Oops! Apple revealed confidential deal with Nokia while seeking damages from Samsung for the same thing

Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

FOSS Patents discovered that while Apple was asking a court to sanction Samsung for using confidential information about a patent deal between the Cupertino company and Nokia, Apple inadvertently made the very same information public.

As part of a patent dispute between Apple and Samsung, Apple was required to share the terms of the patent licensing deal with Samsung’s lawyers, Quinn Emanuel. The agreement was that the documents – marked Highly Confidential – Attorneys’ Eyes Only – would only be viewed by the lawyers. Instead, Quinn Emanuel passed them onto Samsung execs, who allegedly used the information as ammunition in the company’s own patent negotiations with Apple …  Read more

$1B wiped off Samsung’s value following Presidential veto; Samsung continues appeals

Photo: tractoroutdoor.com

Photo: tractoroutdoor.com

The WSJ reports that more than a billion dollars were wiped off Samsung’s market value today following President Obama’s veto of the decision to ban the import of iPhone 4 and 3G iPad 2 devices into the USA. The fall represented 0.9 percent of the company’s market cap.

While a Presidential veto over-rules the original ITC ruling, the Financial Times reports that Samsung is appealing the ITC decision on the grounds that it only upheld one of the four patents it believes Apple has infringed. The appeal is expected to be held in Q1 2014. Were Apple to lose then, however, the impact would be significantly lower, as Apple is almost certain to have launched new iPhones and iPads by then, with the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 likely removed from Apple’s retail and online stores and seeing only residual sales elsewhere …  Read more

Obama administration plans to curb patent trolling with 5 step plan

obama-607

The WSJ reports that after years of worsening patent legislation in the US, the Obama administration has finally decided to try to do something about it.

The president has taken a dim view of certain patent-holding firms. In February, he said some firms “don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea to see if they can extort some money out of them.”

Apple, depending on who you ask, is sometimes the agressor in patent cases but is often the victim of  frivolous lawsuits that often earn these patent holding companies millions and millions of dollars. These companies aren’t really companies at all; instead they are just shell companies built around a patent or a portfolio of patents, which are often overly broad or were never intended to be used in a particular way.

These lawsuits often take place in courts in Eastern Texas, where judges are notoriously friendly to trolling interests.

Some examples of companies who’ve questionably sued Apple or its interests: VirnetXPersonal Audio LLC, Lodsys, Motorola? etc.

The administration’s plans in 5 steps:

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Apple claims Google Now infringes Siri patents as it adds Galaxy S4 to ongoing Samsung patent suit

Galaxy-S4-Samsung

Earlier this month we noted that Apple was asking courts to add the Galaxy S4 as an infringing device in its ongoing patent dispute with Samsung in California. Now, Apple has officially filed a motion (via FossPatents) outlining five patents infringed by the Galaxy S4 and another two Siri related patents infringed by the device’s Google Now voice controlled search feature.

Apple had previously claimed that the Android Google search box feature on Samsung devices infringed the same patents, but is now moving to have Google Now included alongside the S4. Excerpt from Apple’s filing below: Read more

Apple seeks to add Galaxy S4 to ongoing Samsung patent suit in California

Galaxy-S4-Samsung

In its ongoing second major patent trial against Samsung, Apple yesterday filed a statement with the US District Court in California claiming that after examining the recently released Galaxy S4 it has “concluded that it is an infringing device and accordingly intends to move for leave to add the Galaxy S4″ to its long list of 22 infringing products. Apple is hoping Judge Lucy Koh allows the S4 to be added, but in line with the court’s request to reduce the number of infringing devices ahead of a trial scheduled for spring 2014, Apple has also agreed to remove without prejudice one of the other 22 infringing devices from Samsung it currently has listed.

Apple’s current list of infringing Samsung products include Admire, Captivate Glide, Conquer 4G, Dart, Exhibit II 4G, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Player 4.0, Galaxy Player 5.0, Galaxy Rugby Pro, Galaxy SII, Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy SII Skyrocket, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 2 10, Illusion, and Stratosphere.

The filing also highlights a disagreement in which Samsung believes each carrier variant of a specific device should be counted separately. For example, “the Galaxy Nexus activated on Sprint must be counted separately from the Galaxy Nexus activated on Verizon; and the Galaxy Nexus operating on Sprint running Android version 4.0 must be counted separately from the Galaxy Nexus operating on Sprint, but running Android version 4.1.” Apple, however, claims that Samsung has not itself applied this logic: Read more

Apple requests Android source code documents from Google in ongoing Samsung patent suit (update: Apple wins)

Google IO 2011 (Vic Gundotra in front of anti-Apple slide)

Update: Bloomberg reports Apple has now won an order granting its request for Google to provide more information about its process of turning over documents in an ongoing lawsuit with Samsung:

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal in San Jose, California, ordered Google within two days to disclose what terms it’s using to find documents Apple has requested in pretrial information sharing, and to tell Apple which Google employees those documents came from. Google had argued the collection of information would be too burdensome.

“The court cannot help but note the irony that Google, a pioneer in searching the Internet, is arguing that it would be unduly burdened by producing a list of how it searched its own files,” Grewal wrote in his order.

Bloomberg reports that Apple has requested Google turn over documents related to Android’s source code in an ongoing patent-infringement lawsuit with Samsung in California. According to the report, Apple took issue with Google’s process of turning over requested pretrial documents claiming Google is “improperly withholding information” and that Android “provides much of the accused functionality” in the infringement claims related to several of Samsung’s Galaxy products: Read more

Apple, Google, Samsung and more team up in $525M purchase of Kodak patents

kodakToday, Kodak announced the $525 million sale of its patents to two firms, Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation. It is interesting that the two companies will work with 12 intellectual property licensee to pay a portion of the over $500 million price tag. The 12 licensees, who aren’t listed by name in Kodak’s press release, would all receive varying access to the digital imaging patent portfolio and other Kodak patents included in the sale. In turns out that Apple, Google, and many other large tech companies, will provide cash toward the purchase as licensees.

Under the agreements, Kodak will receive approximately $525 million, a portion of which will be paid by 12 intellectual property licensees organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation, with each licensee receiving rights with respect to the digital imaging patent portfolio and certain other Kodak patents. Another portion will be paid by Intellectual Ventures, which is acquiring the digital imaging patent portfolio subject to these new licenses, as well as previously existing licenses.

Bloomberg is reporting, as relayed by Business Insider, that the 12 companies are made up of Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Facebook, and just about every major player in the tech business:
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Apple’s AuthenTec sells off embedded security solutions division, keeps the fingerprint & NFC tech

In July, a 10K filing showed that Apple acquired security company AuthenTec for $356 million. At the time, we noted Apple was presumably after the company’s various fingerprint-related technologies, while companies such as Samsung, Motorola, and others entered in deals with AuthenTec for its secure VPNs, encryption algorithms, and security-related products. Today, NFCWorld (via TechCrunch) reported Authentec has now sold its embedded security solutions division to NFC company Inside Secure. The sale would seem to indicate that Apple was indeed specifically after the company’s fingerprint and NFC solutions:

The sale suggests that Apple’s interest in acquiring Authentec lies with the company’s innovative combined fingerprint and NFC solution, which is not part of the division being acquired by Inside Secure, and will lead to renewed speculation that Apple will include NFC in future iPhones and other devices…. NFC and contactless chip provider Inside Secure is to acquire the embedded security systems division of Authentec, the fingerprint and secure solutions specialist which Apple agreed to buy for US$356m in July 2012. The transaction is valued at up to US$48m.

To get a hold of AuthenTec’s Embedded Security Solutions Division, Inside Secure will reportedly pay $38 million in cash and another $10 million “subject to completion of certain post-closing transactions.” Products the division is responsible for are currently used in hundreds of millions of mobile and networking devices worldwide, with customers ranging from Samsung, Nokia, LG, and Motorola to HBO, Cisco, and Texas Instruments. Last year, the division brought in sales of $25.3 million. Read more

Apple pressures EU regulators to set FRAND licensing rules

After taking a beating by Motorola over FRAND patents this month, Apple issued a letter to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute asking the body to establish consistent royalty fees for patents deemed essential to wireless standards, reported the Wall Street Journal. The body has a role in setting the standards related to GSM, 3G UMTS, and 4G LTE radio technologies.

Apple is involved in nasty patent disputes with Motorola, HTC and Samsung in courtrooms around the world, and it previously asserted in court documents that handset maker Motorola refused to license its essential patents on “Fair, Reasonable, and Nondiscriminatory” (FRAND) nature at rates offered to Nokia, Samsung and other vendors. According to the Journal:

Many mobile technology companies, such as Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., hold patents that became part of industry-wide standards. Standards bodies often require the patent holders to offer to license their patents to any company on a basis known as Frand, or fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory. Questions about such commitments have arisen amid a flurry of patent suits between rivals in the mobile-device market.

Apple’s lawyer wrote in the letter: “It is apparent that our industry suffers from a lack of consistent adherence to FRAND principles in the cellular standards arena.” A copy of Apple’s letter was posted online by the FOSS Patents blog. Motorola recently likened its enforcement of FRAND patents to bank robbery: “It only takes one bullet to kill.” Samsung and Motorola reportedly demanded that Apple pay a 2.4 percent and 2.25 percent royalty, respectively, illustrating what the iPhone maker called are unreasonable FRAND licensing terms.

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Apple researching social fitness tech sporting real-time sharing of performance data for competitive workouts

In the future, hitting the gym along with your iPhone-toting pals could spur competitiveness in ways unlike ever before. Apple’s mobile devices run a variety of fitness apps and third parties provide useful accessories ranging from casual jogging to some serious working out. Not content with resting on its laurels, Apple is looking to ratchet it up a notch with a new patent filing titled “Interfacing Portable Media Devices And Sports Equipment” that surfaced Thursday in the United States Trademark and Patent Office database.

It outlines new fitness technology letting you share performance data with your friends in real-time, as you are working out. Mentioning that traditional sharing through a third-party website is so last century, the filing goes on to describe immediate data sync between friends exercising on a similar equipment. Moreover, unlike Apple’s fitness center app patent or this fitness freak filing, it does not even pretend to mention Nike+. This suggests Apple could be developing its own solution that might some day augment or even replace Nike’s technology with numerous bells and whistles.

Fancy yourself working out on a treadmill next to your boss and being able to brag about your lower heart rate and blood pressure all the while covering greater distances. Heck, you could be even working out at your local gym while boss is running on a treadmill at his office in Tanzania.

Speaking of competitiveness…

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Apple gets a break as EU antitrust watchdog launches full-blown probe into Samsung over essential 3G patents

European Union regulators today announced the launch of a formal investigation of Samsung over mobile patents to determine whether the South Korean conglomerate breached EU antitrust rules in its legal dealings with competitors. The investigation is focused on so-called FRAND patents, a common rule that stipulates a patent applying to the standard must be adopted on “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms” (FRAND). According to the press release, EU regulators want to figure out whether Samsung “used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules.”

The Commission reminds that Samsung a decade ago promised to let rivals license its mobile patents under FRAND terms. The full-blown investigation comes in the light of the lawsuits Samsung filed against Apple at courts in Germany, France, the Netherlands and other countries around the world, asserting copyright infringement related to patents essential to wireless telecommunications standards.

The case is “a matter of priority,” the document reads. Patent blogger explained, “The European Commission can’t wait until Samsung finally wins a ruling based on such a patent and enforces it, potentially causing irreparable harm.” The full text of the European Commission Antitrust Commission announcement can be found below.

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Does Siri infringe old Excite patents?

Shawn Carolan of Menlo Ventures, an investor in Siri Inc., prior to Apple acquiring the company, recently sat down on Bloomberg to discuss the technology. Apart from talking about the initial demo that attracted him to the investment and meeting Siri Co-Founder Norman Winarsky, Bloomberg host Cory Johnson pressed him on exactly how Siri is able to take voice-recognition data and determine intent.

Around the 3:20 mark, Carolan discussed Siri’s unique approach of taking all words as “one big block” and mapping “those strings of words across” a group of 10 domains of expertise. This approach sounds familiar to at least one technology journalist who claimed the method is similar to patents owned by search portal Excite in 1994. Robert Cringely explained:

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