendants in those cases chose to settle, agreeing not to obtain Lexmark cartridges abroad.

In 2013, Lexmark sued Impression Products, based in Charleston, West Virginia, for violating its patent rights by reselling contractually controlled Return Program cartridges and by reselling ink cartridges bought abroad.

In 2016, the Federal Circuit Court agreed with Lexmark's position.

The Supreme Court, however, has overturned that decision. It <a href="https://regmedia.co.uk/2017/05/30/15-1189_ebfj.pdf">ruled</a> that while Lexmark may have an enforceable claim under contract law for Return Program ink cartridges acquired in the US and resold there, the company may not make a patent claim.</p>


I thought that this might have some reading on Apple's patent row with Qualcomm, but people on Twitter are telling me no. Even so, this is momentous.
lexmark  patent  supreme 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple halts license payments to Qualcomm in ‘all-out war’ • Bloomberg
Ian King:
<p>Apple Inc. cut off billions of dollars in payments to Qualcomm Inc., turning a contract dispute into what one analyst called an "all-out war" that forced the chip supplier to slash forecasts given only days ago.

The world’s largest publicly-traded technology company and one of the main suppliers of components to the iPhone, its most important product, have traded accusations of lying, making threats and trying to create an illegal monopoly. The fight involves billions of dollars of technology licensing revenue that, if permanently cut off or reduced, would damage Qualcomm’s main source of profit and help bolster Apple’s margins.

Apple told Qualcomm it will stop paying licensing revenue to contract manufacturers of the iPhone, the mechanism by which it’s paid the chipmaker since the best-selling smartphone debuted in 2007, the San Diego, California-based company said in a statement. Qualcomm removed any assumption it will get those fees from its forecast for the current period. Apple doesn’t have a direct license with Qualcomm, unlike other phone makers…

…Patents controlled by Qualcomm cover the basics of all high-speed data capable mobile phone systems. It charges a percentage of the total selling price of the phone regardless of whether the device uses a Qualcomm chip or not.</p>


Qualcomm has cut its forecast for the next quarter by about $500m - just under 10% of the previous expected revenue.

The arrangement whereby the size of the patent payment depends on the end price of a device doesn't make sense to me. Functionality is functionality. I can see that it's an advantage to Qualcomm, but this also goes against <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-iphone-idUSKBN13V1XL">the principle set out in the US Supreme Court verdict - where Apple lost against Samsung</a> - that a patent's value has to be determined separately of the price of the product.
apple  qualcomm  patent 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
US appeals court tosses patent verdict against Apple • Reuters
Jan Wolfe:
<p>A federal appeals court has thrown out a jury verdict that had originally required Apple to pay $533m to Smartflash LLC, a technology developer and licenser that claimed Apple's iTunes software infringed its data storage patents.

The trial judge vacated the large damages award a few months after a Texas federal jury imposed it in February 2015, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said on Wednesday the judge should have ruled Smartflash's patents invalid and set aside the verdict entirely.

A unanimous three-judge appeals panel said Smartflash's patents were too "abstract" and did not go far enough in describing an actual invention to warrant protection.

The decision likely ends a case that had attracted wide attention when the verdict was rendered but had gone against the plaintiff ever since.</p>


Judges ruled the patents invalid. That's a bust for Smartflash.
apple  patent  smartflash 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Six Coolpad workers detained in patent dispute with former employer Huawei • Reuters
Sijia Jiang:
<p>Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad, part of the LeEco technology conglomerate, said six employees had been detained by authorities, accused of infringing the intellectual property rights of their former employer Huawei Technologies.

The official Securities Times reported on Wednesday that the former Huawei engineers and designers had been detained for leaking company secrets to LeEco and Coolpad.

The employees' lawyers and families say none of them took technology documents or codes from Huawei, a Coolpad unit, Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific (Shenzhen) Co Ltd, said in a statement.

They also have not given any such documents to Coolpad and LeEco, the statement said. The unit declined to comment beyond its statement.

It added that the workers are under investigation by the Shenzhen public securities department concerning a patent application made before they joined Coolpad's smartphone department.</p>


Coolpad is a strong rival to Huawei in China. LeEco has called this "pure rumour", which isn't quite a denial.
coolpad  leeco  huawei  secret  patent 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
Supreme Court: lower court should reconsider what Samsung owes Apple • WSJ
Brent Kendall:
<p>Samsung has been challenging a $399m award to Apple after jurors in 2012 found that 11 smartphone models from the South Korean electronics giant infringed Apple’s design patents.

