September 21, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – A German court ruled Friday that Android devices made by Samsung Electronics Co. and Google Inc.-owned Motorola Mobility LLC do not infringe an Apple Inc.-held European patent for a touch-sensitive interface.

Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court ruled that Samsung and Motorola do not infringe because Android does not store a multi-touch “flag” in association with each user interface component, patent blogger Florian Mueller reported Friday.

European Patent Number EP2098948, titled “Touch event model,” relates to multi-touch devices in general, and more specifically to recognizing single and multiple point and touch events in multi-point and multi-touch devices.

The European patent at issue is broader and relates to the general way Android reports touch events to applications, in contrast to the more specific touch patents Apple asserted against Samsung in the much-publicized U.S. case that recently yielded a $1 billion infringement verdict against Samsung, Mueller wrote.

“Apple would obviously like to maximize its leverage over its rivals and win an injunction over a broad patent, or even a ‘killer patent’,” he wrote. “Some of the patents Apple is asserting in different jurisdictions could have that effect, and the touch event model patent would have caused far greater problems to Google’s Android operating system than any single-gesture patent ever could.”

The same non-infringement argument Judge Voss adopted has been embraced by courts in the U.K. and the Netherlands. The High Court of England and Wales actually rejected the same Apple patent as invalid in a ruling earlier this year, in Apple’s infringement case against HTC Corp. there.

Another German regional court in Munich ruled last week that Samsung does, in fact, infringe a different Apple-held European patent for its operating system’s bounce back effect, or “rubber-banding,” patent, giving Apple the opportunity to enforce an injunction against Samsung’s sales in Germany.

Motorola also suffered a European patent defeat in Germany on Thursday, when a regional court ruled that it has infringed a Microsoft Inc. patent for a software input system widely used in Android devices. Motorola is the only major maker of Android devices that has not already licensed the patented technology from Microsoft.

Microsoft recently won two other German injunctions against Motorola, one over a text message layer patent and one concerning a file system patent.

September 18, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – Microsoft Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. have entered into a patent licensing agreement giving the Blackberry maker unfettered access to its latest file allocation system for flash memory storage, Microsoft said Tuesday.

Microsoft’s Extended File Allocation Table, known as exFAT, is a modern file system that facilitates large files for audiovisual media and enables seamless data portability and an easy interchange between desktop PCs and other electronic devices, according to the tech giant.

The system improves on its predecessor, the FAT system, and greatly expands the size of files that flash memory devices can handle by five times over previous FAT technology. It also increases the speed with which those files can be accessed.

“Today’s smartphones and tablets require the capacity to display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones,” Microsoft general manager of intellectual property licensing David Kaefer said.

“This agreement with RIM highlights how a modern file system such as exFAT can help directly address the specific needs of customers in the mobile industry,” he said.

Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 1100 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio, the company claims. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s R&D investments and its patent portfolio.

Microsoft has entered into similar licensing agreements with several leading consumer electronics manufacturers through its IP licensing program, including Panasonic Corp., Sanyo Electric Company Ltd., Sony Corp. and Canon Inc.

Last year Microsoft and RIM entered another patent deal, as part of a consortium including Apple Inc. and others that paid $4.5 billion for the patent portfolio of Nortel Networks Inc.

Posted in: Patent License
September 14, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – A group of scientists at the University of Texas at Austin said Wednesday that they have been awarded a patent for a type of nuclear reactor that could eventually be used to turn radioactive waste into new fuel.

Mike Kotschenreuther, Prashant Valanju and Swadesh Mahajan, physicists at UT’s College of Natural Sciences, said the patent covers a fusion-fission hybrid nuclear reactor that would use nuclear fusion and fission together to incinerate nuclear waste. Fusion produces energy by fusing atomic nuclei, and fission produces energy by splitting atomic nuclei.

The process of burning the waste would also produce energy, a process which the scientists hope could eliminate 99 percent of the most toxic waste from traditional nuclear fission reactors.

“The potential for this kind of technology is enormous,” Mahajan said. “Now that we have the patent, we hope this will open up opportunities to engage with the research and development community to further this potentially world-changing technology.”

The patented reactor would rely on a tokamak device, which uses magnetic fields to produce fusion reactions. The tokamak is surrounded by an area that would house a nuclear waste fuel source and waste byproducts of the nuclear fuel cycle.

The device is driven by a new technology the three physicists developed called the Super X Divertor, which they called a “crucial technology” with the capacity to safely divert enormous amounts of heat out of the reactor core to keep the reactor producing energy.

