April 23, 2013

Apple wins last of series of Motorola patent infringement claims

Apple has won the last of six patent infringement claims filed by Motorola, after the US International Trade Commission agreed with Apple that the patent was invalid for ‘lack of novelty’, aka being too obvious.

When you lift your iPhone to your face to make or receive a call, the touchscreen is disabled to prevent accidental input. Motorola claimed to have patented this approach, Apple argued that it was an obvious thing to do and the USITC has agreed with them. The other claims by Motorola, dismissed previously, related to wifi, 3G and UMTS.

December 21, 2012

Google-Motorola working on new flagship ‘X Phone’ to take on iPhone 5

From 9to5Google:

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google-Motorola is working on a new smartphone that is internally known as ‘X Phone’. It is aimed at Apple and Samsung’s latest flagship devices. Details seem to be slim, but here are some of the key points:

  • X-Phone, and an eventual X-Tablet, are separate from Motorola’s long-existing Droid line.
  • Some early plans for the device were scrapped over supply chain and manufacturing concerns.
  • Project is led by Lior Ron, a former Google Product Manager.
  • Motorola wants the phone to have panorama photo capabilities and improved color saturation, but these have been found to affect battery life.
  • The companies wanted to use bendable and ceramic technologies, but these plans are apparently difficult to implement.
  • Launching sometime in 2013.

The original report has more detail and background information. (Image: Chris Voss)

December 18, 2012

Apple successfully defends itself against Motorola in latest patent case

Apple successfully defended itself against a Motorola lawsuit over an accidental hang-up sensor on its iPhone line. Bloomberg reported this evening that U.S. International Trade Commission judge Thomas Pender ruled in Apple’s favor, as he has before, declaring Motorola’s patent invalid. The ITC’s commission still has the power to review the ruling, but that hasn’t stopped Motorola from releasing an official statement on the matter.

Jennifer Erickson, a Motorola Mobility spokesperson, told Bloomberg in a statement: “We’re disappointed with this outcome and are evaluating our options.” Motorola is a part of Mountain View-based Google, which was acquired last August for $12.5 billion in a patent defense move.

Motorola’s collective lawsuit was filed in August with a claim that Apple violated seven patents with its iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and iOS products, and even Macs. The suit was filed during the same time Apple worked to defeat Samsung in a historic patent case that played out during the better part of August. Samsung was ultimately ruled to pay damages of more than $1 billion.

December 7, 2012

Image (1) January-2007-iPhone-introduction-Steve-Jobs-shows-pinch-zoom-with-his-fingers.jpg for post 61070

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

November 16, 2012

Bloomberg reported Apple and Google’s Motorola unit are currently in negotiations to resolve their several patent disputes and have apparently exchanged “proposals on using binding arbitration to reach a licensing agreement” for standard essential patents. According to the report, Apple said in a court filing that “such an agreement could lead to a global settlement of all of their patent disputes.”

The companies have been exchanging proposals on using binding arbitration to reach a licensing agreement over patents that are essential to comply with industry standards on how phones operate. Such an agreement could lead to a global settlement of all of their patent disputes, Apple said in a filing yesterday.

“Apple is also interested in resolving its dispute with Motorola completely and agrees that arbitration may be the best vehicle to resolve the parties’ dispute,” Apple said in the filing… Motorola Mobility first raised the issue of arbitration on Nov. 5, before a federal judge in Madison, Wisconsin, threw out a breach-of-contract case that Apple had filed. The Cupertino, California-based maker of the iPhone claimed its mobile-phone competitor was misusing standard-essential patents to demand unreasonable royalties.

Earlier this month, Apple and HTC announced they reached a global settlement in multiple patent-related cases that some analysts estimated could be worth as much as $180 million to $280 million annually. As for Samsung, following the HTC settlement, many reports quoted Samsung’s Shin Jong-kyun as claiming the company does not “intend to (negotiate) at all.” expand full story

November 5, 2012

 

According to a report from Reuters, Google issued a statement that a Wisconsin federal court has decided to dismiss Apple’s “patent lawsuit with prejudice.” The report explained this particular case was brought on by Apple in part to determine what the courts considered fair and reasonable licensing terms for the patent portfolio Google acquired when purchasing Motorola.

Google said in a statement that it is still interested in making a deal with Apple “at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards”:

“We’re pleased that the court has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit with prejudice,” a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Monday…”Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards,” Google said in its statement. “We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple.”

