patents

Tech giants like Apple and Microsoft have pushed for reform of the US patent system after being involved in a multitude of legal actions over patents, but now they're pushing to slow reform. Apple and Microsoft are teaming up with Ford Motor Company, DuPont, General Electric, Pfizer, and IBM for the Partnership for american Innovation, which aims to convince members of the United States Congress to dial back some of their proposals on patent reform in order to protect their own patents.

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Apple likes to create stunningly beautiful technology, but sometimes it may appear that they are simply imitating others and slapping on the word “Magic” or “Super” to create unique branding. This situation may be the case with a very Microsoft Surface-style keyboard cover that Apple is trying to patent. We say 'trying' because Apple is only applying for the patent, but they have not yet been granted one. That process could take months or even years before it is approved.

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Technology moves fast, but the United States government isn’t exactly as quick. Microsoft had originally filed a patent for the Windows 8 start screen in September 2011 (there was some initial confusion at the time on what it meant). The first release of Windows 8 was on October 25, 2012, so in essence, the patent was filled over a year before the operating system appeared on the market.

The design patent itself has just been approved with a stamped date of January 28 2014 – over two years after it was submitted for approval.

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Microsoft wants to know where your hands are at all times, and has filed a patent to do so. A new patent filed by the Redmond based company depicts a device that is able to sense a person’s grip on the border of a tablet. The patent itself shows “Skin Sensors” embedded around the entire screen border and filed under what Microsoft is calling “Touch-Aware Skin”.

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One of the many legal battles involving smartphone manufacturers is Nokia suing HTC over several patent infringements. Nokia filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) claiming HTC encroached on several patents with their Android based devices. 

Through the course of the litigation several of the claims were dropped leaving three patent claims to be ruled on. An Administrative Law Judge with the ITC has issued a preliminary ruling against HTC on two of the three remaining patent claims which very well could lead to a U.S. import ban against HTC.

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We’re still going through all the details of the recently announced Nokia acquisition by Microsoft and are getting a clearer understanding of all the implications of the transaction. Needless to say, Microsoft is going to come out ahead of this deal and it will be something for its competitors to take note in the morning.

The biggest impact is of course Nokia’s favored patent portfolio, which was already wielded as a weapon against their Android rivals in addition to Microsoft’s treasure trove of license agreements. But just as interesting, Microsoft sees the deal with Nokia as boon for its OEM business and they are expecting the acquisition to help with OEM opportunity.  

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The War

There was once a time when being a heavy Google services user and a Microsoft fan was the easiest choice on the block. The boys in Redmond could provide a robust and productive operating system platform while the Mountain View search cowboys could back you up with web services. Now, the two companies are going head to head and it might just be causing a hellish nightmare for consumers.

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I know what you're thinking, "Oh, not more patents!" Believe me, we wish we could simply forget about the business altogether and focus on technology and innovation, but we're talking about multiple corporations here. Microsoft is battling it out against Google and are currently in a strong position. This has been reinforced with ZTE becoming the 20th company to have taken a royalty-bearing Android license. 

Today the Munich Higher Regional Court rejected Google's (Motorola) appeal against Microsoft's injunction against Motorola, which was granted back in 2012. The patent in question is EP1304891 on "communicating multi-part messages between cellular devices using a standardized interface." The lower court's ruling has now been affirmed by the appeals court and so the injunction remains in place for the foreseeable future.

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Level with me. You’re civil and fairly polite here in the comments on Windows Phone Central. But on other sites you’re a Microsoft fanboy. Don’t worry, there’s one deep down in all of us. Here’s some fodder for the next little flamewar you start with your Android frenemies – Microsoft will pocket dough for every single Android and Chrome OS device that Foxconn makes.

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Since first being captivated by the beauty and excellence of Nokia's Lumia family of Windows Phone devices, people having been wondering if Nokia would follow Microsoft's lead by creating a Windows-based tablet, like the Surface. While we're nowhere closer to learning the answer to that question, what we do know is that Nokia had their sights on building a tablet back in 2011.

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Nokia has made an intellectual property rights declaration to the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) with respect to Google's VP8 data format and decoding guide, listing 64 granted patents and 22 pending patent applications. VP8 is Google's dream to create a royalty-free codec, but it's reportedly not open standard and Nokia is having none of it (to see why, check quote below). The company is already seeking injunctions against HTC in Germany over two VP8 patents.

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Just as many gamers have shouted over the headset in excitement, "BOOM! HEAD SHOT!" Nokia has won a patent injunction against HTC in Germany. Yes, we're aware that many of you have grown tired of such news being covered, but it's a Windows Phone OEM being attacked by another, so it's certainly worth noting exactly what's going on.

It's reported HTC has since disabled the patented power-saving technique in question on affected hardware. This change will lead to poorer battery life, further hurting the Taiwanese product line which incorporates Qualcomm baseband chips. The company is fighting back and it's believed a deal will be struck between the two parties at some point.

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Today in Germany, the District Court of Mannheim ruled that HTC was not guilty of infringing on two patents owned by Nokia, including one involving the use of Google Play on HTC Android devices. The patent (EP0812120), which nebulously covers a "method for using services offered by a telecommunication network, a telecommunication system and a terminal for it," was one that HTC called the "flagship patent" in the suit that alleges over 45 intellectual property violations by HTC.

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Motorola/Google lost a bit of ground in their patent litigation against Microsoft when the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington invalidated or dismissed thirteen of Motorola's patent infringement claims. The litigation claims that Microsoft infringed on sixteen of Motorola's patents with the Windows Phone and Xbox 360 systems.

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Our Windows Phones are great devices to keep you in touch. Either through actually using it as a wireless telephone, checking your email, chatting through text messages, surfing the web or accessing your favorite app or game. But there are some occasions where your Windows Phone, or any other smartphone for that matter, can be rather annoying.

Occasions such as a movie theater when someone pulls out there Windows Phone to check a missed call and the screen lights up the room. Or when you're in a meeting and the chime sounds for an incoming text that interrupts your bosses in mid-speech.

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Although the stock market as a whole is down due to America’s ongoing blowhard budget bickering, we think investors have yet another good reason to buy Nokia (which is down today 3%). RIM will reportedly make an initial payment of $65 million to Nokia for their WLAN patent settlement from a few weeks back.

The settlement came after Nokia brought a complaint against RIM in U.S., United Kingdom and Canada claiming RIM was in violation of WLAN patents. The case went to arbitration and was found to be in favor of Nokia, resulting in an undisclosed settlement. Now information of the initial lump sum came forward via RIM's 6-K filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in addition “ongoing payments” for the right to use Nokia’s tech will also be provided.

Say what you will about Nokia but the company does have one of the strongest patent portfolios around and since money is tight right now, they are seeking to collect where they can. While $65 million won’t save the company, that’s not a bad “bonus” to add to the books at the end of the year.

Source: All Things D; via CrackBerry

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