Man sues Apple over ribbed Smart Cover, makes case for throwing out patent system

Apple is being sued by a man in Colorado over claims that the company’s $39 iPad Smart Covers violate a “Portable Computer Case” patent originally filed in 2003 and issued in 2005. PaidContent obtained a copy of the lawsuit.

The United States patent in question is 6,977,809. A Colorado man owns it, Jerald Bovino, who is seeking royalties for sales of Smart Covers’ using his invention. An excerpt from the patent seems to describe functionality that is quite similar to Apple’s Smart Covers—at least the ribbed design:

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Apple eBook price-fixing lawsuits hit Canada following DOJ suit

Following an investigation into alleged eBook price-fixing, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers Macmillan and Penguin earlier this month, who refused to settle. Other publishers, including Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, settled and reached an agreement to return Amazon to its previous wholesale model and dismantle Apple’s agency model. The settlement also included agreements with select states that would see $51 million in restitution paid to those who purchased eBooks through Apple’s platform. Now, several Canadian publications are reporting class-action lawsuits were filed against Apple and the five publishers throughout Canada.

Lawyer Normand Painchaud spoke with The Montreal Gazette about his class-action suit filed in Quebec Superior Court and talked about two others filed in Ontario and British Columbia:

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Apple, Google, and five other companies must face lawsuit over no-poaching agreements

Late last week we told you that the U.S. Justice Department apparently had evidence that Apple, along along with Google, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, Intel, and Lucasfilms, entered “no-poach” agreements as part of an antitrust investigation from 2010. U.S. District Judge Lucy H Koh made a statement yesterday at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., confirming the companies must face a lawsuit. According to the report from Bloomberg, Koh said she would allow plaintiffs to re-file their complaint even if an initial request by the defendants to dismiss the claims is granted.  

Judge Koh’s decision yesterday will result in Google and the other companies having to provide a detailed account of the agreements made with other companies. They must also allow lawyers to take depositions. One lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Joseph Saveri, said, “We get to see what really happened,” claiming the case could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Google provided statements to Bloomberg claiming they have “always actively and aggressively recruited top talent,” while the others have declined to comment.
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Apple asks Chinese manufacturer to cease production plans for Steve Jobs figurine, claim they own his likeness

We had a feeling it would not be long before Apple stepped in and shut down Chinese manufacturer In Icon’s plans to create an extremely realistic Steve Jobs figurine, and today The Telegraph reports the 12-inch doll originally slated for release in February is now facing legal threats from Apple if the company doesn’t cease production plans.

According to the report, Apple claimed it owns the rights to Steve Jobs’ likeness and in a letter to the company claims toys using the Apple logo, a person’s name, or likeness of Jobs is considered a criminal offense.

The 12-inch figurine, which comes complete with Jobs’s trademark blue jeans, sneakers and black turtleneck sweater, was created by Chinese company In Icons and was set for release in February. But ‘their efforts have reportedly met with’ a legal challenge with Apple allegedly threatening to sue the toy maker unless they cease trading.

In Icon’s Tandy Cheung originally told ABC News the company would not stop production in lieu of Apple’s requests, and said the technology company cannot copyright Jobs’ appearance:

“Apple can do anything they like. I will not stop, we already started production…Steve Jobs is not an actor, he’s just a celebrity… There is no copyright protection for a normal person… Steve Jobs is not a product… so I don’t think Apple has the copyright of him.”

This is not the first time Apple has put a stop to Steve Jobs figurines. MICGadget was forced to stop selling their toy in November 2010 after Apple sent the following email (excerpt below):
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Lawsuit roundup: Apple insists to intervene in Lodsys, sued over E-book pricing

Frankly, it feels like lawsuits are taking too much of our time and mind space lately – and they aren’t fun to think about.  So here’s a roundup of the more exciting lawsuits news of the last hour:

MacRumors:

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple and 5 of the 6 major book publishers, alleging they “colluded to increase prices for popular e-book titles to boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.”