Reuters explained the case being dismissed with prejudice means it is officially over at the trial court level. However, Apple can still appeal: expand full story

September 18, 2012

ITC launches investigation of Apple devices following Motorola complaint

The United States International Trade Commission announced today (via TNW) that it would launch an investigation of Apple devices, including iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macs, following a complaint filed by Motorola last month that sought an import ban related to seven patents. The release from the ITC does not provide many details and only stated it will investigate “certain wireless communication devices, portable music and data processing devices, computers, and components thereof” from Apple.

August 28, 2012

Motorola Mobility agreed to license its standards-essential patents in Germany to Apple, according to a filing on Monday (via FossPatents). In the deal, which chiefly includes cellular standard-essential patents, Apple agreed that it is legally responsible for past damages in connection to the patents. The timeframe for the treaty’s conception is unknown at the moment, with both firms also neglecting to reveal royalty rates in the paperwork. However, the courts in Germany could determine those rates based on FRAND policies. The admittedly biased, for-hire blogger Florian Mueller explained:

In a filing made late on Monday (August 27, 2012) with the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, the Google subsidiary has now confirmed the recent conclusion of a standard-essential patent license agreement with Apple. Under the agreement, Apple is now licensed to use some if not all of Motorola’s standard-essential patents in Germany, though the parties have not yet agreed on a FRAND royalty rate, which will ultimately have to be set by German courts unless they agree on a rate prior to its judicial determination.

expand full story

August 23, 2012

Pre-iPhone launch is getting crowded: Motorola/Google, Microsoft and now Amazon are all opening for Apple

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When word hit at the end of July that Apple was planning an iPhone launch in September, the other big guys in the space all seemed to scurry. Microsoft’s Windows 8/Nokia event was planned for Sept. 5 in New York City and announced on Aug. 15.

Google subsidiary Motorola planned an event for the same day in New York City (easy for the Tech Press!). Invites went out Aug. 17. Droid RAZR HD is the likely main event.

Today, Amazon announced that it would have an event in L.A., where it will likely reveal successors to the Kindle Fire, which may include a 10-inch tablet and even a phone.

Why are all these guys lining up Apple to be the main event for the holidays? Why don’t they wait until after Apple’s event? Google moving Google I/O until after WWDC certainly seemed to help the Nexus 7?

It doesn’t matter. These three major players will get their few days of fame (if that), and then they will be totally washed out by the iPhone event on Sept. 12.

August 17, 2012

Google’s new Motorola Division has filed a patent lawsuit against Apple with the United States International Trade Commission, according to the Wall Street Journal. In this lawsuit, Motorola claims that Apple violated seven patents with its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch iOS products and even Macs.

As detailed by Bloomberg, the specific patents in question involve Apple’s Siri voice-control system, location-based reminders, push email notifications, media playback on phones.

Earlier this year, Apple’s case against Motorola over four patents was dismissed. Notably, todays claims by Motorola comes just after the close of the high-profile patent trial between Apple and Google Android-partner Samsung. The two company’s completed their closing remarks today, with jury deliberations scheduled for next week.

expand full story

August 1, 2012

ComScore: Ahead of iPhone refresh, Apple outgrew Android and the iPhone took market share from Samsung, Motorola and LG

Today’s comScore report measured the U.S. phone landscape from March to June with some surprising surges from Apple noted. Apple was the only manufacturer to gain market share in the overall handset business by growing 1.4-points in the three months. This is particularly notable because Apple’s iPhone is expected to get refreshed in September.

Additionally, iOS outgrew Android in the three-month span from 1.7-points to 0.6-points (see chart below). The gains by both OSes to a whopping 84 percent of all smartphones measured were at the expense of Microsoft, RIM, and Symbian. On the changes, comScore said:

July 17, 2012

A German court ruled this morning that the “popular” Android-powered tablet does not violate the patented look of Apple’s tablet. The Duesseldorf court discarded one claim by the Google-owned manufacturer, however, about the iPad’s design patent being inapplicable.

FoxBusiness explained:

  • Apple initially sued Motorola for allegedly infringing three iPad designs with the Xoom. It sought to have the device banned across Europe.
  • Although the judges ruled Motorola’s Xoom doesn’t infringe on the iPad, the court rejected a counterclaim brought by Motorola alleging the iPad’s design patent is invalid, a spokesman for the court said.
  • As the court ultimately rejected both parties’ claims, it ordered Apple to pay two-thirds of costs and Motorola to pay a third, the spokesman added.
  • […] During two hearings prior to the ruling, the presiding judge had indicated the court was leaning in Motorola’s favor. Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said in March that the court considered the evenly bent back and shaped edges on the front of the Xoom tablet sufficient to give the product individual character.

