Obama administration plans to curb patent trolling with 5 step plan

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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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Following closely behind Australia: Denmark, Sweden and UK’s advertising authorities looks at iPad ’4G’ marketing claim

Yesterday, we reported that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission wants Apple to lose the “4G” marketing for the third-generation iPad, alleging it misleads consumers into thinking the device is capable of accessing 4G networks in Australia. Reports from ABC news quickly followed and claimed Apple would give refunds to customers and publish clarification regarding incompatibility with the Telstra network. Apple’s AU website now has “Ultrafast wireless” instead of “Ultrafast 4G” on the main features page, despite still advertising 4G as a highlight of the device through its international sales pages.

Now, authorities in other countries where the new iPad is not compatible with local 4G networks are investigating the issue. Authorities in at least the United Kingdom and Sweden confirmed they are considering investigations…
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Did AntiSec hackers get Apple?

We’ve heard a few reports in the past that Lulzsec hackers had broken into Apple. Now, however, the WSJ is reporting that the AntiSec hackers that have been joyriding around the internet using SQL injectors to steal username and password have hit Apple’s servers and taken usernames and passwords.

The hackers said in a statement posted to Twitter that they had accessed Apple’s systems due to a security flaw used in software used by the Cupertino, Calif.-based gadget maker and other companies. “But don’t worry,” the hackers said, “we are busy elsewhere.” A spokesman for Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The posted information comes as part of a two-month campaign of digital heists targeting corporations including Sony Corp. and AT&T Inc., as well as government agencies such as the U.S. Senate, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Specifically, they say  they’ve got the username and passwords from this server:

http://abs.apple.com:8080/ssurvey/survey?id=

While this looks to be a pretty harmless server with only local usernames, previous postings have claimed a much bigger bounty: Read more