Companies call for clarity from the court
The US Supreme Court has decided to hear a patent-infringement case that calls into question the validity of patent protection for certain software features. In the legal battle fought between Alice Corporation and CLS Bank International, in which the former alleges violation of a software patent related to financial transactions, lower courts have failed to reach a consensus regarding the technology's patent eligibility.
Could hint at possibilities for iOS Camera app
Apple has won a US patent on a software-based method of producing a stereoscopic image. Instead of requiring a specialized camera with twin lenses, the new system would identify two suitable photos in a device's camera roll and combine them, aligning content automatically. The patent was first filed for in January 2011, but only came into Apple's hands after a Kodak patent auction in 2012. The film and camera maker sold off some $525 million in patents to help emerge from bankruptcy.
Could be used to unlock future Apple devices
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a new patent on a facial recognition system. The concept was first submitted in 2008, and would let people unlock a device like an iPhone or Mac simply by staring at a built-in camera. The device would store several images of a user, and only grant access if one of them matched. More significantly, Apple notes that the technology could be used to hide or reveal data on a per-case basis, instead of across the board.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent on a refocusable camera system similar to Lytro's camera technology. Apple's concept is based on a microlens adapter, but like Lytro, would let people refocus a photo after it's taken -- something impossible with regular camera optics. The Apple patent in fact cites the work of Lytro founder Ren Ng as prior art, and reports have previously noted that, prior to Lytro going public with its product, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs invited Ng to his home for a demonstration.
System could create specific responses based on earlier messages
Responding to social network postings could be easier in the future, according to a patent filing from Google. A listing on the USPTO for the "Automated generation of suggestions for personalized reactions in a social network" advises of a potential system that could suggest appropriate responses to posts and messages, one that takes into account previous messages by the user.
Case against Apple suspended while validity of Samsung patent decided
Just hours after a US jury restored more than half of the set-aside portion of damages from the first Apple vs Samsung trial, a separate case in Germany has been suspended because the court believes that the patent Samsung is attempting to sue Apple over is invalid. The matter will be put on hold until the Federal Patent Court of Germany can determine it. Even if the patent is eventually found valid, Apple will face no injunction over its use, since it is a standards-essential patent (SEP).
Sum below Apple's original demand
Two of the jurors in the Apple v. Samsung damages retrial are crediting an accountant witness, Julie Davis, for the $290 million verdict in Apple's favor. Jury forewoman Colleen Allen tells Bloomberg that Davis was a "superstar" who stayed steady even when she was being cross-examined. Allen's opinion is backed by juror Barry Goldman-Hall, who says it was Davis' testimony that helped the jury come to a precise figure. There were eight people on the jury in all, consisting of two men and six women.
Document kept out of public eye until after 5s launch
The US Patent and Trademark Office has published an Apple patent application for the technology inside its Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The document is titled Capacitive Sensor Packaging, and was originally submitted on March 15th. Like a number of Apple filings, though, it appears to have been kept secret until after the product associated with the technology launched.
Previously attempted Samsung tactic tried again as USPTO hearings continue
In a last-ditch effort to stop the jury deliberation of the now concluded Apple versus Samsung damages retrial, Samsung has made an emergency filing based on a comment from the US Patent and Trademark Office, which said that an Apple patent may not be valid. According to the filing, the USPTO questions if Apple's "pinch to zoom" patent, a key patent used in the retrial, is valid. Samsung believes that "this PTO decision calls into question the entire jury verdict in this trial."
Company claims documents, absence of Samsung execs aid case
Apple today made its closing arguments in the Apple v. Samsung damages retrial. A lawyer for the company, Bill Lee, argued earlier on Tuesday that documents were Apple's best evidence. Presenting to the court, Lee once again referred to images of Samsung devices pre- and post-iPhone, as well as internal Samsung communications. "In some ways our best witness is Samsung," he claimed.
Jury will re-decide what Samsung owes Apple for copying, infringement on 24 devices
The case between Samsung and Apple re-contesting the exact amount of damages owed to the iPhone maker by the Korean electronics giant is winding down, with testimony from expert witnesses having rounded out the day and final arguments in the case being heard tomorrow before the jury deliberates. The retrial, a branching-off from the main trial last year in which Samsung was fined just over $1 billion for infringing and copying Apple patents, is recalculating the awards for some products.
