US Trademark Application | "Netapp Assigned Patent for Method and System for Accessing Storage"

By : Targeted News Service
Source : 
Category : US Trademark Application 

Netapp, Sunnnyvale, Calif., has been assigned a patent (8,255,659) developed by Vishwanath Pattar, Bangalore, India, for a "method and system for accessing storage." The abstract of the patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office states: "Method and system is provided for accessing storage. A first logical data structure is created without receiving a client request from a computing system. A first identifier for identifying the first logical data structure is assigned to the first logical data structure. Upon receiving a client request, a second logical data structure associated with a storage device is generated and the first identifier is assigned to the second logical data structure. The second logical data structure identified by the first identifier is then used by the computing system."

Source :

US Trademark Attorney | "3 Parts of a Patent Every Startup Should Know About"

By : Nitin Gupta 
Source :  
Category : US Trademark Attorney 

Many tech startups make the grave mistake of not actively seeking patent protections for unique technology or processes. Until a tech startup files a patent for its technology, competitors can copy and essentially steal it.

To avoid this, a company needs to file a utility patent on its technology with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as soon as possible. To understand the many parts that make up a patent probably means you’ll need guidance and counsel from an experienced patent attorney. It also means you should know about the three critical components of this process. Here they are.

1. Claims

“The name of the game is the claim” was coined by patent law expert Judge Giles Rich, and captures the essence of every patent. U.S. patent law included a category called specification. The specification is made up of two parts: the claims and the written description. The claims define the invention. Claims also tell the public what the inventor considers as his/her invention, and define the limit on her/his right to exclude others from that invention.

If an aspect of what the inventor conceived is not found in the claims, this could result in overly broad claims that are later found invalid due to the existence of earlier inventions, called prior art. Alternatively, if the claims include extraneous elements that are not crucial to the invention, others can more easily avoid infringing the patent, narrowing the scope — and lessening the value — of the patent protection.

It’s common for non-lawyers to confuse the claims with the other part of the specification, the written description. This is a mistake. While the written description of the invention is important, it does not serve the same purpose as the claims. The written description section of the patent discusses how to make specific embodiments of the invention and how these embodiments work, but it does not define the limit of the patent owner’s rights. That’s what the claims are for.

2. Inventors

An inventor is a person who formulates a “definite and permanent idea” of the claimed invention and “reduces that invention to practice.” It is very important for a patent to correctly identify the inventors. If a patent omits an inventor, that omission can render the entire patent invalid and unenforceable, even if the omission was an innocent mistake.

Since the correct identification of inventors has such a profound effect on the value of a patent, this is an aspect of the patent that often needs verification during the due diligence and before a financing or acquisition. It is therefore important for a startup to have signed copies of patent assignment agreements, typically part of the employment agreement, from all of the people who worked on a product and who contributed to its inventive aspects.

If you find that your patent application left out an inventor, there are procedures that your patent attorney can use to correct this mistake. It is important that any such mistake be corrected as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary and expensive complications down the road.

3. Filing Date

The last important part of a patent is its filing date. It’s rather common knowledge that the earlier you file your patent application, the better. There are two reasons for this. First, an earlier filing date makes it more difficult to invalidate your patent. This is because, generally speaking, only the inventions and teachings of others that precede the filing date of your patent can invalidate your patent. These inventions and teachings are called prior art. Patents have been invalidated by prior art that preceded the patent’s filing date by only a few days or weeks. This is why it’s so important that you work with your patent attorney to complete and file your patent application as soon as all of the necessary pieces are in place.

Don’t confuse the filing date with the issuance date. The date that the Patent Office issues the patent is important for other reasons, such as placing the public on “constructive notice” of your patent, which is important to calculate infringement damages in the event of a lawsuit. But the issuance date has nothing to do with determining the patent’s validity in light of the prior art.

Source :

Trademark Application | "Samsung Galaxy Note II has a brilliant 5.5-inch LCD—but no universal search "

By : Mike Gikas 
Source : 
Category : Trademark Application

Samsung today introduced the Galaxy Note II "phablet" phone: It features an enormous 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED screen and enhanced on-screen functions that make excellent use of the phone's trademark S Pen stylus. But there's one major disappointment: The phone lacks universal search because of Jelly Bean, the version of the Android OS it runs.

When you perform a general search, your results are limited to the Web and exclude contacts, e-mails, and other phone-based content. You can search internally when you're in those respective apps, but that's a hassle.

Beyond this lack, I was impressed with what I saw of this phone at a brief Samsung demonstration earlier this month (for now, it's been announced for markets only outside the U.S.). The 1,280x720 display is brilliant.

Even more impressive are the phone's unique communication tools. For example, a feature called Screen Recorder lets you record a whole sequence of actions, such as step-by-step instructions for changing application settings, and lets you beam or e-mail the procedure to another smart phone. And a new gesture-pad feature, Quick Command, lets you launch frequently used apps such as e-mail and local searches by swiping the S Pen up while depressing the button on its stalk.

You can also preview e-mails, photos, videos, and other content by hovering the S Pen over it at a 10mm distance. (This feature also works with the S Pen designed for the original Galaxy Note, though you'll have to hold the it much closer to the screen) Another enhancement, Popup Note, launches the S Note app as a pop-up window when you pull out the S Pen, so you can scribble a quick note while you're on a phone call, for example.

Using the S Pen, you can jot down notes on the phone's calendar or add captions to photos. These notes or captions won't be converted to text, but will be attached to the original file so that they can be read by others on other devices.

