Despite claiming that Linux infringes on over 235 of its patents for a number of years now, Microsoft has always promised to deal with competitors that make Linux-based products with a fair degree of restraint. Of course, this only applies as long as such competitors don’t “free ride on our innovations” and refuse to sign licensing deals (case in point: Motorola). Anyways, this approach seems to be producing the desired results as more and more companies are falling in line. The latest company to sign a Linux patent-protection deal with Microsoft happens to be Casio.
You're free to hate both the player and the game when it comes to patent litigation, but one thing you can't do is sit on the sidelines and hope the competition plays out fairly. Google knows this, hence the mad rush to shore up its Android defense by stuffing its patent portfolio to the brim. First came the Motorola acquisition, and now Google went and cut a check to IBM in exchange for over 1,000 patents.
HTC sued Apple over mobile patents today. Again. Pretty soon Apple will likely sue them back. Again. Shrug. Throw it on the pile. And while the patent Cold War continues to heat up, weep for the real casualty: innovation.
Companies hoping to shield themselves from costly patent lawsuits have no choice but to play the patent game, which entails building up as big of a patent portfolio as possible. It's expensive, but still cheaper than going to court and risking high dollar verdicts. Some consider it a broken system, including Google, which has publicly called for patent reform. In the meantime, Google is forced to play the game, and according to reports, the search giant just purchased over 1,000 patents from IBM.
Microsoft makes Windows, a closed source platform. Suse builds open source Linux distros aimed at enterprise users. On the surface, these two would appear the unlikely couple, but the two companies just renewed a pact dating back to 2006 that has Microsoft purchasing and reselling Suse licenses. As part of the four-year contract extension, Microsoft has agreed to invest $100 million in new Suse Linux Enterprise certificates for Microsoft enterprise customers receiving Linux support from Suse.
Most things become so unremarkable through frequent use that we begin to take them for granted. Take for instance media synchronization, a trivial task that most of you probably perform across your panoply of devices several times a day with your eyes shut. But I am sure most of you don't even know something as rudimentary as the name of the company that owns the patent for the intricate technology behind it. Any guesses? In any case, the correct answer is media server maker ReQuest. The New York-based firm is running a campaign to educate media companies about one of its most precious intellectual properties: couple of patents (No. 7,577,757 and 7,136,934) that broadly cover all that there is to multimedia synchronization.
Hit the jump to win a once-in-a-day opportunity of venting your frustration on what appears to be yet another patent troll.
The Open Invention Network (OIN), a consortium of companies founded in 2005 with the goal of protecting Linux from patent claims, has announced a massive increase in its headcount. During the first quarter, as many as 74 organizations, including such massive names as Facebook and HP, joined OIN as licensees. Hit the jump for more.
Microsoft has spent plenty of time defending itself in the court room over the years, but arguably the case of Microsoft vs. i4i is as important a battle for the software giant as its antitrust trial was more than a decade ago. The case itself began over a claim of infringement by i4i over a recently removed feature in Microsoft Word, but more broadly the case will have a long term impact on how patents will be enforced going forward.
Microsoft has teamed up with Apple, Google, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to defend itself against i4i who is backed by 3M, 19 separate venture capital firms, and even the U.S. Government. It’s going to be the legal battle of the century, and it kicks off in front of the Supreme Court starting tomorrow.
Hit the jump to find out why everyone should care how this one unfolds.
As far as Finnish phone manufacturer Nokia is concerned, those dirty, rotten, no-good buggers at Apple keep getting away with patent infringement, and on a large scale. Nokia's latest lawsuit accuses Apple of infringing patents in "virtually all" of its mobile phones, portable music players, tablets, and computers. That's quite the laundry list of devices.
The patent row between Redmond and Canadian firm i4i has been a patent disaster for the former. Microsoft’s remaining hopes now rest on the U.S. Supreme Court, which in November, 2010 granted Microsoft’s petition for writ of certiorari for review of the case. But i4i, which has been winning (feel free to replace with the recent neologism “bi-winning”) pretty much all the battles in this patent war, once again seems assured of victory. According to the Canadian company, 22 amicus (or friend-of-the-court) briefs , including one by the United States government, have been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in its support.