The USPTO has issued a ruling on an Apple patent related to predictive text input declaring the patent invalid. The decision on US Patent No 8,074,172 centered on claim 18 of the patent which was defeated on the basis of prior art. The patent in question was one of two that a jury recently determined had been infringed upon by Samsung in a lawsuit brought by Apple.
Apple and Samsung have been duking it out in the courts for a couple of years now, but today’s news could be the beginning of the end. Both companies have jointly announced an agreement to drop all suits against each other in countries outside the U.S. This includes Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France, and Italy.
What’s interesting here is that not only is the U.S. excluded from this, but there is no cross-licensing agreement in place. So the current suits are no more, but how does this stop either company from filing new suits? It doesn’t, but I guess we can be thankful for this first step because these lawsuits do nothing but put money in the attorney’s pockets and stifle innovation.
According to Korea Times, the legal battle between the tech giants of Apple and Samsung may be coming to an end. Of course we’ve seen that before, only to also watch it crash and burn, but according to the Korean news publication, both companies have resumed talks to settle patent disputes out of court and if all goes according to plan, will end the multi-year battle between the two companies as early as the end of summer. Both are discussing royalty payments and the possibility of cross-licensing to avoid future court battles.
This news does come of last week’s announcement that Apple would be dropping patent disputes with both Motorola and Google. Should the two companies come to an agreement in ending the great patent wars, this will bode a different direction for all companies involved as there are also discussions about a cease fire (cease litigation) for a certain period of time on future disputes.
source: The Korea Times
A new report recently released by Vanity Fair attempts to recount the history of the smartphone wars, notably the battles between Apple and Samsung. Prompted by the most recent legal issue to reach a U.S. courtroom, the story portrays Samsung as using litigation and delay as part of an overall strategy to secure market share, especially when entering a new product space. Some of the tactics described are quite stunning, like one instance where Samsung employees were alleged to have actually eaten documents to make sure investigators could not get their hands on them.
According to a new antitrust lawsuit that was filed yesterday, Google is said to be violating antitrust laws by maintaining an illegal monopoly — not only on Internet search but mobile search as well. This has supposedly affected the search market adversely while inflating the cost of devices of competing companies.
The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for Northern California. It accuses the Mountain View company of using Android as a way to maintain the monopoly through secret agreements with device makers. These agreements require companies to load Google’s suite of apps onto their devices. Known as Mobile Application Distribution Agreements or MADAs, the agreements have been made with mostly all Android vendors. These agreements essentially help partners facing lawsuits of their own in funding, technical support and other assistance.
Late last week, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google VP of engineering for Android, took the stand for the Samsung vs Apple trial. Of course this trial is all about copying Apple, and Lockheimer argued that they never tried to copy Apple’s iOS. Not only that, many of the Android’s software features were created before Apple did.
“We liked to have our own identity; we liked to have our own ideas,” Lockheimer said. “We were very passionate about what we were doing, and it was important that we have our own ideas.”
Last September, an appeals court ruled that Google’s Street View Wi-Fi sniffing tactics violated the Wiretap Act, and now Google is asking the Supreme Court to overrule that decision.
In order to get accurate Street View data, Google sniffs unencrypted Wi-Fi networks such as nearby homes and businesses. Some people see it as wiretapping, but Google thinks capturing unencrypted Wi-Fi is not wiretapping. After further investigations, it was found that an engineer was electronically eavesdropping as part of a 20-percent project, but he also urged the company’s legal team to “weigh in” before deploying the code to the Street View fleet. That request “slipped through the cracks,” and Google apologized with the understanding they would destroy the never used data.
A U.S. panel ruled today that HTC, ZTE and Huawei did not violate digital camera patents made by FlashPoint, an Apple spinoff. FlashPoint originally filed the complaint in 2012, and accused all three of the companies of infringing four patents related to phone cameras. One of those patents was dropped as the case moved forward.
In September 2013, a judge found in a preliminary decision that the HTC Vivid and HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE infringed upon one of the patents, while both ZTE and Huawei were cleared. The panel ruled in a final decision that none of the companies infringed on any patents made by FlashPoint.
It’s time for another episode of the Samsung vs Apple war. If you remember, back in December, Apple asked Judge Lucy Koh for a permanent injunction againt Samsung that would ban the sale of over 20 phones and tablets in the U.S. This was after Apple was finally awarded a total of $930 million in damages from the original landmark verdict back in August 2012. Judge Koh denied the injunction, but the future doesn’t look all that bad for Apple.
The two giants will face each other in court again later this month, but it’s on a different set of patents that involve newer devices such as the Galaxy S III. Many industry experts think more damages will be awarded to Apple since these newer products were bigger sellers. Apple and Samsung did try to settle things with a mediator, but unsurprisingly, that didn’t go so well.
Will this war ever end?
It seems the patent fight between Nokia and HTC hasn’t ended yet. Nokia once again won another German patent lawsuit filed against HTC. A German court ruled that HTC violated Nokia’s patent EP 1578613 B1 related to a “method and apparatus for enabling a mobile station to adapt its revision level based on network protocol revision level.” The patent relates to how newer devices are compatible with older technology networks. HTC has already licensed Nokia’s Standard-Essential Patents (SEPs) but this patent is not a Standard-Essential Patent.
The court found HTC infringing on this Nokia patent and ordered an injunction to prevent the import and sale of all HTC devices in Germany that violate the patent. HTC will also have to pay for damages, which will be determined in a separate proceeding.