Samsung Electronics Gives Apple Proposal to End Australia Patent Dispute

By: Joe Schneider


Samsung Electronics Co. made a proposal to Apple Inc. to resolve their patent dispute in Australia regarding touch-screen technology, a Sydney court was told today.

Samsung lawyer David Catterns didn’t give details about the proposal, and Apple will need time to consider it, Apple lawyer Steven Burley told the court.

Catterns’s proposal is a bid to end the last dispute over patent technology in Australia that’s seen Samsung hold off selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablet in the country. Apple’s claim that Samsung violated patents for its iPhone and iPad in Australia is part of a wider patent battle between the two companies that has come up in courts on four continents.

Samsung agreed earlier to hold off selling the Galaxy 10.1 in Australia as Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett rules on Apple’s request for an injunction barring the sale of the Samsung tablets until a court rules on its patent infringement claim.

The two sides failed to conclude their arguments today as scheduled, and the hearing is set to resume on Oct. 4, after a public holiday in New South Wales. Bennett, who said yesterday she aimed to deliver a ruling next week, told the lawyers she couldn’t give a time-frame for a decision on the injunction.

“I can’t promise when I’ll make a decision,” Bennett said. “I will try to get it out as soon as possible.”

Samsung agreed this week to withdraw two features from the Galaxy 10.1 which allegedly infringed Apple’s patents. That reduced their dispute in Australia to the one patent over touch- screen display technology.

Bennett pressed both sides to consider a trial over the patent claim as early as the last week of October. Apple had already agreed to an early trial.

The case is: Apple Inc. (AAPL) v. Samsung Electronics Co. NSD1243/2011. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).


Samsung Says Apple Infringes Its Wireless Patents ‘Structurally’

By:Maaike Noordhuis

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. has been “structurally” infringing Samsung Electronics Inc. patents since it entered the mobile-phone market by introducing its iPhone 3G, a lawyer representing the Korean company told a Dutch court.

“Apple just entered the market in 2008 without taking care of the licenses,” Bas Berghuis van Woortman, a lawyer for Simmons & Simmons LLP who represents Samsung, said in The Hague court. “Apple is consciously, structurally infringing the 3G patents.”

Samsung, world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones, filed four lawsuits against Apple in the Netherlands. Today is the first scheduled hearing for the cases. Samsung is claiming Cupertino, California-based Apple’s iPhone and iPad that use 3G technology infringe Samsung patents and is seeking a ban of the sale of products in The Netherlands.

The legal battle between Apple and rival smartphone makers is intensifying as an increasing number of consumers use smart phones and wireless handsets to surf the Web, play games and download music and videos. Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung lost a preliminary court ruling over sales of its Galaxy S, S II and Ace smart phones in the country in another patent dispute with Apple last month.

Apple’s lawyers will present their arguments later today in the hearing.


Leading-Edge Law: 10 things to know about the new patent law

By: Times-Dispatch Staff


President Barack Obama recently signed legislation that makes big changes to patent law.

Here's a list of interesting things about it:

The new law is 150 pages long and is vague in many parts. It will take about a decade of judicial interpretation to make it as clear as our old patent law, and that old law lacked clarity in many places.

The new law embraces the view that our patent system has been issuing bad patents — patents on items that aren't patentable, including things that aren't new or that were obviously from existing technology.

The new law creates several enlarged or new obstacles to getting a patent — opportunities for others to show the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that your technology isn't really new or that it's just an obvious improvement. This will make it harder to get broad patent protection in well-established technology fields. Some contend the new law will make it harder for technology startups to get funding.

"Business method patents" get singled out for extra scrutiny. Anyone who gets sued on such a patent generally will be able to get that case stayed while the Patent Office reviews the patent.

Congress implicitly determined that this technological field has seen a disproportional number of bad patents. The definition of what constitutes a "business method" unfortunately is vague.

The new law moves us to a system in which the first inventor to file an application for an invention will get the patent, which is different from our current system in which the first person to invent something gets the patent even if that person is not the first to file a patent application on it.

This move to a "first inventor to file" system will pressure inventors to file patent applications faster. Also, it will pressure inventors to file a continual stream of "provisional patent applications," which essentially are placeholders for the future filing of full applications.

The law increases the risk that an inventor's disclosure of the invention to others before filing a patent application may unleash a chain of events that would kill that inventor's patent rights.

Many inventors will be wise to get a patent application filed before disclosing the invention to the public or, if extra cautious, even to potential business partners.

If Congress keeps its nonbinding promise, the Patent and Trademark Office will now be allowed to keep all of the fees paid by patent applicants and owners.

In the past, Congress diverted a lot of these fees to other federal expenditures. This denied the patent office money it needed to do its work and caused a massive backlog of patent applications.

The law creates a fast-track for patent application review for those willing to pay a $4,800 surcharge and to abide by some restrictions.

This surcharge is discounted for smaller applicants. Yet paying for the fast-track doesn't exempt you from someone asserting to the patent office that your invention isn't really new or that it's an obvious improvement. You might pay extra and still get bogged down in the patent office for years.

If you sell an item covered by one or more patents, it's a good idea to put the patent numbers on the item, in order to position yourself to claim damages should someone infringe on your patents.

But patents expire after a while. The new law permits companies to give notice of their patents on a website instead.


Verizon comes to Samsung's defense in Apple patent lawsuit

By:Josh Ong


U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless has taken sides in the legal dispute between Apple and Samsung with a legal brief opposing a preliminary injunction against the South Korean company's smartphones and tablets.

The nation's largest wireless operator has submitted a request to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to file an amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," brief in support of Samsung, Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents reports. The brief would allow Verizon to intervene as a third party in the case.

Apple's request for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. against the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge and Galaxy Tab 10.1 was filed in July and is scheduled to be addressed in a hearing on Oct. 13.

The carrier argues that such an injunction "would hinder Verizon Wireless in developing and deploying its next generation high-speed LTE [fourth-generation] network, the job growth dependant on that network, and will undercut key public policy goals, including expansion of American's [sic] access to broadband networks and faster communication with emergency personnel."

Verizon was an early partner with handset makers making use of Google's Android mobile operating system, including Samsung. The carrier has faced off against rival AT&T, which held an exclusive lock on Apple's iPhone in the U.S. for three and a half years.

The company's reliance on Android has been reduced some since Apple released the CDMA iPhone 4 on Verizon in February. As of August, Verizon's Android market share in the U.S. has dropped from 51.4 percent to 41.1 percent since the release of the iPhone on its network.


Via files patent suit against Apple, iPhone

By:Edward Moyer


Via Technologies has sued Apple for patent infringement in regard to Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple TV products and associated software, Via said today in a statement.

The patents involved cover microprocessor functionality in the above mentioned products, Via said, singling out U.S. Patent No. 6253312, "method and apparatus for double operand load," and U.S. Patents Nos. 6253311 and 6754810, "instruction set for bi-directional conversion and transfer of integer and floating point data."

Taiwan-based Via bills itself as "a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms." Today's patent complaint was filed with the United States International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court of Delaware.

"Via has built up an extensive IP portfolio consisting of over 5,000 patents as a result of significant investments in...research and development," Via CEO Wenchi Chen said in the statement. "We are determined to protect our interests and the interests of our stockholders when our patents are infringed upon."

