Tag: patent

Google patents sticky bonnet

Screen-Shot-2016-05-19-at-12.48.39-PMSearch engine outfit Google has been awarded patent number 61911853 which could help prevent pedestrian injuries by sticking those who step infront of its autonomous cars to the bonnet.

The idea is that if a car hit a pedestrian, the person would be glued to the car instead of flying off and this will prevent a secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or other object.

Google explains that an “adhesive layer” would be placed on the hood, front bumper and front side panels of a car. A thin coating would protect it until an impact occurred.

Google patent shows how a self-driving car could protect pedestrians with a fly-paper-like coating.

The double-sided tape concept could mitigate some pedestrian injuries, the concept is far from ideal if it pinned a victim between the car and another object.

“Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

New Egg beats patent troll

trollNew Egg has declared a victory against a patent troll who tried to claim its patent covered SSL and RC4 encryption.

For those who came in late, SSL and RC4 encryption is as common as muck and the troll in question has gone against over 100 other companies, and brought in $45 million in settlements.

TQP Development claimed that Newegg’s use of newer versions of SSL server encryption technology infringed on it patents. What is worse is that it managed to convince an earlier court that this was the case Newegg was ordered to pay $2.3 million.

At the time New Egg vowed to fight that result in the appellate courts. It did and it won.

Normally companies pay up and go away, but New Egg has a policy of fighting. It has beaten trolls in the past. In March it duffed up an outfit called MacroSolve which sued dozens of companies (including small app development shops) over patent No. 7,822,816, which it claims covers using questionnaires on a mobile app.

The company fought and won a lengthy battle over a patent on an electronic “shopping cart,” and it has defeated Alcatel-Lucent and Kelora

Lee Cheng, Newegg CLO said that patent trolls were bad for any business out there. They often prey on smaller companies, who would rather pay out than take them on directly in court. These trolls hurt innovation and end up costing everyone. It’s a sad situation as many of these small businesses end in million-dollar lawsuits that force them to close before they can even make it in today’s economy.

“Unfortunately, small businesses and even individual developers/entrepreneurs have been threatened and sued too.

“There are many different troll “species,” and bottom feeders send thousands of claim letters out or file hundreds of lawsuits. Their maths says that it always costs less to give them the money they demand than to mount a legal defence,” he said.


Boeing patents Star Trek shields

cheap_shields_03The US aircraft maker Boeing claims to have invented Star Trek style force fields even before it has built the US enterprise.

Everyone knows that the first Enterprise shipped with ablative plating and any defence involved charging the plating and real shielding did not come until much later.

However Boeing’s patent number 8,981,261 describes a force field that would use energy to deflect any potential damage.could provide a real-life layer of protection from nearby impacts to targets.

At the moment it will not protect from direct hits from a rifle, let alone a Klingon Bird of Prey.

The system can sense when a shock wave generating explosion occurs near a target. An arc generator then determines the small area where protection is needed from the shock waves.
It then springs into action by by emitting laser pulses that ionise the air, providing a laser-induced plasma field of protection from the shock waves.

“Explosive devices are being used increasingly in asymmetric warfare to cause damage and destruction to equipment and loss of life. The majority of the damage caused by explosive devices results from shrapnel and shock waves,” the patent says.

While Boeing may been granted the patent, it’s unclear how long it will be before the company deploys the real-life force fields.

Googler takes over Patent Office

William_Hemsley_The_young_poacher_1874In a classic poacher turned game keeper scenario, a former Google executive has taken over the US Patent Office.

The US Senate confirmed former Google Inc executive Michelle Lee will head the US Patent and Trademark Office. No one has taken the job for two years ever since David Kappos, a former IBM suit, left in February 2013.

Lee was a lawyer and head of patents and patent strategy at Google, and had been the acting director of the office. The patent office has been slammed for approving what some say are weak software related-patents that have given ground to Patent Trolls.

Lee’s main task will be to improve the quality of patents granted by the agency and send the trolls back to live under their bridges.

Another complaint has been the agency’s long backlog in examining patents. In December 2011, the unexamined backlog was almost 722,000 patents. It currently stands at 602,265, according to the agency’s website.


Apple might troll its way into VR control

apple-disney-dreams-snow-white-Favim.com-142405Famous for operating its reality distortion shield, Apple might have taken control of the Virtual Reality market with an ancient patent application.

Apple was granted a patent for a Gear VR-like mobile headset which would use a portable device (like a smartphone) as the primary display. However the patent is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR and a swath of VR smartphone adapters out there like Google Cardboard.

According to patent attorney, Eric Greenbaum the patent could kill off all competition for mobile VR headsets and patent troll the market to oblivion.

In 2008  Apple filed a patent for a “Head-mounted display apparatus for retaining a portable electronic device with display.”

The patent describes a device which sounds an awful lot like Gear VR and other VR smartphone adapters. Eric Greenbaum, told Road to VR  that the Apple patent may have broad ramifications for mobile-device based head mounted displays.” Which I take to mean, Apple could have a case on their hands if they wanted to challenge Gear VR or similar devices in court.

He thinks that Jobs’ Mob may have pressed to get the patent through the system after Gear VR was announced.

Greenbaum  warned that Apple has not yet announced a plan to build any VR products. However their patent filings indicate a strong interest in the field and I would expect them to be planning something.

This Apple HMD patent is significant. I would say it introduces potential litigation risks for companies that have or are planning to release a mobile device HMD.