The need to store nuclear waste is among the biggest impediments to more widespread use of nuclear energy. Projects like the proposed Yucca Mountain long-term nuclear waste storage site in Nevada have met with much public opposition.

The physicists say their invention could someday drastically decrease the need for any additional or expanded geological waste dumps like Yucca Mountain, making nuclear power cleaner and more viable.

The scientists’ hybrid reactor currently remains in a conceptual phase, they said. The Super X Divertor, though, is being installed as the centerpiece of a $40 million upgrade of the MAST tokamak in the United Kingdom.

“This installation is a critical step forward in testing the Super X Divertor experimentally,” the scientists said.

September 13, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – A California federal judge on Tuesday threw out OIP Technologies Inc.’s patent infringement suit against Amazon.com Inc. over a system for determining pricing automatically in online retail, saying the patent is ineligible.

OIP sued Amazon in March alleging it infringes OIP’s patent by making and using software systems for automated testing and selection of prices for products offered for sale on Amazon.com, wherein statistics are generated from the testing, estimated outcomes are determined and prices are selected based on those outcomes.

Amazon argued that the patent claims failed the “machine-or-transfomation” test and are directed to the abstract idea of price optimization, which is a fundamental economic principle that is reserved for the public, and Judge Edward M. Chen of the Northern District of California agreed.

The patent’s only machine elements merely incorporate a computer that is employed only for its most basic function, the performance of repetitive calculations, and so do not impose meaningful limits on the scope of those claims, Judge Chen ruled.

More fundamentally, it is clear that the patent falls within the statutory exception for abstract ideas, he said.

U.S. Patent Number 7,970,713 was issued to OIP’s predecessor Optivo Corp. in June 2011, 11 years after the application was filed, is titled “Method and apparatus for automatic pricing in electronic commerce.” The patent is designed to facilitate e-commerce price selection and optimization.

Optivo released its product, marketed as the Optivo Pricing Solution, in 2001 and allowed e-commerce companies to participate in trials of the technology, including Amazon, which took part in June 2001. The parties exchanged information under a non-disclosure agreement during that time.

The parties met in September 2001 to discuss Amazon’s potential acquisition of Optivo and its technology. Optivo gave a detailed presentation regarding the patent-pending technology, and projected that using the Optivo technology could increase margins by $100 million.

Amazon declined to purchase Optivo, but offered employment to two Optivo engineers as “price statisticians.” Both engineers fielded technical questions about the Optivo technology during the interview.

September 10, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego — Smith & Nephew Inc. won a $4 million jury verdict in Massachusetts federal court on Tuesday in its patent infringement suit against Hologic over a medical tissue removal device.

In June 2010 and November 2011, S&N filed a complaint against Hologic alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Numbers 7,226,459 and 8,061,359 by the use and sale of the MyoSure Tissue Removal Device. The two patent suits were consolidated into a single action culminating in a jury trial which commenced on August 20.

As part of the Tuesday verdict in S&N’s favor, the jury awarded $4 million to the medical device maker in damages for lost profits.

” We are pleased with the jury’s verdict in this case,” S&N representative Joe Metzger said Thursday. “This was an important step in the process and, moving forward, we will continue to vigorously defend our intellectual property, seeking to prevent competitors from unfairly profiting from Smith & Nephew’s innovation.

Hologic, in connection with its January 2011, $125 million acquisition of MyoSure developer Interlace Medical Inc., is indemnified up to a previously defined dollar amount by the former Interlace Medical shareholders for potential associated liabilities, Hologic said in a statement Wednesday.

“We are disappointed in and strongly disagree with the verdict in this case,” Hologic Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Mark Casey said. “This is but the first step in a multi-phase process and there remain several issues to be decided by the court which could impact the applicability of this verdict.”

“We intend to continue to market and sell the MyoSure product and, if necessary, will pursue the appellate process to ensure the right of women to have access to this best-in-class treatment for the removal of uterine fibroids,” Casey said.

 

September 5, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego — A California federal judge ordered Oracle Corp. on Tuesday to pay Google Inc. $1 million to compensate it for costs relating to Oracle’s failed infringement suit against Google over Oracle’s copyrights and patents for the Java programming language.

Oracle sued Google over the copyrights and patents in 2010, initially seeking six billion dollars in damages and injunctive relief, but after nearly two years of litigation and six weeks of trial it recovered nothing

Oracle initially alleged infringement of seven patents and 132 claims but each claim ultimately was either dismissed with prejudice or found not to be infringed by the jury. Oracle also lost on its primary copyright claim for Java’s application programming interface. While Oracle prevailed on two minor, peripheral copyright claims, those successes did not have a major impact on the final judgment.