Apple did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment by publication time.

This is the latest legal salvo aimed at Apple in recent months, the company is currently involved in a patent spat with Samsung over Apple's iOS devices. The struggle includes lawsuits in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia, and South Korea and has led to a temporary ban on Samsung selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany.

Patents, of course, have long provided a busy battleground for tech companies, which seek to file as many patent claims as possible, to protect themselves from suits as well as come out stronger in settlements.

Source :

Patent trolls cost inventors half a trillion dollars

By: David Goldman

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Patent trolls -- companies that license patents but do not actually sell anything -- have long been looked on with fiery scorn in Silicon Valley. This week, a Boston University study offered fresh fuel for those flames.

Lawsuits from non-practicing entities, or NPEs -- better known as patent trolls -- have cost innovators $500 billion in lost wealth from 1990 through 2010, the BU study found. The study arrived at that figure by observing patent defendants' stock prices following a lawsuit, excluding general market trends and random stock movements.

The average patent lawsuit results in $122 million in lost wealth for the defendant, with a median loss of $20.4 million.

But almost all of that money dissipates into the ether. Very little of it transfers from big firms to small ones.

A common talking point among NPEs is that they provide a way for small inventors to make money on their patents: If big, bad IBM (IBM, Fortune 500), for example, were to infringe on one of their patents, small inventors likely wouldn't be able to afford to defend their patent in court. But if that small inventor sells the patent to a patent troll, the NPE can then sue IBM, and deliver a portion of those payments back to the inventor.

The BU study called bull on that that notion: Just 2% of companies' net losses went to small investors. NPEs are getting a better deal, but even they still took home just 9% of those losses.

Patent trolls also like to say that they themselves foster innovation. It's true that many NPEs have their own research and development laboratories that are used to invent technologies that can be patented. But those R&D expenses are also quite small -- they represent 2% of the lost $500 billion.

So if big technology companies, small technology companies and even investors in NPEs aren't gaining much from patent litigation, who is?

"The only real beneficiaries are the lawyers and perhaps the principals of the NPE firms," said James Bessen, professor at BU's law school and author of the study. "There are a lot of big losers from NPE litigation, while hardly anyone benefits much."



Samsung Gunning for iPhone 5 as Patent War Worsens: Is Apple Losing Grip?

By:IBT Staff Reporter


Ever since Samsung introduced the Galaxy S line of smartphone in June 2010, it has entrenched its position as one of the best smartphone manufacturers in the market and put up a determined attack on Apple iPhone's dominance.

But with competition from Samsung rising, Apple changed tack and started filing lawsuits against it. Previously, when HTC handsets were soaring high in the U.S., Apple had filed lawsuit against it over patent issues. Although Samsung and Apple were technology partners, the spite worsened over time and now the patent war has become a costly affair.

Apple accused Samsung of committing patent and trademark infringement with its Galaxy line of mobile products. That includes the Galaxy S smartphone and the Galaxy Tab. In fact, Apple started suing Samsung only after the Galaxy line products started receiving much attention in the market and unprecedented demand across the world. Critics said Apple's lawsuits were an indication that it feared it may not bring out a better product soon.

Apple’s hopes of staying ahead in the market after suing Samsung may be short-lived as Samsung has filed a countersuit against Apple for violating multiple wireless technology patents. And with Samsung vying for to ban the iPhone 5 in South Korea and some other parts of the world, the U.S. giant is sure to face a tough time ahead. The Samsung claim says Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 products infringed seven Australian patents owned by Samsung related to wireless communications standards.

According to former Engadget editor Joshua Topolsky, the fifth-generation iPhone will be completely redesigned and it will look very similar to the iPod Touch 4G rather than the iPhone 4. He further predicts the iPhone 5 will be thinner than the iPhone 4, with a teardrop design, larger 3.7-inch screen with same resolution as the iPhone 4, enlarged home button and a gesture area.

Earlier, Verizon’s CFO Fran Shammo said Apple will definitely feature Qualcomm’s dual GSM / CDMA Gobi chipset. Shammo said: “The fluctuation, I believe, will come when a new device from Apple is launched, whenever that may be, and that we will be, for the first time, on equal footing with our competitors on a new phone hitting the market, which will also be a global device.”

J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz fueled the debate by stating as follows: “We now expect two new iPhones. Our research indicates that there will be an iPhone 5 based on a lighter, thinner form factor that is GSM + CDMA capable, i.e., a "world-mode" smartphone. A second device (4-plus) based on the current iPhone 4 but with some minor improvements could target the midrange and focus on China. As for the current iPhone 4, we expect it to subsume 3GS as the lower-end offering.”

He further stated: “China Mobile and China Telecom with approximately 600 million and 100 million subscribers, alongside Sprint and T-Mobile USA with 52 million and 33 million subscribers, stand to have an effect tantamount to the big increase in the number of carriers exhibited in the June quarter. In other words, we believe that investors should start to prepare for more positive surprises related to the quarterly run rate of iPhones in the near to mid-term. In summary, we would expect such a big bang if Apple introduces two new iPhones this fall and penetrates the untapped U.S. and China carriers."

As Apple expects to have global outreach with their iPhone, suing Samsung seems like a ploy to grab hold of world market. With the introduction of GSM/CDMA capable world phone, Apple seems to want a big pie, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Backed by the huge production of the upcoming iPhone 5 and cheaper iPhone 4S, Apple has revealed its fear of Samsung phones as they continue to sue them for patent infringements. Apple and Samsung have taken their fight from the U.S. to Germany, France, Japan, UK and now Australia.

Android-powered Samsung devices are gaining popularity with better features, lower pricing, better accessibility and varied design options. If Apple intended to sue only Samsung for copying their design, that would have made some sense, but Apple went on to sue HTC, Motorola, etc. whose phones are powered by Android.

Apple introduced iOS 5 instead of the iPhone 5, showcasing the new features of the phone prominently found in Android to appease the Apple fan base. Noticing some of the most interesting features found in Android and BlackBerry, Apple perhaps wanted to catch up with the fast-moving market.

With more Android OS devices coming out with better designs and powerful software along with high quality apps, Apple started suing Samsung, HTC and Motorola, accusing them of infringement to slow down their pace and increase the competition. Android OS devices now hold almost double the market share compared to iOS devices.

Android phones have gained popularity with flash, 4G LTE, open sourcing, varied options of bigger or smaller display, expandable memory, removable battery, 3D display and NFC support which are mostly not found in the iPhone. In case of iPhone, the users don’t have the option to customize or modify the phone according to their need. Also, if the battery is completely drained, iPhone customers have to replace the entire handset with a new model.

Android phones are available with features consumers want, unlike iPhones which emphasize on features what Apple thinks are the best. In fact, Android smartphones are starting to look smarter with better design, powerful multitasking, accessibility, cheaper pricing and faster speed.

And the only way Apple and its shareholders can climb back to the top is by making Samsung, HTC and Motorola smartphone manufacturers look guilty of taking their ideas. Many of the patent claims of Apple in the Netherlands were rejected or invalidated.