Potential ban likely to have minimal effect on Samsung
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has granted Apple another chance to impose a sales ban on patent-infringing Samsung phones, reports say. The court has vacated an earlier ruling by District Court judge Lucy Koh, who denied a ban Apple was seeking on 26 Samsung products. The Court of Appeals states that with respect to Apple's technical utility patents, Apple must now only show "some connection" between a patented feature and demand for a Samsung device, rather than illustrate a feature as a primary attraction, as Koh requested.
Original jury had awarded Apple $114 million for the patents
Even as Apple senior executive Phil Schiller was telling the jury that Samsung's copying and infringement of Apple patents had hurt the reputation of the company, presiding US District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled on Friday that Apple can't pursue damages due to lost profits on four of the five patents-in-suit. While "lost profits" is only a portion of the damages that can be awarded, the original jury in the first trial assigned around $114 million to Apple for the patents in question, leaving the company more likely to get less overall.
'Weakens the view that the world has for Apple'
Samsung infringement of Apple patents made it harder to sell the iPhone and iPad, Apple's head of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, claimed earlier today in a second day of testimony at the Apple v. Samsung damages retrial. Asked by an Apple attorney what he thought when he first saw the Samsung Galaxy S, Schiller said: "I was quite shocked. They went and copied the iPhone." He went on to suggest that Samsung's past copying "weakens the view that the world has for Apple," and has caused people to "question our innovation and design skills in a way that people never used to."
SVP of Marketing describes iPhone as a 'bet-the-company' product
With a jury seated, the retrial concerning damages related to Samsung's infringing of Apple patents got underway in earnest on Thursday, largely taken up with procedural matters but also featuring brief testimony from Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller. In his few minutes of testimony, he told the jury about the original development of the iPhone, describing it as a "bet-the-company" high-risk product that might not have succeeded, with "almost everyone" at Apple involved at some point.
Samsung says damages owed are far shorter
Apple has asked for $380 million in damages at the beginning of the Apple v. Samsung damages retrial, reports say. Harold McElhinny, an attorney representing Apple, explained in opening statements today that the company's calculations assume lost profits of $114 million, Samsung profits of $231 million, and royalties of $35 million. Apple claims it would have sold 360,000 devices if Samsung hadn't released ones infringing on its patents, and that Samsung sold 10.7 million infringing devices, pulling in $3.5 billion in revenue. To support his case, McElhinny suggested that an internal Samsung document was "conclusive evidence Apple lost sales because of Samsung."
Apple still considers NetAirus parent invalid
Jury selection is slated to begin today in the long-running NetAirus v. Apple lawsuit, Bloomberg reports. The case, first filed over three years ago, complains that the iPhone violates a 1997 patent held by NetAirus owner Richard Ditzik, documenting a handheld device merging a computer with wireless communications over local- and wide-area networks. Apple has maintained that the Newton MessagePad achieved similar technology as early as 1994, rendering NetAirus' patent obsolete.
Agrees mostly with Apple's summaries, rejects most Samsung proposal
Federal Circuit Court Judge Lucy Koh has entered orders for the limited damages retrial between Apple and Samsung that begins next week, and has largely favored Apple's interpretation of how the jury should understand and award monetary damages or other penalties for the contested patents. Apple won a judgement of over $1 billion against Samsung in the original trial, but approximately 40 percent of that award was held back for re-examination.
Apple sole defendant to avoid settlement
Apple has won a legal victory in the ongoing patent-infringement lawsuit filed by WiLAN. The latter company had been fighting for damages worth $248 million, however the jury has cleared Apple of wrongdoing and found several of WiLAN's patent claims to be invalid.
Re-establishes foothold for Apple lawsuits
The US Patent and Trademark Office has finished a re-examination of Apple's so-called "Steve Jobs patent" and upheld all 20 claims as patentable, reports note. The patent is 364 pages in length, and covers many of the core concepts of the iPhone. Last year it was challenged anonymously, however, and in December the USPTO issued a preliminary invalidation.
