Well isn’t this is interesting. We reported the other day that Apple was successful in getting the Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned in Germany, but it looks like there are some loopholes. It turns out that though Samsung Germany can no longer sell or advertise the Tab 10.1, this doesn’t apply to everyone else. This means that other retailers do not have to remove the device from their shelves and can continue to sell them. They will also be able to replenish their stock as long as the devices aren’t purchased through Samsung’s German branch. While this still poses a bit of a pain to reroute shipments from somewhere else, a retailer like Media Markt is simply rerouting their shipments from the Netherlands. So close, but still so far Apple. Nice try though. What do you all think about this?
The U.S. patent system will get its first major overhaul in 60 years. The senate voted 89-9 in approval of the America Invents Act, and President Obama said in his speech last night, “Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need.”
The goal is for streamlining the patent process, reduce costly legal battles, and provide the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office the funding it needs to process patent applications faster.
The United States is switching from the “first-to-invent” system to the “first-inventor-to-file” system which puts us in line with other industrialized countries.
Small investors are concerned as they feel they will now be at a disadvantage with big corporations. Supporters are concerned with costly lawsuits in which companies are arguing and trying to prove who the first inventor is.
Back in August, A Dusseldorf issued a preliminary injunction on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It was originally for all of Europe (minus the Netherlands), but later changed to just Germany.
Today, the same court upheld that injunction which means the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is banned from any sales in the country. Presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said the following when delivering the verdict:
“The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible. For the informed customer there remains the predominant overall impression that the device looks like the design Apple has protected in Europe.”
The judge said the court didn’t compare the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with the actual iPad, but instead focused on a design Apple filed with the European Union intellectual property agency in Spain.
A few months ago, Microsoft was able to cut a deal with HTC grabbing $5 per device sold. We know Microsoft can’t make any money selling their own devices so they figured they would steal it from others. It’s kind of like taxing the rich and giving it to the poor. Microsoft is far from poor, but their sales of Windows phone is.
Microsoft just announced they now have licensing deals in place with Acer and Viewsonic. We do not know the terms, but much like the HTC deal, it will continue the trend that Microsoft will earn more money through licensing deals than sales of their own devices.
The major quote in both press releases is the following:
“We are pleased that [Acer/Viewsonic] is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.”
We can expect that as part of these deals, and future deals, that manufacturers will be forced to produce Windows devices. This is why Google bought Motorola. They needed to get control of the manufacturing process because it is unknown how any of these lawsuits will end.
There is no question the patent wars plaguing the smartphone and tablet industry is out of control. Verizon’s chief counsel, Randal Milch is now asking President Obama to step in. He wants a blanket statement from the President making clear that he would not allow any decision blocking imports of consumer wireless devices. He would rather see the parties enter into a license agreement.
The real question is if the President has the authority? It happens to be one peculiarity of the ITC that allows rulings to be waived by the President.
Unfortunately Verizon’s perspective is to provide new phones and tablets, and the blocking of imports hinders that. They want everything to be settled with licensing fees, but that is not the solution either. Licensing fees add to the costs and slows innovation. The real problem is the patent system. Patents are given out for just about anything, and the entire system needs to be overhauled.
Ultimately Milch’s request is a start. It could help burst the patent bubble so we can get back to pure innovation.
Earlier today we reported that a Netherlands Judge ruled that Samsung infringed Apple patent EP 2,058,868, and therefore banned the sale of the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and the Galaxy Ace.
Samsung made the following statement afterwards:
“Today’s ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive. With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers.
“This ruling is not expected to affect sales in other European markets”
Later they made a second statement pointing out that the judge rejected 9 out of the 10 complaints Apple made against the Galaxy line (including tablets):
A few weeks ago we reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was going to investigate the pending sale of over 6,000 Nortel patents to a consortium led by Apple and Microsoft. If approved, the deal would be completed sometime during this quarter.
Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network is asking for help. He wants developers and users to step up to the plate and share their views with the DOJ with the hopes that the sale will be denied or altered. The Open Invention Network was formed in 2005 to promote Linux by using patents to create a collaborative environment. These patents are available royalty-free to any company, and is currently backed by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony.
Last week we reported that Apple and Samsung had it out in a Dutch court. Apparently Apple is asking the court to stop Samsung from selling ALL Galaxy branded phones and tablets in Europe. They even asked them to recall units that are already in stores.
In case you are not up to speed, a German court gave Apple a preliminary injunction on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for all of Europe, except the Netherlands. Samsung was never given a chance to argue, but they will on August 25th. For now, the same German court reversed the injunction for all of Europe except Germany.
The case in Germany only involved community design which basically means that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks similar to the iPad. The Dutch court battlefield is different because Apple finally brought patent infringements into the mix.
Unless you have been under a rock for the last 24 hours you already know about the bomb that Google dropped yesterday acquiring Motorola. We continue to get more information, and something to note is that if the deal fails to close, Google will have to pay Motorola $2.5 billion which is more than six times the typical amount.
If you look at it on a percentage basis, the fee is more than triple the $3 billion AT&T is offering T-Mobile if that deals falls through. Google’s fee is about 26% of the transaction. The median percentage is 3.8% for all deals announced since January 1, 2010. The AT&T/T-Mobile deal is 7.7%.
What happens to cowards? They get slaughtered, and that is what Google did to Apple today when they announced their acquisition of Motorola. Before today the media was declaring Google a crybaby because they complained that Apple and Microsoft overpaid for the Nortel patents in an attempt to slow down Android with the courts rather than with innovation.
Apple and Microsoft did not “beat” out Google for the Nortel patents, they simply overpaid. Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple don’t “lose” deals like this. Each one of these companies has the money to buy whatever they want, but of course they set their own limit of what they are willing to pay. It is no different than the Yankees and Red Sox when they bid on a high priced free agent. A limit is set, and if the other team wants the player more, they will get the player. Sometimes both bidders are close, and someone loses by a small margin, but in this case there is no indication that Google’s final bid was that close. The fact of the matter is Google wasn’t interested in paying four times the value of those patents just to be a patent troll.