In fact, Nokia had sued Apple for 10 patent infringements. That was a clear indication it is losing touch with the market. Today Nokia has plunged to the depths of the U.S. market. Similarly Apple has started filing suits to bring down Samsung, which may backfire later. In fact, the backlash has begun. Apple and Samsung currently are fighting patent battles in at least 12 courts, nine countries and four continents.

Samsung looks to be in no mood to compromise and is aiming to nail Apple upfront with varied devices pitted against Apple’s option-less iPhone handsets. With Apple adding just features already found in Android to iOS 5, the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system of the upcoming Samsung smartphones will look way ahead of iOS 5.

Samsung is straightaway gunning for the upcoming iPhone 5. “We are taking different tactics since we are quite confident. If Samsung wins in Germany, that will give us a big breakthrough, and so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5,” one of its senior executives said, according to reports.

As most predictions point towards two models being produced -- iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 -- it is becoming evident that the iPhone 4S would have lost its appeal had it been released along side Galaxy S2. The rumor mills say the issue of iPhone 5 prototype being lost in a bar and Apple's lawsuit against Samsung were a ploy to deflect the public curiosity from the company’s actual troubles.

Samsung is sailing high after the introduction of Galaxy S2 smartphone, which was widely seen as outperforming the iPhone 4. The Korean smartphone giant is launching tweaked versions of the eagerly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S2 in the US.

Now the latest reports show that the iPhone 5 production could be behind schedule, with the tear-shaped design seemingly causing manufacturing problems. It is also reported that the chances of it sporting 4G support are less.

In fact, it looks like Apple has diverted all attention from its present issues and has counterattacked other manufacturers who support Android, like HTC and Motorola.


HTC, Google, Righthaven, American Superconductor: Intellectual Property

By Victoria Slind-Flor

HTC Corp. (2498), the Taiwanese smartphone maker locked in a global patent battle with competitor Apple Inc. (AAPL), lost a U.K. court bid to rush the scheduling of a trial in Britain before a parallel case is heard in Germany.

Holding a U.K. trial in January on the validity of Apple’s patent for multilingual texting technology would put too much pressure on the iPhone maker, which is defending three other patents for touch-screen features against HTC lawsuits in Britain, Judge Richard Arnold ruled yesterday in the High Court in London. HTC had hoped to win a U.K. judgment in its favor in time to show the judge in the German trial early next year.

While the trial shouldn’t be expedited to accommodate a German trial that isn’t yet scheduled, the case does have “commercial urgency,” Arnold said. All four patents should go to trial in March or April, he ruled.

The dispute over the U.K. trial date comes as Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is embroiled in a global battle with Samsung Electronics Co. over both smartphones and tablet computers. HTC sued Apple in London on July 29, seeking to revoke the European smartphone patents it was accused of infringing in two German lawsuits earlier that month. Apple also sued in the U.K., naming HTC and Samsung in a complaint filed Sept. 12. Samsung’s lawyers didn’t attend today’s hearing.

A spokeswoman for HTC’s European unit didn’t comment when reached yesterday by phone.

The case is HTC Europe Co. Ltd. v. Apple Inc., High Court of Justice, London, HC11C02703


Samsung Planning to Block Apple’s iPhone 5 Sale in Korea

By Ranina Sanglap


Apple's iPhone 5 hasn't been released yet but Samsung is already planning to launch an aggressive legal campaign to ban the device in Korea.

Insiders at the South Korean company told the Korea Times that the company plans to up its legal battle with Apple with the next generation of smartphones, starting with the much anticipated iPhone 5.

"Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung's wireless technology related patents," said an anonymous Samsung senior executive.

"For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights," he added.

Another executive said that Samsung already has alternative legal strategies should its plan to ask for a ban fail.

"We are taking different tactics since we are quite confident," he said. "If Samsung wins in Germany that will give us a big breakthrough and so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5."

The two companies have been embroiled in a legal patent dispute that already spans half the globe with suits pending in France, Germany, Japan, Korea and the United States. Apple had temporarily blocked the sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and Germany with Samsung filing a counter suit in Australia just last week.

The remarks from Samsung's executive if proven true could be a drastic change from the company's previous stance against Apple. The Cupertino-based company had been more aggressive in its legal battle with the South Korean company but Samsung's strategy could be changing as Apple has blocked its Galaxy Tab sales in Germany and Australia.

Apple Korea's representative Steve Park wasn't available for comment on the issue.


Samsung Countersues Apple in Australia



SEOUL—Samsung Electronics Co. widened a sprawling global patent dispute with Apple Inc. by filing a countersuit in Australia, while also appealing a key ruling in Germany.

The South Korean company said Saturday it has filed a lawsuit in Australia alleging Apple's iPhone smartphones and iPad2 tablet computer violate a number of wireless-technology patents held by Samsung.

This followed a pattern set in other countries, where Samsung has launched legal action against Apple over technology patents after being sued by the U.S. company for allegedly copying the design of Apple's smartphones and tablets.

"To defend our intellectual property, Samsung filed a cross claim for Apple's violation of Samsung's wireless technology patents," Samsung Electronics spokesman Nam Ki-yung said.

Steve Park, a spokesman for Apple in South Korea, declined to comment.

The counter claim comes ahead of a ruling later this month on whether Samsung will be prevented from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 computer in Australia. Apple took Samsung to court in Sydney earlier this year, claiming the South Korean tablet computer breaches patents related to the iPad.

Other countries where Samsung and Apple are fighting court battles include the U.S., South Korea, France and Japan. In Germany Friday, Samsung appealed a ruling that prevents the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 there, the Samsung spokesman said. The ruling, delivered earlier this month by a court in Düsseldorf, upheld a preliminary injunction against sale of the tablet computer by Samsung's German unit.

Many analysts think the companies will ultimately resolve the battle by reaching a licensing deal, though neither has indicated as such.

Even as Samsung competes with Apple, the South Korean company relies heavily on Apple as one of the biggest customers for chips and liquid-crystal displays.


ITC reviewing four patents from Apple win over HTC

By:Josh Ong


The U.S. International Trade Commission announced this week its intention to review a judge's ruling that Taiwanese handset maker HTC had infringed on two of Apple's patents, with a final decision scheduled to arrive by Dec. 6.

The decision comes after both Apple and HTC petitioned for a review of the July 15 ruling from an administrative law judge. HTC asked the commission to review the two patents that it had been found to have violated, while Apple requested that two other patents be reexamined.

The ITC agreed to review 16 issues across the four patents in question, requesting additional information on five questions from both companies. Though the review could put HTC at greater risk, since the final result could side even more with Apple, patent expert Florian Mueller believes the likelihood of that happening is less than 20 percent.

Mueller went on to state his position that HTC stands a 50 percent chance of overturning the infringement ruling on U.S. Patent No. 6,343,263, entitled "Real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data." He also reiterated that a successful defense from Apple would be a "huge win" because workarounds for the '263 patent would require significant architectural changes to Google's Android.

For its part, Apple has said in its court filings that Google executive Andy Rubin worked under the inventors of the '263 patent during his time as a low-level engineer at Apple and may have drawn inspiration for the Android framework then.

Mueller also went on to say that Apple has a 75 percent chance of winning the final decision on the second patent HTC has been found to have infringed. But, according to him, U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647, entitled "System and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data," is mostly a "convenience" feature and could be removed from Android, though it would slightly degrade the user experience.