Three Samsung motions meant to delay investigation of breach shot down
The presiding judge in the ongoing Apple-Samsung trial (the first stage of which ended with a complete victory for Apple and over $1 billion in damages awarded by a jury) is, to put it mildly, unhappy about Samsung's stonewalling of an investigation into the disclosure of confidential terms of an Apple-Nokia deal to Samsung executives. Rather than admit culpability, the company and its legal firm attempted to persuade the judge that the whole thing was a blameless accident. It didn't work.
Could conceivably increase ban to cover three additional patents
Despite the current government shutdown, an International Trade Commission lawyer has filed a notice of Apple's intent to appeal unfavorable portions of the company's ITC win against Samsung back in August. Though the ruling awarded Apple a victory in declaring that Samsung had infringed on multiple Apple patents -- resulting in an embargo against mostly-now-discontinued Samsung smartphone models -- the iPhone maker is still pushing for a broader ban that includes more patents.
Small range of phones affected
Samsung did not receive a hoped-for Obama administration veto of an ITC import ban, according to an official statement by US Trade Representative Michael Froman. "After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow [the ban to take effect]," says Froman. Just a small number of older, generally outdated phones will be affected, since more recent devices have worked around the two Apple patents that form the basis for the ban. The patents involve aspects of multi-touch technology and a sensor for headphone jacks.
Lack of veto could instill worries about pro-US bias
The Obama administration has until midnight Eastern time tonight to overturn an impending International Trade Commission ban on some older Samsung devices, reports note. Earlier this year, the administration vetoed an ITC import ban on AT&T models of Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad 2. While the ban against Samsung would only affect a small number of outdated phones, that company and others have argued that failing to issue a veto could be a sign of economic protectionism, since Apple is US-based while Samsung is headquartered in South Korea. The administration has claimed that it opposes using patents to block competitors.
Innovatio IP Ventures handed setback in patent stable licensing
Information has started to surface about Judge James F. Holderman's effective upholding of Judge James Robart's FRAND approach for determining royalties for standards-essential patent (SEP) licensing. Patent holding company Innovatio IP Ventures has been awarded less than one percent of what it was seeking in the case, and is now entitled only to a per-unit royalty of $0.0956 "for each Wi-Fi chip used or sold by the manufacturers in the United States" for a license to use any one of its 19 standards-essential Wi-Fi patents.
Samsung allegedly used terms to gain upper hand in negotiations
Samsung executives obtained illicit access to the terms of licensing agreements between Apple and Nokia, and at least Apple is requesting sanctions, according to an Apple v. Samsung court order from Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal. The licensing terms were contained in a non-redacted document marked for use by outside legal counsel with the phrase "Highly Confidential -- Attorneys' Eyes Only." Nokia's Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Paul Melin, charges however that on June 4th, Samsung executives ended up using the document in a negotiation session with his company.
ITC complaint victory by Nokia forces changes in HTC One, others
HTC is being forced to change the design of the HTC One yet again, along with other devices in its range, in order to avoid more legal trouble from Nokia. Following the first stage victory of Nokia in its ITC complaint against HTC, the manufacturer is now working on a way to improve the HTC One's radio components, without infringing on Nokia's patents.
Appeal lengthens already extremely drawn out invalidation process
Earlier today, Apple filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding a decision by the US Patent and Trade Office over its '90s-era "data tapping" patent that it has asserted in many of its smartphone patent trials. Apple is seeking the broadest possible interpretation of the patent, and is fighting invalidation based on "anonymous" requests to have the patent's uniqueness re-evaluated in 2010.
Ban had stymied German users even after patent found likely invalid
As of 9PM local time in Germany, users in that country are finally -- after 19 months -- able to activate push email services from iCloud. The previous block was due to a patent dispute with Google-owned Motorola Mobility over a patent on a push-type messaging originally granted for beepers, and which has in the intervening months been found invalid for four separate reasons by a court in the UK, and later on in three different courts in Germany.
Unusual techniques required to support curved glass
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent on the design of the glass cylinder over top its Pudong Apple Store in Shanghai. The cylinder is similar in concept to the cube over top the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City, but made even more complex by the need to curve the glass. To that end, Apple notes that it had to skip conventional glass laminate technology in favor of new construction techniques that could support a large weight load over long periods of time.
