Patent troll Stories December 23, 2016

apple-store-withings

Apple has pulled the Withings line of health care products from its online stores following the recent patent dispute with Nokia. Nokia purchased the Withings line of smart devices earlier this year for around $192 million and has since integrated the company into its smart line of products… expand full story

Patent troll Stories June 29, 2016

The craziest patent claim yet: $10B for child-like ‘iPhone’ sketches from 1992

Just when I thought that patent trolls couldn’t get any crazier in their claims against Apple, a Florida man has proven me wrong. The Telegraph reports that Thomas Ross is claiming a cool $10B for what he claims is infringement of a patent application he made back in 1992.

Patent troll Stories June 21, 2016

Exterior view of the Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday ruled that a 2011 law designed to make it easier to defeat new patent trolls were legal. The law had been challenged by a company attempting to patent something which had long been done by other companies.

The case before the Supreme Court focused on a patent held by Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC that claims an invention for alerting drivers when they are speeding. GPS technology company Garmin brought a challenge at the Patent Office, which invalidated the Cuozzo patent after concluding its claims weren’t innovative when viewed against other prior technologies.

The ruling will be of particular benefit to Apple …

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Patent troll Stories May 23, 2016

Apple hit with dumbest patent troll claims yet: ‘iPhone makes phone calls & sends emails’

Patent trolls – companies that buy old patents purely to sue companies for claimed infringements – love to get their hands on very generic patents, as those give them the maximum number of possible targets. But Texas-based Corydoras Technologies LLC wins the prize for the dumbest claims yet against Apple. It is alleging, among other things, that the iPhone infringes its patents by making phone calls and sending emails …

Patent troll Stories October 28, 2015

tesla_remote-s-e1446073309439

A patent troll is currently suing Apple, Samsung and half the automotive industry – as well as other companies – over the use of a vague, decade old patent that covers operating certain functions of a vehicle, like starting the engine and locking/unlocking doors, through a “watch” – now known as a “smartwatch”.

Intellectual Capital Consulting (LCC), the plaintiff in the lawsuit (which we embed below), claims that the defendants are using patented technology in smartwatch products and software that they are selling or contributing to sell. expand full story

Patent troll Stories July 8, 2015

itunes

A federal judge has overturned the $529.9M damages awarded against Apple for infringing on three SmartFlash patents in its iTunes software, reports Reuters. The judge said that while February’s verdict stood, the jury instructions may have “skewed” the jurors’ understanding of the appropriate level of damages.

SmartFlash, a patent troll which had originally sought $852M in damages for patents relating to methods of storing data and managing payment systems, subsequently went back to court to make the same claims against the iPhone 6/Plus and iPad Air 2 – products released after the award …  expand full story

Patent troll 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.

Patent troll Stories February 27, 2015

Not content with $500M verdict, patent troll Smartflash comes after Apple again

After Smartflash successfully convinced a court that Apple devices infringed three of its patents relating to downloading and storing content, winning a $532.9M award for its trouble, the company is coming back for more–despite the fact that Apple is appealing the original award.

Smartflash filed its original case before the iPhone 6/Plus and iPad Air 2 were launched, so the company now wants extra cash for these, reports Reuters.

“Smartflash filed the complaint to address products that came out too far into the last proceedings to have been included,” Smartflash’s attorney, Brad Caldwell, told Reuters on Thursday.

The company reached settlements with a number of game developers, and has also filed lawsuits against Samsung, Google and Amazon.

Smartflash is the very definition of a patent troll, settlements and awards from its seven patents providing its only form of income. The company makes no products and provides no services.

Apple has previously spoken out against patent trolls, revealing that it has been the subject of more lawsuits than any other company, though also cautioned against legislating too broadly to fight them.

It was today revealed that Ericsson has asked the ITC to block the import and sale of iPhones in the U.S. as part of an unrelated patent dispute.

Patent troll Stories October 22, 2014

Apple wins lawsuit over expired pager patents, dubs opponent ‘patent troll’ in email

GPNE Corp, a Honolulu company that licenses technology patents, took Apple to court recently over a few patents the company claimed were violated in several of Apple’s iOS products. The technology in question was originally patented for pagers (remember those? yeah, me neither) and the patents have since expired.

Apple regularly takes on so-called “patent trolls” looking to profit from technology patents for widely used tech, but it’s not every day the company comes out and calls a spade a spade. In an email following the court victory today, an Apple spokeswoman dubbed GPNE a “patent troll.”

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said in an e-mail after the verdict that GPNE is nothing more than a “patent troll” attempting to “extort money from Apple for 20-year-old pager patents that have expired, wasting time for everyone involved.”

Apple had previously been banned from using the term in the courtroom by judge Lucy Koh.

Patent troll Stories April 11, 2014

Apple declines further investment in patent assertion entity Intellectual Ventures

Apple and Intel both declined an invitation to invest in a new round of funding for patent assertion entity Intellectual Ventures, reports Reuters. Both companies had invested in the enterprise in the past. Intellectual Ventures did, however, receive further investments from both Microsoft and Sony.