The high court agreed to hear the case to clarify how courts should compute monetary damages for design-patent infringement. Apple argued it was entitled to the total profits on Samsung’s infringing products. Samsung argued that it shouldn’t have to hand over all of its profits on the phones because the design was only one component of those complex devices.

The Supreme Court said an appeals court used the wrong analysis when it ruled for Apple.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for a unanimous court, said the holder of a design patent isn’t always entitled to the total profits on an infringing product sold to consumers. In multicomponent products, sometimes a patent holder will only be entitled to the infringer’s total profits on the specific component that infringed the patent, she said.

The decision, however, didn’t resolve the dispute between the smartphone makers. The court declined to apply its legal rules to the specifics of the case, so it didn’t determine whether Samsung must pay its total profits on the 11 phones or just its profits attributable to the screen and case design of those products.

The justices said a lower court should sort out that issue.</p>


This is pretty dramatic. Apple's claim, which was supported by a number of designers, was that Samsung had profited because of its infringement of Apple's design patents - basically, how Samsung's phone looked - and that it should receive all the profits Samsung earned because that infringement was the essential act which caused the decision. There seemed to be precedent from patents on physical products in the 20th century.

This overturns that; it means that copying the appearance of another device carries far lower penalties, as long as you can show that there might be other elements to the product which customers find attractive. (Probably wouldn't work for a simple chair, for example.)

Just as well for Apple that phone design isn't a key differentiator any more - but what happens when someone such as Samsung chooses to copy the Apple Watch?
samsung  apple  supremecourt  patent  design 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Patent troll claims to own Bluetooth, scores $15.7M verdict against Samsung • Ars Technica
Joe Mullin, writing in February 2015:
<p>Marshall [in Texas] is a small town that has been a hotspot for patent lawsuits for more than a decade now. US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who presided over this trial, oversees far more patent lawsuits than any other federal judge.

The Eastern District of Texas has stayed popular with patent holders, even as the docket has clogged with cases. Some factors cited include relatively fast-moving litigation, judges reluctant to make early summary judgment rulings, and a perception that juries are more likely to grant large awards.

Samsung has been sued in East Texas dozens of times. That's not unusual for a large technology company. More than its rivals, though, Samsung has taken some unusual steps in recent years to try to keep up its reputation in Marshall and nearby towns. There's no mistaking who sponsors Marshall's winter festival—Samsung has its corporate logo plastered all over the town's ice-skating rink, which gets set up each year in the same downtown square as the federal courthouse.

The company also makes a habit of granting scholarships to high school students in Marshall and nearby Tyler, giving a total of $50,000 last year. Winners receive photograph-worthy giant checks with a Samsung logo on them, and those images are often published in the local newspaper. The same check was on display in the News-Messenger when Samsung made a donation to Habitat for Humanity.</p>


Makes sense if you might find yourself in front of a group of jurors assembled from the area...
samsung  patent 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Apple-Samsung iPhone patent feud leaves U.S. top court struggling • Reuters
Andrew Chung:
<p>The $399m penalty stemmed specifically from Samsung's violation of three Apple patents on the design of the iPhone's rounded-corner front face, bezel and colorful grid of icons that represent programs and applications.

While the justices signaled a willingness to reduce the potentially huge penalties imposed for ripping off someone else's patented design, some expressed skepticism over how, in practice, juries could figure out the importance of a specific design trait in a product in order to calculate damages.

"If I were a juror, I wouldn't know what to do," Justice Anthony Kennedy said.

Several justices struggled with how they would devise a test for lower courts and juries to use to determine design patent damages.

Using as an example the Volkswagen Beetle's unique automobile body contour, Justice Elena Kagan suggested it might be difficult for a jury to decide how much damages to award based on a theoretical patent infringement of its shape, when that trait might be the main factor driving consumers to buy it.</p>
apple  samsung  patent 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
US top court to hear Apple-Samsung feud over iPhone designs • Reuters
Andrew Chung:
<p>The justices' ruling, due by the end of June, could have a long-term impact for designers and product manufacturers going forward because the Supreme Court, if it agrees with Samsung, could limit the penalties for swiping a patented design.

Samsung Electronic paid Apple $548.2m last December, fulfilling part of its liability stemming from a 2012 verdict for infringing Apple's iPhone patents and copying its look.

But Samsung will argue before the Supreme Court that it should not have had to make as much as $399m of that payout for infringement of three patented designs on the iPhone's rounded-corner front face, its bezel and the colorful grid of icons that represent programs and applications.

