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Itâs widely accepted that the United States patent system is broken
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Last month, it was reported that patent troll VirnetX isÂ seeking $532 million in damages from Apple, claiming that the company has taken its intellectual property without permission. The suit focused on a variety of VirnetX patents relating to technology used in creating Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. VirnetX said that Apple’s own VPN technology, as well as its iMessage and FaceTime services, infringe on its patents. After another week of hearing, the East Texas Federal District Court has now unanimouslyÂ ruled that Apple owes VirnetX $625 million in damages.
All the way back in 2012, VirnetX was awarded $368.2 million in damages from Apple, but an appeals court threw out that ruling and ordered a new trial. VirnetX then went into the new trial requesting $532 million from Apple. Accounting for willful infringement and royalty calculations however, the court ruled that Apple actually owes VirnetX $625 million.
The ruling was unanimous by the East Texas Federal District, with it ruling that Apple’s VPN on Demand feature, FaceTime, and iMessage all infringed on a handful of different VirnetX patents, coming out to the grand total of $625 million (via AI). The location of the court is notable as East Texas district tends to favor the patent owner in patent-related suits.
At the beginning of the trial, VirnetX explained that Apple had “not played fair” when it came to licensingÂ intellectual property, while Apple argued that it believes in fairness and protecting IP, but that VirnetX kept “moving the boundary, asking for more and more.”
Apple has yet to comment on the ruling, but it will likely seek an appeal. This isn’t the first time Apple has fallen victim to a patent troll, though. In 2015,Â it was ordered to pay $532.9 million forÂ infringing on gaming patents of SmartFlash LLC. Not satisfied with that amount, SmartFlashÂ then came back againÂ looking for more, sayingÂ Apple had released products too late to be included in the initial trial. In 2014, Apple voiced its displeasure with patent trolls,Â saying that it is the subject of more patent-related lawsuits than any other company.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, FaceTime, iMessage, intellectual property, patents, VirnetX, VPN
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Appleâs team of well-paid lawyers really showed Samsungâs team of highly-paid lawyers whoâs boss, thanks to a recent court order banning the sale of Samsungâs leading flagship phones from 2012.
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Apple finally gets US sales ban on some Samsung phone features, but the ruling is practically meaningless
Apple hasÂ finally managed to secure a sales ban over some Samsung phone features that infringe on its patents and intellectual property. However, the victory is effectively meaninglessÂ despite the milestoneÂ in itsÂ continuing patentÂ litigation suit with Samsung in ever-longer court battles.
Apple’s ban resides over three features encumbered by itsÂ patents: the controversial ‘slide to unlock’ patent, predictive text technologyÂ and autocorrect. Getting a ban is a huge symbolic achievement, but the effect it will have on day-to-day business of the two companies is minor. The ban is effectively useless as FOSS Patents explainsÂ …
Primarily, the ban only applies to older models of Samsung phone. Most of the affected devices are outdated in the US and no longer sold. It’sÂ nowhereÂ close to a ban onÂ Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phones, that’s for sure. A good example is the slide-to-unlock patent â no ‘721.Â The wording of the patent is such that it only affects certain visual types of unlock patterns, itÂ doesn’tÂ encapsulate wording forÂ wider applications. Even at the original trial in 2014, Apple was only claiming infringement on a select number of Samsung’s devices. The Galaxy Nexus is notably affected by this, but who is buying a Galaxy Nexus nowadays? It’s aÂ five-year old phone.
Another amusing wrinkle for the quick links patents is that its set to expireÂ at the beginning of February. The enforcement of the injunction has a 30 dayÂ leeway period, where Samsung is given some time to make necessary adjustments to its products. However, because the patent expires within that 30 day window, the ban is literally meaningless.
Unsurprisingly, Samsung is stillÂ disappointed with theÂ conclusion, as it would with any decision thatÂ favouredÂ Apple. In a statement to Bloomberg, Samsung said the ruling creates a bad precedent for futureÂ patent cases.
âWe are very disappointed,â Samsung said in an e-mailed statement. âWhile this will not impact American consumers, it is another example of Apple abusing the judicial system to create bad legal precedent, which can harm consumer choice for generations to come.â
The start of these trials date all the way back to 2010, with Steve Jobs wanting to go ‘thermonuclear on Android’. Tim Cook has taken a very different stance, calling patent litigation a distracting ‘pain in the ass’. AppleÂ has notÂ filed further lawsuits since the initial bout leading mostÂ to believe that Apple will not ignite further litigation under Cook’s leadership. However, the residual fallout from the Samsung-Apple case will continue for some time yet.
Filed under: AAPL Company, General, iOS, iOS Devices, Tech Industry Tagged: Apple, Galaxy Nexus, Google, iOS, patents, Samsung
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Beauty fads come and go, and eyebrow shaping is no exception. But what if there were a mathematical rule we could cite as hands-down the perfect shape? Thatâs the idea behind the patent recently awarded to inventor Anastasia Soare of Beverly Hills, California, for a âbrow mapping techniqueâ that hews closely to the so-called âgolden ratio.â
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Ralph Waldo Emerson once advised, âBuild a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.â The world would have been in for a bit of a shock if theyâd found themselves at the door of one J.E. Bennett of Fredonia, Texas in 1882. Thatâs the year he patented the mousetrap pictured above.
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Despite the $548M settlement reached earlier this month, Samsung has now asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of its patent battle with Apple, reports theÂ WSJ. The company is arguing that lower courts misapplied the law concerning Apple’s design patents.
Specifically, Samsung is asking the court to review rulings concerning âdesign patentsâ that cover the look and feel of a product. At trial, Apple convinced the jury that basic design elements of certain Samsung smartphonesâessentially a rectangle with rounded corners and a touch-screen grid made up of smaller iconsâborrowed too closely from Appleâs iPhone design.
Samsung argues that lower courts made two mistakes …
First, suggests the company’s lawyers, the judge failed to properly instruct the jury onÂ the difference between ‘functional’ and ‘ornamental’ features. Samsung said that its smartphones had to adopt the same general form factor as the iPhone in order to perform the function of a smartphone.
âThe jury could look at Appleâs patented designs, look at Samsungâs phones, see that both have rectangular shapes, rounded corners, flat screens and colorful icon grids, and decide, voilĂ , that there must be design-patent infringementâeven though those shared features areâŠfunctional, not ornamental,â wrote Samsungâs lawyers, in the brief.
Second, the company saysÂ that the damages awarded were too high.
In Samsungâs eyes, according to Mondayâs court filing, it was wrongly ordered to pay Apple all of its profit from infringing profits. Samsung says the 1887 law pertaining to design patents is outdated and too punitive for modern products such as a smartphone, which Samsung says contains about 250,000 design and utility patents.
The company likened the case to a car company being ordered to hand over all its profits on a car if the company was found to have copied a patentedÂ cupholder.
The U.S. Supreme Court will need to decide whether or not to hear the case.Â CNETÂ quotesÂ Stanford Law SchoolÂ intellectual property law professorÂ Mark Lemley as stating that asking the court to take on a case “is always an uphill battle, but this is a very high-profile case.” The court may be influenced by the fact that Google, Facebook and others have sided with Samsung, though Apple has said that Google is not a disinterested party.
IfÂ the Supreme Court does agree to hear the case, it will be rather busy with Apple-related cases: AppleÂ has asked it to hear the final appeal of the ebook trial. Apple recently got the backing of authors and booksellers, who argue that Amazon rather than Apple should have been investigated.
Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple Inc, Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Apple vs Samsung, Ltd., patent battle, Patent trial, patents, Samsung patent trial
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Apple has been found guilty of using a technology, patented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison way back in 1998, in its chips without the proper permission â and it could cost it close $1 billion.
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While most people tend to view NASA solely in the context of space exploration, the famed government agency also has a surprising number of inventions to its name. From creating memory foam in the early 1960s to coming up withÂ Cochlear Implants in the 1970s, the list of innovativeÂ products and advanced technologies with roots at NASA is rather extensive.
Now, in an effort to generate cash while at the same time encourage innovation, NASA will be soon be opening up its patent portfolio to the masses with no up-front payment required.
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