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Submission + - Microsoft Makes 5x from Android as Windows Phone (asymco.com) 2

twitter writes: "Given Citi numbers, Microsoft is making more from licensing Android to makers than it is from their own phone. It is easy to understand that no one wants a Windows phone but why is Microsoft being paid for Android? Because Microsoft is allowed to threaten competitors with patent lawsuits.

A rough estimate of the number of HTC Android devices shipped is 30 million. If HTC paid $5 per unit to Microsoft, that adds up to $150 million Android revenues for Microsoft. Microsoft has admitted selling 2 million Windows Phone licenses (though not devices.) Estimating that the license fee is $15/WP phone, that makes Windows Phone revenues to date $30 million.



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."

Prior Art In Barracuda-Trend Micro Lawsuit 110

Joe Barr writes "Bruce Byfield reports at Linux.com that a Swedish developer, Goran Fransson, has 'given a deposition in the Barracuda-Trend Micro case that appears to seriously undermine Trend Micro's patent on gateway virus scanning.' Gransson has resurrected a product (still in its shrinkwrap) sold by Ten Four, the company he worked for at the time, to prove that it provided gateway virus scanning in January 1995. Trend Micro's patent application was filed in September of that year. If you were — or worked for — a Ten Four customer during 1995, you might be able to help Barracuda prove that Trend Micro's patent omits prior art." We discussed this important patent case when it was filed in January. (Slashdot and Linux.com share a corporate overlord.)
Red Hat Software

Red Hat Makes a GPL-Compatible Patent Deal 59

Bruce Perens writes "Red Hat has settled patent suits with Firestar Software, Inc., Amphion, and Datatern on a patent covering the Object-Relational Database Model, which those companies asserted was used in the jBoss Hibernate package — not in Red Hat Linux. The settlement is said to protect upstream developers and derivative works of the upstream software, thus protecting the overall Open Source community. Full terms of the settlement and patent licenses are not available at this time."

Microsoft Applies For "Digital Manners" Patent 289

SirLurksAlot writes "Ars Technica reports that Microsoft has recently applied for a patent for a technology which would attempt to enforce manners in the use of cell phones, digital cameras, DVRs and other digital devices. According to the article, the technology could be used to bring common social conventions such as 'No flash photography' and 'No talking out loud' to these devices by disabling features or disabling the device entirely. The article also points out that the technology could be implemented in situations involving sensitive equipment, such as in airplanes or hospitals. The patent application itself is also an interesting read, as it describes a number of possible uses for the technology, including 'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.' While this technology could certainly be of interest to any number of organizations one has to wonder how the individuals who own devices which obey so-called 'Digital Manners Policies' would feel about it."

US Supreme Court Limits Patent Claims 118

Aire Libre and other readers noted a unanimous Supreme Court decision that denied LG Electronics's attempt to evade the first-sale doctrine by use of "business method" patents. LG licensed patents to Intel, then attempted to dictate what use Intel's customers could make of the Intel products incorporating LG patents. The decision (PDF) notes how easily patents can be written up as "business methods" to nullify the first-sale doctrine ("exhaustion") and to give the patent owner perpetual control downstream. Aire Libre adds, "That reasoning bodes well for copyright freedom as well, in light of the growing number of copyright holders who seek to nullify the Copyright Act's limitation on the distribution right by claiming the goods are 'licensed, not sold,' or subject to some restrictive EULA."
The Internet

Singapore Firm Claims Patent Breach By Virtually All Websites 481

An anonymous reader writes "A Singapore firm, VueStar has threatened to sue websites that use pictures or graphics to link to another page, claiming it owns the patent for a technology used by millions around the world. The company is also planning to take on giants like Microsoft and Google. It is a battle that could, at least in theory, upend the Internet. The firm has been sending out invoices to Singapore companies since last week asking them to pay up."

Microsoft Patents 'Proactive' Virus Protection 169

An anonymous reader writes "InfoWeek blogger Alex Wolfe wonders whether Microsoft will go after McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky for software royalties for proactive virus protection software. The technique enables security software to protect a PC against malware which isn't yet in the antivirus definition file, by comparing whether the new malware is similar to an old virus. Wolfe reports that Microsoft has been awarded U.S. patent 7,376,970 for "System and method for proactive computer virus protection," but that McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky have all been selling products implementing proactive virus protection for years before Microsoft even filed for the patent. Writes Wolfe: "One often wonders about software patents. I sure wonder about this one. I also wonder whether McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky are also going to be hearing from their friends in Redmond real soon"."

