Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and others meet with UN’s ITU for patent peace talks

Update: While the meeting apparently didn’t result in any resolution, ZDnet reports the ITU’s Malcolm Johnson said the ‘heated debate’ “has gone a long way to help clarify the positions” of the companies involved:

“Today’s event has gone a long way to help clarify the positions of various stakeholders in determining the effectiveness of FRAND commitments and the impact of litigations surround standards-essential patents,”

ZDnet also reported Motorola argued “Apple was misunderstanding the way FRAND works in the telecoms industry”:

“For 20 years the [FRAND] licensing commitments made by innovators in the communications industry have been sufficient,” Warren said. “Past experience would indicate that [FRAND] has been effective… but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement to improve the present situation.”

The world’s biggest tech companies are meeting today for a Patent Roundtable with the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union to “assess the effectiveness of RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) – based patent policies.” The meeting will take place at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland; and according to several reports, it will include Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Google, Microsoft, and many of the industry’s other biggest players. The discussions follow high-profile, patent-related cases and failed settlement talks between Samsung and Apple, while the European Union continues to probe Motorola, Samsung, and others over potential abuse of the patent system. It also comes as Google’s legal chief David Drummond issued statements to the press calling for a reform on software patents.

A report from BBC noted others attending the roundtable include: Qualcomm, Cisco, Research in Motion, Intel, Philips, Huawei, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard. BBC also provided statements from the companies that submitted pre-event arguments (below).

According to the ITU, the meeting will have the following objective: Read more

Will the next-gen iPhone feature an upgraded camera system?

In the lead up to Apple’s Sept. 12 media event, where most expect the next-generation iPhone to be unveiled, there are still some things —believe it or not— that we don’t know about the device. The new iPhone is rumored to sport a longer, four-inch display, a smaller dock connector, an overall thinner design, updated RAM, and other internal components. But we have not heard much about the camera, which is one of the most important parts of any smartphone.

There is some evidence that Apple has now centered the FaceTime camera, such as the next-generation iPhone backs that we posted in May, and Apple seems to be moving toward FaceTimeHD, but we also expect the device’s rear camera to receive an upgrade over the previous-generation iPhone 4S.

While the iPhone 4S introduced a redesigned 5 lens camera system with a new sensor and 8-megapixels, the game has definitely been stepped up with a number of camera-related product announcements from Sony, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung. If the next-generation iPhone’s camera is to keep its lead with the most recent devices announced by these manufacturers, Apple is likely planning an improved camera system for the ‘iPhone 5′.
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Sony confirms Sound Forge Pro audio production suite for Mac

Following a string of teaser videos in recent months, Sony appears to have confirmed its Sound Forge Pro audio editing software will make its way to Mac. MacRumors pointed us to the video above, posted by FinallyOnMac, which shows the software running on a MacBook Pro.

We can see from the video above that the software has been redesigned for OS X, but we still do not know when the production suite will make its way to OS X or for how much. The PC edition of Sound Forge Pro 10 currently sells for around $375. Its obvious competition is Apple’s own Logic Pro 9 suite, which became a $199 Mac App Store app as of last year, down from the its old $499 Logic Studio offering. We are getting our hands on Sound Forge for Mac soon to give you our first impressions.

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Apple requests ruling in its favor over Samsung press leak, judge prohibits 2001: A Space Odyssey references

At the beginning of the week, we reported Samsung leaked slides to the press that Judge Koh excluded as evidence in the Samsung-Apple trial currently underway. Judge Koh was not impressed with the move, despite much of the information in the slides being public knowledge, and today we get an update from FossPatents on Apple’s response to the situation. According to the report, Apple filed a letter with the courts today claiming fines would not be a severe enough punishment for Samsung and it requested a judgment in its favor:

“The proper remedy for Samsung’s misconduct is judgment that Apple’s asserted phone design patents are valid and infringed. Through its extraordinary actions yesterday, Samsung sought to sway the jury on the design patent issues, and the proper remedy is to enter judgment against Samsung on those same patents. It would be, to be sure, a significant sanction. But serious misconduct can only be cured through a serious sanction—and here, Samsung’s continuing and escalating misconduct merits a severe penalty that will establish that Samsung is not above the law.”

Apple also outlined an alternative set of sanctions, requesting “the Court should (i) instruct the jury that Samsung engaged in serious misconduct and that, as a result, the Court has made a finding that Samsung copied the asserted designs and features from Apple products; and (ii) preclude Samsung from further mentioning or proffering any evidence regarding the ‘Sony design exercise’ for any purpose.” FossPatents said Apple’s requests could mean big problems for Samsung moving forward: Read more

Former Apple designer reveals Apple passed on a curved-glass iPhone due to cost

We have been getting some interesting bits and pieces from the Apple vs. Samsung trial this week, and most, of which, are related to early iPhone prototypes referenced in pre trial briefs by Samsung’s lawyers who alleged Apple was inspired by Sony products when creating its initial iPhone concepts. We get some more insight on Apple’s original iPhone plans today thanks to a deposition of former Apple designer Douglas Satzger, as discovered by Network World in recent court filings. Satzger, current VP of Industrial Design at Intel, held various roles at Apple from 1996 to 2008 including Industrial Design Creative Lead and Industrial Design Manager. In the deposition, Satzger claimed Apple had “strong interest in doing two pieces of shaped glass,” while referencing the 0355 model prototype pictured above.

He continued to explain how Apple ultimately chose not to utilize curved glass mainly due to cost:
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One of Apple’s lead designers reveals that the design process starts around a big kitchen table

“Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life,” said Apple industrial designer Chris Stringer (no relation to Sony’s ex-CEO Howard Stringer), who has been a part of every design since 1995, when he testified today in court as part of the Apple vs. Samsung trial.

Who helps imagine those products that come to life? Stringer told the court that Apple has a small team of only 15 or 16 people who design the original idea for the company’s key products, from the iPhone to the MacBook Pro, AllThingsD first reported. Apple’s lead designer, Sir Jonny Ive, is of the group.

Interestingly, he added the design process begins around a kitchen table, where the intimate team hashes out ideas to someday come to light. If the team believes an idea is good enough, the idea will be made into a physical model. In typical Apple design fashion, the group pays so much attention to detail that there can be up to 50 drawings for one button. What a crazy look into the start of the products we use everyday.

Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller is set to take stand next in the case, where both parties are seeking damages over a slew of patents. What a treasure trove of information this case is turning out to be.

 [AllThingsD]

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