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Toshiba Sues Over DVD Patents 131

angry tapir writes "Toshiba has filed suit in a US court against Imation and several manufacturers and distributors of recordable DVD media for the alleged infringement of its patents. Imation and the other defendant companies named in the complaint do not have license agreements covering recordable DVD media with Toshiba or the DVD6C Licensing Group (DVD6C), and have engaged in the import and sale of recordable DVD media in the US without permission, according to Toshiba."

Dean Kamen Awarded Patent For Robot Competition Rules 110

An anonymous reader writes "Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway and the founder of the FIRST Robotics Competition has been granted Patent 7,507,169, that describes one of the previous competitions. The main invention is a ranking system that ranks teams not only on their score, but their opponents' score, so teams are rewarded for helping their opponents score more. It is claimed that this ranking system promotes the made up phrases 'coopertition' and 'gracious professionalism.' It had three rejections, and even more appeals, before finally being accepted six years after the first application. While a majority of his 130 patents are for things related to his inventions, which are as diverse as medical equipment, unique uses for Stirling engines, and transportation, this one seems a little dubious. Dean opposes the Patent Reform Act of 2009, which would make it easier to overturn patents after they are granted."

Biotech Company To Patent Pigs Screenshot-sm 285

Anonymous Swine writes "Monsanto, a US based multinational biotech company, is causing a stir by its plan to patent pig-breeding techniques including the claim on animals born by the techniques. 'Agricultural experts are scrambling to assess how these patents might affect the market, while consumer activists warn that if the company is granted pig-related patents, on top of its tight rein on key feed and food crops, its control over agriculture could be unprecedented. "We're afraid that Monsanto and other big companies are getting control of the world's genetic resources," said Christoph Then, a patent expert with Greenpeace in Germany. The patent applications, filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization, are broad in scope, and are expected to take several years and numerous rewrites before approval.'"

Circuit Board Design For a Small Startup? 262

Patrick Bowman writes "I'm with a small (okay, it's just me) startup planning a camera-related USB device for the mass market. It's probably patentable so I can't give details. I can handle the software but have no hardware design or manufacturing experience. Does anyone have any recommendations for a company to handle the PCB design and manufacture? Instead of starting from scratch I've also considered approaching one of the companies (mostly in China) that make similar devices and asking them to modify their hardware for my requirements, and to provide their source for me to modify. Has anyone taken this route before? How did it work for you?"

The First Phone Call Was 133 Years Ago 196

magacious writes "March 10 is the 133rd anniversary of the first telephone call. It occurred between Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas Watson back on this day in 1876. But there is some debate about whether Bell is actually the rightful owner of the crown for such invention. Having worked on the idea of transmitting speech using electricity for some time, Bell filed his patent on 14 February 1876, either just before or just after his main rival for the title of inventor of the telephone, Elisha Gray, filed his own. Bell won the patent and Gray died in obscurity."

Firm Seeks To Ban Mobile Companies' Imports To US 137

snydeq writes "Texas-based Saxon Innovations has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission to bar six companies — including Research in Motion, Palm, and Nokia — from importing handheld devices into the US. At issue are three patents that Saxon purchased in July 2007; a patent for keypad monitor with keypad activity-based activation; a patent for an apparatus and method for disabling interrupt marks in processors or the like; and a patent for a device and method for interprocessor communication by using mailboxes owned by processor devices. Saxon, with five employees, purchased about 180 US patents formerly owned by Advanced Micro Devices or Legerity in 2007, according to its ITC complaint."

Google, Apple, Microsoft Sued Over File Preview 250

ClaraBow writes with this excerpt from MacWorld: "A small Indiana company has sued tech heavyweights Microsoft, Apple, and Google, claiming that it holds the patent on a common file preview feature used by browsers and operating systems to show users small snapshots of the files before they are opened. ... Cygnus's owner and president Gregory Swartz developed the technology laid out in the patent while working on IT consulting projects, McAndrews said. The company is looking for 'a reasonable royalty' as well as a court injunction preventing further infringement, he said. ... Cygnus applied for its patent (#7346850) in 2001. It covers a 'System and method for iconic software environment management' and was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office in March of this year."

EEStor Issued a Patent For Its Supercapacitor 603

An anonymous reader sends us to, an electric vehicle enthusiast blog, for the news that last week EEStor was granted a US patent for their electric-energy storage unit, of which no one outside the company (no one who is talking, anyway) has seen so much as a working prototype. We've discussed the company on a number of occasions. The patent (PDF) is a highly information-rich document that offers remarkable insight into the device. EEStor notes "the present invention provides a unique lightweight electric-energy storage unit that has the capability to store ultrahigh amounts of energy." "The core ingredient is an aluminum coated barium titanate powder immersed in a polyethylene terephthalate plastic matrix. The EESU is composed of 31,353 of these components arranged in parallel. It is said to have a total capacitance of 30.693 F and can hold 52.220 kWh of energy. The device is said to have a weight of 281.56 pound including the box and all hardware. Unlike lithium-ion cells, the technology is said not to degrade with cycling and thus has a functionally unlimited lifetime. It is mentioned the device cannot explode when being charge or impacted and is thus safe for vehicles."

