While Microsoft is all about its Windows Phone platform, Google's Android OS is proving a profitable nugget for the Redmond software giant. What some people don't know is that Microsoft collects license fees from several manufacturers who use Android in their products, and in exchange Microsoft agrees not to sue them for infringing on its IP. LG is the newest company to ink an Android license agreement with Microsoft, whose patent portfolio now covers nearly three quarters of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S.
TiVo is on a roll. Following a $500 million settlement with satellite TV company Dish Network and its set-top box provider, EchoStar, back in May 2011, TiVo just put the squeeze on cable TV operator AT&T, which is on the hook for at least $215 million through June 2018 to settle a patent lawsuit related to digital video recorder (DVR) technologies.
Opera Software developer Haavard Moen digitally penned a scathing blog post in which he stops just short of calling Apple an outright patent troll. Though he didn't use the term, he didn't pull any punches in exposing what he believes are Apple's attempts to use invalid or irrelevant patents or patent applications for the sole purpose of undermining open standards, something Apple has done before, according to Moen.
“The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.” That kind of brutal honesty to higher-ups shocked our senses and made us laugh when Peter Gibbons uttered it in Office Space. But could forthcoming generations not get the gag? That bit’s future funniness lies in doubt now that Microsoft’s newest technology patent has broken cover. The patent describes a computer program that monitors employees’ behaviors in emails, texts, VOIP conversations and interactions caught on video conferences, then identifies behaviors as either “negative” or “positive” and assigns employees a positivity rating based on the findings. It's in your HEAD!
As if Apple’s ridiculous tablet design patent didn’t hold enough ominous tidings for the mobile tech industry, the US Patent and Trademark Office just awarded the company another ludicrous claim: that's right, “slide to unlock” is officially an Apple patent. That means all the non-Apple phones and tablets that use the omnipresent unlocking maneuver are possibly infringing on Apple’s intellectual property – which could lead to complex legal battles that tie up competitors’ products, as Apple has done with the Galaxy Tab in Australia.
The just released official Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson sheds light on the recently deceased Apple founder’s intense aversion for Android, which he detested for being a “stolen product.” He hated Android so much that he was even willing to “spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion” to bring about its destruction. However, that didn’t quite pan out during Jobs’ lifetime. But now Microsoft must be hoping that it never does - at least not until Windows Phone 7 is a major force in the mobile market.
Apple recently launched the iPhone 4S. The device features a dual-core A5 chip which,although designed in-house, is manufactured by Samsung. The A5 is but the latest chapter in a longstanding partnership worth billions. Given the increasing rivalry between the two companies, this partnership is beginning to look less and less sustainable by the day, with a raft of recent reports even claiming that the A5 inside the 4S marks the the end of the buyer-supplier relationship. The Korea Times, though, does not think so.
Rambus found itself on the hot seat when a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Court drilled into the company for destroying documents that could have weakened its patent infringement case against Nvidia. Rambus admitted to shredding documents, but chalked it up to business as usual. Furthermore, an attorney for Rambus said they provided all the documents that were requested of them. That's when Judge Kathleen O'Malley, one of three presiding over the case, tore into Rambus.
While we’re talking patent trolling, let’s talk about the global Apple-Samsung battle. Apple has been suing Samsung in courts around the world, claiming that the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 rips Apple’s patented design of the iPad, which consists of, um, a rectangle with a screen on one face. How they got a patent for that is beyond us, but that template has prompted judges in Australia and other countries to block sales of the Galaxy Tab until the case is decided. Samsung’s getting pretty fed up with it all, and it today, it threatened to withdraw from Australia altogether if the injunction wasn’t lifted soon.