Apple and Intel’s decision is significant because the biggest tech companies have supported IV in the past. “This would be a dramatic departure,” said Kevin Jakel, chief executive of Unified Patents.

Intellectual Ventures declined to discuss investments. Microsoft, Sony, Intel and Apple also would not comment. It is unclear whether Intel and Apple could still opt to invest in IV’s vehicle at a later time.

As a frequent target of patent trolls, it seemed an odd investment for Apple in the first place, and was most likely a simple protective measure: we’ll help fund you if you leave us alone.

An FTC filing revealed that Apple had been the target of a record 92 patent lawsuits in a three year period. Earlier this month Apple joined Microsoft, Ford, General Electric, IBM and other companies in forming a ‘Partnership for American Innovation’ to lobby against patent trolls.

Patent troll Stories April 3, 2014

Apple, Microsoft and others group to lobby against upcoming patent troll legislation

Reuters is reporting that Apple, Microsoft, Ford, General Electric, IBM and other companies are forming a lobbyist group called the ‘Partnership for American Innovation’. The group is worried that upcoming legislation focused on patent trolls may adversely affect true ‘innovators’ as well.

Patent troll Stories February 28, 2014

Court dismisses $2B patent troll claim against Apple for emergency feature in iPhones

A German court has dismissed a $2B patent claim by IPCom against Apple for use of a standard which is a mandatory feature in all cellphones. As we reported earlier this month:

The chip is used to identify mobile phones used by the emergency services in order to give them priority access to networks when they are heavily congested, such as during a major disaster. Carriers can set their networks to block access to all phones in the vicinity of a major emergency other than those identifying themselves as belonging to police and rescue workers. The chip can be included in the circuitry of either a phone or a SIM.

IPCom claimed a patent on the technology, but Germany’s Mannheim Regional Court dismissed the claim, along with a similar one against HTC.

This is, however, unlikely to be the end of it. IPCom has a record of appealing such rulings, and attempting to charge for patents purchased from other companies is its primary source of revenue. The company owns more than a thousand mobile-related patents.

Patent troll Stories February 10, 2014

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Photo: edudemic.com

arsTechnica drew our attention to some unusually forthright comments from Apple’s lawyers on the subject of patent trolls, in a public FTC filing. Apple revealed that it had been the subject of 92 lawsuits by patent assertion entities over the course of the past three years, more than any other company.

Apple has rarely lost on the merits. But victory figures are small consolation, because in every one of these cases, Apple has been forced to bear its legal fees. This reality is the lifeblood of the patent assertion industry… Indeed, the opening line of many negotiations is some form of, “What we’re asking for is less than it will cost you to litigate this case to judgment.” It should come as no surprise, then, that despite its success in litigating the merits, for business purposes Apple has agreed to a settlement in 51 of the 57 closed cases.

Apple’s legal team used particularly direct language when referring to Lodsys, a company which claims to hold a patent on in-app purchases and which litigates against small developers who cannot afford the legal costs of fighting the case …  expand full story

Patent troll Stories February 5, 2014

German patent troll demands $2B from Apple for using a mandatory emergency phone standard

Demands from patent trolls – companies that invent nothing, but simply buy up patents in order to demand cash – are just a fact of life for any large company, and Apple doubtless receives hundreds of them each year. Some are, however, audacious than others.

The WSJ reports that German patent troll IPCom is demanding €1.57B ($2.12B) for use technology that is not only used in every mobile phone on the market, its use is required by law.

The chip is used to identify mobile phones used by the emergency services in order to give them priority access to networks when they are heavily congested, such as during a major disaster. Carriers can set their networks to block access to all phones in the vicinity of a major emergency other than those identifying themselves as belonging to police and rescue workers. The chip can be included in the circuitry of either a phone or a SIM.

Apple, Google, HTC, Ericsson and Vodafone had all asked the European Patent Office to declare the patent invalid, as it was part of a required standard. The EPO turned down this request after IPCom said that it had successfully sued other companies, including Nokia.

The case is now going to court, and will be heard on 11th February.

Patent troll Stories September 30, 2013

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Ars Technica is reporting that a judge has denied Apple’s request to intervene in Lodsys’ current patent disputes against app developers. Apple originally filed a motion to step in to the case in June, 2011. However, the judge has disregarded Apple’s statements saying that it is out of the scope of the active trial in an order dated September 24th.

Apple continues to oppose the alleged patent infringements, saying that their license covers third-party developers to use their technology. The contention in the current ruling was a debate of scope. Apple was insisting that its motion was on behalf of all iOS developers, not just the seven developers in the current cases.

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Patent troll Stories February 27, 2013

Judge upholds $368M VirnetX verdict over Apple, AAPL stock expected to take a small hit

As reported at Seeking Alpha:

The parties are ordered to get together between themselves for “royalty” mediation settlement for future use of the technologies in dispute or the judge has stated that he will make a ruling if not reached within 45 days.

Patent troll, East Texas kangaroo court, lawyers making a lot of money over ideas that seem obvious (transparent VPN and DNS). AAPL is down slightly in pre-trading this morning.

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