Steve Jobs Patents "The Dock" 580

theodp writes "If you're a PC, you may be unfamiliar with The Dock, the bar of icons that sits at the bottom or side of a Mac and provides easy access to Apple applications. But don't count on it becoming a standard on the PC. On Tuesday, the USPTO awarded Apple — and inventor Steve Jobs — a patent for their User Interface for Providing Consolidation and Access, aka 'The Dock,' after a rather lengthy nine-year wait."

TiVo Wins Appeal On Patents For Pause, Ffwd, Rwd 215

Lorien_the_first_one writes "After years of wrangling, TiVo has won its day in court against Dish Network, formerly known as the EchoStar, when the Supreme Court declined to take up Dish Network's appeal, forcing the satellite television company to pay $104 million in damages. According to the article, 'TiVo originally won a patent infringement case in 2004 against Dish, which was then named EchoStar Communications. It charged that Dish illegally copied its technology, which allows people to pause, rewind, and record live television on digital video recorders.' Despite an injunction, Dish continued distributing its set-top boxes in the belief that the work-around they had implemented avoided infringing TiVo's patents. Now the case goes back to the lower court for review to determine if they did indeed steer clear of those patents."

IBM Wants Patent On Finding Areas Lacking Patents 151

theodp writes "It sounds like a goof — especially coming from a company that pledged to raise the bar on patent quality — but the USPTO last week disclosed that IBM is seeking a patent for Methodologies and Analytics Tools for Identifying White Space Opportunities in a Given Industry, which Big Blue explains allows one 'to maximize the value of its IP by investigating and identifying areas of relevant patent 'white space' in an industry, where white space is a term generally used to designate one or more technical fields in which little or no IP may exist,' and filling those voids with the creation of additional IP."

Designing a Patent-Incentive Program? 221

SoulMaster writes "The company I work for (we are a one-year-old start-up) has recently started filing patents to protect some of its intellectual property. At the onset of the patent process, one of the executives drafted a very basic Patent Incentive Program (PIP) which is now under full review to ensure that it is both accurate and fair. The basics of our original PIP are that inventors receive (or co-inventors share): $500 for each provisional filing, $1500 for an actual patent filing (with full claim-sets defined), and $5000 for any patent that is granted by the USPTO. While the current program seems fair to our staff, we have been unable to find anything to compare it to. Moreover, the revamp of the program is likely to grant an equity stake in the company (via an Options grant) rather than cash payouts. I've scoured Google for information, but because internally documented PIPs aren't generally public knowledge, the results are limited. Thus, I have decided to ask Slashdot users: How does the company you work for handle Patent incentives? Do they have them at all? Are they cash or equity based?"

Sept 24 Is World Day Against Software Patents 155

zoobab writes "Veteran European anti-software patent campaigners have launched the World Day against Software Patents. They say, 'The issue of software patents is a global one, and several governments and patent offices around the world continue to grant software & business method patents on a daily basis; they are pushing for legal codification of the practice, such as currently in New Zealand and India. We declare the 24 September as the World Day Against Software Patents, in commemoration of the European Parliament First Reading in 2003 with amendments stopping the harmful patenting of software, guaranteeing that software programmers and businesses can safely benefit from the fruits of their work under copyright law.'"

Apple Attempts to Patent Pre-Existing Display Software Idea 256

Nuclear Elephant writes "Apple appears to be taking ideas from commercial software already being sold and is attempting to patent the concepts as their own. According to Apple Insider, Apple has recently filed a patent application for a notification screen on the iPhone. The only problem with this is that Intellisync has been using this concept in their popular iPhone notification screen software for over a year now, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is a clear rip-off. Apple recently became famous (or infamous) for stealing other people's ideas when they rolled out their Dashboard in Mac OS X, which had many similarities to a desktop widget program named the Konfabulator, which later became Yahoo widgets. The case here isn't a simple hijacking of an idea, however — Apple is applying for a patent on Intelliscreen's concept, which could be detrimental to the original manufacturer of the software, who is actively selling it for Jailbroken iPhones"

Microsoft Patents "Pg Up" and "Pg Dn" 350

An anonymous reader notes that Microsoft has been granted a patent on "Page Up" and "Page Down" keystrokes. The article links an image of an IBM PC keyboard from 1981 with such keys in evidence. "The software giant applied for the patent in 2005, and was granted it on August 19, 2008. US patent number 7,415,666 describes 'a method and system in a document viewer for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as one page, regardless of whether the zoom is such that some, all or one page is currently being viewed.'... The company received its 5,000th patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office in March 2006, and is currently approaching the 10,000 mark."

Leveraging always beats prototyping.