It will be the Supreme Court's first case involving design patents in more than 120 years, when the products at issue were carpets and rugs.

Cupertino, California-based Apple sued its South Korean rival in 2011, claiming Samsung stole its technology and the iPhone's trademarked appearance.

Samsung has said it should not have had to fork over all of its profits on phones that infringed the patents, which contributed only marginally to a complex product with thousands of patented features.

Apple has said Samsung was properly penalized for ripping off its work.</p>


Guess a decision there would qualify for a "<em>Finally</em>" if ever one did.
apple  samsung  patent 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
Sony Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact won't have fingerprint scanners in the US • Phone Arena
Florin T:
<p>Sony's brand new Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact are coming soon to the US. In case you're planning to buy any of them, you should first know this: unlike their European counterparts, the US-bound Xperia XZ and X Compact do not feature fingerprint scanners. This is confirmed by Sony Mobile's US website, where full specs for both phones are available (see the source links below), and there's no mention of fingerprint scanners whatsoever.

The non-US Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact have fingerprint scanners embedded in their power buttons, but Sony decided to remove them from the devices that will be shipped in the States. Perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise, since Sony did the same with the Xperia X Performance, Xperia Z5, and Xperia Z5 Compact. As for why this is happening, there is no official explanation. </p>


Perhaps I can help? <a href="https://www.google.com/patents/US20120019356">HP has a patent in the US on fingerprint scanners in power buttons</a>. Filed in 2009, published in 2012, and I'd guess that HP wants some good money for it - which <a href="https://theoverspill.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/the-2q-2016-smartphone-scorecard-players-searching-for-an-exit/">Sony's money-losing mobile division</a> really can't afford given the tiny volumes in the US.

The patent is also published (hence valid?) through WIPO, Europe and China - but maybe Sony thinks it's worth paying there. Though one would think it would move to a different design, to avoid the patent.
sony  fingerprint  patent 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
EDTX triples damages award against Samsung due to false testimony, discovery violations • IPWatchdog.com | Patents & Patent Law
Steve Brachmann:
<p>The court decided to award enhanced damages in this case because of egregious behavior on behalf of Samsung, including attempts to copy the technology and demonstrably false testimony given by Samsung. For example, Samsung’s representatives testified under oath that they only became aware of Imperium IP’s patents in June 2014, when the infringement action was first brought to court. Depositions and other discovery proved this to be incorrect. One witness who worked at ESS Technologies, the company to which the ‘884 patent was first assigned, testified that Samsung sought specific information on anti-flicker and flash technology. It was also proven that Samsung had previously attempted to purchase the patents-in-suit from Imperium, concealing its identity through a patent broker. Instead of June 2014, the court found that Samsung knew about Imperium’s patents since at least April 2011.

Samsung’s egregious conduct also included its failure to produce relevant documents. Although Samsung was aware since July 15th, 2015, about the need to produce e-mail and documents relevant to the patent broker used by Samsung to conceal its identity, those documents were only produced at 2:19 AM on the fourth day of the jury trial. As the court noted, the time to produce these documents was during discovery, not during trial.</p>


Awkward. Technologies used in the Galaxy Tab 7 and 7.7 tablets, ATIV laptop and network-connected cameras.
samsung  patent 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Judge voids VirnetX's $625.6 million Apple verdict; VirnetX plunges • Reuters
<p>A federal judge has thrown out a verdict requiring Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to pay VirnetX Holding Corp $625.6m for infringing four patents relating to Internet security technology, causing VirnetX's share price to plunge.

VirnetX shares were down $1.93, or 44.6 percent, at $2.40 in Monday morning trading, after earlier falling to $2.14.

In a decision late Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder in Tyler, Texas said it was unfair to Apple that two VirnetX lawsuits had been combined into a single trial.

He said jurors may have been confused by more than 50 references to the earlier case, though it contained "incredibly similar" issues, and deferred improperly to the prior jury's findings when it found Apple's liable for willful infringement.</p>


VirnetX claims patents which it says are used in FaceTime and iMessage. So you can see how the outcome might be important to both it and Apple.
apple  patent 
august 2016 by charlesarthur
Chinese company in patent dispute with Apple barely exists • WSJ
Eva Dou and Alyssa Abkowitz:
<p>When a Beijing regulator recently <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/beijing-regulator-orders-apple-to-stop-sales-of-two-iphone-models-1466166711">ruled against Apple Inc. in a patent dispute</a>, it handed a victory to a Chinese company that barely exists.

Phone calls to the company, Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co., ring unanswered. Its websites have been deleted. Visits to its three registered addresses found no company offices.