Apple is also suing Motorola in a Mannheim court for allegedly breaching a patent on multi-touch enabled devices.

Get the full report at FoxBusiness.

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.

expand full story

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

June 5, 2012

Apple faces delays in bid for sales bans in German Motorola case and US Galaxy Tab case

According to two separate reports today, Apple is once again facing roadblocks in its attempt to win sales bans in a patent-related litigation with Samsung and Motorola.

The first report comes from Bloomberg about a court in Dusseldorf, Germany, which said Apple would likely lose its bid for an injunction on Motorola’s Xoom tablet in the country:

The German court that banned Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet sales last year is unlikely to grant Apple the same victory against Motorola Mobility’s device, Presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said at a Dusseldorf hearing. The assessment is preliminary and may change after today’s arguments are reviewed. A ruling is scheduled for July 17… “We don’t think someone sits in a coffee house using the Xoom and hopes other people will think he owns an iPad,” Brueckner-Hofmann said.

The second report is related to the ongoing United States Samsung/Apple patent case. Today, CIO claimed Apple’s request to ban Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 was delayed due to a judge in California telling the court it will hold off on a ruling:

Apple’s bid to get a ban on sales in the U.S. of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet has been delayed after a federal court in California said on Monday it could not rule right away on Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction, while the matter is before an appeals court… The judge said Apple can renew its request for a preliminary injunction once the appeal court issues its ruling.

June 2, 2012

Judge rules Steve Jobs’ thermonuclear comments can be used in Motorola trial

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs was known for being vocal when it came to talking about Google’s Android. Comments from Jobs referring to Android as a stolen product and vowing to destroy it even made it into Walter Isaacson’s official biography about the chief. Now, a judge presiding in a patent case with Motorola ruled that he would allow the comments to be referenced in trial, which goes against requests from Apple’s lawyers. Reuters reported (via GigaOM):

Steve Jobs gave a lot of juicy quotes before he died, and Apple Inc has failed to keep some of them out of an upcoming patent trial against Google’s Motorola Mobility unit, according to a court ruling.

A couple of examples:

  • “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.”
  • “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

May 22, 2012

Google closes Motorola deal, appoints CEO that Apple once tried to poach

Google just announced it closed the deal on its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, but new reports suggest that direct-competitor Apple tried to poach newly-appointed Motorola chief and Googler Dennis Woodside sometime last year.

Bloomberg, which cited two people familiar with the matter, claimed Apple’s CEO Tim Cook contacted Woodside and tried to lure him away with a flashy proposal to become head of sales at the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company.

Meanwhile, Google’s CEO Larry Page had to guarantee Woodside a better gig to keep him from jumping ship, which poised the executive to take the reigns as Motorola’s new top-dog.

According to Bloomberg: 

Last August, Google (GOOG) Chief Executive Officer Larry Page fulfilled a pledge made to one of his senior executives, a square-jawed former attorney named Dennis Woodside. Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook had been trying to poach Woodside to make him Apple’s head of sales, but Google had convinced Woodside to stay, in part by promising him greater responsibility at the search company, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private. Now it was time to make good. Woodside says he was speaking with board member Ram Shriram when Page asked him to run Motorola Mobility, the company Google had just acquired for $12.5 billion. ‘He said, ‘I know you’ve been looking for a challenge,’’ Woodside recalls. ‘I want you to run Motorola. I think you’d be great at it. Can you let me know by tonight?’’

Read the full-story about Google’s acquisition of Moto at 9to5Google. 

April 24, 2012

According to a report from Bloomberg, U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender has ruled in favor (PDF) of Motorola and claimed Apple’s devices infringe on one Android-related patent owned by the company. The ruling is only a partial victory for Motorola’s attempt to receive an injunction on iPhones and iPads, because the judge’s decision will still have to be reviewed before import blocks can be achieved:

ITC Judge Thomas Pender said Apple violated one of four Motorola Mobility patent rights. The patent relates to Wi-Fi technology. The judge’s findings are subject to review by the six-member commission, which has the power to block imports that infringe U.S. patents.

As for the Wi-Fi patent in question (# 6,246,697), Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet told AllThingsD that Motorola refused to license its industry-standard technology on “reasonable terms”: expand full story

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