Following the final judgment, Google asked the court for $4 million in compensation for its costs, which were largely related to expert fees for court-appointed expert Dr. James Kearl, and fees for electronic document discovery by a third-party vendor, according to the court.

Google is the prevailing party for the purposes of taxing costs, and Oracle has failed to overcome the presumption of awarding costs, Judge William Alsup said.

The media attention following the case accumulated in large part because Oracle crafted broad, and ultimately overreaching, claims of copyright infringement, the judge said. Oracle did not place great importance on its copyright claims until after its asserted patents started disappearing upon PTO reexamination, according to the judge. In fact, Oracle’s first damages report barely mentioned copyright claims, he noted.

Oracle did not bring its API copyright claim for the benefit of addressing a landmark issue of national importance, but instead “fell back on an overreaching (albeit somewhat novel) theory of copyright infringement for its own financial interests late in litigation,” Judge Alsup said.

While the court’s prior rulings clearly implied that the prevailing party could recover the expert fees, Google’s claims for $3 million in e-discovery costs fail to pass muster because many of its line-item descriptions were of non-taxable intellectual efforts, according to the judge.

Judge Alsup noted in a separate Tuesday order that he intended to take no further action regarding the subject of Oracle’s and Google’s payments to commentators and journalists reporting on the case, seeking to reassure both sides that “no commentary has in any way influenced the court’s orders and ruling herein save and except for any treatise or article expressly cited in an order or ruling.”

The judge had previously demanded that the two companies disclose the identity of any writers, reporters or bloggers it had paid, and scolded them for failing to comply with his orders to that effect.

The $1 million blow to Oracle came a day after reports on Monday that the company planned to appeal a roughly $300 million copyright judgment against it in favor of SAP AG.

“SAP is disappointed that Oracle continues to prolong the case,” a SAP representative said. “We agreed to reasonable terms in this case, as we believe it’s gone on long enough. We remain determined to work through the legal process to bring this case to resolution.”

Representatives for Oracle did not respond to emails seeking comment.

 

August 28, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Apple was granted a patent on Tuesday for a system of activating certain preset functions on a wireless device depending upon information like the device’s location, which could be used in future iPhones, iPads and other devices to automatically change device settings based on where a user may be.

U.S. Patent Number 8,254,902, titled “Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device,” describes a method for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device upon the occurrence of a certain event or other trigger. In one variant, the event could be act of the wireless device associating with a certain access point, like a GPS, cellular or Wi-Fi network.

Under this method, various aspects of device functionality, or “policies,” might be enabled or restricted. This “policy enforcement” capability could be used to to disable noise or light emanating from wireless devices, such as at a movie theater, for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices, such as in academic settings, and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area, according to the patent description.

Despite the existence of a wide variety of different preexisting approaches to wireless device control, no one approach satisfies the need of providing an apparatus and methods of automatically disabling, replacing, or modifying the functionality of a wireless device upon the occurrence of a certain condition, such as entering a particular location, the patent description says.

Ideally, such apparatus and methods would in one aspect allow certain designated zones or areas to enforce policies regarding wireless device operation, and be protected from having unwanted ringing or alarms, display functions or other events associated with the wireless device.

This would also ideally prevent or frustrate the use of wireless devices for inappropriate purposes, the patent description says.

“Wireless devices can often annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues,” the patent description says. “For example, cell phones with loud ringers frequently disrupt meetings, the presentation of movies, religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals, academic lectures, and test-taking environments.”

“Excessive lighting emanating from wireless devices can also create disruption in dark environments,” the description says. “While it is well known that excessive or bright lighting in a movie theater can spoil the mood of certain movies, excessive lighting can also become a more serious issue in other contexts.”

Inventors Michael Bell of Cupertino, California and Vitali Lovich of Toronto, Canada filed their patent application in June 2008.

August 24, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Eastman Kodak Co. plans to sell off its personal imaging and document imaging businesses, which include consumer film and scanners, as part of its efforts to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy while iconic photo company’s attempts to auction off its digital imaging patent portfolio remain ongoing, the company said Thursday.

Kodak is seeking to shift its primary focus to commercial, packaging and functional printing solutions and enterprise services, the company said.

The sale of the imaging businesses will work in concert with continued cost-reduction initiatives, curtailment of Kodak’s legacy liabilities, and the monetization of the company’s digital imaging patent portfolio to hasten the company’s exit from bankruptcy, Kodak said.