Ruling applies to cases already settled
An east Texas judge, Rodney Gilstrap, has issued a ruling blocking Apple from intervening on behalf of iOS app developers pursued by Lodsys, reports say. The order, handed down last Tuesday, also allows Lodsys to settle individually with each of the developers it has been leveling patent claims against. Apple has been seeking to intervene on behalf of developers for two years, arguing that it since it licensed patents (now owned by Lodsys) from Intellectual Ventures for in-app purchases, third-party developers are already protected.
Commission seeks public comments
The US Federal Trade Commission has announced that it is opening an investigation into patent assertion entities (PAEs), commonly referred to using the derisive term "patent trolls." The commission cautions that its initial move is limited to information gathering, focusing on approximately 25 companies whose primary business model involves purchasing patents and filing infringement lawsuits.
Jobs himself showed off technology months ahead of patent application
In a nearly-perfect example of how strange and convoluted patent law can become, an Apple patent on the "bounceback" effect when scrolling -- part of the family of patents known as "rubber-banding" technologies -- has been ruled invalid in Germany because Jobs demonstrated the effect during the iPhone announcement from January 2007, five months before the company applied for the patent. The law in Europe classifies this as "prior art" even though it is from the same company.
Amount substantially less that originally demanded
The Tokyo District Court has ordered Apple to pay $3 million in damages to a Japanese inventor, Norihiko Saito. Saito first filed a lawsuit against Apple five years ago, alleging that the clickwheel found on the Classic and some older iPods violates a patent of his. He originally called for 10 billion yen in damages, or about $101 million, based on the strength of iPod sales at the time.
Real-world implementation might prove difficult
Apple has won the rights to a US patent on an accelerometer-based security system for mobile devices. The accelerometer would, in theory, be able to detect if someone is stealing an iPhone or iPad, instead of just picking it up as its rightful owner. In the case of theft, an alarm would go off to alert bystanders.
Apple allegedly spending $2.4M per month to reroute video calls
A rare patent suit loss for Apple back in November of last year is costing the company dearly both in money and reputation as it struggles to work around the affected patents owned by VirnetX for its FaceTime video calling service. In addition the $368 million Apple will pay VirnetX for past infringement of a VPN patent (pending appeal), Apple is now working around the patent to avoid further infringement, and the company's solutions to that are both expensive and not working as well, causing customer complaints.
Ads aim to increase awareness of patent trolls
The Internet Association has joined forces with several trade groups to launch an ad campaign critical of patent trolls. The radio and print ads are running in 15 states, focusing on small businesses that are commonly targeted by patent-holding companies and non-practicing entities. "Tell Congress to stop bad patents and stop the trolls," one ad says, as quoted by Ars Technica.
Remote app could control AV gear, smart home electronics
Apple has won a pair of new US patents, the most important of which covers a theoretical universal remote app for the iPhone. The invention is credited to the creator of the iTunes Remote app for iOS, Alan Cannistraro. Unlike that app however, the patented concept -- originally submitted five years ago -- would allow a person to control multiple AV devices along with smart home electronics such as lights and window shades. Multiple wireless standards could be supported, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Will leave many ruled damages intact
US District Court judge Lucy Koh has issued a ruling denying Samsung a new trial related to Apple's "rubber-banding" interface patent. Apple once accused over 20 phones and two tablets of violating the patent. During the companies' 2012 US trial, the jury ruled that 18 of the devices were in violation, but last March Koh reduced the initial $1.05 billion trial verdict by $450.5 million, on the basis that the jury had miscalculated. A partial retrial has been ordered for November, but now the rubber-banding patent won't be involved.
Detected unfamiliar locations require more stringent security in patent
Google has applied for a patent for a way a smartphone can vary its security, depending on its location. The USPTO filing for "Location-based security system for portable electronic device," filed on September 14th last year outlines how a smartphone can require more stringent authentication in unfamiliar or hazardous areas, and for less security when at home or in a known location.
Company has won more than $11M in court victories so far
Case and accessory maker OtterBox has won another court case against a counterfeiter, gaining a $2 million verdict against S & P Trading, a New York-based company that was found guilty of selling at least 146,000 fake OtterBox cases. The company has aggressively gone after unauthorized replica makers, and in 2012 helped US Customs seize 118,000 other counterfeit items, and won other court cases against bogus product sellers for a total of nearly $11 million. OtterBox holds more than 190 patents in the US and 110 trademarks worldwide.
