Patent Stories July 21

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When covering Apple patents, we do so with the disclaimer that the company patents a huge number of ideas that never make it into products, but one group is taking no chances. A Care2 petition has launched a petition asking Apple not to implement a recently-granted patent that would allow iPhone cameras to be disabled remotely.

While the patent has in mind situations like concerts, where the audience can have their view blocked by a sea of cameraphones, the petition is concerned about the potential for more sinister uses of the technology …

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Patent Stories June 28

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One of the things that really spoils live concerts these days is that half the people there don’t seem to want to watch it live at all – they’d rather watch it through their phone screen, holding the device up and blocking the view of those behind them. This is a problem Apple is seeking to solve in a patent first applied for in 2011 and granted today …

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Patent Stories June 27

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Apple’s record as the biggest target in the world for patent claims doesn’t look likely to change any time soon. The WSJ reports that two out of the three top rankings for the most international patent filings are Chinese companies: Huawei and ZTE.

Last year, Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker and the leader in the telecommunications-equipment market, was the largest filer of international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which makes it easier for companies to file patents in multiple countries […]

Patents are also playing a role in the harsher mobile landscape Apple and Samsung are navigating in China, where regulators increasingly insist that foreign companies play by Beijing’s rules.

We recently got a very stark view of what ‘Beijing’s rules’ means when it comes to patent battles …

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Patent Stories June 22

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Shenzhen Baili, the Chinese company that last week managed to win a Beijing patent office ruling that the iPhone 6 copied its own Baili 100C smartphone, is effectively defunct, reports the WSJ.

[Parent company] Digione had collapsed, brought down by buggy products, mismanagement and fierce competition, according to former employees and investors. Digione has been absent from China’s mobile-phone market for at least a year and Baidu has accused it of squandering its investment.

When the WSJ attempted to track down the company behind the alleged patent, it found no signs that it was still operating …

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Patent Stories June 21

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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 Stories June 14

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Apple was today granted a patent for what it describes as a ‘consumer electronic product [which] includes at least a transparent housing and a flexible display.’ The accompanying drawings show a device which has a display which completely wraps around the device – covering front, rear and sides – with only tiny bezels at the top and bottom.

While Apple uses generic language throughout most of the patent text, it does use the example of a smartphone in places, and the main drawing clearly shows an iOS device with a phone icon present, indicating that the company has an iPhone in mind.

If you’re wondering about one oddity in the drawings, there’s a reason for that …

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