“The initiation of a process to sell the personalized imaging and document imaging businesses is an important step in our company’s reorganization to focus our business on the commercial markets and enable Kodak to accelerate its momentum toward emergence,” Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Antonio M. Perez said. “In addition, we continue our initiatives to reduce our cost structure and streamline our operating models in an effort to return the company to profitability.”

“We are reshaping Kodak,” he said. “We continue to rebalance our company toward commercial, packaging and functional printing – in which we have the broadest portfolio solutions – and enterprise services. These businesses have substantial long-term growth prospects worldwide and are core to the future of Kodak.”

Kodak’s efforts to auction off the digital imaging patents have yet to produce a sale. The auction is most notable for bringing together unlikely allies like Google Inc., Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. and HTC Corp., as the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

“In accordance with its prior announcement, the company is continuing discussions with parties with respect to the potential sale of its digital imaging patent portfolio,” Kodak said Thursday. “The company reiterates that it has made no decision to sell the portfolio and Kodak may, in consultation with creditors, retain the portfolio as an alternative source of recovery for creditors.”

Posted in: Patent License
August 20, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – Google Inc. subsidiary Motorola Mobility LLC fired off two new salvos in its patent war with Apple Inc. over the weekend in the U.S. International Trade Commission and Delaware federal court, claiming Apple’s wide range of computers and mobile devices are based on patented Motorola technology and must be stopped from entering the U.S.

The complaint filed Friday in the ITC accuses Apple of infringing seven Motorola patents for mobile phone features such as the iPhone’s Siri voice assistant feature, location reminders, video players and email notifications.

“We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple’s unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations,” a Motorola representative said Monday.

Apple representatives were not available for comment.

The products at issue include the iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the new iPad, as well as the Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

The specific patents Motorola cites in the complaint include U.S. Patent Numbers 5,883,580, 5,922,047, 6,425,002, 6,983,370, 6,493,673, 7,007,064 and 7,383,983.

The ’580 patent generally relates to messaging devices, the ’047 patent relates to communication and control systems for multimedia, the ’002 patent and ’673 patent relate to communication devices, and the ’370 patent relates to communications systems for messaging clients. The ’064 patent relates to wireless communications systems providing content to wireless communication devices, while the ’983 patent relates to managing content between devices.

Motorola is asking the ITC for a permanent exclusion order prohibiting the entry of the allegedly infringing products into the United States, as well as an order to bar Apple from importing or selling the products. Motorola requested that the ITC set a target date of no more than 15 months for the requested Section 337 investigation.

Google, which acquired Motorola in May, and Apple have been duking it out on multiple fronts over their patent portfolios for years. The latest actions, though, come on the heels of surprising reports that the two have joined forces in a consortium to purchase Eastman Kodak’s patent holdings at bankruptcy auction, as the Wall Street Journal detailed last week. The consortium is willing to pay over $500 million for Kodak’s patents, the Journal reported.

August 10, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego -After five years of contentious litigation and three separate jury verdicts, Carl Zeiss Vision International’s patent infringement lawsuit against Signet Armorlite finally ended in an award of triple damages. Filed in U.S. District Court, Southern District of California in San Diego, the case involved a patent (6,089,713) owned by Carl Zeiss which covers “spectacle lens with spherical front side and multifocal back side and process for production”. Most notably, the Judge tripled the damages after he determined that Signet had been infringing on Zeiss’ patent for six years and that the infringement continued even after Signet knew that the infringement was willful.

The battle between Carl Zeiss and Signet Armorlite started in 2007 when Zeiss claimed that its San Diego, California based competitor was copying its patent without authorization. In its court documents, Zeiss claimed that the Signet products, including the Kodak Unique line of products, copied its patented technology. Signet fired back, seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not infringe upon the Zeiss patent, as well as a declaration that the patent was invalid and unenforceable. Additionally, Signet went a few steps further by claiming that its German rival was causing “unfair competition, interference with contractual relationships, interference with prospective advantage and antitrust violations.”

The verdict, handed down by Judge Dana M. Sabraw, awarded triple damages to Zeiss and granted a permanent injunction for removal of all infringing Signet products from retail shelves. Judge Sabraw affirmed the verdict that Signet had willfully infringed upon a spherical optical lens patent held by Zeiss, after it was discovered that numerous employees had warned the company that infringement issues existed. The court determined that a reasonable person in the same position “would have considered there to be a high likelihood of infringement of a valid patent”. Damages were increased from $684,964 to $2.05 million, and attorney’s fees were granted, after Judge Sabraw noted that public interest in patent protection was paramount to competition between products offered in the marketplace.

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