There is no duty for Apple to make or sell an HMD. They can sit on this patent and use it strategically either by enforcing it against potential infringers, licensing it, or using it in forming strategic partnerships.

In other words, Apple without actually inventing anything could take control of the entire market.  It could cherry pick the best technology out there and then release its own product.


Samsung sued by Dutch

dutch-childrenDutch based telecommunications company KPN has sued Samsung in the US state of Texas, claiming that it stole  some of its patented ideas.

The European network is suing the world’s largest smartphone company for using patented technology, with Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5 among the listed devices.

Apparently KPN has been negotiating with Samsung for some years to reach a licensing agreement, but talks broke down.

As the court filing was made in the US, it seems KPN is focused on that market, but it is unclear if Samsung is infringing the same patent in other global regions, or if this was just “stage one” of a wider campaign.

Texas is a little more patent friendly to trolls, which does weaken the Dutch case somewhat. After all, if you really believed in your case you would choose a court where the jurors were a little less likely to automatically agree with you.

It is also not clear which patents Samsung is said to have broken – so far no news source from the US has said.


Jury clears Apple of antitrust allegation

Apple's Tim CookFruity cargo cult Apple has managed to convince a jury that deleting rival music from iPods was not really the actions of someone abusing their position in the market to snuff out competition.

The  jury decided Apple did not act improperly when it restricted music purchases for iPod users to Apple’s iTunes digital store.

The plaintiffs, a group of individuals and businesses who bought iPods from 2006 to 2009, sought about $350 million in damages from Apple alleging the company unfairly blocked competing device makers.

Patrick Coughlin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said “the jury called it like they saw it”.

Of course Apple was over the moon.  “Every time we’ve updated those products — and every Apple product over the years — we’ve done it to make the user experience even better,” the company said.

In fact, the jurors deliberated for only a few hours on the sole question of whether the update had benefited consumers. Under US law, a company cannot be found anticompetitive if a product alteration was an improvement for customers.

However the trail revealed that Apple faced a challenge in the online music market from Real Networks, which developed RealPlayer, its own digital song manager. It included software which allowed music purchased there playable on iPods as well as competing devices.

Apple eventually introduced a software update that restricted the iPod to music bought on iTunes. Plaintiffs say that step discouraged iPod owners from buying a competing device when it came time to upgrade.

Apple argued the software update was meant to improve the consumer experience and contained many desirable features, including movies and auto-synchronisation.

The plaintiffs say that they will appeal the verdict

Samsung cannot stop Microsoft

microsoft-in-chinaA US judge has rejected Samsung bid to put Microsoft’s smartphone patent royalties case on hold while the South Korean company pursues arbitration in Hong Kong.

New York Judge Jed Rakoff said the lawsuit would proceed despite the arbitration.

Microsoft sued Samsung in August, claiming it broke a collaboration agreement by refusing to make royalty payments after the US company announced its intention to buy Nokia’s handset business in September 2013.

The lawsuit claimed Samsung owed $6.9 million in interest on more than $1 billion in patent royalties it delayed paying. Samsung said that the Nokia acquisition in April violated its 2011 deal with Microsoft.

Samsung has gone to arbitration at the Hong Kong office of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Samsung  had agreed in 2011 to pay Microsoft royalties in exchange for a patent license covering phones that ran Google Android operating system.

Samsung also agreed to develop Windows phones and share confidential business information with Microsoft, according to the filing.

But once Microsoft acquired Nokia, it became a direct hardware competitor with Samsung, the filing said, and Samsung refused to share some sensitive information due to antitrust concerns.

War between Nvidia and Samsung gets ugly

Newspaper Seller, 1939The war between Samsung and Nvidia has escalated and handbags are being distributed to the troops.

Samsung says that Nvidia has infringed several of its semiconductor-related patents and for making false claims about its products. This is a counter-suit following Nvidia’s lawsuit against the Korean company in September.

Samsung, which filed its lawsuit on Monday, is seeking damages for deliberate infringement of several technical patents, including a few that govern the way semiconductors buffer and use data.

Samsung said that Nvidia is guilty of false advertising when it says its “Shield” tablet sports the world’s fastest mobile processor, the Tegra. Samsung cites benchmarking studies performed by researchers at Primate Labs as proving that claim false.

Nvidia said it would review and respond to these new claims against it, and looked forward to presenting its case on how Nvidia GPU patents are being used without a licence.

Nvidia also pointed to a benchmarking study that supported its claim that the Tegra was the fastest mobile processor on the market.

Everyone knows that industry claims that “our chip is faster because we use x benchmark” always goes nowhere. It will be interesting to see what a court will make of them.

Google avoids Texas patent troll fight

alamo-paintingGoogle has managed to avoid having to fight patent troll Rockstar Consortium in a Texas court that lawyers consider nicer toward plaintiffs

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday ordered proceedings stayed in Texas over whether handsets made by Samsung Electronics, HTC,  AsuSTEK,  LG Electronics and ZTE infringed on Rockstar’s patents because they used Google’s Android.

Rockstar had filed the lawsuits in a Texas federal court and Google filed a lawsuit in northern California in which it asked a judge to rule that devices using the Android platform had not infringed the patents cited by Rockstar.

The overlaps led the appeals court to rule that the spat should be decided first in California.

The court said that there was no need to proceed with the five Texas actions because the one California action would do. “There will be substantial similarity involving the infringement and invalidity issues in all the cases”, whatever that means.

Rockstar which as Apple as an investor, outbid Google and paid $4.5 billion for thousands of former Nortel Network patents as the networking products supplier went bankrupt in 2011.