Articles about Patents

Rotten apple

Samsung persuades US watchdog to review Smartflash legal dance over patents

Apple may end up getting a helping hand from its mega smartphone rival Samsung, after the South Korean electronics giant convinced US regulators to look at two Smartflash LLC patents. In February, Cupertino was ordered to pay nearly half a billion dollars to Texas-based patent licensing company Smartflash after a jury found that …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Apr 2015
management regulation1

Court nixes four HP patents in ServiceNow infringement case

Hewlett-Packard has suffered a setback in its patent infringement lawsuit against help-desk competitor ServiceNow. Four of the eight technology patents HP had asserted ServiceNow had trampled over have been thrown out of court by the US judge hearing the case. US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman, sitting in California, had …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Mar 2015
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US dominates net-security patents, China, Canada and Oz on the advance

The US, China, Canada and Australia are the world's major sources of security patents, according to analysis by LexInnova. The company issued a report on Friday looking at the market for security patent licensing. It'll come as no surprise that Cisco is the 800-pound gorilla of the security game with 6,442 patents (followed …
Close-up of the flu virus (artist's impression) - Shutterstock

US judge lobs antivirus patents back to Hell

A US district court has torn the heart out of two patents wielded by Intellectual Ventures against two antivirus makers. In a judgment [PDF] this week, Chief Judge Leonard Stark ruled that Intellectual Ventures' US patents 6,460,050 and 6,073,142 were "ineligible," meaning they are too vague and the technologies they described …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Apr 2015
Googorola logo

Google tips LTE patents into mostly-public pool

The LTE rollout has moved a little closer to avoiding sueball spats that have long plagued the tech biz, with Google tipping a bucket of its IP into Via Licensing. Via Licensing, set up years ago by Dolby Laboratories, set up an LTE patent pool in 2012, with ten participants including names like AT&T and Clearwire, KDDI, NTT …
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Ethernet patents claim smacked down by US judge

Ethernet Innovations' sue-the-world strategy is beginning to unravel, with a California judge invalidating two of its patents and ruling that another two, on which it had based its lawsuits, hadn't been infringed. Companies who had decided to settle might be wishing they'd resisted, with Acer, Dell, HP and a bunch of other …
Samsung UE105S9 5K 105-inch flexible TV

Guess who filed most Euro patents in 2014? Yep, still Samsung

The European Patent Office (EPO) has released its latest annual figures showing that the number of patents filed reached an all-time high in 2014. Samsung held on to its number one closely followed by Philips and Siemens. Huawei, LG, Qualcom, Ericsson and Intel also made the top 10. Nokia was only just outside that in 11th place …
Jennifer Baker, 27 Feb 2015

We'll buy patents for cash, says Google – just don't feed the trolls

Google is offering to buy patents from inventors in a race against patent trolls. The California giant wants to snatch the blueprints before they can be used in infringement lawsuits against it. The Mountain View web goliath is giving patent-holders two weeks to come forward and show off their wares: the Patent Purchase …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2015

Want to be the hottest thing since Melrose Place? Get these Lycos patents

Dial-up era icon Lycos has finally gotten around to selling off its patents. The erstwhile search engine of the Clinton administration has embarked on a campaign to sell off its intellectual property holdings in an attempt to generate some revenue. The company has hired a consulting firm called Propeller(y) to help flog its …
Shaun Nichols, 21 May 2015

Apple and Microsoft backed Rockstar flogs zombie Nortel patents for $900m

Rockstar Consortium, the trolling outfit that snapped up the patent portfolio of bankrupt telecoms firm Nortel, has agreed to sell the bulk of that technology to a company that claims to be dedicated to reducing patent litigation. RPX Clearinghouse will buy the 4,000 zombie Nortel patents from the consortium for $900m, Reuters …
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014

Now Smartflash wants $1.6bn for its iTunes patents. Apple: You'll get nothing and like it!

Not content with a $533m payday, patent troll Smartflash is asking a US federal court to triple the infringement verdict it won against Apple and iTunes earlier this year. In a 49-page filing [PDF] with the Texas Eastern District court, Smartflash argued that February's jury award was insufficient and should be tripled to nearly …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015
Total War: Shogun 2

WHY are GoDaddy and Verisign stockpiling patents? Do I smell war?