The commission expects to reach a final decision by Dec. 6, at which point the federal agency could issue an import ban on infringing HTC devices. Bloomberg reports that court filings show HTC is fighting any possible ban by arguing that its smartphones have special features for the hearing impaired and "enhanced 911" location services that contribute to public safety.

“The exclusion of HTC accused devices from the U.S. market would not only eliminate the most popular brand of smartphones using Android, the fastest-growing mobile operating system, but would also impact the public health, safety, and welfare concerns of individual U.S. consumers,” the company said, noting that its devices comprise 36 percent of Android smartphones in the U.S.

But, Apple has responded with its own filing asserting that there are plenty of other smartphones on the market and HTC can replace its Android handsets with smartphones running Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system.

Analysts have suggested that Apple's victory in its ITC suit against HTC could set a high royalty precedent for Android devices. Some Chinese Android vendors are said to be considering dropping the platform because of fears of infringement liability.

Meanwhile, HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou has sought to assuage investors' fears by calling the lawsuit a "distraction," expressing confidence that the company would be unaffected by the suit.


Apple’s Smartphone Patent Win Over HTC to Be Reviewed by U.S. Trade Agency

By:Susan Decker

A U.S. trade agency said it will review a judge’s finding that HTC Corp. (2498) infringed two Apple Inc. (AAPL) patents, a decision that could lead to a ban of HTC’s Android- based phones in the country.

An ITC judge determined July 15 that HTC’s Android-based smartphones infringed two Apple patents, while no violation occurred for two others. The six-member commission will review infringement and validity on all four patents and whether a correct interpretation was made on terms within three of the patents, according to a notice yesterday on the ITC’s website.

Apple, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, has accused Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC of “stealing” its iPhone and iPad technology and using it in devices that run Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system. HTC, Asia’s second-biggest maker of smartphones, has said that no matter the outcome, there are “alternate solutions in place” to work around the patents.

The two patents HTC was found to have infringed cover transmission of multiple types of data and a system that can identify phone numbers in an e-mail in a way that lets the user dial or store that number. The two patents that the judge said weren’t infringed relate to object-oriented programming, a way of writing and executing software.

HTC is pleased with the decision to review the judge’s finding “and we are confident in our case,” Adam Emery, an HTC spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment.

The ITC is a quasi-judicial agency in Washington than can block imports of products found to infringe U.S. patents.

Dec. 6 Deadline

Apple had argued in an ITC filing that if the commission opted to review the patents that were infringed, the agency also should consider the two that were found to not be infringed.

Apple has another commission complaint pending, filed in July, that also targets HTC’s phones and Flyer tablets. HTC has retaliated with three patent-infringement cases against Apple, one submitted last year, one last month and another last week.

In addition to the review of infringement, validity and interpretation topics, the commission said it will also consider whether Apple had fulfilled a requirement that the company show it was using the inventions in two of the patents. Both HTC and Apple were told to submit arguments on five additional questions as well. The ITC is scheduled to complete the investigation by Dec. 6, according to a timeline on its website.

Espoo, Finland-based Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), which had been targeted in the same ITC complaint, reached a settlement with Apple in June. Mountain View, California-based Google wasn’t a party in the case.
Public Interest

HTC said in an Aug. 25 filing that even if it did infringe the patents, the commission shouldn’t ban U.S. imports of the company’s phones. A ban wouldn’t be in the public interest partly because HTC phones have special features for the hearing impaired, comply with requirements for “enhanced 911” location services and provide Emergency Alert Services.

About 36 percent of Android smartphones in use in the U.S. were made by HTC, according to the filing.

“The exclusion of HTC accused devices from the U.S. market would not only eliminate the most popular brand of smartphones using Android, the fastest-growing mobile operating system, but would also impact the public health, safety, and welfare concerns of individual U.S. consumers,” HTC said.

Apple said in an Aug. 25 filing there is no shortage of smartphones on the market and HTC could replace lost Android sales with phones the company makes using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone operating system.

The case is In the Matter Of Certain Personal Data and Mobile Communications Devices and Related Software, 337-710, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).


Google's Android Patent Dilemma: 10 Reasons the Company Is Worried

By: Don Reisinger


When it comes to the mobile market, much of the attention surrounds the recent success of Android and the ongoing popularity of Apple’s iOS. There are good reasons for this. Both platforms are running on outstanding devices, and the vast majority of consumers around the globe see them as worthwhile alternatives to anything else on the market. And yet, behind all the success that those platforms are enjoying, there are a slew of patent lawsuits being waged by both big and small companies, all in the hope of taking a bigger slice of a market that could generate many more billions of dollars in the coming years.

In many of those lawsuits, especially those involving Oracle, Microsoft, Barnes & Noble, and Apple, Android is the target. According to the plaintiffs, Google’s Android operating system is infringing patents they hold, and the companies want to either collect a licensing fee on that or stop the sale of the products altogether.

For its part, Google has complained about all that litigation, saying that it does little else but stifle innovation in the marketplace and hurt consumers. And yet, the company has been acquiring patents all over the place. In the summer, Google shelled out more than $12 billion to buy Motorola Mobility in an effort to shore up its patent portfolio.

In addition, Google acquired more than a 1,000 IBM patents in July. Then, on Sept. 15, Google confirmed it purchased another trove of patents from Big Blue.

All that action seems to indicate quite clearly that Google is extremely worried about patents.

Google is worried with good reason. Here are some reasons this story is worth following:

1. Its patent portfolio falls short

The biggest issue with Google right now is that its patent portfolio is simply not as strong as the competition’s holdings. That’s precisely why Google has been so outspoken about the litigation going on in the marketplace, and why it has acquired so many patents from IBM. If Google had a stronger patent portfolio, its attitudes would be much different.

2. Litigation is everywhere

The last thing Google wants is to get hit with more lawsuits. Currently, the company is embroiled in a lawsuit against Oracle. And its operating system, Android, is being hit from all sides by Microsoft, Apple and others. Litigation is simply everywhere right now, and Google, with its aforementioned sub-par patent portfolio, isn’t too happy about that.

3. Android is under attack

The odd thing about Google’s issues with patent litigation is that, for the most part, it’s not the subject of many of the lawsuits. As mentioned, only Oracle is really taking aim at Google; all the others are targeting Android. However, if Apple continues to win cases in Europe, it might just use those victories as precedents to go after Google itself. In other words, Android’s defense is holding up for now, but over the next several months and years, all that can change. And that makes Google nervous.

4. It’s a matter of survival

Although arguments can be made that patent litigation isn’t good for anyone—companies or consumers—it’s a reality. And depending on how a court decides, it can have a profound impact on the mobile space. Make no mistake, there is a lot riding on the patent cases currently being waged. If Google and its Android vendors lose, there’s no telling what the future might look like for the operating system. At this point, holding strong against these cases is a matter of survival for Google.

5. Apple has a strong portfolio

The issue right now is that Apple might have the strongest mobile portfolio in the business. Over the last several years, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been applying for patents at an astounding rate. And most importantly, it has been granted those patents at an astounding rate. Combine that with the fact that Apple is Google’s top contender in the mobile space, and it quickly becomes clear why Google is so worried.

