Entries with tag us patents.

Samsung Wants Out of Microsoft Patent Deal

Samsung is seeking to be released from a patent agreement with Microsoft on the grounds that the latter’s recent purchase of Nokia’s smartphone business breaches the terms of their deal. The companies’ 2011 agreement enables Samsung to use Microsoft Android patents and to collaborate on making Windows Phone handsets. “Before Microsoft’s merger with Nokia DSB, these provisions between Microsoft, an input supplier, and Samsung, a downstream seller, comported with United States antitrust laws,” Samsung said in its filing to be released from the patent agreement. “After the Nokia DSB Merger, the agreements, now between competitors, invite charges of collusion.” Once Microsoft purchased Nokia’s handset business, it competed with Samsung. The original agreement also compels Samsung to share information with Microsoft. Doing so, Samsung says, would put it at risk of violating US antitrust laws. According to Reuters, Microsoft denies Samsung’s claims. Microsoft filed a suit earlier this year in a New York federal court alleging Samsung breached a previous agreement by delaying royalty payments. Samsung had paid Microsoft $1 billion in 2013 licensing fees as part of the agreement but did not pay any of the other scheduled fees, claiming it would have resulted in one or more antitrust violations. Microsoft contends that Samsung is liable for $6.9 million in back interest on the unpaid fees. (GeekWire)(ZD Net)(Reuters)


Judge Denies Marvell Request to Reduce Jury Award

A US federal judge has denied a request by Marvell Technology Group to cut $620 million of a $1.17 billion jury verdict against the company for patent infringement. This was reportedly the third greatest US patent-infringement penalty since 1995. A jury found that Marvell infringed on two Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) patents for technologies designed to improve the accuracy with which hard-drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks. . The company asked the court to reduce the resulting penalty, saying the university “unreasonably delayed pursuing its claims for patent infringement,” according to Reuters. The CMU researchers developed their technology between 1995 and 1998, applied for patents in 1998, and received them in 2001 and 2002. Marvell worked on the technology that was the subject of the lawsuit between 2001 and 2003. CMU, which owns the patents, filed suit in March 2009, claiming at least nine of the company’s devices used the patents without licensing. The court found Marvell earned $10.34 billion in revenue and $5.05 billion in profit by using the university’s patents. US District Judge Nora Barry Fischer said Marvell willfully infringed the patents, making the $1.17 billion award potentially subject to being trebled by the court. (Reuters)(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)(Carnegie Mellon University) 

Apple Granted Patents for Hover Technology, Heart Rate Monitor

The US Patent and Trademark Office granted two patents to Apple related to smartphone technologies. The first is a method for touch-and-hover interaction with a device screen while the second is for an embedded heart rate monitor. Although the hover technology is not new, the patent is designed to increase its accuracy. Meanwhile, the heart rate sensor allows a device to read a user’s heart rate, but could provide the capability on much smaller devices than are currently on the market, according to Apple observers. (Venture Beat)(Tech Crunch)(Apple Insider)

Linux Proponents Fight Patents Threatening Open Source Software

A group known as Linux Defenders is using the law to identify and fight US patents that, they say, threaten Linux and other open source software. The group—which the Open Invention Network, Software Freedom Law Center, and Linux Foundation created—is using the recently passed America Invents Act to examine newly published patent applications. If one appears as if it could cause problems for open source software, Linux Defenders files defensive publications, documents describing existing technology that would invalidate some of the pending patent’s claims, to be read by US Patent and Trademark Office examiners during the review process. Linux Defenders has filed about 200 of these defensive publications. The concern is that either the granting of broad patents or those duplicating existing open source technology could damage open source applications. The threat is very real. “One good loss at trial on a serious set of patents could make Red Hat go away. It would be gone,” Tom Callaway, Red Hat's Fedora engineering manager, told Ars Technica. “That’s the seriousness of patents and that’s how chilling they are on our industry.” (SlashDot)(Ars Technica)

Apple Awarded Patent for Bulk Metal Glass Manufacturing Process

Apple was recently awarded a US parent for the production of bulk metal glass. The process would reportedly be able to produce the so-called liquid metal non-stop for 10 to 15 years and produce the alloy in sheets of between 0.1 and 25 millimeters with widths of as much as 3 meters. Apple, through Liquidmetal Technologies, has exclusive license for the development and sale of processed liquid alloys. This alloy in particular is used to create a glass-like metal touted for strength and durability as well as its light weight. Apple has been interested in using the technology for its device cases. To date, the material has only been used to manufacture its SIM card ejector tool. The alloy material may first be used in portable devices such as the iPhone or iPad, but may eventually be used with larger devices. (SlashDot)(Hot Hardware)(ZDNet)(Mashable)

White House Announces Crackdown on Patent Trolls

US President Barack Obama has announced various executive actions and recommendations designed to stop abuses from patent trolls and patent exploitation. Patent trolls are companies that buy patent portfolios solely to make money by suing firms they accuse of infringement. Frequently, sued companies agree to settlements out of fear that a jury trial could result in huge damages, even if they believe they didn’t infringe on any patents. A Boston University study found that patent trolls cost US businesses $29 billion in 2011, according to The Hill, a newspaper that focuses on the US Congress. Critics say the practice is unfair and ties up resources that companies could use to design useful new products. They also say that trolls utilizing the patents they own only to file lawsuits keep companies from making good use of the technologies involved. Among Obama’s patent reforms are more training for patent examiners and the creation of educational materials to help businesses that patent trolls target. (Mashable)(The Hill)(The Washington Post)

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