Patent lawsuits in the mobile industry are nothing new, and Samsung is surely one of the more prominent initiators of said lawsuits, as mostly evidenced by its ongoing volley against Apple, which Apple returns in kind.
In another sign of the continuing end of hostilities between the world’s smartphone manufacturers, Rockstar Consortium, Inc. has announced the sale of 4,000 patents to RPX Corp. The portfolio was originally obtained by Rockstar in a bidding war that took place during 2011 between Rockstar and Google to obtain the intellectual property from Nortel Networks. Rockstar is a consortium made up of Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony. RPX licenses patents to companies that join their syndicate, including Google and Cisco Systems.
As we close on 2014, and approach 2015, it doesn’t hurt to take a step back and reflect on what was accomplished and what didn’t work out so well during the year. 2014, without a doubt, showed off some great new tech like Android Wear, and virtual reality is finally showing tangible signs of life. Even Apple decided to finally do something new (for itself) and make a reasonable phone size.
2014, as it’s winding down, is also showing some rather dangerous indications of what might be in store for Android OEMs in 2015. Sharp declines in sales, market stagnation and ridiculous patent warfare may bleed over into the new year, and I doubt anyone is going to come out victorious in the end.
When a carrier surprises customers with unauthorized (or unknown) charges on their monthly bills, it is known as cramming. Over the last few months, the largest carriers in the United States were exposed for doing so. The government is coming down on them with little remorse. On Wednesday, Sprint was served with a $105 million fine from the FCC. And on Friday, T-Mobile reached a settlement with the FTC to avoid any further potential damage.
The ongoing saga regarding the OnePlus One in India continues to chug along and it’s not getting any better for OnePlus. It all started when it was revealed that OnePlus One units in India will not receive software updates because Cyanogen has an exclusive deal with Micromax. Now after 15 days of the phone being available in the country through Amazon, it’s no longer available. Since Micromax has an exclusive deal with Cyanogen, it won’t be a surprise to you that they weren’t to fond of the Cyanogen logo on the OnePlus One.
Samsung and Apple are back in court again as Samsung looks to appeal the $930 million jurors awarded to Apple for intellectual property infringement. During the oral argument hearing yesterday, discussions were technical in nature, and discussed whether or not portions of the iPhone’s design was functional or ornamental. But that wasn’t the only aspect that the three-judge panel discussed.
The music and video streaming applications from Samsung are called Milk Music and Milk Video, respectively. The somewhat strange names, though, are not as unique as one would think. Multimedia company Milk Studios has filed a lawsuit against Samsung regarding trademark infringement. The complaint specifically goes after the music streaming service, claiming that Samsung did indeed know of Milk Studios’ existence.
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Things are not exactly friendly between Samsung and NVIDIA. In September, NVIDIA launched a lawsuit against Samsung and Qualcomm alleging patent infringement. Samsung returned by saying that NVIDIA has falsely advertised its Tegra K1 processor. This is swiftly responded to by proof of actual benchmarks. The false advertising response was issued nearly two weeks ago, but now things are getting serious once again. Samsung filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission. What is the goal of this complaint? To block NVIDIA from providing its graphics chips in the United States. While it does sound unlikely to happen, it is certainly a possibility.
NVIDIA recently filed a lawsuit against Samsung and Qualcomm for violating seven of NVIDIA’s GPU patents. Samsung filed a counter lawsuit, of course, claiming that NVIDIA violated six patents, and Velocity, a small client of NVIDIA’s, violated eight patents. Samsung also claims that NVIDIA is using false advertising when they say the Tegra K1 CPU is the “world’s fastest mobile processor,” as Samsung believes the Note 4’s Exynos 5433 is faster.
NVIDIA has responded to this lawsuit, and it’s definitely putting Samsung in a negative light for dragging a much smaller company (Velocity) into the mix. The response accuses Samsung of suing Velocity to keep the lawsuit in Virgina where Velocity is based, as Virgina has a faster time to trial than most other places in the US. It makes sense for Samsung, but it feels like a cheap shot at the much smaller company.
In response to a lawsuit filed by Microsoft against Samsung accusing the Korean electronics giant of delaying patent payments, Samsung indicates in a new filing that possible antitrust issues created by Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia violate the patent licensing agreement.
Google filed a request earlier this week seeking a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that pits the tech giant against another powerhouse in technology, Oracle. The case involves parts of Java that Oracle claims copyright over and believes Google has violated when building the Android operating system. While the dollar figure in dispute, $1 Billion, is sizable, Google is framing the question as key to the ability for tech companies to innovate.
About a month ago, we reported that NVIDIA was taking Qualcomm and Samsung to court over GPU patent infringement. Well we have a little update that could prove to be a crack in Samsung’s spine. That’s something they don’t need right now considering their financial situation.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted to investigate whether any of Samsung’s smartphones and/or tablets should be blocked from entering the U.S. The devices in question utilize either the Snapdragon S4, 400, 600, 800, 801, or 805. This means the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge could literally be blocked from entering into the U.S. Other devices in the complaint include the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4, Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy Note Pro, and Galaxy Tab 2.
Google has reached a settlement with the FTC agreeing to fully refund consumers charged for their children’s in-app purchases. The decision is hardly a surprise, considering Apple reached the same agreement in January, and Amazon did the same in July. The issue arises from Google’s requiring a password for purchases every 30 minutes and “blurring the lines” between real money purchases and virtual ones. The FTC’s issue arises from a few lawsuits filed by parents looking for retribution after giving their children free reign over their devices.