Other Note II specs include 1.6-GHz quad-core processor, an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash, and a 1.9-megapixel camera for video chats and self-portraits. Out of the box, the Note II will run the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean,

The phone lacks the NFC technology that allows two Samsung Galaxy S IIIs to share videos and other large files by bumping against each other. But it does let you beam photos across the room to other devices that support Wi-Fi Direct.

No word yet on pricing or when the Note II will be available in the U.S. But I promise a full report of my experience with a press sample in the coming weeks.

Bottom line: With its large, beautiful display and futuristic sharing tools, the Note II will be a compelling choice for those who lack the room or desire to lug around an e-book reader or tablet. But a smart phone without universal search is like a notepad without a pen.

Source :

Patent News | "Apple’s $1B patent verdict could corner market"

By: Associated Press
Category: Patent News

Patent News
SAN JOSE, Calif. — It was the $1 billion question Saturday: What does Apple Inc.’s victory in an epic patent dispute over its fiercest rival mean for the U.S. smartphone industry?

Analysts from Wall Street to Hong Kong debated whether a jury’s decision that Samsung Electronics Co. ripped off Apple technology would help Apple corner the U.S. smartphone market over Android rivals, or amount to one more step in a protracted legal battle over smartphone technology.

Many analysts said the decision could spell danger for competitors who, like Samsung, use Google Inc.’s Android operating system to power their cellphones.

"I am sure this is going to put a damper on Android’s growth," New York-based Isi Group analyst Brian Marshall said, "It hurts the franchise."

The Silicon Valley jury found that some of Samsung’s products illegally copied features and designs exclusive to Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The verdict was narrowly tailored to only Samsung, which sold more than 22 million smartphones and tablets that Apple claimed used its technology, including the "bounce-back" feature when a user scrolls to an end image, and the ability to zoom text with a tap of a finger.

But most other Apple competitors have used the Android system to produce similar technology, which could limit the features offered on all non-Apple phones, analysts said.

"The other makers are now scrambling" to find alternatives, said Rob Enderle, a leading technology analyst based in San Jose.

Seo Won-seok, a Seoul-based analyst at Korea Investment said that the popular zooming and bounce-back functions the jury said Samsung stole from Apple will be hard to replicate.

The companies could opt to pay Apple licensing fees for access to the technology or develop smarter technology to create similar features that don’t violate the patent — at a cost likely to be passed onto consumers.

Apple lawyers are planning to ask that the two dozen Samsung devices found to have infringed its patents be barred from the U.S. market. Most of those devices are "legacy" products with almost nonexistent new sales in the United States. Apple lawyers will also ask that the judge triple the damage award to $3 billion since the jury found Samsung "willfully" copied Apple’s patents.

A loss to the Android-based market would represent a big hit for Google as well. Google relies on Android devices to drive mobile traffic to its search engine, which in turn generates increased advertising revenue. Android is becoming increasingly more important to Google’s bottom line because Apple is phasing out reliance on Google services such as YouTube and mapping as built-in features on the iPhone and iPad.

Some experts cautioned that the decision might not be final, noting the California lawsuit is one of nine similar legal actions across the globe between the two leading smartphone makers.

Samsung has vowed to appeal the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that Apple’s patents for such "obvious" things as rounded rectangle were wrongly granted. A Sept. 20 hearing is scheduled.

The $1 billion represents about 1.5 percent of Samsung’s annual revenue. Jerome Schaufield, a technology professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute said the verdict wouldn’t upend a multibillion-dollar global industry.

"Samsung is powerful," Schaufield said. "The company will regroup and go on."


Patent News | "Apple patent win may reshape sector, slow Google"

By:  Rob Lever
Category: Patent News

Apple won more than $1 billion in the case Friday, after a California jury found the South Korean electronics giant infringed on dozens of patents held by the iPhone and iPad maker.
Although Google was not a party in the case, it makes the Android operating system which was central to the case—a system which Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs called a "stolen" product. 

Apple has been battling as Samsung and other manufacturers of the free Android system eat away at its market share in the sizzling market for smartphones and tablet computers. 

"I think this will force a reset on Android products as they are reengineered to get around Apple's patents," said Rob Enderle, a technology analyst and consultant with the Enderle Group.

 But Enderle said other companies may benefit from the decision, including Microsoft, which has been lagging in the mobile sector, and Blackberry maker Research in Motion, which has been hit hardest by the rise of Android devices.

 The court ruling, said Enderle, "should provide a stronger opportunity for both of Microsoft's new platforms—Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8—because they come with indemnification against Apple, suddenly making them far safer and possibly a faster way to get product to market.

" The decision also "will make RIM far more attractive as an acquisition because RIM's patents are thought to be strong enough to hold off Apple," Enderle said. 

"Both Samsung and Google may make a play for the company, and both Microsoft and Apple may move to block them."


Patent News | "Google Assigned Patent for Method and Apparatus for a Network Queuing Engine and Congestion Management Gateway"

By: Targeted News Service
Category: Patent News

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 24 -- Google, Mountain View, Calif., has been Assigned a patent (8,248,930) developed by five co-inventors for a "method and apparatus for a network queuing engine and congestion management gateway." The co-inventors are Robert Edman Felderman, Portola Valley, Calif., Roy M. Bannon, Palo Alto, Calif., Peter Hochschild, New York, Guenter Roeck, San Jose, Calif., and Hain-Ching Humphrey Liu, Fremont, Calif.

