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Cellphones

Apple Sues HTC For 20 Patent Violations In Phones 434

eldavojohn writes "Taiwanese HTC is being sued by Apple for 20 patents regarding the many phones HTC manufactures. Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, 'We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.' Apple has similar patent litigation with Nokia and may be trying to scare the rest of the industry into licensing patents similar to the Microsoft-Novell and Microsoft-Amazon deals regarding patents covering Linux functionality."
Patents

IBM's But-I-Only-Got-The-Soup Patent 267

theodp writes "In an Onion-worthy move, the USPTO has decided that IBM inventors deserve a patent for splitting a restaurant bill. Ending an 8+ year battle with the USPTO, self-anointed patent system savior IBM got a less-than-impressed USPTO Examiner's final rejection overruled in June and snagged US Patent No. 7,457,767 Tuesday for its Pay at the Table System. From the patent: 'Though US Pat. No. 5,933,812 to Meyer, et al. discussed previously provides for an entire table of patrons to pay the total bill using a credit card, including the gratuity, it does not provide an ability for the check to be split among the various patrons, and for those individual patrons to then pay their desired portion of the bill. This deficiency is addressed by the present invention.'"
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."
Patents

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."
Patents

Can I Be Fired For Refusing To File a Patent? 617

An anonymous reader writes "I am a developer for a medium-sized private technology company getting ready for an IPO. My manager woke up one morning and decided to patent some stuff I did recently. The problem is, I'm strongly opposed to software patents, believing that they are stifling innovation and dragging the technology industry down (see all the frivolous lawsuits reported here on Slashdot!). Now, my concern is: what kind of consequences could I bring on myself for refusing to support the patent process? Has anybody been in a similar position and what was the outcome?"
Patents

Digital Camera Powered By a Fuel Cell 117

An anonymous reader notes a development from the world of photography that could spread to notebooks and cell phones. Canon has filed for a patent on a fuel cell-powered DSLR. The fuel cell would power not only the camera body but also all accessories attached to it, doing away with the need to power flashes (for example) with AA or other batteries. The patent covers other electronic devices generally, but is clearly directed toward DSLR cameras, given the diagrams and examples used. "Canon continues to push its fuel cell development by devising a method for powering not only the internal DSLR body electronics, but also external components such as lenses and hotshoe flashes."
Social Networks

Friendster Going Strong In Asia, Maybe Soon In Court 58

Dekortage writes "Remember Friendster? Long ago outrun and lapped by MySpace and Facebook, and a textbook case of social networking collapse, Friendster appears to be going strong in Asia, and has recently stolen Google's Asia chief for its new CEO. More ominously, though, a recent press release (PDF) notes that the company 'was the first social networking company to launch key features, including the social graph server, a network activities tracker, and more. Friendster has been granted three fundamental patents and has more patents pending.' Hello, lawyers!"
The Courts

5th Circuit May Stop Patent Troll "Forum Shopping" 76

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Why is a 5th Circuit product liability case getting interest from lawyers all over the country? Because it might put an end to forum shopping by 'non practicing entities' (patent trolls) who prefer to file in the Eastern District of Texas, no matter how little relevance that forum has to their case. Thanks to the rules involving 28 U.S.C. 1404(a) motions and patent cases, people who get sued in Marshall, Texas usually can't get the case transferred elsewhere, even though that forum is seen as unreasonably favorable for patent plaintiffs. But, if the panel of judges in In Re: Volkswagen rules the way some anticipate, that could all change, and there are no less than six amici curiae who have filed briefs arguing both sides of it."
The Courts

NewYorkCountryLawyer Debates RIAA VP 291

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "At Fordham Law School's annual IP Law Conference this year, Slashdot member NewYorkCountryLawyer had a chance to square off with Kenneth Doroshow, a Senior Vice President of the RIAA, over the subject of copyright statutory damages. Doroshow thought the Jammie Thomas verdict of $222,000 was okay, he said, since Ms. Thomas might have distributed 10 million unauthorized copies. NYCL, on the other hand, who has previously derided the $9,250-per-song file verdict as 'one of the most irrational things [he has] ever seen in [his] life in the law', stated at the Fordham conference that the verdict had made the United States 'a laughingstock throughout the world.' An Australian professor on the panel said, 'The comment has been made a few times that America is out of whack and you are a laughingstock in the rest of the world. As the only non-American on the panel, that's true. We do see the cases like Thomas in our newspapers, and we think: "Wow, those crazy Americans, what are they up to now?" This whole notion of statutory damages is not something that we have within our Copyright Act. You actually have to be able to prove damage for you to be able to be compensated for that.' NYCL also got to debate the 'making available' issue, saying that there was no 'making available' right in US copyright law, despite the insistence of the program's moderator, the 'keynote' speaker, and a 'majority vote' of the audience that there was such a right. The next day, two decisions came down, and a month later yet another decision came down, all rejecting the 'making available' theory."
Patents

Seagate Sues STEC For Patent Infringement 51

Lucas123 writes "Yesterday Seagate filed suit against STEC, claiming several of its products, including solid state disks and some DRAM devices, infringe as many as four of its patents. Today STEC responded that it holds patents on the technology 10 years older than Seagate's. A Seagate win in the suit, or a settlement, could result in the equivalent of a tax on SSDs and potentially other flash memory products, increasing prices to end users at a time when demand for SSD storage is exploding."
The Courts

Monster Cables Pushes Around the Wrong Small Company 572

Alien54 writes "Audioholics has a fun read regarding a recent legal dustup involving Monster Cables. The well-known (some might say notorious) cabling company sent a cease and desist letter to Blue Jeans Cable over a supposed patent violation. What the Monster folks couldn't have known was that Blue Jeans president Kurt Denke used to be a lawyer. His response is as humorous as it is thorough. ' Let me begin by stating, without equivocation, that I have no interest whatsoever in infringing upon any intellectual property belonging to Monster Cable. Indeed, the less my customers think my products resemble Monster's, in form or in function, the better ... If there is more than one such connector design in actual use by Monster Cable as to which appropriation of trade dress is alleged, of course, I will require this information for each and every such design. On the basis of what I have seen, both in the USPTO documents you have sent and the actual appearance of Monster Cable connectors which I have observed in use in commerce, it does not appear to me that Monster Cable is in a position to advance a nonfrivolous claim for infringement of these marks.'"
Space

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.
Patents

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."
Patents

Cisco Lawyer Outs Self As "Patent Troll Tracker" 62

DustyShadow writes "Slashdot previously discussed the $10,000 bounty (since raised to $15,000) that was put on the identity of the Patent Troll Tracker author by a law firm that represents patent holding 'shell' companies. After he received a threatening email last week, the author identified himself as Richard Frenkel, a director in Cisco Systems' intellectual property group. According to law.com, many patent litigators have followed the Troll Tracker closely and are worried that it may now be discontinued. According to the lawyer who offered the bounty, it has not been claimed."

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