6. It might be Microsoft’s “in”

Microsoft is Google’s arch-nemesis in the mobile space. Both companies are trying to appeal to vendors with their products, and elsewhere around the industry, there is a palpable hatred between the firms. Right now, Microsoft is targeting a host of Android vendors, trying to get them to pay it a fee for each device they sell. If Microsoft continues to be successful, and wins the cases it has initiated, it might just be Microsoft’s best way to gain at least a chunk of the mobile market.

7. Vendor relationships

The trouble with all these lawsuits is that Google’s vendor partners are bearing the brunt of the litigation. For now, those companies have stayed strong and fought through it. But how much longer will that happen? Android’s success directly relates to the number of vendors supporting the operating system. If vendors decide to go elsewhere for fear of continuing to get hit with patent lawsuits, Google could be in deep trouble.

8. It really can stifle innovation

Google is right when it says that patent litigation can stifle innovation in the mobile space. Companies both big and small have a host of patents right now that, most would agree, are laughably broad, and probably shouldn’t have been granted. What’s more, there are other companies that are doing really neat things, but getting hit hard by the owners of those vague patents. Patent litigation works to a degree. But in this case, it might be stifling innovation.

9. The future is in doubt

There’s no telling what the future holds when it comes to the mobile market. Will the patent lawsuits continue? Will Google use Motorola Mobility to end them? Will Google itself take aim at other firms? There’s no telling. And that makes Google nervous. In the next year, many of the biggest cases in the mobile space will likely be settled. And when that happens, the face of the mobile market could be very different.

10. Nothing will stop the litigation

Unfortunately for Google, it has no way to stop the current litigation. As noted, its patent portfolio is quite weak, and until it can take control over Motorola Mobility’s more than 17,000 patents, it will need to wait and watch. But even then, there’s no telling if Google will be able to stop all the litigation. It’s quite easy to file cases, and its competitors have enough cash to keep cases hanging in court. It’s a real problem.


Patent Troll Strikes Bloomberg, NYT And Other News Giants

By: Jeff Robers


For some time now, so-called patent trolls have aggressively targeted the biggest tech companies in the world. Now, they seem to be setting their sights on large media companies too. A shell company in Delaware is suing Bloomberg, the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) Co and four other news giants for infringing a patent related to “autocomplete” software—the process that allows computer users to receive suggestions for completing a word after they type a few letters.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit bears all the markings of a so-called patent troll—entities that do not invent or produce anything but simply acquire patents in order to sue companies with deep pockets.

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The plaintiff is something called Boadin Technologies LLC. Because it is registered in Delaware, one of three states with notoriously lax business regulation, it is not possible to determine the identity of the beneficial shareholders behind the company, but the chances are good that they are lawyers. The lawsuit does not specify damages, but plaintiffs in these cases typically demand millions in return for a license to make them go away.

The patent filing itself shows that it was issued in 2010 and licensed to Aloft Media, a company controlled by two Silicon Valley lawyers who are reported to have sued at least 20 companies, including Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). It is likely that Aloft Media sold the patent rights to whomever is behind Boadin Technologies.

The “invention” is credited to one Gal Arav, a media entrepreneur with ties to MIT. It is for “computer program [which] assists in the completion of text input provided by a user,” specifically in regard to stock symbols. This would appear to refer to the process whereby a computer user types “s-t-a-r-b” and then is prompted to enter “SBUX” (the Starbucks (NSDQ: SBUX) ticker symbol). Media companies regularly include ticker symbols in stories written for business clients. The lawsuit does not refer to a particular software program but says that the technology is being used by the websites of Bloomberg, the New York Times, USA Today, CNBC (NSDQ: CMCSA), Fox (NSDQ: NWS) Business and Market Watch.

I am no expert on software design but it is something of a surprise that the U.S. patent office did not reject this invention for being obvious—after all, autocomplete software has been around for at least a decade for word processing and Internet browsers. Ironically, this lawsuit coincides with the passing of much-ballyhooed patent reform legislation and comes as a reminder that the new law will do little to keep the companies whose businesses are built on suing over patents away from America’s major companies.


Samsung Takes On Apple In The French Courts

BY: Eric Doyle

Samsung has filed a legal complaint against Apple in France, as the worldwide battle takes another turn

Samsung filed a legal complaint inFrance against Apple, extending a worldwide courtroom battle in which each company is accusing the other of intellectual-property violations.

“The complaint focuses on three technology patents, and not on the design of the tablets,” a Samsung spokesperson told Agence France-Presse, which reported that the first court hearing is scheduled for December.
German Win Boosts Apple

Samsung and Apple have fired lawsuits at each other in a number of countries, including the United States, Japan and Australia. Both sides claim their rival’s products violate existing patents, but Apple has taken its complaints one step further by accusing Samsung of outright copying of its designs.

In Germany, Apple won an injunction against Samsung on the grounds of patent infringement, forcing the latter to halt production of the Galaxy Tab there. Samsung withdrew the device from the IFA trade show in Berlin, with a spokesperson telling Bloomberg that it respected “the court’s decision”.

The legal battle has extended to Japan, where Apple asked a court to ban a selection of Samsung devices.

Unnamed sources told Reuters on 8 September that Apple “has filed suit with the Tokyo District Court seeking the suspension of sales of Galaxy S and its sequel S II smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 7”.

Both companies are prepping high-profile releases. Apple’s next smartphone, dubbed “iPhone 5” by the media, will reportedly arrive in October. Meanwhile, Samsung’s steady cadence of increasingly powerful Android tablet and smartphone releases suggests it is trying to become more of a dominant player in the mobility space.

Apple has lodged other patent-infringement suits against HTC and Motorola, and recently settled an intellectual-property dispute with Nokia. Apple originally filed its case against Samsung with the US District Court of Northern California, alleging that the look, packaging and user interfaces of Samsung’s smartphones and tablets have copied the iPhone and iPad too closely.


Google and Oracle CEOs set for face-to-face settlement talks

By:Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Chief executives Larry Page of Google and Larry Ellison of Oracle are set to sit down for face-to-face settlement talks regarding a patent dispute between the two companies over the Android operating system, according to a report.

The talks are to take place Monday, according to a court order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal filed Friday, according to a Dow Jones news report. Both Page and Ellison are also founders of their respective companies.

A trial over the patent dispute, which began last August when Oracle sued Google arguing that Android infringes on a number of its patents and copyrights relating to the use of its Java programming language in the operating system, is scheduled to begin in October, the report said. Officials at Google and Oracle were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Oracle picked up the Java patents in 2009 when it purchased Sun Microsystems. In June, Oracle said it was seeking about $2.6 billion from Google in the patent suit. Earlier in June, a Google spokeswoman said "Oracle's 'methodology' for calculating damages is based on fundamental legal errors and improperly inflates their estimates."

In July, U.S. District Judge William Alsup criticized both companies over the patent suit, telling them that "you're both asking for the moon."


Microsoft unveils Windows 8 tablet effort with Samsung prototype

By: Josh Ong

Microsoft offered an extended preview of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system at a conference on Tuesday, providing developers with a prototype Samsung tablet running a "pre-beta" version of the OS.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant's announcements at the Build conference in Anaheim, Calif., caused a stir, with some pundits prematurely heralding the downfall of Apple's iPad. Microsoft indicated that it will remain committed to its "no compromise" strategy of bringing a full-featured Windows operating system to the tablet form factor.

