Turning the tables on Hollywood movie studios, RealNetworks, the makers of RealDVD, has fired off a lawsuit at six major studios and the DVD Copy Control Association. The software maker contends that the studios and association are in violation of copyright law by colluding to stop consumers from making "fair use" copies of legally purchased DVDs.
"The conduct described in the claims that RealNetworks seeks leave to assert reflects a concerted and unlawful effort on the part of the Studio Defendants and the DVD CCA to eliminate competition from RealNetworks in the market for technology that enables a consumer to make a lawful, secure backup copy of DVDs that she owns," RealNetworks wrote in its filing.
RealNetworks had already filed a countersuit against the DVD CCA, and the amendment adds several major movie studios to the complaint. In the complaint, RealNetworks asks for an injunction against the industry's anticompetitive activity, as well as monetary damages for lost business, The New York Times reports.
Looks like E3 won’t be the only time we’ll be seeing more than half of the gaming industry under one roof in the near future.
After totally serving Activision with God as its witness, Valve’s sicking its lawyers on Activision again – this time, because Activision tried to weasel out of the agreement the two gaming giants made last time they duked it out in court. Confusing, right? Let us break it down for you.
Due to a 2002 dispute over royalties, Valve sued Activision. Valve more or less won, and Activision agreed to throw the Half-Life creator a bone to the tune of $2,391,932. So far so good, but without the watchful eye of the law staring the two companies in the face, things fell apart.
Soon after litigations came to an end, Activision decided that Valve had been overpaid by $424,136 in previous years. Thus, when Valve’s hard-earned check finally showed up, it read $1,967,796 instead of the full amount agreed upon in court. As a result, Valve’s firing up the ol’ litigation machine again, and Activision is threatening to counter-sue.
Personally, we’d rather just have respective company heads Gabe Newell and Bobby Kotick hop in the cage and throw hands, but then, lack of widespread fighting is just one of the many drawbacks of today’s legal system. Oh well.
According to the company, it was left with no other choice after two years of licensing talks didn’t bear any fruit. “We couldn’t find a common viewpoint with Apple, so we decided we had to take action,” a spokesperson for the company told The NYT.
Elan has accused Apple of violating two off its patents related to touchscreen technology. It maintains that the MacBook and iPhone/iPod Touch violate its patent rights.
Earlier this week Microsoft was slapped with a $388 million verdict in a long-running patent infringement case against Uniloc.
The lawsuit claims that Microsoft’s means for activating products (such as Windows XP, Office XP and Windows Server 2003) infringed on a patent that Uniloc already owns, but Microsoft claims that they will appeal this verdict.
“We are very disappointed in the jury verdict,” wrote Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans. “We believe that we do not infringe, that the patent is invalid and that this award of damages is legally and factually unsupported. We will ask the court to overturn the verdict.”
Last week Microsoft and TomTom finally reached a settlement in their ongoing patent dispute. As part of the deal, TomTom will pay Microsoft for patent protection that covers it’s mapping, and file management systems, which as it turns out, are part of the Linux kernel. According to a company spokesperson, TomTom will “remove from its products the functionality related to two file management systems patents over the next two years.” The specific financial terms were not disclosed, but a legal cease fire between the two companies has been agreed upon for a five year period.
"We are pleased TomTom has chosen to resolve the litigation amicably by entering into a patent agreement," Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement. Industry analysts have been following the case very closely, since the Linux Kernel is at the heart of the infringements. This settlement opens the door for Microsoft to go after other firms who use Linux commercially. Microsoft has agreements in place with Linux heavy users such as LG, Samsung, and Xerox, but this victory gives them further ammunition in negotiations that don’t lead to a deal. Though the settlement is a long way from killing Linux commercially, it certainly gives Microsoft a lot more creditability in its ongoing assertions that the Linux kernel violates their intellectual property.
There's no love lost between Nvidia and Intel, the two of which took years to come to an agreement to allow SLI technology on Intel chipsets and who now are feuding over whether or not Nvidia has the right to sell motherboard chipsets for next generation Nehalem CPUs. If you somehow missed all the recent verbal mayham, see here, here, and here.
Neither company has offered much restraint when it comes to taking shots at the other, and while Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has been particularly candid, Nvidia is now looking to make its statement in court. The GPU maker on Thursday filed a countersuit in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware against Intel alleging breach of contract.