Baili and its parent, Digione, are part of a rapid boom and bust in China’s new wave of smartphone makers. When Baili took on Apple in December 2014, telling Chinese regulators that the Cupertino, Calif., company’s new models infringed on its smartphone design patents, it had bold aspirations, a big-name investor in Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc. and a team of experienced executives.

By the time regulators reached a decision this year, Digione had collapsed, brought down by buggy products, mismanagement and fierce competition, according to former employees and investors. </p>


Weird but not unlike patent trolls in the US and elsewhere.
china  apple  patent 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
We've seen Magic Leap's device of the future, and it looks like Merlin's skull cap • The Guardian
Danny Yadron:
<p>The much-hyped startup Magic Leap – backed by Google, Warner Brothers, JPMorgan Chase and others – recently won a patent for the design of an augmented reality headset. The device, according to a report in Wired, would let users superimpose calendars, kids pictures or jellyfish over day-to-day life. So-called mixed reality or augmented reality is seen by many as consumer technology’s next big wave.

Magic Leap’s <a href="http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=0&docid=D0758367&IDKey=B3B4CD54EC1F&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect1%3DPTO2%2526Sect2%3DHITOFF%2526p%3D1%2526u%3D%25252Fnetahtml%25252FPTO%25252Fsearch-bool.html%2526r%3D1%2526f%3DG%2526l%3D50%2526co1%3DAND%2526d%3DPTXT%2526s1%3D%252522Magic%252BLeap%2C%252BInc%252522.ASNM.%2526OS%3DAN%2F%252522Magic%252BLeap%2C%252BInc%252522%2526RS%3DAN%2F%252522Magic%252BLeap%2C%252BInc%252522">design patent</a>, which was granted on Tuesday, could offer the first look at what some say may be the most revolutionary tech gadget in years. It could also illustrate a stubborn problem that’s been holding augmented reality back.

It’s hard to imagine looking cool while wearing the devices.

<img src="https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/92ae250f5cef54f4162c22fba2787c75b2d5df8b/134_17_530_318/master/530.png" width="100%" /></p>


Point of order, Madam Speaker, the author has seen a sketch of the device, not the device itself. But those drawings are usually pretty close - it was for the Segway, for instance.
magicleap  patent 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Microsoft Android patent-licensing revenue falling » Business Insider
Matt Rosoff:
<p>Microsoft missed earnings expectations by a couple of cents per share on Thursday afternoon because of an unexpected tax adjustment that skimmed $0.04 off its earnings per share.

In the release, Microsoft noted that its patent-licensing revenue was <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor/earnings/FY-2016-Q3/more-personal-computing-performance">down 26% from a year ago</a>. And it's because of Android.

Android phones are still selling just fine, but the market is dominated by cheap handsets being sold in developing countries like China and India.

"The mix of devices in that market has shifted to the low end," said Chris Suh, Microsoft's head of investor relations.

Microsoft's cut is also sinking. Suh also noted that not every Android manufacturer has a licensing deal with Microsoft. He didn't name names, but Chinese phone makers typically take a very loose approach toward licensing American intellectual property, and as those inexpensive phones take over the world, Microsoft doesn't benefit as much.</p>


Well, OK, but there may be another part to the drop. Read on..
microsoft  android  patent  licensing 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
April 2015: Microsoft reportedly cutting patent fees in exchange for pre-installed apps » AndroidAuthority
Rob Triggs, in April 2015:
<p>Last month, Microsoft announced a global partnership with Samsung and other hardware manufacturers to bring its mobile productivity services, such as its Office suite, to consumers and business users. But there may be more to it than simply offering customers compelling services, DigiTimes Research suggests that Microsoft is tempting Android manufacturers to pre-install its software in exchange for discounts on its licensing fees.

Android hardware manufacturers have all signed a patent licensing agreement with Microsoft for various essential technologies developed by the company. However, according to findings from Taiwan’s and China’s smartphone/tablet upstream supply chain, Microsoft is offering discounts to those who pre-install Office programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, as well as OneDrive and Skype onto their Android devices. So far, 11 hardware partners are signed up to the deal.</p>
microsoft  android  patent  licensing 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
US top court agrees to hear Samsung-Apple patent fight »Reuters
Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung:
<p>The US Supreme Court on Monday stepped into the high-profile patent fight between the world's two fiercest smartphone rivals, Apple and Samsung, agreeing to hear Samsung's appeal of what it contends were excessive penalties for copying the patented designs of the iPhone.