"We re-imagined Windows," Microsoft's Windows division president Steven Sinofsky said. "From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise."

In an effort to foster early development for the platform, which is set to arrive next year, Microsoft gave each of the 5,000 attendees a prototype tablet, dubbed Windows 8 Developer Preview, that it had co-developed with Samsung. The Intel i5-based tablet came packed with Internet Explorer 10 and a host of apps developed by Microsoft interns.

The device is a re-tooled version of Samsung's Series 7 tablet, featuring a 1.6GHz processor, 11.6-inch screen, front and rear cameras, and HDMI port, USB port, microSD slot and a SIM-card slot. The companies also included a charging dock with USB, HDMI and Ethernet ports, a Bluetooth keyboard and a stylus pen. AT&T partnered up to offer a year of 3G service for the devices to Build attendees, though the free plan is capped at 2GB of data per month.

The company reminded developers that the Developer Preview, which has been called "pre-beta," is still a work in progress. "This is a pre-release product," the Associated Foreign Press reported Sinofsky as saying. "You saw some little snafus today; there are going to be more of them."

Windows 8 Developer Preview

As demonstrated at the conference, Windows 8 draws from Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 unique tile interact for its Metro touch layer. "Icons are yesterday’s way of representing apps, tiles are today’s way of representing apps,” said Microsoft manager Jensen Harris.

The Windows 8 prototype tablet has drawn immediate criticism for the inclusion of a cooling fan. "Fan noise is very noticeable, as is the heat coming out of the top vent," noted This is my next's Joanna Stern.

She also took issue with switching between the Metro and Desktop interfaces. "The whole user experience feels schizophrenic, with users having to jump back and forth between the two paradigms, each of which seem like they might be better off on their own," she wrote.

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Stern also expressed disappointment that Microsoft had downplayed ARM architecture support during its presentation, favoring instead the x86 architecture. "A fast boot doesn’t excuse the slow wake-up times compared to ARM-based cellphones and tablets," she said, adding that ARM received only a "token gesture" during a demo session.

For its part, Intel has struggled to build mobile processors capable of running in the low energy, low heat capacity needed for tablets. Interestingly enough, Google announced on Tuesday a partnership with Intel to bring its Android mobile operating system to the chipmaker's Atom processors. Apple had originally been rumored to be considering Atom chips for the iPad and iPhone, but the company eventually settled on a custom ARM-based solution.

Microsoft on Tuesday also further confirmed its plans for a Windows application store, similar to Apple's own App Store. ARM-based Windows 8 applications will only be available through the "Windows Store," which will also have the requirement that all submitted apps support the Metro interface.

An early build of Windows 8 had hinted that Microsoft was planning to make the software scalable across a variety of form factors. In June, the company offered a preview of the operating system, highlighting HTML5 and Javascript apps that will take advantage of the touch interface.


Apple hit with patent infringement suit over iTunes, movie trailers

By Josh Ong


Droplets Inc. has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of violating patents related to interactive links to applications on its website, movie trailer site and iTunes.

The Plano, Tex.-based software company filed its suit in the U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas, a district known for rapid resolution in favor of rights holders in infringement cases, as noted by PatentlyApple. Droplets boasts clients including IBM, Borland and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Droplets was founded in March 2000 with the goal of meeting the needs of "enterprises who seek more efficient ways to deliver highly functional and scalable applications over the Internet."

The patent in question is U.S. Patent No. 6,687,745, entitled "System and method for delivering a graphical user interface of remote applications over a thin bandwidth connection." Droplet describes the invention as a method for remotely delivering "interactive links for presenting applications." The company filed for the patent in June 2000 and was granted in Feb. 2004.

According to the complaint, Apple's own website, its movie trailer site, iTunes and "other web applications" are in violation of the patent.

Apple has over the years faced numerous lawsuits over the iTunes interface and software. Last year, a company accused Apple of violating a video production-related patent via iTunes.

The company is the world's most-sued tech company. According to Apple, patent infringement suits, regardless of merit consume "significant time and expense."

A number of technology companies have taken to calling for patent reform as legal disputes have increased. Last week, the U.S. government passed a reform bill that will overhaul the nation's patent system.


Trio of patent suits target Apple over caller ID, Web apps, USB

By Neil Hughes


pple was hit with three different patent infringement lawsuits in the U.S. this week, accusing the company of violating inventions related to caller ID, browser-based Web applications, and for building "USB products."

ClassCo v. Apple

New Hampshire-based ClassCo, makers of the "VoiceAnnounce Caller ID" products, filed suit this week against Apple, alleging patent infringement over caller identification patents owned by the company. Also named as defendants are HTC, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, LG, Research in Motion, Huawei, and ZTE.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Norther District of Illinois, the complaint accuses Apple and the others of violating two patents related to "announcement" of a calling party. The company has previously sued Motorola and Kyocera International.

The two patents owned by ClassCo and included in the suit are both titled "Calling Party Announcement Apparatus." Both were granted to inventor David J. Luneau. They are:

    U.S. Patent No. 6,970,695, awarded in 2005
    U.S. Patent No. 7,206,572, awarded in 2007

ClassCo seeks compensatory damages for what it believes are past infringements by the defendants. It has also asked the court to file an injunction preventing products like the iPhone from continuing their alleged infringement.

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Week in Apple: publishing on the Pippin, lost iPhone 5, and more...

By Jacqui Cheng


Our top Apple news this week included some new iPhone 5 rumors, a supposedly "leaked" iPhone 5 photo, and a bizarre case of a "missing" iPhone in San Francisco. But it wasn't all about the iPhone 5; we also discussed updates to some of Apple's latest patent battles, interviewed a developer who had a game published on the Pippin, and more. Read on to catch up on the week's news!

Google to HTC: take these patents, keep fighting Apple: Google has given HTC nine patents to use against Apple in court: four in a new lawsuit and five in an existing one. Since when did Google become patent fairy anyway?

"Leaked" photo suggests the iPhone 5 camera won't be much of an upgrade: A photo that appears to have been taken by an iPhone 5 prototype may have been accidentally posted to Flickr by an Apple engineer. A look at the image and its metadata suggests the next-gen iPhone may indeed sport an 8MP camera, but image quality won't likely improve at all.

More evidence supports iPhone 5 on Sprint in early October: Best Buy is said to be taking pre-orders for iPhones on Sprint, and Sprint CDMA repeaters are allegedly installed in several Apple Store locations. These rumors support a recent report that Apple's next-gen smartphone will launch on Sprint in addition to AT&T and Verizon.

Police investigating accusations in bizarre lost iPhone 5 case: After string of bizarre revelations about police involvement in a search for a missing iPhone prototype, the San Francisco Police Department is now conducting an internal investigation into the matter.

The post-Jobs era: Tim Cook brings philanthropy back to Apple: Tim Cook is definitely not Steve Jobs, at least when it comes to charity. Cook has announced an impressive new program aimed at raising the profile of Apple as a charitable company, and is putting employees at the center of its corporate giving.

A mellower Apple: one man's story about publishing for the Pippin: Some think that iOS devices represent Apple's first foray into the world of gaming, but longtime fans know that Apple's gaming console, the Pippin, preceded the first iPhone by more than a decade. What was it like publishing games for such a platform? Ars interviewed the developer of one Pippin game to find out.