The abstract of the patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office states: "A method, apparatus, and queuing engine implement congestion management. The method may include receiving, via a first interface of the apparatus, data traffic for forwarding to a node of a network. The method may also include receiving, at a second interface of the apparatus, a notification that indicates that congestion is affecting communication with the node, and responsive to the notification, accumulating the data traffic into the queue for a given time period. The method may further include dequeuing the data traffic from the queue after the given time period; and sending the portion of the data traffic to the node via the second interface."


Patent News | "Nokia Phi Windows 8 phone confirmed by new patent?"

By: Joe Svetlik 
Category: Patent News

Patent News
Nokia and Microsoft have a joint press conference planned for September 5, and this could very well be what they'll announce: the Finnish firm's first Windows 8 handset, the Nokia Phi.

The sketch was unearthed by LiveSide in a design patent issued earlier this week. It looks a lot like the Lumia 800 or 900, Nokia's Windows 7 handsets, but there are some differences.

The bezel is thinner for a start, and the speaker is different. The sketch also squares with the picture of a Phi prototype that leaked earlier this month.

According to rumours, the Phi has a 4.7-inch curved screen, is made of polycarbonate, and has a dual-core processor. It'll be expandable thanks to an SD slot, and will have support for NFC, too.

It could be US only to start, but seeing as it's a flagship, we'd expect to see it hit these shores before long.
Straight as an Arrow

Nokia is also said to be working on the Arrow, another Windows 8 handset to be announced on September 5.

The Arrow is said to be a mid-range Windows 8 handset. But details are sparse, so we'll have to wait until September 5 to find out more. Expect it to be closer to the Lumia 710 in terms of specs.

IFA kicks off next week in Berlin as well, with plenty of Android devices coming courtesy of Samsung and the like (though fans of Bada will be out of luck). So expect to see a flurry of new phones coming your way soon.


Patent News | "What Retailers Should Know About Blu-ray Disc™ Patent Protection"

By:  One-Blue
Category: Patent News

 NEW YORK, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --  With merchants already gearing up for the busy holiday shopping season, One-Blue, LLC has developed a series of guidelines for consumer goods retailers to help them comply with a licensing, registration and labeling program governing the sale and distribution of products covered by Blu-ray Disc™ products patents. The awareness effort is designed to help brick-and-mortar and online retailers avoid supply chain disruptions and reduce their exposure to legal and financial risks in the event that they are unknowingly buying, stocking or reselling unlicensed Blu-ray Disc™ products.

One-Blue, the one-stop shop for patent licenses from the leading providers of Blu-ray Disc™ technology, is the licensing agent for more than 10,000 Blu-ray Disc™ product patents that are essential to Blu-ray Disc™, DVD and CD intellectual property. The patents relate to all manner of Blu-ray Disc™ products, including discs, players, recorders,  as well as optical disc drives and Blu-ray Disc™ products reading and writing software.

The following guidelines provide a check-list that retailers can use to protect themselves by ensuring that they are buying only from One-Blue licensees whose Blu-ray Disc™ products carry the appropriate registration marks and labeling.

Check One-Blue's Licensee Database.  Determine whether your supplier has a registration or license agreement with One-Blue for the relevant Blu-ray Disc™ product by checking One-Blue's online Licensee Database.  Companies that have a registration agreement are required to obtain a License Status Confirmation Document (LSCD) with every shipment, and are denoted in the database with an asterisk ("*").

Require that LSCDs Are Included in Supply Contracts.  Retailers should require from their Blu-ray Disc™ product suppliers that LSCDs be provided with every shipment. Upon request, One-Blue can provide retailers with an overview of the LSCD process and if necessary, obtaining duplicate copies of issued LSCDs.

Look For One-Blue's Product Label.  One-Blue requires that a label with a unique One-Blue logo and barcode, which contains anti-counterfeiting marks like a bank note, be placed on the outer packaging of all licensed Blu-ray Players/Recorders and Blu-ray enabled PCs sold. The One-Blue Product Label signifies to retailers and consumers that the Blu-ray Disc™ product manufacturers have obtained a patent license from One-Blue. One-Blue's licensors include leading electronics companies CyberLink, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, JVC Kenwood, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Taiyo Yuden and Yamaha. To date, 92 manufacturers from more than 15 countries have joined One-Blue as licensees.  For more information, contact One-Blue at

About One-Blue As the one-stop shop representing the Blu-ray Disc™ industry's leading technology providers, One-Blue, LLC provides patent licenses from the leading Blu-ray Disc™, DVD and CD product IP holders. One-Blue vows to foster a level playing field by guaranteeing strong patent enforcement for licensees and licensors and ensures competitive parity for all Blu-ray Disc™ providers. One-Blue's patent pool is built upon industry best practices to help all parties lower royalties, transaction costs and streamline the patent licensing process.


Patent News | "Kodak to Sell Imaging Units as Patent Auction Continues"

By; Beth Jinks and David McLaughlin
Category: Patent News

Bankrupt photography pioneer Eastman Kodak Co. (EKDKQ) said it will sell its consumer film, photo kiosks and commercial scanner businesses as it continues an extended effort to auction its digital-imaging patents.

Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) is advising on sales of the units, known as personal imaging and document imaging, which are targeted for completion in the first half of 2013, the Rochester, New York- based company said yesterday in a statement. The transactions would leave Kodak selling consumers only inkjet printers, and film only to commercial customers including the movie industry.