Could be used for image editing apps, other concepts
Apple has won a US patent for a form of 3D gesture control that could work with touchscreen devices. While the bulk of interactions would still be done via direct screen contact, a mix of touch and proximity sensors could be used to detect a person "pulling" a 3D shape out of a 2D one. Apple suggests using the technology in CAD and other image editing apps. Functions could, for instance, range from sculpting models to adjusting individual elements like textures, shadows and highlights.
Sales ban may apply to current as well as older products if they are still infringing
Following Apple's victory against Samsung on Friday that resulted in sales and importation injunctions of any of Samsung's products that infringe on two of Apple's non-SEP patents, the Korean company has posted surety bonds that allow it to continue selling such devices in the US during the mandatory 60-day Presidential review period. Oddly, Samsung has already presented "design-around" versions of infringing products to the court and gotten clearance for those versions to be sold, but for now wants to continue importing the infringing products.
60-day review process begins on infringing devices import ban
Updated with Samsung statement on ruling The US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled today that assorted Samsung mobile products do in fact infringe on two of four Apple-held patents in a complaint going back to 2011. The panel has issued an import embargo on some of Samsung's older mobile products, preventing it from selling and distributing the infringing devices. Today's ruling begins the 60-day Presidential review process of the ITC ruling.
If victorious, Apple will leverage ruling into sales block of more products
Earlier today, a three-judge panel heard an appeal from Apple on a permanent injunction of sales on selected Samsung phones, previously denied by Judge Lucy Koh in the first groundbreaking smartphone patent trial between the manufacturing giants. At stake is not only an embargo on the mostly obsolete phones listed in the original complaint, but Apple's ability to seek bans rapidly for newer phones that Apple also deems infringing.
ITC decision, hearings on Samsung and DOJ e-book case
Tomorrow will mark a busy and important day on several legal fronts for Apple, as it awaits a much-watched International Trade Commission decision on its complaint against Samsung. In addition, two separate but important federal court hearings will be held on Friday; one related to another Apple-Samsung matter stemming from the first trial, and another where Apple will get to argue the deficiencies of the Department of Justice's proposed settlement over the e-book price-fixing case. Apple plans to appeal the DOJ verdict.
Skips usual demand for patent licenses
Patent holding firm Lodsys has agreed to mutual charitable donations as settlement in its case against TMSOFT, a developer of various Mac and iOS apps. The person behind TMSOFT, Todd Moore, described the case as a "frivolous lawsuit" and notes that the case has been dismissed "with prejudice," preventing Lodsys from suing him again. He adds that he wasn't forced to sign a confidentiality agreement, but that he also isn't allowed to sue Lodsys, which could've been used to have courts rule the company's patents invalid.
One patent removed from dispute
Apple has won an appeal in a patent lawsuit against Motorola Mobility, mostly overturning the International Trade Commission's dismissal ruling. The patent-infringement dispute is headed back to the ITC for another round of deliberation, though Apple declined to appeal its claims regarding on one of the three patents included in the initial suit, according to a report by patent analyst Florian Mueller.
Both patents involve Apple touch screen technology
Two more of Apple's patents have come under an "anonymous" re-examination request before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). US patent 7,663,607 covering multipoint touch screens, and US patent 7,920,129 involving a "double-sided touch-sensitive panel" have been put up for review. Both patents were originally being asserted by Apple against Samsung, but were winnowed at the demand of Judge Lucy Koh's order to simplify and streamline the first Apple versus Samsung smartphone trial.
Ban on iPhone 4 to go into effect Monday without intervention
Only days before a mysterious ITC ban on the iPhone 4 (and GSM iPad 2, no longer offered for sale) is to come into effect, the same body has decided -- on the day they were to pronounce judgement on another battle, an Apple complaint about Samsung patent infringement -- to delay the decision by a week. No reason for the delay was given. The matter revolves around four Apple patents -- three technical, one design -- and additional patents Samsung was found to be violating. Ironically, if the ITC continue with the preliminary judgement and staff recommendation, a sales ban on Samsung smartphones and tablets may be issued.