A raft of patent applications has presaged a possible legal war in the rapidly expanding domain-name industry. This year alone, market-leading registrar GoDaddy has applied for no less than eight patents specific to the DNS world, covering everything from searching for a domain name to register, to recommending a specific domain …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Mar 2015
Satya Nadella and Stephen Elop

Microsoft's cash-leaking Nokia phones rip off patents, face import ban

A judge with the US International Trade Commission has ruled that Microsoft's Nokia handsets violate patents held by trolling outfit "non-practicing entity" InterDigital, adding to the software giant's ongoing woes in the mobile phone arena. Reuters reports that ITC Administrative Judge Andrew Essex found on Monday that Nokia- …
Neil McAllister, 27 Apr 2015

Zombie patents raid TI's wallet for $US3 million

Yet another patent troll non-practicing entity (NPE) has accumulated important wins in US courts, with US Ethernet Innovations (USEI) scoring a $US3 million win against Texas Instruments in a Texas US District Court. The company, which acquired patents from 3Com, had filed its suit against Texas Instruments in 2011, complaining …

Pure Storage buys HUNDREDS of patents from IBM in lawfare protection deal

Pure Storage, the fairly rich all-flash array startup, has spent some of its cash to buy more than a hundred storage patents from IBM and the two have signed a cross-licensing agreement. Pure’s legal VP, Joe FitzGerald, talked of how “this transaction significantly increases the number of Pure Storage’s patents, creating a more …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2014
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Facebook didn't infringe Dutch inventor's patents: Jury

Facebook has beaten off a dead Dutch inventor in a lawsuit targeting The Social Network'sTM Timeline, Newsfeed, Groups and Photo Sharing features. At issue in the lawsuit were two patents by Dutch computer scientist Joannes Van Der Meer, who died in 2004, which the licensing litigant Rembrandt Social Media said Facebook had …

Twitter avoids IP face-off with Big Blue, will buy 900 IBM patents

Six-year-old Twitter has agreed to buy 900 patents from IP superstore IBM after Big Blue threatened to sue the microblogging firm last year. IBM wrote to Twitter just before the company was due to go public last year, telling the firm that it was infringing on at least three of Big Blue's patents and inviting the company to sort …

Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Microsoft has been hush-hush about specifics of the patent licensing deals it has been signing with Android device makers, but a new blog post suggests Redmond might be wielding a larger intellectual-property club against the open source smartphone OS than had previously been thought. Buried in Tuesday's announcement that China' …
Neil McAllister, 08 Apr 2014
Troll in cross hairs

Cisco asks court to bin Rockstar patents

Cisco has thrown on the armour and couched the lance to defend itself and its customers from the zombie Nortel patent lawsuits. The Nortel patent portfolio, bought by the Rockstar Consortium and since partly spun out to subsidiaries Bockstar and Constellation (yes, these are the real names), has been the basis for an ongoing …

Google patents DEVIL TOY which will BRAINWASH KIDS

A Google patent uncovered by tech law firm SmartUp seems to describe a toy that will look at and talk to your kids, then update a remote media device, depending upon the child's feedback. The inventor of the evil robot is named as Richard Wayne DeVaul, whose job title is "director of rapid evaluation and mad science" at Google X …
Troll in cross hairs

Trolls and victims watch Supremes for definition of meaningless patents

A patent dispute over a fitness technology running in the US Supreme Court will decide just how vague a patent has to be before it becomes meaningless. The long-running lawsuit (it was first filed in 2004) is between iron-pumping-powerhouse Nautilus and bio-monitoring specialist Biosig. Biosig's original complaint was that …
Zombies, credit: Wikimedia from Night of The Living Dead

Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial

Google has won a victory in its battle against patent troll Rockstar, with a US District Court judge having denied Rockstar's request to try the case in the troll-friendly Eastern District of Texas, rather than in California. Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View, California, filed suit against Rockstar in December and …
Neil McAllister, 18 Apr 2014
Apple iPad 2

Apple says sayonara to Samsung's ninjas: iPad, iPhone don't infringe comms patents – report

Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S and iPad 2 products do not violate Samsung-owned patents, a judge in Tokyo ruled today, according to reports. The South Korean giant had taken its rival to court in Japan and demanded damages for alleged patent infringement, and is now considering lodging an appeal, we understand. The ruling, as reported …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2014
Palm Pre Touchstone wireless charger

Qualcomm gobbles Palm patents after rummaging around HP's backroom

Mobile chipset maker Qualcomm has bought 2,400 patents from HP, including Palm and iPaq technology. The processor baker announced that it had secured a deal with Meg Whitman's tech titan to land granted and pending patents covering stuff from Bitfone to Palm. Terms of the deal, including the price Qualcomm is set to shell out, …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jan 2014

ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US

Seagate and LSI are off the hook for infringing Taiwanese firm Realtek’s semiconductor patents after the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Realtek can't enforce its rights without a local presence. Realtek had accused Avago-owned LSI and Seagate back in 2012 of violating its patent on a way of making an …
Traffic in Beijing during period of heavy pollution

'In... 15 feet... you will be HIT BY A TRAIN' Google patents the SPLAT-NAV

Looking up from your smartphone to avoid being splattered by a taxi – Google now owns the patent on that. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rubber-stamped a filing that described using location tracking, ambient noise detection, and public record information to warn users when they could be in danger. According to …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Sep 2014
Steve Ballmer's signature on a Trevecca Nazarene University student's MacBook

Apple patents AUTOGRAPHS. Checkmate, eBay

Apple, for some reason, has decided it wants to make the process of getting a book autographed even more sterile and impersonal than before. The Cupertino giant was granted a patent on Tuesday covering a method by which an author can digitally sign his or her autograph onto readers' copies of e-books. Yes, it seems that the old …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Nov 2014
Lenovo K800

Restless PC biz Lenovo blows $100m to gobble 2,500 mobe tech patents

Lenovo has inked a patent deal which looks to expand the company's reach into the mobile computing world. Wireless intellectual property broker Unwired Planet said it will take $100m in cash from the Chinese electronics giant in exchange for about 2,500 "issued and pending US and foreign patents" covering wireless broadband and …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2014
9.7-inch Apple iPad 2 (left) and 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab (right)

US judge Koh won't ban old Samsung gear, tells Apple: Your patents aren't that amazing

A US judge has struck down Apple's request for an injunction banning the import of Samsung gadgets that had infringed its patents. California District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled on Thursday that the iPhone giant had not shown it would suffer from the import and sales of nearly two dozen of Sammy's older Galaxy mobile products – …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Mar 2014
HP TouchPad

Wanna buy some patents? HP might sell a few soon - reports

HP is looking to try and shore up the company's financial position by flogging off some of its mobile patents, sources whispered to Bloomberg. The company has already approached potential interested parties about its patent portfolio, including WebOS tech, which it got from its 2010 acquisition of early mobile device firm Palm …
Empire of the Bs Troll

Apple patents Wi-Fi access point location lookup

Apple has once again demonstrated that it's no slouch as a patent troll, applying for and receiving a patent to tell you where you are, by performing a database lookup of WiFi access points. US Patent 8700060, “Determining a location of a mobile device using a location database”, covers a phone-stored location database that …
Supreme Court Building

US Supreme Court to preside over software patents case

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a patent case which some hope will have a profound effect on the software industry. The top US court on Friday said that it would review a lower court ruling in the case of Alice vs CLS Bank. The decision, say advocates, could have implications throughout the software industry. At issue …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Dec 2013
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Twitter blew $36m on patents to avoid death by lethal injunction

Twitter spent about $36m buying nearly 1,000 patents from IBM to avoid a perilous legal fight, official paperwork has revealed. The micro-blogging site's annual 10-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) includes a note about the patent acquisition, which was part of a $38.5m expense the company logged as " …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Mar 2014
Apple patent

Sorry, Qualcomm, Apple – your patents don't scare us

Analysis Patent royalties make up a higher proportion of cellular device costs than in most other markets, so the IPR game has been a hard-fought and sometimes vicious one. At the start of 2015, various developments suggest that the playground bullies of the past will lose a lot of their power. Qualcomm is on the defensive in China, …
Wireless Watch, 20 Jan 2015
Brando_lipspeaker

Google buys speech rec patents from SR Tech

A company established last year to negotiate royalties from patents filed by previously low-profile individuals from Cincinnati has vaulted into public eye courtesy of Google, which has bought rights to two of its patents. SR Tech Group LLC, which principal Stuart Goller told The Register was set up last year (we were unable to …
Google's unlock to app patent

Google: Hey startups, want in on our patent gang? First hit's free

Google is looking to recruit 50 startups to participate in its patent licensing network. The Mountain View ad giant said its Patent Starter Program would offer startups free Google Patents as well as the ability to view Google's entire portfolio with the option of acquiring further patents. In exchange, the startups will be …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jul 2015
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch 2013

Apple patents touch-sensitive controls for MacBook

Apple has filed for a patent on a system which places the controls for a notebook computer within the outer bezel of the screen. Patent number 8,654,524, published Tuesday, describes a set of systems in which sensors are placed in both the casing and outer screen bezel (the black box around the outside of the display) allowing …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Feb 2014

