AOL today entered into a definitive agreement to sell more than 800 patents outright to Microsoft and grant an additional 300 non-exclusive patents and patent applications to the Redmond software giant for $1.056 billion. A "significant" portion of the money raised will go to shareholders, AOL announced.
If the ammunition you're using to try and take down your prey isn't getting the job done, you can either hunt different game or try different ammo. Apple has chosen the latter as it continues to chase Samsung through various courts around the world. According to reports, Apple added a pair of patents to its portfolio, which it's using to try and convince a California judge to ban sales of Samsung's smartphones and tablets.
Would you have guessed that it would be Microsoft who stands up and yells, "Enough already!," in response to all the silly patent squabbles, many of which only end up hurting the consumer? Believe it or not, that's what the Redmond software giant did, in a roundabout sort of way. Microsoft is taking a public stand in support for industry standards and vowed it would not seek injunctions against any firm that runs afoul of so-called "standard essential" patents, all for the greater good of mankind.
One of the hotbeds in Apple’s ongoing patent war with Samsung has been Germany, but a German court just handed Apple a bit of a smackdown. A Munich court has found that Apple does not have the right to ban Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Nexus from Germany. The case came after Apple revoked a licence previously granted to Samsung relating to touchscreen technology.
The European Commission today announced it has opened a formal investigation into Samsung's use of patents and whether the handset maker is running afoul of EU antitrust rules. Samsung's business practices are being examined "as a matter of priority," the Commission said, though it did not say when it expects to complete its investigation.
Before smartphone patents took over the spotlight, everyone’s favorite patent troll was Rambus. The technology licensing firm has been using the so-called Barth patents for years to sue tech companies and extract licensing fees as a settlement. After invalidating two of the three Barth patents earlier this year, the U.S. Patent Office has now invalidated the third as well.
Intel announced it has signed an agreement with RealNetworks to purchase approximately 190 patents and 170 patent applications worldwide, along with next-generation video codec software, for a cool $120 million. The deal fleshes out Intel's patent portfolio for streaming media to portable devices as the Santa Clara chip maker gets ready to make a serious run at the smartphone and tablet markets.
Motorola filed a new patent infringement suit of its own against Apple today, and it targets the iPhone 4S and iCloud. Motorola cites six patents that it has used against Apple before as proof of Apple’s infringement. Interestingly, Google’s merger agreement with Motorola prohibits the later from filing any new patent suits without getting permission from Google first. Presumably, this means Google gave Moto the go-ahead to sue Apple.
IBM was awarded 6,180 patents in all of 2011, more than any other company in the world and nearly 1,300 more than Samsung, which was granted the second most patents with 4,894. After that, the Top 50 list compiled by IFI Claims Patent Services starts to drop off with Canon (No. 3) having added 2,821 patents to its portfolio last year, followed by Panasonic (No. 4) with 2,559 and Toshiba (No. 5) with 2,483. IBM has led the pack for 19 years straight, but don't hate the player, hate the game.
There was a time when film was king, and Kodak was riding high in the camera market. What a difference a decade can make. Kodak is now rumored to be planning an orderly Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing. The paperwork could be official as early as later this month. Kodak employs 19,000 people, but layoffs are likely in the event of Chapter 11.