Samsung Electronics paid Apple more than $548m in December related to a jury verdict from 2012. It is seeking to pare back the $399m of that amount that was awarded for infringing on the designs of the iPhone's rounded-corner front face, bezel and colorful grid of icons, saying they contributed only marginally to a complex device.

Apple sued in 2011, claiming the South Korean electronics company stole its technology and ripped off the look of the iPhone.</p>

The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarndyce_and_Jarndyce">Jarndyce and Jarndyce</a> of the digital world. But it also matters (notes Neil Cybart) because it affects how one values design. Google and Facebook wanted the Supreme Court to hear it; Apple didn't, he <a href="https://twitter.com/neilcybart/status/711922679884845057">says</a>.
apple  samsung  patent 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Apple’s $120M jury verdict against Samsung destroyed on appeal » Ars Technica
Joe Mullin:
<p>Apple's second high-profile patent win against Samsung was appealed, just as the first was. And in an <a href="http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/15-1171.Opinion.2-24-2016.1.PDF">opinion</a> (PDF) published today, a panel of appeals judges entirely wiped out Apple's victory and its $120 million verdict.

The new decision found that out of three different patents Apple became famous for winning with, one wasn't infringed and two of them are invalid.

The '647 patent described how to turn phone numbers and other software "structures" into links, allowing users to take actions like calling a number with one "click" rather than copying and pasting. The jury awarded Apple $98.7 million based on that patent, but the appeals judges today held that the patent wasn't infringed at all. They held that "Apple failed to prove, as a matter of law, that the accused Samsung products use an 'analyzer server' as we have previously construed that term."

Appeals judges also invalidated one of Apple's most consistently ridiculed patents, the '721 "slide to unlock" patent. Jurors awarded $3 million based on infringement of that patent, but the appeals panel said the patent is invalid because of prior art.</p>


This whole patent thing ends up as <a href="http://seanmunger.com/2012/09/14/bobby-ewing-in-the-shower-an-epic-storytelling-gaffe/">Bobby in the shower</a>. "Patent trials? What patent trials?"
apple  samsung  patent 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Ericsson and Apple sign patent deal, settle litigation | Reuters
Olof Swahnberg:
<p>Ericsson did not specify how much it would earn from the deal but estimated overall revenue from intellectual property rights in 2015 would hit 13 to 14 billion crowns ($1.52-$1.64 billion), including positive effects from the settlement with Apple, up from 9.9 billion crowns in 2014.

Investment bank ABG Sundal Collier said in a note to clients it believed the deal meant Apple would be charged around 0.5 percent of its revenue on iPads and iPhones by Ericsson.

Ericsson Chief Intellectual Property Officer Kasim Alfalahi said the agreement was broad, covering the latest 4G-LTE generation of mobile technology, as well as the earlier 2G and 3G technologies.</p>


Quick settlement for a patent row: case was filed in January 2015.
ericsson  apple  patent 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Is Apple's Smart Battery Case so goofy because it was designed around Mophie's patents? | The Verge
Former patent lawyer Nilay Patel:
<p>Mophie has tons of patents on the design and functionality of these things. Reading through a few, it's hard not to see Apple's case as being deliberately designed around Mophie's patents — including that unsightly bulge.

<img src="https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/tVmtXhYuNS3u-ZIfgo-HydXEzDc=/1400x0/filters:no_upscale()/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/4336293/mophiepatent-image.0.jpg" width="100%" />

Here, for example, is Mophie's <a href="https://www.google.com/patents/US9172070?dq=9,172,070&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi0k-PK8MzJAhUJaz4KHZ8TCHIQ6AEIHDAA">patent #9,172,070</a>, which was just granted on October 15th. The first claim lays out, well, a Mophie battery case — and any other case that has all of these (paraphrased) elements would infringe on Mophie's patent:

1. A lower case that contains a battery and sides that extend along a mobile device, with internal and external power connectors, and an on / off switch.

2. A removable upper case.

So really any case where a phone slides into the bottom case and there's a cap on top infringes this one. You will note the Apple case is just a single piece, with a top portion that flops back instead of coming off. More elegant, in some ways, but perhaps more importantly, also outside the claims of this patent.</p>


Patel's is the most sensible analysis I've read around this entire topic. (Apple wouldn't comment when he asked if this was why.)
apple  battery  mophie  patent 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple found in infringement of University of Wisconsin CPU patent, faces $862M in damages » Apple Insider
Mikey Campbell:
<p>The IP in question, U.S. Patent No. 5,781,752 for a "Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer," was granted to a University of Wisconsin team led by Dr. Gurindar Sohi in 1998. According to WARF and original patent claims, the '752 patent focuses on improving power efficiency and overall performance in modern computer processor designs by utilizing "data speculation" circuit, also known as a branch predictor.

It was argued that Apple willfully infringed on the '752 patent, as it cited the property in its own patent filings. Further, the lawsuit claims Apple refused WARF's requests to license the IP.

The initial complaint named A7 and all the products it powered at the time, a list that included iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad Mini with Retina display. Apple subsequently incorporated the chip into iPad mini 3 models. The A8 and A8X SoCs were later added to the suit and affect iPhone 6, 6 Plus and multiple iPad versions.

WARF leveraged the same patent against Intel's Core 2 Duo CPU in 2008, a case <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/02/04/cupertino_copied_processor_pipelining_claims_wisconsin_u/">settled out of court in 2009 for an undisclosed sum</a>, according to a 2014 report from The Register. </p>


Branch prediction is essential for multi-core processors - and WARF sued Intel over the Core2Duo (first dual-core Intel processor) and A7 (first multi-core Apple processor). Pretty egregious of Apple to think it could cite a patent and yet not license it. (It will have to license it for all forthcoming Ax chips too.) Raises the question of who else is licensing this patent, of course: Samsung and Qualcomm make multi-core ARM processors, so they must too. Wisconsin's alumni research foundation must be coining it.
apple  patent  multicore 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple wins patent ruling against Samsung in U.S. appeals court » Reuters
Andrew Chung:
<p>A US appeals court on Thursday said Apple should have been awarded an injunction barring Samsung from selling products that infringe its patents, handing Apple another victory in its ongoing smartphone fight with its biggest rival.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. said the lower court abused its discretion when it denied Apple Inc an injunction after a jury ordered Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to pay $120m in May, 2014 for infringing three of Apple's patents.

The case involved Apple patents covering the iPhone's slide-to-unlock, autocorrect and data detection features.

The 2-1 appeals court ruling said that Apple's proposed injunction is narrow because it does not want to ban Samsung's devices from the marketplace, and that Samsung can remove the patented features without recalling its products.

"Apple does not seek to enjoin the sale of lifesaving drugs, but to prevent Samsung from profiting from the unauthorized use of infringing features in its cellphones and tablets," the court said.

The case was sent back to a federal district court in San Jose, California, to reconsider the injunction.</p>


Does Samsung even still sell the phones that were the subject of this? And this isn't an injunction - the lower court now has to "reconsider" its lack of an injunction. Entire species have evolved and died out in the time this case has been going back and forth.
apple  samsung  patent 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple figures out way to help you more easily move objects on a touchscreen » CNET
It's a patent filing, as Lance Whitney explains:
Apple and other mobile device makers have long offered the ability to cut or copy and paste text. To do this, you can use your finger to zoom in on the text you wish to select, then expand or shrink the highlighted text, and then finally delete or move that text. But that type of operation doesn't always go smoothly because your fingers are typically too large to perform such a granular task. So selecting text is more frustrating than it should be. Apple's patented solution would remove the need to place your big finger on the touchscreen in the first place.

Here's how it would work: Let's say you want to select a specific section of text. With the cursor placed in the right spot, you'd tap the side or another non-touchscreen area of the device. Each time you tap the side, the cursor could move one character, thereby expanding the selection of the text on a more precise and granular level. Tapping the right side of the device would move the cursor to the left, while tapping the left would move the cursor to the right.


Unconvinced.
apple  patent  text 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Nokia faces lengthy arbitration over LG patent royalty payments » Reuters
Jussi Rosendahl:
Nokia said the arbitration with LG is expected to conclude within two years. Shares in Nokia rose 1.4 percent by 1204 GMT (8.04 a.m ET).

"This is becoming a more and more common model. The companies won't go to the court but instead let an independent party decide," said Nordea analyst Sami Sarkamies.

He estimated that the Samsung deal, expected to conclude later this year, could eventually mean Nokia receives 100-200 million euros of additional royalty payments annually, on top of retroactive payments.


Seems to be related to 4G patents; Nokia signed a similar deal with Samsung a while back. For LG, means that profitability in the smartphone side becomes that little bit more elusive - especially after the back payment.
nokia  lg  patent 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple sides with Microsoft in closely watched patent dispute with Google - GeekWire
Todd Bishop:
The case has already created some unusual alliances. Apple and T-Mobile are among the companies siding with Microsoft in the case, while Nokia and Qualcomm are seeking to overturn a lower court’s ruling that found in Microsoft’s favor.