Apple, others facing mobile patent threats from Openwave and Wi-LAN: With all the patent mudslinging going on among smartphone makers, smaller firms armed with what they believe to be critical patents are going after a piece of the multibillion dollar mobile pie. Apple is now in the crosshairs of Openwave Systems and Wi-LAN, as is RIM, HTC, Dell, HP, and others.

iCloud Communications changes name, drops suit against Apple: A company called iCloud Communications sued Apple in June for trademark infringement over Apple's new iCloud service. Now, iCloud Communications has filed for dismissal of its suit, announced a name change on Facebook, and has shifted the company website away from its domain.

iOS 5 Newsstand could see influx of content thanks to Adobe tools: Adobe is getting on board with iOS 5's Newsstand feature, making it easier for publishers to cross-publish Newsstand-compatible content directly to iPhones and iPads.


Why Google's Motorola Patent Play Backfires

By: Scott Cleland


The linchpin assumption undergirding Google’s defense of its purchase of Motorola — to gain ~17,000 patents “to better protect Android” — and Google’s overall defense against what it calls a “hostile organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies waged through bogus patents,” is that Google is on the law-abiding side of its property rights disputes – when the evidence shows it is a property scofflaw.

Google’s biggest gamble here may not be its impetuous purchase of Motorola, but its brazen attempt to divert antitrust attention from its own predation, by claiming to be the victim of anti-competitive patent litigation, when Google’s own ignominious property infringement track record has been core to the rise and extension of Google’s monopoly power.

Having reviewed scores of acquisitions for antitrust concerns over the last twenty years, I do not see a traditional merger-specific antitrust problem with the vertical combination of Google and Motorola. However, I do foresee a big antitrust behavior pattern problem stemming from Google forcing antitrust attention upon one of its own biggest antitrust vulnerabilities, i.e. Google’s monopolistic pattern of behavior of infringing others property rights for anti-competitive gain. Google is making the classic mistake of throwing stones from a glass house.

My point here is simple. Effectively Google is daring antitrust authorities to connect-the-dots of its high-profile, longstanding anti-competitive pattern of infringing others property to grow and extend its monopoly power.  Property rights are central to America’s Constitutional free market system, and never before has antitrust authorities encountered such an unabashed, pervasive, serial property rights scofflaw as Google.


Microsoft to Showcase Windows 8 on a Samsung Tablet at BUILD Conference?

BY: Chuong Nguyen


Various Internet sites are reporting that Microsoft may be gearing up to give further insight into its tablet strategy with its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system at the BUILD conference for developers in Anaheim, California on Tuesday. The Redmond, Washington Windows-maker is said to be readying developer builds of the Windows 8 operating system in time for the conference, leading some to speculate that Microsoft would also be giving away prototype tablets to developers as well at that venue.

As Windows 8 is a touch-centric OS designed to be both a PC and to be competitive against the rise of consumer tablets running mobile operating systems such as Android and Apple’s iOS, the OS wouldn’t be much value to developers who need to test out their apps, programs, and development efforts in a touch-based environment. As such, it is speculated that Microsoft would be working with Samsung to deliver prototype hardware, alongside beta copies of Windows 8 for tablets, to developers so that they can begin their work in making apps for the next-generation OS and tablet.

Korea Economic Daily’s un-named industry sources says, ”This new product manufactured by Samsung will be the company’s first collaboration with Microsoft in its hardware devices.”

Windows 8 was introduced earlier this year. It will be the first time that Windows will support ARM chipset, and various elements of Windows Phone 7 was borrowed for the tablet’s user experience, though Microsoft maintains that Windows Phone is strictly reserved for phones and that tablets are computers that require Windows. However, recently, partner NVIDIA has boldly speculated that Windows 8 tablets may run Windows Phone 7 apps. Despite the early preview, a lot of questions remain unanswered about Microsoft’s next-generation OS, and we expect to hear more about the OS next week at BUILD.

Recently, at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany, Samsung had debuted a Series 7 tablet running on Windows 7. It is said that the rumored Microsoft-Samsung hardware would be similar to the Series 7 tablet.

The Series 7 tablet at IFA featured an 11.6-inch capacitive touchscreen display along with an active digitizer running on Windows 7.


Apple sues Samsung in Japan, seeking to block Galaxy phone sales

By: Nathan Olivarez-Giles


Apple has sued Samsung in Japan, accusing the smartphone and tablet rival of violating a number of its patents related to the iPhone and iPad, according to a Reuters report.

The suit calls for a court injunction to block the sales of Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy S II phones. It's the latest move in a months-long worldwide patent brawl of suits and countersuits between the two tech giants.

Apple won a sales freeze of Samsung's Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones last month in 30 European countries. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been voluntarily placed under a sales stoppage in Australia, and a court-ordered preliminary injunction against the unreleased Galaxy Tab 7.7 has come down in Germany.

All of Samsung's Galaxy phones and Galaxy Tab tablets run on Google's Android mobile operating system. Apple's iPhone and iPad run the company's proprietary iOS software.

Samsung told Reuters that the patent dispute in Japan got started when it filed a suit against Apple there in April and that Apple's suit is in response to that.


Latest filings in Oracle patent case spell trouble for Google

By Ed Bott


Summary: Newly released documents from Oracle’s copyright and patent lawsuit against Google contain sections that Google’s lawyers fought unsuccessfully to keep confidential. The details support Oracle’s claim that Google copied Java code, and one slide is certain to make Android OEMs nervous.

The latest documents filed in Oracle’s copyright and patent lawsuit against Google contain more than a dozen chunks of information that Google’s lawyers fought to keep confidential. They lost, and the result is some embarrassing and possibly damaging disclosures.

Two documents filed yesterday were made public today and first reported by Florian Mueller on his FOSS Patents blog.

The most interesting revelations are in a 290-page report from Oracle’s expert witness, John C. Mitchell, Ph.D. Dr. Mitchell, a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and a heavyweight in programming circles whose work is incorporated in both the Java and .NET programming languages, was hired by Oracle (at a rate of $800 per hour) to testify on Google’s alleged infringement of Oracle’s copyrights and patents on Java, which it acquired when it purchased Sun in 2009.

Oracle’s most damning accusation is that Google directly copied Java source code for use in Android. The new documents directly address those claims.

A total of 12 sections in Prof. Mitchell’s report were marked as GOOGLE ATTORNEYS’ EYES ONLY or GOOGLE CONFIDENTIAL. Here’s a sampling of what Google wanted to redact:

“According to Google’s records, a number of Google employees and contractors who worked on Android previously had access to Sun’s Java code.” One, Joshua Bloch, “was an architect of the Java platform at Sun [and] now works for Google … his name appears in the source code of several Java library files.”

“When asked about the significance of copyright protection for the specifications he wrote at Sun, Bloch replied: ‘[I]f someone else were to take this prose and publish it for profit, Sun would probably be upset, and with good reason.’”

Google exec Patrick Brady, in a June 2009 document titled “Android Strategy and Partnerships Overview,”  is quoted as saying “Android isn’t a new product to monetize; it’s a new medium to drive monetization on existing products.”