The patents for sale relate to the capture, manipulation and sharing of digital images while the kiosks include those used by consumers and by theme parks to capture passengers on rides. Kodak is selling the imaging units and patents to fund a turnaround after seeking Chapter 11 protection in January. At the same time, it’s pursuing a plan to shrink the company and focus less on photography and more on commercial, packaging and functional printing and enterprise services.

“We have to make some tough choices to build our future and this is one of those choices,” Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez said yesterday on a conference call. “Kodak’s goal is not simply to emerge but obviously to emerge as a profitable, sustainable company and today’s actions are moving us decisively along that path.”

Perez is pushing ahead with the digital patents sale amid legal fights with device makers, including Apple Inc. (AAPL), over the ownership and validity of some of the patents. As bidding continued beyond initial deadlines, Kodak has said it may not sell the patents if retaining them is “in the best interests of the estate.”

Portfolio Decision
“The company reiterates that it has made no decision to sell the portfolio and Kodak may, in consultation with creditors, retain the portfolio as an alternative source of recovery for creditors,” Kodak said yesterday.

In court documents, Kodak has said the patents may be worth $2.21 billion to $2.57 billion, based on an estimate by patent advisory firm 284 Partners LLC. Kodak said it has generated more than $3 billion in revenue by licensing some of the digital- imaging patents to users, including Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. (066570), Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Motorola Mobility unit and Nokia Oyj. (NOK1V)

Path ‘Clearer’
“The path to emergence is becoming clearer for us,” Perez said on the call. “Our patent auction continues, and we are still engaged in discussions around the potential sale of our digital imaging portfolio. Going in we expected this to be a complex process and it has been all of that and more.”

Apple is appealing a bankruptcy judge’s ruling in favor of Kodak that blocked the iPhone maker’s claims to two patents.

Apple said in an Aug. 22 court filing that it’s challenging U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper’s decision that gave Kodak a partial victory in a lawsuit over ownership of 10 patents. Kodak sued Apple (AAMRQ) after the Cupertino, California-based company asserted claims to the patents.

Gropper ruled in favor of Kodak on two of the patents, saying Apple waited too long to assert its claims. The judge denied Kodak’s request for a pretrial ruling known as summary judgment on the eight other patents and said Kodak could renew its request.

“Apple believes a prompt appeal of this order is necessary in view of the prospect that Kodak will seek to sell the patents at issue free and clear of Apple’s interests prior to full adjudication of Apple’s appeal,” Brian Lennon, an attorney for Apple, wrote in a letter to Gropper.

Stefanie Goodsell, a Kodak spokeswoman, didn’t comment yesterday on Apple’s appeal.

Signed Agreements
Kodak said in June that 20 parties had signed agreements to view confidential information ahead of potential bids. The identities of unsuccessful bidders will be kept secret under auction rules.

Kodak and its creditors agreed to extend the auction deadline beyond Aug. 13 “in light of continuing discussions with bidders” without providing a revised target date.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy after years of burning through cash while digital photography eroded its film business. The company had spent $3.4 billion on restructuring before bankruptcy, including payouts to fire 47,000 employees since 2003, closing 13 factories that produced film, paper and chemicals, and 130 photo laboratories.

The bankruptcy case is In re Eastman Kodak Co., 12-10202, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The Apple case is Eastman Kodak Co. v. Apple Inc., 12-01720, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).


Patent News | "In The Kitchen With The Inventor Of Steak-Umm"

By: Jacob Goldstein
Category: Patent News

Aug 24, 2012 (Morning Edition) — Eugene Gagliardi also invented KFC's popcorn chicken. And he's got some ideas about drumsticks.

One night in the late 1960s, Eugene Gagliardi was lying awake in bed trying to figure out how to save his company. He was thinking about the Philly cheesesteak.

Gagliardi ran a family business that sold hamburgers and other meat to restaurant chains in the Philadelphia area. But within the span of a few months, the company had lost several of its biggest customers.

Gagliardi was trying to figure out a way to turn the Philly cheesesteak into something people would want to make at home. But the meat used for the sandwich was, as Gagliardi says, "so tough you couldn't chew through it."

At 3 in the morning, he had an idea. He got up out of bed and went to the plant and tried it.

His idea was complicated — he put the meat through the grinder a bunch of times, then he mixed it, put it in a mold, froze it, then he tempered it, then sliced it — and, finally, he cooked it and ate it to see if it was any good.

"It tasted great," he says.

Gagliardi had just invented Steak-Umm.

And pretty quickly, it blew up. There were TV ads, and people were buying it in grocery stores from Puerto Rico to Hawaii. Eventually, he sold the family business for $20 million.

Today, Gagliardi is 82 years old. He tried to retire, but he got bored.

So he works in a little house across the street from a cornfield in rural Pennsylvania. Like any good backyard inventor, Gagliardi has turned the garage into a workshop. In his case, that means there are a kitchen and big industrial fridge full of meat. Gagliardi pulls out a chicken and starts cutting it up.

Gagliardi has lots of patents on a chicken. He's not patenting the meat itself — which, obviously, he didn't invent. He's patenting a way of cutting it up. And, yes, it seems kind of silly to get a patent on a way of cutting meat. But it's not like Gagliardi is going to come sue you if you cut meat a certain way in your kitchen. The patents mean he can work as a small inventor and sell or license his ideas to big companies.

