Last month, it was reported that patent troll VirnetX is seeking $532 million in damages from Apple, claiming that the company has taken its intellectual property without permission. The suit focused on a variety of VirnetX patents relating to technology used in creating Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. VirnetX said that Apple’s own VPN technology, as well as its iMessage and FaceTime services, infringe on its patents. After another week of hearing, the East Texas Federal District Court has now unanimously ruled that Apple owes VirnetX $625 million in damages.
intellectual property Stories February 3, 2016
intellectual property Stories August 6, 2015
It appears it’s not just governments who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near technology – it’s also courts. The UK’s High Court recently overturned legislation permitting citizens to duplicate copyrighted material for their own private use, and TorrentFreak confirmed with the UK Intellectual Property Office that the ruling really is as dumb as it sounds.
“It is now unlawful to make private copies of copyright works you own, without permission from the copyright holder – this includes format shifting from one medium to another,” a spokesperson informed us.
The IPO specifically notes that copying a CD to an MP3 player is not permitted. This means that iTunes’ popular ripping feature, which Apple actively promotes during the software’s installation, is illegal.
The ruling would also effectively outlaw Time Machine (as it copies music files), and the current behaviour of both iTunes Match and Apple Music, each of which copies music to a cloud server. And it’s not just citizens who fall foul of this law – Apple does too … expand full story
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
intellectual property Stories March 17, 2015
Apple cleared of infringing former Nokia patents, $100M claim thrown out
Apple has been cleared of infringing five wireless patents originally held by Nokia in its iPhones and iPads. The patents were later acquired by a subsidiary of Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc, which sued Apple for $100M by calculating a per-device license fee. Apple argued that even if it had infringed the patents, which it denied, a fair license fee would be less than $1M.
Reuters reports that a federal jury in Texas took five hours to deliberate yesterday before finding in favor of Apple.
Had Conversant won, it’s possible that the majority of the revenue would have been paid to Microsoft and Nokia. In a complicated chain, Conversant obtained the patents when it acquired a company called Core Wireless, which had in turn bought them from Nokia–which had licensed them to Microsoft.
In its purchase of Core Wireless, Conversant agreed to return two-thirds of any revenue from licensing and litigating the patents back to Microsoft and Nokia, according to the documents. A Microsoft representative on Monday night could not confirm whether that agreement was still in force.
Update: Microsoft has since informed me that “Microsoft no longer has a financial stake in Core Wireless.”
Apple holds the unenviable record of having been sued by more patent trolls than any other company. It has a mixed record of success in these cases, Apple saying last year that it usually won on the merits of the cases it defended, but chose to settle some “for business purposes.”
Apple last month lost a case brought by Smartflash, and was ordered to pay over half a billion dollars in damages. Apple is appealing the award, while Smartflash is extending the proceedings to devices made since the lawsuit was originally filed.
In a separate ongoing patent dispute with Ericsson, the ITC has been asked to block the import of iPhones into the country.
intellectual property Stories March 31, 2014
Some features in Samsung devices that Apple objects to are part of Google’s Android operating system, by far the most popular mobile operating system worldwide, running on more than a billion devices made by many manufacturers. That means that if Apple wins, Google could have to make changes to critical Android features, and Samsung and other Android phone makers might have to modify the software on their phones …
Jury selection begins today for the second patent case between the two companies after mediation attempts failed. Apple is seeking around $2B in damages for five patents it alleges Samsung has violated, while Samsung is counter-claiming that Apple is in violation of two of its own patents.
intellectual property Stories September 23, 2013
BlackBerry receives buyout offer from Fairfax Capital for $4.7 billion dollars
Blackberry has just announced (via Business Insider) that an investment firm has put in an offer for the company. At $9 a share, the deal is worth about 4.7 billion dollars in total. Fairfax already owns about 10 percent of Blackberry before the deal.
Having an investment company buy Blackberry does not have a direct impact on the smartphone market. Often though, investment firms buy out companies with the aim of selling off assets separately. For instance, BlackBerry’s patent portfolio may soon be put up for auction as a result of the deal, allowing for smartphone makers like Apple and Google to then bid for the intellectual property without the other baggage associated with buying out the failing company in its entirety.
intellectual property Stories May 14, 2013
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: expand full story