After a 2013 trial in Seattle, Microsoft won a $14.5m jury verdict against Motorola based on a finding that Motorola breached its obligation to offer its standard-essential patents for video and wireless technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, known in legal circles as “RAND” or “FRAND.”

The case is notable in part because U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle took the unusual step of setting a process for establishing royalties for standard essential patents.

Based on his process, Robart ruled in April 2013 that the Microsoft owed less than $1.8m a year for its use of Motorola’s patented video and wireless technologies in Windows, Xbox and other products. Motorola had originally sought a rate amounting to more than $4bn a year, plus $20bn in back payments.


Slightly more complex than it seems, because it could debase the idea of SEPs if they're too low-priced. But Motorola was really trying too hard. (It tried the same against Apple and was rebuffed.)
patent  sep  apple  motorola  microsoft 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
IEEE waves through controversial FRAND patent policy » EE Times
John Walko, in February:
IEEE's new standard on patents that lowers royalty fees is making some members angry.

The IEEE’s decision to approve a bitterly contested change to its patent policy, has, perhaps unsurprisingly, caused bitter divisions among its members. The revised rules would see the royalty fees large vendors have to pay reduced significantly, particularly in the wireless sector.

Compensation for a company’s IPR would now be based on a percentage of component price rather than the whole device, as is generally the norm.

Another consequence of the <a href="http://standards.ieee.org/develop/policies/bylaws/approved-changes.pdf">revised approach to royalties</a> is a more realistic definition of what represents Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) when it comes to valuing a company’s standards-essential patents (SEP) such that the inventors get a fair return on sometimes huge investments into developing innovations, while at the same time not building barriers to entry for new products and new suppliers.


I missed this at the time; but it's pretty dramatic. Lots of lawsuits have previously involved demands for royalties on finished products, which - if you think about it - is daft: if an essential patent only affects some tiny part of the operation of a device (eg Wi-Fi on the Xbox 360, as an example) why should Microsoft have to pay a proportion of the finished price?

This doesn't have "non-practising entities", aka patent trolls, pleased. Here's Bill Merritt of Interdigital (an NPE) <a href="http://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1326144">fulminating about it</a> - and saying it won't play ball.

Seems minimal, but this could have big long-term effects.
ieee  frand  patent 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple invents 3-sensor iPhone camera with light splitting cube for accurate colors, low-light performance » Apple Insider
Mikey Campbell on a Apple patent filed in 2011 that has just been published:
Older three-CCD cameras relied on the tech to more accurately capture light and negate the "wobble" effect seen with a single energy-efficient CMOS chip. Modern equipment employs global shutter CMOS modules that offer better low-light performance and comparable color accuracy, opening the door to entirely new shooting possibilities.

Apple's design uses light splitting techniques similar to those applied in current optics packages marketed by Canon, Panasonic, Philips and other big-name players in the camera space. For its splitter assembly, Apple uses a cube arrangement constructed using four identical polyhedrons that meet at dichroic interfaces.

By coating each interface with an optical coating, particular wavelengths of incident light can be reflected or allowed to transmit through to an adjoining tetrahedron. Adjusting dichroic filters allows Apple to parse out red, green and blue wavelengths and send them off to three sensors positioned around the cube. Aside from RGB, the patent also allows for other color sets like cyan, yellow, green and magenta (CYGM) and red, green, blue and emerald (RGBE), among others.

Light splitters also enable other desirable effects like sum and difference polarization, which achieves the same results as polarization imaging without filtering out incident light. The process can be taken a step further to enhance image data for feature extraction, useful in computer vision applications.


Basically, it's about Apple wanting to have the smartphone with the best and fastest camera on the planet. Nothing more or less.
iphone  camera  patent 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Qualcomm deal sparks China smartphone patent skirmishes » Reuters
From last Friday (I didn't link to it then), but as <a href="http://twitter.com/monkbent">Ben Thompson</a> points out, this element of the deal could have big implications - given that Xiaomi became China's biggest smartphone vendor in 2014:
The settlement has allowed wireless patent holders like ZTE and Huawei Technologies to seek royalties, while introducing a new risk of litigation to China's younger handset industry at a time when domestic patent law is gaining traction.

"For the first time, the settlement is forcing domestic manufacturers to recognize the value of IP (intellectual property) and consider how to use it strategically, which companies do in the West," said Wang Yanhui, secretary general of the Mobile China Alliance, an industry consortium. "That's the real significance of the (Qualcomm) settlement."