"Nvidia did not initiate this legal dispute," Huang said. "But we must defend ourselves and the right we negotiated for when we provided Intel access to our valuable patents. Intel's actions are intended to to block us from making use of the very license rights that they agreed to provide."
Nvidia's Drew Henry, general manger of MCP business, elaborated on the situation by saying Intel's actions could lead to customers eventually switching entirely to Intel-based product lineups. According to Henry, the dispute is making it hard to sell its products to motherboard and notebook makers while doubt remains over Nvidia's long-term roadmap.
Discovery Communications, The Discovery Channel’s parent company, is currently locked in a legal battle with Amazon over the Kindle 2, claiming that it violates some of their very own patents.
The lawsuit, which claims that Amazon violated their patent for an Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System, was filed all the way back in 1999 and was issued on November 20, 2007. Discovery is asking Amazon for an unspecified amount of cash.
Evidently Discovery’s founder, John Hendricks, is a pretty well known inventor, and back in the 1990’s was working on the technology to digitize content. His patents for digitizing TV were sold, but the e-reader patents were kept.
What is it lately with AT&T and inflated WiFi charges? Last week the ISP handed a Chicago Bears fan a $28,000 internet bill after his laptop's wireless card picked up an errant signal while he watched a football game on his notebook, and now the company has billed an Oklahoma woman $5,077 for data charges on her DataConnect plan.
Oklahoma resident Billie Parks is suing both AT&T and RadioShack, alleging the two companies co-conspired to offer a netbook and data bundle intentionally designed to mislead customers into racking up thousands of dollars per month in service charges. Parks purchased her netbook from RadioShack in December of 2008 for just $100, a price which required a two-year commitment with AT&T's DataConnect plan. On the $60/month plan, customers can get online no matter where they're at.
However, Parks maintains that she was never told that Internet data usage over 5GB would result in "astronomical additional charges running into the thousands of dollars." According to Parks, the Customer Service Summary says only that additional charges apply, but makes no mention of what those charges are.
"We're reviewing the suit and don’t have a comment on it at this time," AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom told ArsTechnica. "But I can tell you that we go to considerable lengths to inform customers of the limits involved in these plans. We display the plan usage limits and overage rates on our collateral, terms and conditions, and on att.com, And customers can check their usage using myWireless Account or by using the usage monitoring capability on the AT&T Communications Manager application."
Does Parks have a fighting chance with her lawsuit? Hit the jump and sound off.
After purchasing a Lenovo PC preloaded with Microsoft's Windows Vista, Emma Alvarado was shocked to learn she would have to pay $59.25 in order to downgrade to Windows XP. She's now taking the matter to court and has a filed a lawsuit against Microsoft.
"Microsoft has used its market power to take advantage of consumer demand for the Windows XP operating system by requiring consumers to purchase computers preinstalled with the Vista operating system and to pay additional sums to 'downgrade' to the Windows XP operating system," the suit alleges.
The suit is an interesting one, though probably an uphill battle for Alvrado to convince a judge that Microsoft is in the wrong. The software maker had originally intended for XP to go the way of the dodo bird at the end of June in 2008, but has since offered more than one stay of execution due to consumer demand. Both Vista Business and Ultimate come with downgrade rights, but it's up to the OEMs to decide if they want to offer it as an option, and if so, for how much. Pricing varies by OEM, which might make Alvarado's claim that Microsoft extended its XP cutoff date because of "tremendous profits" hard to prove in court.
Does Alvarado have a case? Hit the jump and give us your verdict.
This is starting to get ugly. It's bad enough watching Intel and Nvidia go at each other over licensing disputes (remember how long we waited for SLI on Intel chipsets?), but the two aren't showing any signs of letting up. In response to Intel's recent lawsuit, which alleges Nvidia has no right to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has an integrated memory controller, the GPU/chipset maker had some choice words for Intel.
"We are confident that our license, as negotiated, applies," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia. "At the heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU. This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business."
Huang has never been one to mince words, at one time declaring his company would "open a can of whoop-ass." Now less than a year later, the quote-worthy CEO has declared the CPU just another run-of-the-mill component taking a backseat to the GPU.
Nvidia's press release went on to talk up the company's Ion platform, and was quick to point out that it "offers 10x the performance of Intel's current three chip design." Huang also said that given the broad and growing adoption of Nvidia's platforms, including the Ion, he's not the least bit surprised Intel is disputing a four-year-old contract.