F/OSS Multi-Point Video-Conferencing 127

DarkSarin writes "Given that solutions like iChat can seamlessly video-conference for multiple parties on the Mac, and that others are semi-commercial, like Oovoo (which recently left beta and is no longer free for more than 3-way calls), what do you recommend in terms of a F/OSS solution to a need for moderate-sized video-conferencing? Ideally, it would be something which does not use a web-page and does not require hours of configuration. iChat is insanely easy to use. Mebeam.com is also quite simple to operate, but requires so much screen real estate that it can't easily be used in conjunction with any other software. Referring to other documents while in the middle of the conference is nice, but it's important to have the reactions of the other participants — and not everyone has multiple monitors. I am aware of projects like vmukti and services like ustream.tv, but I am thinking more in terms of a stand-alone application that is F/OSS (Ekiga/GnomeMeeting comes to mind, but it does not do multi-point video chat unless one also has access to an H.323 gateway, which is apparently non-trivial to implement). With the prevalence of broadband connections, I am surprised that a solid effort is missing for making easy, painless multi-point video-conferencing for more than 3 or 4 connections (which seems to be the most that a lot of 'free' solutions offer, or even the low-cost ones). So, my question is two-fold: First, why isn't there a better effort at medium to large video-conferencing that pretty much anyone can set up? Second, do you know of any F/OSS applications which work well and support a minimum of 6 to 8 connected parties?"

A Guardian Angel In Your Cell Phone 215

theodp writes "Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie are listed as inventors of the Guardian Angel, which is described in a most unusual Microsoft patent application that should intrigue privacy advocates. In addition to protecting you from possibly diseased people, by detecting body temperatures, the Guardian Angel's 'monitoring component can take note of the number of conversations occurring in a room (and more specifically, a breakdown of the types of people in the room accompanied by a warning for dangerous persons, based on sex offender registration, FBI most wanted, etc.).' The versatile Guardian Angel, Microsoft notes, can also recommend restaurants, advise you on the appropriateness of your jokes, detect that your heartbeat has stopped, display targeted ads on billboards, and block spam."

Satellite Abandoned Due To Orbital Patent 366

EreIamJH brings news about a commercial geostationary satellite that was launched last month. Due to a launch failure, the satellite did not reach the orbit required to perform its function. The satellite's owner, SES Americom, looked for a way to salvage the satellite, but ran into an unexpected hurdle; a Boeing patent on the lunar flyby process that would be used to correct the satellite's orbit. If another company doesn't purchase the satellite, it is likely to become another piece of space junk. The European Space Agency has posted a gallery of the maps they have put together for man-made debris in orbit around the earth.

Multi-Channel Communication Patent Up For Sale 97

OTDR alerts us to the latest software patent stupidity in the news as patent number 6,418,462, "methods allowing clients to perform tasks through a sideband communication channel, in addition to the main communication channel between a client and server," snubs its nose at AJAX, ftp, and decades of prior art and goes on sale next month in San Fransisco. "Singled out are AJAX mashups including Google Maps and Gmail, and Microsoft 'Live'... Also in the frame are Amazon's S3 and EC2 and clusters from Microsoft, VMware, and Oracle. eBay's Skype, Napster, and Microsoft's Groove are also listed as potentially infringing on the patent in P2P."

Seagate May Sue if Solid State Disks Get Popular 242

tero writes "Even though Seagate has announced it will be offering SSD disks of its own in 2008, their CEO Bill Watkins seems to be sending out mixed signals in a recent Fortune interview 'He's convinced, he confides, that SSD makers like Samsung and Intel (INTC) are violating Seagate's patents. (An Intel spokeswoman says the company doesn't comment on speculation.) Seagate and Western Digital (WDC), two of the major hard drive makers, have patents that deal with many of the ways a storage device communicates with a computer, Watkins says. It stands to reason that sooner or later, Seagate will sue — particularly if it looks like SSDs could become a real threat.'"

Google Patents Detecting, Tracking, Targeting Kids 115

theodp writes "A newly-issued Google patent for Rendering Advertisements With Documents Having One or More Topics Using User Topic Interest describes how to detect the presence of children by 'using evidence of sophistication determined using user actions' and tracking their behavior using the Google Toolbar and other methods to deliver targeted ads. Which is interesting, since the Google Terms of Service supposedly prohibit the use of Services by anyone 'not of legal age.' The inventor is Google Principal Scientist Krishna Bharat, who is a co-inventor of another pending Google patent for inferring searchers' ethnicity, reading level, age, sex and income (and storing it all)." Ok I'll be the first to admit that this is greek to me. Someone smart figure this out and post a comment translating patentese into english.

"Bilski" Case May End Business Method Patents 101

hey sends us to a blog at NYTimes outlining the upcoming appeal of the case known as "re Bilski," which could spell the end of patents on methods of doing business later this year. One patent expert is quoted: "I think this is the unraveling of business method patents... I think there is a process we are going to go through to get there and the Supreme Court is going to be the one that decides it." But another expert thinks the case is unlikely to bring down the whole class of patents: "Definitions of business method patents always end up being circular. You can't really ban something unless you can define it and no one is offering a definition we can use."

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito