Report: Judge who dismissed Apple’s case against Motorola disputes legal protection for tech industry

Reuters interviewed the U.S. judge today who dismissed Apple’s patent court case against Motorola, and the details behind the jurist’s reasoning for tossing the lawsuit are as interesting as they are controversial.

Richard Posner sits on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and disputes whether software and related tech industries should even have patents for their products.

“It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries,” said Posner, referring to the slew of features in smartphones that are legally protected. “You just have this proliferation of patents. It’s a problem.”

Posner, 73, argued the pharmaceutical industry better deserved protection for its intellectual property because of the, as Reuters coined it, “enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug.” He tossed Apple’s lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility last month and denied an injunction against the sale of Motorola devices using Apple’s patented technology.

The judge attributed Apple’s scramble to attack competitors allegedly using its technology to a “constant struggle for survival.”

“As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem,” Posner contended.

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Virgin America honors Steve Jobs with the ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ Airbus A320


Image: Virgin America

Steve Jobs’ recent passing on Oct.5 sparked intense reactions all over the world, ranging from musical tributes to moving gestures by competitors to tributes from fans and late night talk shows. More than two and a half months later, it is still heartwarming to see big brands pay respect to the values Jobs stood for and to his achievements.

Virgin America adorned the side of their Airbus A320 jet with the now famous “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” quote famously used in Steve’s 2005 Stanford University commencement address (from earlier quote from Stewart Brand, who used it in the farewell edition of the Whole Earth catalog in 1974 – thanks Josh). A spokesperson for the Silicon Valley-based airliner owned by British tycoon (and fellow entrepreneur) Richard Branson told MacRumors that it chose the quote “as part of an internal plane naming competition.” 

There are clearly legions of Steve Jobs fans at Virgin America, too.  Or at least one big fan.

The tail N845VA has been seen on the Orlando to SFO route, and it seems to be based in San Francisco.

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Evidence looks bad for Apple, Google and others in anti-poaching class action suit

It appears the U.S. Justice Department has some solid evidence against companies including Apple, Google, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intel.  TechCrunch obtained a document from the DOJ that is now posted to Scribd.  Among the pieces of evidence, include:

The DOJ settled with the six companies, but a class action lawsuit is pending.  The complaint regards entering into non-poach and no bidding war agreements. The above mentioned companies allegedly lowered employee compensation artificially while hindering mobility.

The plaintiffs seek damages for any salaried employee who worked for one of the defendants during a 4-year period in the late 2000s. That means a lot of Silicon Valley tech workers could receive a payout if the defendants lose or settle the case. The civil case will be heard by Judge Koh in San Jose starting January 26th, 2011

The defendants, including Apple, asked the case to be dismissed, stating that the DOJ found “no overarching conspiracy” and that these bilateral agreements were separate.
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Adam Lashinsky’s look ‘Inside Apple’ will be released on Jan. 25

Fortune Sr. Editor-at-Large Adam Lashinsky spent the last few years digging deep inside Apple looking for what makes Apple, Inc., tick. Fortune ran a bit earlier this year in a cover story called “How Apple works: Inside the world’s biggest startup,” and it holds up as a fascinating read. The full version of the book, “Inside Apple,” is tabulated at 240-to-272 pages and hits stores Jan. 25. It is currently available for pre-order at $16.92 for the hardcover or $12.99 for the Kindle version and $17.92 for the Audio version.

INSIDE APPLE reveals the secret systems, tactics and leadership strategies that allowed Steve Jobs and his company to churn out hit after hit and inspire a cult-like following for its products.If Apple is Silicon Valley’s answer to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, then author Adam Lashinsky provides readers with a golden ticket to step inside. In this primer on leadership and innovation, the author will introduce readers to concepts like the “DRI” (Apple’s practice of assigning a Directly Responsible Individual to every task) and the Top 100 (an annual ritual in which 100 up-and-coming executives are tapped a la Skull & Bones for a secret retreat with company founder Steve Jobs).Based on numerous interviews, the book offers exclusive new information about how Apple innovates, deals with its suppliers and is handling the transition into the Post Jobs Era. Lashinsky, a Senior Editor at Large for Fortune, knows the subject cold: In a 2008 cover story for the magazine entitled The Genius Behind Steve: Could Operations Whiz Tim Cook Run The Company Someday he predicted that Tim Cook, then an unknown, would eventually succeed Steve Jobs as CEO.While Inside Apple is ostensibly a deep dive into one, unique company (and its ecosystem of suppliers, investors, employees and competitors), the lessons about Jobs, leadership, product design and marketing are universal. They should appeal to anyone hoping to bring some of that Apple magic to their own company, career, or creative endeavor.

Lashinsky also interviewed Walter Isaacson Dec 14th (posted last week) which turned into an interesting conversation. The two authors, who were both deep diving into Apple, shared notes —so to speak.

One subject we are looking forward to learning more about is Apple University. Lashinsky originally laid it out like this:

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Mac OS 10.8 users already doing external testing

Mac OS 10.8 testers both inside Apple’s HQ and in the surrounding area of Silicon Valley have been spotted in Web Logs by MacRumors. Indeed, looking at our own logs (above), 10.8 users have been hitting our servers since mid-August, though only in numbers that probably could have been faked.

More recently, however, 10.8 testing has grown more abundant, with testers hitting our site every day including on weekends from non-Apple IP addresses throughout October.

Similar patterns emerged in testing OS 10.7 which leads us to conclude that this is still very early testing and it is likely more than a year before we’ll see even public betas of the OS.

Still, very nice to see Apple’s already working on the next big cat.

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Apple and Intel among those entering the Nortel auction

Nortel decided to extend the deadline for the start of the auction for its patents until June 27 citing “significant interest” from third parties. Today we learn that two Silicon Valley giants are significantly interested in Nortel’s war chest of more than five thousand wireless patents said to be worth well over a billion dollars. They are Apple and Intel, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Other bidders include Ericsson AB and a company called RPX Corp which “defensively buys up patents on behalf of other companies to stop them from being used against them by investors”.
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