We tend to think of innovation as being all about high-technology. But at its core, innovation means coming up with new, useful ideas. Those ideas can come from some 16-year old trying to make a genius new iPhone app in his bedroom. But they can also come from an 82-year-old guy in a converted garage trying to figure out a better way to cut a thigh.

"This is the original popcorn chicken," Gagliardi says. Also known as Patent No. 5,266,064: "Method of making a food product from the thigh of a bird and product made in accordance with the method." Gagliardi sold this idea to KFC in the 1990s and it became a huge hit.

Gagliardi has lots more ideas. He says he's made some breakthroughs recently with the drumstick. But that patent is still pending, and he's cagey about the details.


Patent News | "Kodak to sell retail print, document imaging businesses"

By: Reuters
Category: Patent News

Patent News
Eastman Kodak Co said on Thursday it plans to sell most of its consumer and document imaging businesses and shift its focus to commercial printing as it works to emerge from bankruptcy.

The once-dominant photography firm, already in the midst of auctioning off its digital patent portfolio, hopes to complete the sales by mid-2013, Chief Executive Antonio Perez said in a conference call on Thursday.

The company needs to raise nearly $700 million to pay back its creditors and exit bankruptcy, and initially hoped its patent sale would generate at least that much. But more than two weeks into its auction and still without a deal, the company may be looking for other ways to raise cash.

“For ensuring sufficient funding for successful emergence (from bankruptcy), the sale of these businesses is important in that regard,” Perez said on the call.

Kodak went bankrupt in January, unable to adapt to the shift to digital imaging.

The businesses to be sold are Kodak’s personalized imaging business, which includes most consumer products and retail printing kiosks, and its document imaging business, which makes scanners for enterprise customers.

Perez declined to comment on the progress of the patent sale. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that initial bids, including from Apple Inc and Google Inc, came in lower than expected.

The auction began on August 8 and had been scheduled to wrap up by August 13, but Kodak extended the deadline as talks continued without a buyer.

The newly-announced sales would mean that Kodak would emerge from bankruptcy as a different company than when it went in, with less of a focus on consumer and retail, and heavier attention to commercial, packaging and functional printing.

“You can’t succeed these days without focusing in certain areas and putting all your money in areas that are synergetic with each other,” Perez said, adding that he believes Kodak is “as strong or stronger” in the commercial space as in the consumer space.

Perez would not reveal the estimated value of the businesses to be sold.

The bankruptcy is in Re: Eastman Kodak Co. et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-10202.


Patent News | "Apple Samsung patent trial: jury begins deliberations"

By: BBC News
Category: Patent News

The jury has begun deliberating in the US patent trial between the two biggest smartphone-makers in the world, Samsung and Apple.

Apple lawyers accused South Korea-based Samsung of copying Apple designs after realising it could not compete.

Samsung lawyers said a win for Apple would mean less choice for consumers.

Apple is asking for more than $2.5bn (£1.6bn) in damages from Samsung for violating its patented designs and features in the iPad and iPhone.

Apple is also asking for a ban on sales of Samsung tablets and smartphones.

In return, Samsung has counter-sued, saying Apple infringed its patents for key wireless technology.

In his closing argument on Tuesday, Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny told the jury that Samsung had employed a shortcut in its product design.

"In those critical three months, Samsung was able to copy and incorporate the result of Apple's four-year investment in hard work and ingenuity- without taking any of the risks," McElhinny said referring to the time spent working on Samsung phones by a South Korean designer who testified in the trial.

For his part, Samsung's lawyer Charles Verhoeven told the jury a verdict in favour of Apple meant competition would be stifled in the industry.

"Rather than competing in the marketplace, Apple is seeking a competitive edge in the courtroom," Verhoeven said in his closing statement.

"(Apple thinks) it's entitled to having a monopoly on a rounded rectangle with a large screen. It's amazing really."

The closely watched trial has drawn worldwide attention and on Tuesday the courtroom was overflowing with observers, journalists, lawyers and analysts.


Patent News | "South Korea rules Apple and Samsung infringed patents"

Category: Patent News

Patent News
A South Korean court has ruled that Apple and Samsung both infringed each other's patents on mobile devices.

The court imposed a limited ban on national sales of products by both companies covered by the ruling.

It ruled that US-based Apple had infringed two patents held by Samsung, while the Korean firm had violated one of Apple's patents.

The decision comes as a jury in California is deliberating on a patent trial between the two firms in the US.

The sales ban will apply to Apple's iPhone3GS, iPhone4 and its tablets the iPad and ipad2.

Samsung products affected by the ban include its smartphone models Galaxy SI and SII and its Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet PCs.

The court ordered Apple to pay 40m won ($35,000; £22,000) in damages to the South Korean rival, while Samsung was told to pay Apple 25m won.

'Differentiated its products'
A Samsung spokesperson told the BBC that the court had found the South Korean firm guilty of violating Apple's patent relating to the "bounce back" function.

The function lets users know that they have reached the end of a screen that they may be scrolling through on the their devices.

Meanwhile, Apple has been found guilty of violating patents relating to telecom standards held by Samsung, including technology that makes the transfer and transmission of data between devices more efficient.

However, the court ruled against Apple's claims that Samsung had copied the designs of its products.

"There are lots of external design similarities between the iPhone and Galaxy S, such as rounded corners and large screens... but these similarities had been documented in previous products," a judge at the Seoul Central District Court was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

"Given that it's very limited to make big design changes in touch-screen based mobile products in general... and the defendant (Samsung) differentiated its products with three buttons in the front and adopted different designs in camera and [on the] side, the two products have a different look," the judge said.


