If at first you don't succeed, sue, sue again. The reason? You might score a $900 million settlement, just as sue-happy Rambus did after years of litigation over memory patents. And this could be just the beginning, but more on that in a moment.
Under terms of the agreement, Samsung will pay Rambus $200 million upfront, followed by quarterly payments in the neighborhood of $25 million over five years. Samsung also agreed to purchase $200 million worth of Rambus stock, bringing the final tally to $900 million.
The settlement puts to rest a long-standing dispute over DRAM technology licenses, and going forward, the two companies have agreed to collaborate on a new generation of memory technologies, including graphics and mobile memory, and potentially server and high-speed NAND flash chips, CNet reports.
While this represents a major payday for Rambus, there could be more to come. The company is still going after Micron, Hynix, and Nanya.
Do your online and phone contacts constantly fail to grasp the sarcasm in your emails, IMs and texts? Are you worried that such misunderstood attempts at sarcasm may strain your relationships with others? The SarcMarc will help you remain at your sarcastic best without the fear of coming across as impertinent or disdainful to your (fatheaded) acquaintances.
The $1.99 SarcMark is a new punctuation for giving adequate notice of the sarcasm that precedes it. It currently supports Windows, Mac and select Blackberry devices. Michigan-based Sarcasm Inc. is a very sarcastic company and its maiden product, the SarcMarc, is enough testament. The company now wants a patent for its “brilliant” contribution to digital discourse.
The asking price may seem trivial but it is important to remember that all you get is an unrecognized punctuation mark; a purchase that may make you the butt of all jokes among your friends for days.
Note: Quotes were used in the last line of the second para to emphasize the underlying sarcasm not because of their superiority over the SarcMarc but due the unavailability of the latter at this point. Also, please condone the woefully poor attempt at sarcasm.
PS: Eagerly waiting to read a review of the SarcMarc.
It seems as though Google is always up to something, and right now, it appears the search giant is trying to tap into billboards in its Google Maps Street View as an additional source of advertising revenue.
Google was just awarded a patent that was originally filed back on July 7, 2008, which describes a system for placing ads in online mapping apps. According to the patent application, Google plans to identify buildings, posters, signs, and billboards in Street View and rent out the space to would-be advertisers, replacing the image with up-to-date ads.
It wouldn't just be useful for updating highway billboards, either. A movie theater could update its marquis and window posters with current information.
The tricky part comes when someone wants to place an ad on a real-life billboard owned by someone else. In this case, Google says the property owner would essentially be running a auction and selling his space to the highest bidder.
Microsoft isn't yet finished fighting what it considers the good fight and has filed a second appeal in its patent case against i4i. According to Microsoft, the original judgment could set a dangerous precedent for future patent cases, TGDaily reports.
The dispute stems from August of last year, in which Microsoft was found guilty of violating an XML patent held by Toronto-based i4i. Microsoft was then banned from selling or importing into the U.S. any Word products capable of opening .xml, .docx, or .docm files containing custom XML. Microsoft would appeal, but lost its case in December.
In this second appeal, Microsoft contends that "the December 22 decision creates [significant conflicts] with established precedents governing trial procedure and the determination of damages, and we are concerned that the decision weakens judges' authority to apply appropriate safeguards in future patent trials."
i4i wasn't caught off guard by the latest appeal, saying "this next step of seeking a rehearing was anticipated."
Ever since Star Trek first introduced the concept of a voice controlled computer, people have been fascinated with the idea of inventing alternate input methods for everyday devices. Some of these involve mapping brain waves, but in a somewhat more down to earth approach, Microsoft is hoping to patent EMG muscle sensors that might finally pave the way for gesture based computing.
Microsoft Research, along with the Universities of Washington and Toronto have come up with a way of mapping muscle movements to simulate user inputs in a variety of different applications and all without the use of a single camera.The video demonstration which you can check out after the jump showcases a jogger using his fingers to switch the tracks on his iPod, and even rocking out with an air Guitar in Guitar hero.
The litigation gods don't seem to be favoring Microsoft at the moment. A U.S court of appeals dashed all its hopes of a turnaround in its legal battle with Canadian firm i4i when it upheld a previous ruling against the Redmond-based company on Tuesday. In August, a U.S District Judge had ruled that certain versions of Microsoft Word encroach upon i4i's patents and consequently slapped the software giant with a $290 million fine, besides placing an injunction on the sale of all infringing versions of Word in the U.S.
The appeals court had stayed the injunction in September until the matter was in consideration. But now that it has affirmed the previous ruling against Microsoft, there is very little the company can do apart from purging Word 2007 and Office 2007 of the features that violate i4i's patents. According to a Reuters report, the company is already taking the necessary corrective measures.
However, the company is also exploring other legal options, including a rehearing by a full panel of judges or a Supreme Court review, according to its spokesperson Kevin Kutz. A spokesperson for i4i said it is “pleased with the court's decision to uphold the injunction, an important step in protecting the property rights of small inventors.” This small inventor with a vindictive name certainly has every reason to be pleased.
There have been a number of data flubs in the past year that serve to underscore the risks associated with cloud computing. For Microsoft, they've also presented an opportunity to add to its patent portfolio. Specifically, the software giant has a filed a patent that appears to cover moving data to a new cloud under a number of scenarios. These include situations in which the existing service has failed, the provider has gone out of business, or if the user is able to find a better deal elsewhere.
In the filing, Microsoft outlines an architecture that involves executor, detection, organizer, and summary components that will receive and verify notices that a cloud service is going to be terminated, find the applicable data and service, prioritize it all, and finally give a summary, The Register reports.
Microsoft's well-timed filing coincides with increasing concerns over the need to make applications portable, as well as data between different clouds.
Well here's something we didn't see coming. Microsoft has apparently convinced the patent courts to grant the Redmond company a patent for "sudo," the command every Linux user is familiar with. Think that's mind boggling? Check out the final wording for the patent:
"Although the invention has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological steps, it is to be understood that the invention defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific features or steps described. Rather, the specific features and steps are disclosed as preferred forms of implementing the claimed invention."
From what we understand, the Japanese firm has called into question the use of the very axe that helps break the ice on social networks like Facebook: friendship requests. Mekiki was awarded US Patent #6,879,985 in 2005 for, among other things, “a message communicator configured to communicate a first message from one member to another member and configured to communicate a respective response to the first message from the another member to the one member, the response establishing a relationship between the one member and the another member.”
Boston-based Tele-Publishing Inc also believes that certain Facebook features contravene one of its patents. US Patent #6,253,216 was awarded to Tele-Publishing way back in 2001 and deals with the “method and apparatus” used for serving a personal page. The subject of its patent infringement claim appears to be Facebook’s privacy feature, which protects all the dazzling nymphets and the handsome hunks from the prying eyes of cyber stalkers. In fact, most contemporary social networks let their users specify who gets to view what.
Red Hat, the self proclaimed world's leading open source technology solutions provider, has a bone to pick with not just patent trolls, but shady software patents in general. As such, Red Hat has filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking to ban software patents.
"Red Hat continues its commitment to the free and open source software community by taking a strong position against bad software patents," Red Hat VP Rob Tiller said. "Our patent system is supposed to foster innovation but, for open source and software in general, it does the opposite."
Tiller went on to complain that software patents end up slowing and discouraging software innovation, arguing that "patent trolls" have exploited the current legal system by constructing lawsuits that further confuse the hundreds of thousands of patents that "cover abstract technology in vague and difficult-to-interpret terms."
Red Hat says oral arguments are scheduled for November 9, giving you plenty of time to read the full brief here (PDF).