On Lodsys (important if you are a App developer with an auto-updating app):

Apple insists to intervene in Lodsys lawsuit against app developers. Apple still requests a court hearing on its motion. Things may still take some more time, but there will be no more written pleadings unless the court asks the parties to address particular questions in more detail. At this stage it’s possible that the court decides very quickly, and I continue to be reasonably optimistic that Apple’s motion will be granted.

At some point, we should start referring to Lodsys by the name of its parent company, Intelectual Ventures. 

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Kodak considering sale of patent involved in Apple lawsuit

In January of 2010, Kodak sued  Apple and RIM for infringing on their patent to preview photographs. The lawsuit is still going on, but today Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kodak is currently looking to sell 10% of their patent portfolio, which includes the patent Apple and RIM are bring sued for.

The 1,100 patents include patents covering  capturing, storing, organizing and sharing digital image. WSJ credits the sale to Kodak’s loss in profit over the last two quarters.

Chief Executive Antonio Perez has been using Kodak’s intellectual property as a means of funding the company’s long and expensive transformation. In 2008, Mr. Perez put forth a goal to generate between $250 million and $350 million a year from Kodak’s patent portfolio.

Google is fresh off acquiring 1,000 patents from IBM and is likely still in a buying mood as it battles everyone from Oracle to Microsoft to Apple-by-proxy in the courts.  Apple, who outbid Google for the Nortel patent portfolio at $4.5B  is obviously on the offensive.

Kodak’s decision to sell its patents follows a $4.5 billion patent sale by Nortel Networks Corp. Kodak has retained Lazard as an adviser for the sale. Lazard also advised Nortel on its sale.

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Samsung drops counter-suit against Apple to speed up legal proceedings

In April, Apple originally filed a lawsuit against Samsung saying Samsung’s Galaxy Tab copied the iPhone and iPad. Soon after, Samsung filed a counter-patent suit against Apple and asked to see the iPhone 5 and iPad 3. Seeing the unreleased devices was denied by a judge earlier this year. This week Samsung has dropped their counter-patent suit.

The suit was dropped on June 30th, but Samsung will continue to fight patents with an earlier counter-patent suit.  While Samsung dropped the suit in the U.S., it won’t affect other patent suits they have. Besides the U.S., Samsung has lawsuits against Apple in South Korea, Japan, Germany, and the U.K.

Samsung’s spokesperson Nam Ki Yung told Bloomberg the counter-suit was dropped “to streamline the legal proceedings”. Nam also told Bloomberg, “Samsung will continue to actively defend and protect our intellectual property”.

Samsung ups the ante, sues Apple in the US for violating 10 patents related to mobile phones

Apple knows what it is doing in suing Samsung, right?

We hope so.

The soon to be biggest phone maker in the world, who has been making phones and patenting its technology since before Apple was making iPods, is suing Apple in the US after suing Apple abroad last week.  The move is in obvious response to Apple suing its biggest parts contractor for allegedly copying its iPhone and iPad designs with its Android phones and tablets. Samsung received the second-highest number of U.S. patents last year after International Business Machines Corp.

The lawsuit intensifies a legal dispute that began when Cupertino, California-based Apple sued Samsung earlier this month, claiming the Galaxy products “slavishly” copied iPad and iPhone technology and design. Samsung, which is also a supplier of some Apple chips, retaliated last week with lawsuits in Seoul, Tokyo and Mannheim, Germany.

In the U.S. complaint, Samsung accuses Apple of violating patents that “relate to fundamental innovations that increase mobile device reliability, efficiency, and quality, and improve user interface in mobile handsets and other products.”

The patented technology includes ways that a phone allows calls and Internet surfing at the same time; improvements in how text messages and attachments are sent; reductions in interference among mobile devices; and increases in the capacity of mobile networks, according to the complaint

Good times.

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