Patent News | "Deliberations begin in multimillion-dollar Apple-Samsung patent infringement case"

Category: Patent News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jurors began deliberating Wednesday in a multibillion dollar patent infringement case pitting Apple against Samsung over the design of iPhones and iPads — but few experts were expecting a quick verdict.

After a three-week federal trial in San Jose, a jury of seven men and two women picked from a pool of Silicon Valley residents will try to decide if Samsung Electronics Co. ripped off Apple Inc. designs or whether Apple wronged Samsung.

With so much money and market clout at stake, a decision likely won't come anytime soon, according to jury experts, attorneys and courtroom observers.

"This case has huge implications," said University of Notre Dame Law Professor Mark P. McKenna. "It could result in injunctions against both companies" involving the sales of products.

It took the judge more than two hours to read the 109 pages of instructions to the jury. As a verdict is reached, jurors must fill out a 20-page form that includes dozens of check-off boxes.

"The verdict form is crazy," said Karen Lisko, who runs a jury consulting company that specializes in patent trials. "It's incredibly complicated."

Jurors have several different smartphones and computer tablets in the jury room to help them determine which device is alleged to have violated what patent.

Apple argues that Samsung should pay the Cupertino-based company $2.5 billion for ripping off its iPhone and iPad technology when it marketed competing devices.

Attorneys for Samsung asked the jury to award it $399 million after claiming Apple used Samsung technology without proper compensation.

Lisko said it could take the jury an entire day just to devise a routine and system to sift through the facts and began actual deliberations.

"The first day is usually very messy," she said.

It took jurors more than a week to reach a verdict in another major patent case, Google v. Oracle. That San Francisco panel decided in May that Google did infringe Oracle's patents related to the Java computer language, but the panel awarded no damages after it couldn't come to a unanimous agreement on several other points.

During closing arguments Tuesday, Apple attorney Harold McElhinny said Samsung was having a "crisis of design" after the launch of the iPhone, and executives with the South Korean company were determined to illegally cash in on the success of the revolutionary device.

Samsung's lawyer countered that the technology giant was simply and legally giving consumers what they want: Smart phones with big screens. They say they didn't violate any of Apple's patents and further claimed that Apple's claimed innovations were actually created by other companies.

The case went to the jury after last-minute talks between chief executives failed to resolve the dispute.


Patent News | "Apple patent could spell the end for conventional radio broadcasts"

By: Macworld Australia Staff
Category: Patent News

A patent filed and owned by Apple that allows users to skip ads on the radio, could spell the end for conventional radio broadcasting as we know it.

Lodged in October 2011, Apple patented a technology that skips ads aired on radio, enabling listeners to “seamlessly” switch between radio broadcasts and personal media libraries intermittently, according to a report from Neowin.

While the patent doesn’t block commercials as such, it effectively removes paid advertising from radio programs, causing problems for the industry’s ad sales and revenue.

In a radio broadcast when an ad airs, the patented technology would transition to the user’s media source and play content from its library. The result is that the listener is unaware of ad breaks in radio programs, privy to an uninterrupted stream of continuous music playback.

“Systems and methods are provided for seamlessly switching media playback between a media broadcast, such as a radio broadcast, and media from a local media library. When an electronic device determines that an upcoming media item in a media broadcast is not of interest to a user, the electronic device can switch playback from the media stream to a media item from the electronic device local library”, as outlined in Apple’s official patent.

“The selected local media item can be related to a previously broadcast media item to ensure continuity in the user’s listening or viewing experience. The electronic device can switch away from the local media item and return to the media stream when the media stream again broadcasts media items or segments of interest to the user.”

Apple is not the first company to develop the ‘switcher’ technology,  with other brands such as Absolute Radio employing similar methods in a small-scale product called InStream. While it’s not clear if Absolute Radio began offering their technology first,  Apple is not afraid to go to extreme lengths to protect its patents – a trait clearly demonstrated in the current Apple v Samsung trial in which Apple is seeking US$2.88 billion in damages from Samsung for allegedly copying its designs.

If Apple decides to incorporate the patent in its future products, the technology could have a detrimental effect on conventional radio and its profit streams, the same way iTunes has dominated the music industry.


Patent News | "New patent office to be in downtown Denver"

By: Steve Raabe
Category: Patent News

 Downtown Denver will get a jolt of prestige and economic benefit as the site of new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The office will be located in the Byron G. Rogers federal office building at 1960 Stout St.

The facility will employ about 130 workers initially, with employment projected to grow to as high as 595 after five years. Economists have projected its total economic impact at $439 million over five years.

Federal officials announced last month that metro Denver would be the site of one of four new patent offices across the nation. The agency is believed to have looked at potential office sites in Stapleton, the Central Platte Valley, the Denver Federal Center and other metro locations before deciding on a downtown location.

"Obviously we're delighted to have them downtown," said Jim Kirchheimer, senior vice president of economic development at the Downtown Denver Partnership. "But we're also delighted for what it means for all of metro Denver and Colorado."

Kirchheimer said the location announcement showcases downtown's "culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and that downtown Denver is really the hub of that sector."

Other new patent offices will be located in Detroit, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Jose. The agency is expanding in an effort to reduce a backlog of patent applications and create a regional presence in areas with active research and development sectors.