In a deposition, Bloch was asked whether he accessed Sun code while working at Google. “I don’t have a recollection, but I’m perfectly willing to believe that I did. You know, I think the similarity of the signature, the fact that, you know, the three arguments are in the same order and have the same name, you know, is a strong indication that it is likely that I did.”

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Google Gives HTC a Patent Assist to Sue Apple

By: Damon Poeter

In an apparent "enemy-of-my-enemy" twist in the escalating intellectual property war between tech giants over mobile technology, HTC on Tuesday sued Apple for patent infringement in a Delaware court, citing patents recently obtained from Google.

HTC amended a complaint to charge Apple with infringing eight U.S. patents pertaining to wireless communications and mobile phone displays, according to reports. Five of the patents cited had been assigned to HTC by Google last week.

The other three patents had already been cited in HTC's original complaint filed in August and had nothing to do with Google, which makes the Android mobile operating system that is used by HTC and other device manufacturers in smartphones and tablets that compete with Apple's in-house iOS-based iPhone and iPad.

HTC has also amended a separate complaint against Apple filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission to include the five patents obtained by Google, which has confirmed that it has assigned the patents in question to HTC.

Apple is currently embroiled in several legal battles over intellectual property related to mobile technology for smartphones and tablets. The Cupertino, Calif.-based computing giant has targeted HTC, Samsung, and other device makers with allegations of patent infringement, though those suits have been described as peripheral battles to the "open war" being waged between Apple and Google.

Aside from the litigation, the Google-Apple tilt has also developed into a war of words. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has claimed that Apple is "suing instead of innovating," while an Apple spokesperson said of HTC's legal assist from Google Tuesday that "competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

Google, stymied in its bid to acquire 6,000 wireless technology patents held by Nortel in June, is believed to have performed a bit of an end-around on the alleged "consortium" of tech rivals that beat it to the Nortel patents when the search giant announced plans in mid-August to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.

That deal, which would enrich Google with the mobile technology patents it so clearly covets to take on Apple, still awaits approval from regulators. But the search giant's gifting of patents to bolster HTC's case against Apple demonstrates that Google has more than one trick up its sleeve.

Patent Reform Before U.S. Senate

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is expected to pass some form of patent reform in the next few days that could potentially change the landscape for the current intellectual property battles that some observers feel are stifling true innovation and competition in the tech sector.

"Patent reform is long overdue in the U.S., where innovation holds the keys to our economic recovery, as well as to our long term, global competitiveness," said patent attorney and IP Street founder Lewis Lee, whose firm Lee & Hayes represents six of the 20 largest patent filers in the U.S., regarding patent reform being considered by the Senate.

"The timing couldn't be more urgent, because China has made bold moves in the past few years to overtake the U.S. on every innovation measure before the decade is out, and just this year surpassed the U.S. on the number of patent filings," Lee said.

But the patent attorney did not hold out hope that the legislation before the Senate would do much to address such challenges in its current iteration.

"[The bill] will not help the U.S. overcome the China challenge, and only marginally addresses some longstanding issues like patent office funding," he said. "If the [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office] can truly reinvest all of the fees it charges filers then the net effect should be a patent system that is more agile and scalable.

"Despite the incremental improvements in this bill, it leaves the hard work for future Congresses. It fails to address secrecy, one of the most unsettling features of our patent system today. Although the U.S. has the most transparent economic engine in the world, patent ownership remains opaque. Far too many patents are owned by entities that conceal their true identities, making it difficult to efficiently trade patents as real property. This is a significant roadblock to the U.S. retaining its No. 1 status as the most trusted, transparent place to manage intellectual assets, and can only be addressed by more legislation."


Judge Calls His Own Expert at Oracle/Google Patent Trial

Amy Miller

There's nothing unusual about a federal judge appointing a technical expert to help unravel convoluted claims during a patent trial. But Judge William Alsup in the Northern District has done something prominent litigators in the Bay Area say they've never before seen a judge do.

On Aug. 30, Alsup appointed an expert to testify specifically on damages in Oracle America Inc.'s closely watched suit against Google Inc., which claims the Android mobile operating system violates Java-related patents and copyrights that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems Inc. in 2009.

"He wants an impartial expert who is beholden solely to the court," said Stanley Young, an IP litigator at Covington & Burling in Silicon Valley.

Litigators say it's a bold move by Alsup to deal with the controversial task of determining damages in contentious patent hearings, an issue Congress punted in its latest effort at patent reform. But they also worry that court-appointed experts who testify can wield too much influence over juries and undermine lawyers' ability to advocate for clients.

"The risk is, it turns into a one-witness trial," said Henry Bunsow, an IP litigator at Dewey & LeBoeuf in San Francisco. "The individual party's position becomes lost in the trial, and whatever the independent expert says is taken as gospel."

Damages have been a contentious issue in Oracle's case against Google from the start. Alsup had asked the parties to submit damages reports at the start of the trial, rather than the end, hoping to prevent any delays in the trial.

In May, Oracle submitted a whopping $6.1 billion damages report, and after weeks of haggling, Alsup granted a motion by Google's lawyers at King & Spalding; Greenberg Traurig; and Keker & Van Nest to exclude it. Oracle, which is represented by Morrison & Foerster and Boies, Schiller & Flexner, had overreached, Alsup wrote, "evidently with the goal of seeing how much it could get away with, a 'free bite,' as it were."

Google has maintained that the patents at issue are neither valid nor infringed, so Oracle isn't entitled to any damages, an argument Alsup has also rejected.

In July, Alsup told the two sides he wanted them to choose and pay for one damages expert. When they couldn't agree, he went ahead and appointed James Kearl, an economics professor from Brigham Young University, along with a lawyer to represent him in his dealings with the two sides.

Google tried to head off Alsup, arguing in a July 26 court filing that both sides already had their own damages experts, and that a court-appointed expert would bias a jury.

"If the jury is aware that the court's expert was appointed by the court and is not a representative of both parties, that expert will have a powerful stamp of court approval and objectivity that will lend a disproportionate weight to that expert's opinions and testimony," wrote Keker & Van Nest's Robert Van Nest.

In rejecting that argument, Alsup cited one of the few Northern District cases where a judge has appointed an expert witness to testify: Monolithic Power Systems v. 02 Micro International Limited. In that case, Judge Claudia Wilken had appointed a technical adviser, not a damages expert.

"Far from complicating the jury's decision on damages, as Google argues, the testimony of a Rule 706 expert would assist the jury by providing a neutral explanation and viewpoint," Alsup wrote. "This assistance will be particularly useful because both sides have taken such extreme and unreasonable positions regarding damages in this action."

02 Micro lost the case in 2007, and argued to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the independent expert's testimony had unfairly biased the jury. But the Federal Circuit affirmed, saying the district court hadn't abused its discretion.

The rules are clear that judges can appoint experts who will testify in court, says Brandon Baum, founder of Baum Legal, an IP litigation boutique in Silicon Valley, who's also an adjunct professor at Hastings College of the Law. But he does have concerns.

"It's a clever strategy for being reasonable and rational when it comes to damage awards," Baum said. "But I think that if we start going down the road where we're going to let court-appointed fact finders testify at trial, we really are giving up some of our belief in the jury system."

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