Google's Moto-v-Microsoft appeal denied

A US appeals court has said that yes, Motorola/Google had chased Microsoft in bad faith over WiFi patents and that the Chocolate Factory still owes Redmond US$14 million. In among the mass of messy patent litigation of recent years was a suit that saw Motorola sue over how much Microsoft should be paying it for using WiFi and …
Troll in cross hairs

Nintendo: We didn't just slay Wii Fit 'troll', we've now gobbled its patents

"Patent troll" InterActive (IA) Labs not only tried to sue Nintendo and lost: it's now had its patent portfolio bought by the gaming giant in a sheriff's sale. The fun began in 2010, when Maryland-based US peripheral maker IA filed suit alleging that Nintendo infringed its fitness gadget and exercise sensor patents by …
Planetoid crashes into primordial Earth

Apple patents NEVERSMASH iPHONE for fumbling fondlers

Apple has filed a patent that could save iPhones from certain death when they crash to the ground. The patent is called "protective mechanism for an electronic device" and allows an iThing to rotate whilst in freefall. When it begins its journey to terminal velocity, the iPhone will be saved by a motor connected to an " …
Jasper Hamill, 02 Dec 2014
Apple face-recognition patent illustration

Apple patents facial recognition tech for mobile log-in

Apple has been granted a patent on techniques for unlocking a device based on facial recognition. US Patent number 8,600,120, "Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition," describes a system in which a device is able to access its camera and authorize access based on recognizing your face. In …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Dec 2013
Google Glass

Google plonks down cash for Foxconn's head-mounted display patents

Google has snapped up a parcel of patents from Hon Hai Precision Industry, the Taiwanese electronic manufacturer more commonly known as Foxconn, in a move seemingly designed to bolster its Glass headsets against potential competitors. In a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Hon Hai described the patents sold to the …
Neil McAllister, 23 Aug 2013

New Zealand to bar software patents, again

The software patentability row in New Zealand, which broke out last August over the wording of new patent legislation, seems to have been settled with the release of new legislation by the government. In a move that's been welcomed locally by the IT industry, the government has clarified the original intention of the legislation …
Apple design patents (right) and Samsung smartphones (left)

Apple wants $380m for patents, Samsung says $52m. Get a room, you two

Apple and Samsung kicked off the next phase of their high-profile patent infringement case with the two sides far apart on their damage estimates. Presenting at the San Jose district court yesterday, lawyers from both companies put forward their proposals for just how valuable the Apple patents which Samsung infringed upon were …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Nov 2013

Hello Moto: Lenovo grabs Motorola biz for $3bn. But Google's KEEPING the patents

Lenovo has signed a deal to buy the loss-making Motorola Mobility smartphone manufacturer for $2.91bn, but a switched-on Google is keeping the patents owned by the firm it gobbled two years ago for $12.5bn. "The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jan 2014
The Register breaking news

Twitter patents sending messages, promises not to sue everyone

Twitter has patented a messaging service in which users follow each other and send messages that don't have specific recipients - or in other words, Twitter. The approved patent, originally filed in 2007 but published this week, describes pretty much how Twitter and tweeting work, and lists Twitter founders Jack Dorsey and Biz …

RIP P4ssw0rd? IT giants agree to share patents to rollout two-factor auth

Passwords, right? If they're too weak, they can be worse than useless – but making them too strong means people do dumb things like writing them down or forget them and piss off IT workers with frequent reset requests. Now the FIDO Alliance – whose members include Microsoft, Google, ARM, PayPal, and Lenovo – has published the …
Iain Thomson, 10 Dec 2014
Patent for a saluting hat

Even Uncle Sam admits: US patent law is whack

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is calling on the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to overhaul its rules on licensing intellectual property. In an open letter [PDF] to the PTO, the FTC called on its fellow organization to simplify patent law. "Clearer patent notice can encourage market participants to collaborate, …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
management regulation1

Apple bats away WiLAN cellular data patents sueball

Intellectual property licensing company WiLAN has lost a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, despite scoring settlements against companies like Dell and HP. The company was looking for $248m from the fruity firm for wireless tech used in its mobile devices, but a jury decided in just over an hour that Apple's products …
The Register breaking news

Dotcom titan funds 'Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents'

It's not like there's not enough money in the sector. Patent lawyers have been the main beneficiary of the global lawsuits created by the world's richest tech companies suing each other over patents such as "pinch to zoom", page scrolling and round-cornered rectangles. But that's why the reform of patent law has become a …
Anna Leach, 20 Dec 2012