December 7, 2012

In October, as pointed out in Samsung filings with U.S. District Lucy Koh, we told you that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a non-final decision that declared 20 claims related to Apple’s rubber-banding patent invalid. While Samsung and Apple were back in court yesterday regarding post-trial motions, today FossPatents reported (via MacRumors) the USPTO has issued another non-final ruling declaring yet another Apple multitouch patent invalid.

This time it’s a touchscreen patent, commonly called “the Steve Jobs patent,” that courts previously deemed valid in cases against Samsung and Motorola in the past:

This week, the USPTO issued a first Office action rejecting all 20 claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 on a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics”, which has been referred to by many people, including Apple’s own lawyers, as “the Steve Jobs patent”.

The touchscreen heuristics ‘949 patent has also been asserted against Motorola. Judge Posner declared large parts of the patent invalid and identified only some minor potential infringement on Motorola’s part that he decided would not warrant injunctive relief even if Apple prevailed on whatever little was left of its related claims. expand full story

July 5, 2012

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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June 22, 2012

The Verge details a U.S. federal court document regarding today’s hearing of Apple’s patent lawsuit against Motorola. The judge presiding over the case, Judge Richard Posner, has dismissed the case in its entirety. Apple’s claim against Motorola includes four patents. These patents cover wireless connection technology and user interface design. Judge Posner also dismissed the possibility of an injunction against Motorola. Earlier this month, the same judge dismissed an Apple vs. Motorola hearing, but today’s dismissal appears to be the final one regarding these four patents. Apple still has the opportunity to request an appeal. Court document embedded below: expand full story

June 20, 2012

Apple in court: Apple vs Motorola, Samsung wins damages, Kodak sues

There are several reports today on Apple’s ongoing court cases with Samsung and Motorola. First, we have the latest on the United States case between Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility with Reuters reporting on a “crucial hearing” scheduled for today:

Federal Judge Richard Posner in Chicago will hear Apple argue why it should be able to seek an order barring the sale of some Motorola phones. Posner’s decision could affect the iPhone maker’s ability to negotiate favorable licensing agreements in its legal fights against Motorola and other competitors like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd… last week Posner granted Apple’s request for a hearing on a possible injunction, and ordered both sides to submit legal arguments in advance. Those documents were filed under seal on Monday.

The last time we reported on this Apple/Samsung Galaxy case in the U.S., Apple was forced to request a separate hearing for a ban on the Galaxy S III. A trial date for Apple’s previous injunction requests for the Galaxy line is set for July 30. In its patent disputes with the company in Europe, Reuters reported today that a Dutch court in The Hague ruled Apple would have to pay damages for violating a Samsung patent with pre-iPhone 4S devices:

A court in The Hague ruled Apple had violated a Samsung patent used in some of Apple’s phones and tablet computers to connect to the Internet, and said damages should be based on certain iPhone and iPad sales in the Netherlands… Damages should be based on Dutch sales figures since August 4, 2010, which the court said was the date when Apple could have known it was violating Samsung’s patent.

FossPatents weighed in:

…there’s no question that Apple is ready, willing and able to pay a FRAND royalty rate. It just didn’t want Samsung to win an injunction, or pay an excessive rate. Court documents say that Apple asked Samsung half a dozen times (!) to quote a FRAND rate before the 2.4% demand, which the court considered outrageous, was made… Considering the parameters and circumstances I just described, Samsung will be lucky to even recover its attorneys’ fees with this. The dispute will continue.

In other Apple court news, bankrupt Kodak is suing the company this week for wrongly claiming ownership of 10 patents and “interfering with plans to sell a large patent portfolio.” Reuters explained:

In a lawsuit filed on Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Kodak said Apple, the largest U.S. company by market value, wrongly claims to own 10 patents arising from work that the companies did together in the early 1990s… Kodak said Apple is the largest infringer of patents in that portfolio, and also a potential purchaser of those patents… “Apple’s strategy has been to use its substantial cash position to delay as long as possible the payment of royalties to Kodak” and interfere with the sale, Kodak said.

June 7, 2012

Judge dismisses Apple vs. Motorola patent trial, ‘neither parties entitled to damages’

Andrew Harris of Bloomberg:

U.S. Judge Richard A. Posner in Chicago today rejected each side’s damages claims at what was to be the last hearing before a June 11 trial. Posner later said he wouldn’t hold a hearing on Apple’s request for an order blocking alleged Motorola Mobility infringement.

March 6, 2012

Apple’s latest cunning move in its Holy Crusade against Android involves getting a court order to force Google, the maker of Android software, to produce documents detailing the Android roadmap and its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of handset maker Motorola Mobility. It was not immediately clear what data Apple was exactly seeking to uncover. This is notable, because Apple is actually going after Google with this request. It is the first direct in the ongoing legal war considering Apple fought Google by proxy in the past.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner ruled yesterday based on a patent lawsuit Apple filed in 2010 against Motorola that both Motorola and Google must spill relevant information to Apple, as “the Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses.” Motorola, of course, opposed the request, offering the following argument.

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