The competitive dynamics are particularly complex in China, the world's biggest smartphone manufacturer and consumer, as large Chinese telecom equipment makers that hold many essential patents for wireless technology also compete in the phone market against younger, nimbler manufacturers.

The settlement could prove tricky for companies like Xiaomi Inc, a four-year-old Beijing-based smartphone maker whose weak patent position has proved a major vulnerability. In December, a court in India temporarily halted its shipments there after Swedish telecom firm Ericsson complained Xiaomi had not been paying its royalties.

Although Xiaomi has been reported by Chinese media to be one of the handset makers now targeted by ZTE's lawyers, both companies declined to discuss the issue.

But in response to questions from Reuters, Bin Lin, Xiaomi's president, said he expects Xiaomi to only attract more patent threats and litigation from rivals in the future, as does any young firm that enjoys explosive growth.
xiaomi  china  qualcomm  patent 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Rembrandt Technologies wins $15.7m jury verdict in patent infringement case against Samsung » PRNewswire
A Texas federal jury has awarded $15.7 million to Rembrandt Wireless Technologies LP after finding that Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. infringed on two Rembrandt patents covering Bluetooth technology.

Jurors deliberated only one hour before issuing the Feb. 13 verdict. The five-day trial focused on two Rembrandt patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,023,580 and 8,457,228. In addition to the $15.7 million award, Rembrandt also will receive royalty payments on all Samsung Bluetooth sales for the life of the patents.

Rembrandt, a Pennsylvania-based business technology company, sued Samsung and Blackberry Ltd. in 2013. Blackberry settled before the trial. Rembrandt argued that its patents for Bluetooth "enhanced data rate" inventions were infringed by Samsung in its Galaxy S phones.


That's a brief deliberation, and a brief trial.
samsung  rembrandt  patent  bluetooth 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
MIT uses patent from 1997 to sue Apple over chips » Gigaom
Jeff John Roberts:
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a patent lawsuit against Apple and its suppliers this week, claiming that semiconductor wafers found in the company’s computers and mobile devices infringe on a patent obtained by two academics more than 15 years ago.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Boston federal court, claims that Idaho-based Micron Technology knew about a laser-cutting method described in the patent, but used it all the same when supplying DRAM semiconductor devices for products like iPhones, iPads and MacBook Airs.

The patent itself was issued to Joseph Bernstein, who is now an engineering professor in Israel, and a co-inventor, Zhihui Duan. MIT claims it controls the right to the patent, which has a 1997 filing date and was issued in 2000. The school says it’s entitled to damages and to royalties on all Apple products that contain chips using the laser method in question.


Seems that this is a lawsuit for Micron, not Apple, though MIT claims Apple commits contributory infringement by importing and selling equipment containing specific Micron products.
apple  micron  mit  patent 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Samsung patents home-screen backup and transfer solution >> Phandroid
No major smartphone manufacturer has yet to create a solution for copying home screen setups from one device to another. It’s a feature we’ve been hoping to see in Android from Google’s own ingenuity for quite some time, but someone seems to have beaten them to the punch.

Samsung’s latest patent details a software solution that would allow a user to configure a home-screen and copy it to another remote device. The details in the patent are very specific about the process, but an abstract look at the thing reveals a few different possible scenarios…


Umm, "no major smartphone manufacturer"? Apple has had this backup thing called iCloud since 2011 which lets you create a phone that clones your previous layout, apps, settings, everything. Commenters also mention an app called Nova - and say that Lollipop does it anyway.
android  backup  samsung  patent 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
OnePlus Has Been Ordered To Stop Selling The OnePlus One In India After Legal Action By Micromax
Ryan Whitwan:
Micromax—which plans to launch its YU brand with Cyanogen soon—has gone to the Delhi High Court to allege OnePlus is infringing on its exclusive licensing of Cyanogen OS. The court agreed, and now OnePlus is barred from selling, marketing, or even importing its devices in India. Additionally, the company is not permitted to ship any device in India that bears the Cyanogen logo or branding even after it gets the OS situation worked out.

As we recently discussed, OnePlus says it was only notified of the exclusive agreement between Micromax and Cyanogen two weeks before the OPO was to launch in India. It plans to have a custom ROM of its own ready by February, with a beta release sooner. However, the devices shipping in India right now still have CyanogenMod installed. They won't get official support or updates, but apparently that's not good enough for Micromax.
oneplus  micromax  patent  india 
december 2014 by charlesarthur

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