Tag: texas

Texas jury awards Bluetooth to patent troll

trollA Texas jury which was told by a patent troll that a plaintiff did not invent Bluetooth 2.0, has told him that he really did.

Gordon Bremer is connected to a patent trolling outfit called Rembrandt which takes on big companies with wide patents before East Texas juries.

East Texas juries are famous for handing down patent rulings in favour of plaintiffs.

Bremer told the court he didn’t invent Bluetooth 2.0. In fact he hadn’t even read the specification for it until it had been in the market for three years.

The jury found in Rembrandt’s favour after a week-long trial, finding that Samsung’s Bluetooth-enabled products, including its most popular mobile phones, tablets, and televisions, infringe Bremer’s patents, numbered 8,023,580 and 8,457,228. The patents relate to compatibility between different types of modems, and connect to a string of applications going back to 1997.

This means that without doing anything Bremer may be being paid a hefty royalty by Samsung, after a jury ruled that the Korean electronics company infringed Bremer’s patents. He stands to get 2.5 percent of the $15.7 million verdict.

The first version of Bluetooth was invented by Swedish cell phone company Ericsson in 1994 and Rembrandt made the same complaint against Blackberry .

Now Rembrandt’s lawyers have made clear they believe the Bremer patents apply to all products using Bluetooth 2.0.

Rembrandt lawyer Demetrios Anaipakos said that “justice had been done” and that  the Rembrandt inventions are at the heart of Samsung Bluetooth capabilities.

Bremer told Rembrandt higher-ups that his patents, originally applied to work he did on modems back in 1997, could be applied to Bluetooth products.

“I had a kind of ‘aha’ moment. I came up with an (eloquent) solution… I realised if I put an indicator at the beginning of each communication that said change the modulation, this communication could happen instantly.”

Bremer continues to create more patents for Rembrandt. He has more than 100 to his name. It’s a symbiotic relationship—he creates the patents, testifies and gets deposed, while Rembrandt provides the legal muscle

On cross-examination, he acknowledged that it was the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, or BSIG, that came up with the 2.0 version, including the Enhanced Data Rate or EDR technology and he made no contributions to the standards body.

Samsung lawyer Jeff Sherwood appeared to face an uphill battle focusing on the non-infringement argument. That was because the defence was heavily technical and the jury preferred that he talked about the wording in the patents.

Bremer had never created a product based on his patents, Sherwood noted. He tried to sell his patents to other parties, but “no one wanted them” until they were bought by Rembrandt.

Samsung hired as its expert a man who was deeply involved in the technology—Steven Hall, now a technical director of Broadcom, who was vice-chair of the Bluetooth SIG “Core Specification Working Group.”

Hall had never heard of Bremer.

It took the jury less than an hour before it returned a verdict that Samsung should pay up.


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.


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.

TOR charged with protecting criminals

texasflagIt seems that the legal system in Texas believes that it can charge the TOR network for aiding criminals.

Tor has been sued in the state of Texas over a revenge porn website that used its free service.

Shelby Conklin, a criminal justice major at the University of North Texas is suing the website called Pinkmeth, which lets users upload and publicly share sexually explicit material without consent from the people in the pictures. The service is often used by hackers and ex-partners, and it’s illegal in 11 states.

It is still legal in Texas, a State where it is illegal to own more six dildos, or to flirt in a public place.

Conklin alleges Pinkmeth “gained unauthorized access to nude photographs” she owned and posted them to the internet. She thinks Tor ” was involved in an active “civil conspiracy” with Pinkmeth because the revenge porn website used the anonymous communications service to prevent others from tracking its location.

She wants a million dollars in damages for “mental anguish and loss in earning capacity” as a result of the publication and dissemination of the nude photos.

He case said that a Texas state court has “jurisdiction over TOR because it advertises and offers the services referenced above in Texas and to Texas residents and knowingly assists websites such as Pinkmeth in committing torts against residents of Texas.”

To win her case she needs to show that Pinkmeth actually communicated with TOR.

Of course the judge might dismiss Tor as a defendant in the case as its conduct could be protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”