"This brings us one step closer to opening Colorado's regional patent office and delivering the jobs and economic development that come with it," said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in a statement. "The patent office will firmly establish our state as a destination for inventors and entrepreneurs and bolster our reputation as a hotbed for cutting-edge industries with deeply embedded cultures of innovation."
The Denver office is expected to open by 2014.

Patent examiners in Denver will earn an estimated average salary of $90,000, according to a recent study conducted by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado.
Officials said Denver was selected as one of the new regional offices because of a relatively low cost of living and high quality of life that will aid in the recruitment of top talent.


Patent News | "Google Patents Search Tool: The Lunatics are Running the Asylum"

By:  Chris Horton
Category: Patent News

Have you ever read a news story that makes you go, “Huh?” Such was the case last week when I read a seemingly innocuous story in TechCrunch about Google adding new “prior art” query functionality to its Google Patents search tool. On the same day came an announcement that Google was adding millions of documents from the European Patent Office into its new-and-improved Patents function. Exciting news for patent lawyers, to be sure, but so what? Here are two reasons why I find the moves interesting:

Google has a formal deal with the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office, the government agency that issues US patents) to provide bulk patent and trademark search data through the Google Patents search tool.

Many aspects of Google’s business model (especially mobile) are reliant on intellectual property (patents). Think of Google’s recent purchase of Motorola Mobility- a move made in large part to secure the latter’s 17,000 patents.

Even though the Google Patents search tool has been around since 2006, the tech giant didn’t formalize a deal with the USPTO until June of 2010. At that time, the USPTO entered into a no-cost, two-year agreement with Google to make bulk electronic patent and trademark data available to the public. Under this agreement, the USPTO provided Google with existing bulk, electronic files, which Google was happy to host (without modification) for the public free of charge.

Why did the USPTO do such a thing?

“The USPTO does not currently have the technical capability to provide this public information in a bulk machine readable format that is desired by the intellectual property (IP) community.”
Well, at least they were honest.

Check out the chummy exchange between Undersecretary of Commerce and head of USPTO David Kappos, and Jon Orwant, Engineering Manager for Google:

Kappos: “The USPTO is committed to providing increased transparency as called for by the President’s Open Government Initiative.  An important element of that transparency is making valuable public patent and trademark information more widely available in a bulk form so companies and researchers can download it for analysis and research…because the USPTO does not currently have the technical capability to offer the data in bulk form from our own Web site, we have teamed with Google to provide the data in a way that is convenient and at no cost for those who desire it.”

Orwant: “We’re happy to work with the USPTO to make patent and trademark data more accessible and useful,” said Jon Orwant, Engineering Manager for Google. “It’s important to make public data easier to gather and analyze. And when the data is free, that’s even better.”

Kudos to Kappos for at least admitting that the US government is way behind Google in technology (at least in Commerce-I suppose the NSA or the Pentagon would beg to differ).

I’m also glad to see Orwant and Google were at least polite, thanking the government for offering up copious amounts of free data for Google search engines to slice, dice, and of course, rank.


Patent News | "Motorola files new patent claims against Apple"

By: Emma Woollacott
Category: Patent News

Patent News
Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, has filed new patent claims against Apple. They include the assertion that Apple's voice assistant, Siri, is based on Motorola technology.

In all, Motorola's asserting seven patents, which also cover email notifications, location reminders and media playback. The patents appear not to be standards-essential, meaning that Motorola could in theory win an import ban on pretty much every Apple device if successful.

The two companies have been locked in a series of patent disputes around the world for more than two years.

The move comes just days before an expected decision on Motorola's first ITC complaint against Apple. A preliminary ruling has determined that Applehas infringed a Motorola patent covering noise reduction, but a penalty has yet to be set.

It's unlikely to include an import ban, as that particular patent has been deemed standards-essential, meaning that it's supposed to be licensed under fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms.

"The announcement of this new complaint may be driven in part by a desire to demonstrate that Motorola isn't finished even if its first ITC complaint against Apple may fail (in its entirety, or for the most part). Another possible motivation on Google's part is that the acquisition of Motorola Mobility has not been money well spent so far," says patent expert Florian Mueller.

"And a third reason could be that Apple has the upper hand in its dispute with Samsung and may receive a favorable verdict, possibly as early as next week, which would call into question Google's ability to bring about the patent peace it promised a year ago when it announced the Motorola deal."


Patent News | "Kodak patent surprise: Apple, Google, Samsung teaming up?"

Category: Patent News

Patent News
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple, Google and several other competing bidders for Kodak's patents are in talks to join forces. Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and HTC Corp are also said to be part of the cosortium that is seeking to snatch Kodak's patents.

Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, a company that specialises in buying patents and suing infringers is also part of the deal according “people with knowledge of the negotiations,” the Journal said.

If the consortium of bidders is successful the deal could stop a monopoly on Kodak's patents and, in turn, costly litigation between the companies down the line. The Journal's sources said that the cooperation was by no means certain at this point.

Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, had said it hoped for between 2.2 billion USD to 2.6 billion USD for their patents, however the selling price is now estimated around 500 million USD.


Patent News | "Patent system on trial in Apple, Samsung case"

By: Rick Merritt
Category: Patent News

SAN JOSE – The patent system, as much as anything, is what’s on trial in the Apple vs. Samsung case about to go to the jury here.

In my opinion, Apple did something novel with the iPhone: It delivered a handset that gave you access to an open Web browser in a way that was easy to navigate. But that’s not what’s at issue in this case.

I fault the patent system for not being flexible and easy-to-use enough to capture what should be at stake here. The patent system is stuck in old, arcane language. It’s deluged by a daily tsumani of applications and old patents, many of which were granted by examiners who lacked the expertise, time, systems—and budget--to conduct thorough reviews.

In the fall of 2007, I was talking to Sun co-founder and Google angel investor Andy Bechtolsheim backstage at a conference. He pulled out his iPhone and exclaimed, “Finally somebody got it!”

He went on to talk about how there had been many fine handsets before but never one on which you could browse the Web. Past handsets had screens that were too small, or they only accessed “walled gardens” created by carriers, or they had user interfaces so inscrutable that users gave up in frustration before they got to a useful page. Often the cellular networks and apps processors were just too slow to deliver and render a Web page in a reasonable amount of time.

The iPhone was the first device to bust through all that and deliver something so compelling it became the new personal computer.

Some of that achievement had nothing to do with Apple’s invention of anything. Cellular networks and apps processors got more powerful. Low power screens got bigger and brighter. Apple didn’t invent these things, but it was the first to see, understand and implement well something based on these trends.

I give Apple kudos for its Aha! moment and its excellent execution. But can any of that be expressed in today’s patents or trademarks? There’s the rub.


Patent News | "Apple’s patent battle could reshape gadget market"

Category: Patent News

Patent News
This week, nine jurors are expected to hunker down in a Californian federal courthouse to decide a case that could change how the world’s smartphones and tablet computers look and work.

After nearly a month of testimony in the legal dogfight between Apple and Samsung over patents, the two parties are expected to make their closing arguments on Tuesday. It will then be up to jurors to hash out which Apple patents, if any, Samsung stepped on when it created devices that compete with the iPhone and iPad. Apple is seeking $US2.5 billion in damages from Samsung, while Samsung has asked for $US422 million in a countersuit against Apple.

But the effects of the case are likely to be felt far beyond these two companies. If Apple prevails, experts believe Samsung and other rivals in the market will have a much stronger incentive to distinguish their smartphone and tablet products with unique features and designs to avoid further legal tangles.

“I think what we’ll see is a diversification of designs in the marketplace if Apple wins,” said Christopher V. Carani, an intellectual property lawyer for McAndrews, Held & Malloy.

And if the jury finds in favour of Samsung, its decision could have the opposite effect, creating a consensus around Apple-like designs for years to come. “Expect to see an awful lot of Apple knockoffs without fear of retribution,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner, the technology research firm.

Although Apple sued Samsung, the outcome of the case has broader implications for other companies that create devices based on Google’s Android operating system, along with Google itself.

Apple wants an order permanently barring Samsung, the largest maker of Android smartphones, from selling products in the United States that violate its patents. A legal victory against Samsung could give Apple extra ammunition in lawsuits it has filed against other Android makers.

Apple is facing a major challenge from Android in the smartphone market, where Google’s operating system powered 64.1 per cent of the smartphones shipped worldwide during the second quarter this year, according to Gartner. The iPhone’s share was 18.8 per cent.

As part of the case, Apple has accused Samsung of copying patented features in the iPhone and iPad – like the rectangular shape and rounded edges of the iPad’s case and the bounce-back effect when an iPhone user tries to scroll beyond the end of a list or Web page.

Apple presented copious amounts of evidence during the trial, including internal Samsung documents and emails, to bolster its argument that Samsung had imitated its products. At the least, the evidence showed the galvanising effect that the iPhone had on Samsung.

The iPhone set off a “crisis of design” at Samsung, J. K. Shin, Samsung’s president of mobile communications, said in 2010, according to an internal memo. It also quoted him as saying that the difference in the experience of using the iPhone and Samsung phones was akin to “that of Heaven and Earth”.

Apple presented a 132-page internal Samsung strategy document from 2010, in which the company conducted detailed side-by-side comparisons of the iPhone interface with that of a Samsung phone. In one email, a Samsung manager passed on to colleagues criticisms from Google saying a Samsung phone was “too similar to Apple”.

“My impressionistic sense is that Samsung has been on the defensive for most of the trial,” said Mark A. Lemley, a law professor at Stanford.

Rather than mount a full-throated effort to undermine Apple’s claims of imitation, Samsung’s lawyers in the trial argued that many of Apple’s patents were invalid because of earlier technologies that either looked or operated similarly to Apple’s products.

As the trial was winding down last week, Samsung’s legal team also argued that the method Apple used to come up with its figure of $US2.5 billion in damages was flawed, inflating the number.

Simply being inspired by Apple’s products is not illegal, said Jorge Contreras, an associate professor of law at American University. He says that Apple’s claims of Samsung infringement on its design patents, a class of inventions related to the exterior look of the iPhone and iPad, are weaker than its arguments for its “utility patents” in the case, which protect various software functions.

Mr Contreras predicts a “mixed result” in the case, with Apple winning on some of its claims, losing on others and getting nowhere near the amount it is demanding. “Even if Apple wins on a few of its claims, it’s not a market-defeating victory here,” he said.

For now, the only clear victors are the large squads of lawyers who have been busy on the case. More than a dozen members of each side’s legal team have packed the courtroom of Judge Lucy Koh.

Judge Koh has kept the trial on a strict schedule, often venting her frustration at lawyers when she believed they were slowing the case down. On Thursday, she told Bill Lee, one of Apple’s lawyers, that he must be “smoking crack” if he thought Apple could call all the witnesses it wanted to in the remaining hours of the trial. Mr Lee replied that he was not, in fact, on crack.