The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stripped a large portion of the money awarded to Apple in a 2012 jury verdict against Samsung, according to this Ars Technica report. The verdict originally awarded Apple $930 million in damages for Samsung's infringement of two iPhone patents.
Acceleration Bay LLC has sued Activision Blizzard Inc. claiming that two of the company's biggest franchises violate six of the patents it holds (Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-00228-UNA). We do not have access to the filings or exhibits as of this writing. Acceleration Bay appears to a patent holding company and does not produce any products or services with these patents, according to what we found on its web site. Activision Blizzard has not issued a public statement about the case.
The U.S. Senate has officially confirmed former Google executive Michelle Lee to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a position that has been vacant for over two years. The fast tracked confirmation was no surprise given a recent vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of February. The post was last held by former IBM executive David Kappos.
Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to approve the appointment of former Google patent chief Michelle Lee to the position of director at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She still needs the approval of the full Senate.
While previous directors have come from the tech sector (David Kappos was a top lawyer at IBM before taking the position), Lee is an interesting pick because of her strong and very public stance against patent trolls and her work at an Internet-focused company.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation released a new white paper today offering proposals on how to fix the broken U.S. patent system. The first half of the white paper, "Defend Innovation," is based on "two-and-a-half years worth of research, drawing from the stories, expertise, and ideas of more than 16,500 people who agree that the current patent system is broken," according to the EFF.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has named U.S. Patent 8,529,350 January’s "Stupid Patent of the Month." You may recall our story from earlier this month in which White Knuckle (the patent holder) sued Electronic Arts over the patent which relates to "remotely updating a sports video game based on real-world events." The company says that several of EA's sports titles including Tiger Woods PGA Tour and its NCAA titles infringe on the patent.
According to this Joystiq report, a company named White Knuckle filed a lawsuit last week against Electronic Arts claiming that the company's sports titles infringe on U.S. Pat. No. 8,529,350, a software method patent that relates to recording "real-world parameters, then storing those elements on a server so players can download to update their games." The patent was approved by the USPTO in October 2002.
Nintendo announced that it has won an appeal at the International Trade Commission related to patent infringement claims made by Creative Kingdoms. The company alleged that Nintendo's Wii and Wii U systems violated several of its patents. an earlier ruling by the ITC side with Nintendo, but the company appealed that decision. This week the ITC reaffirmed its earlier decision, noting that Creative Kingdoms’ patents are invalid and should not have been issued because Creative Kingdoms tried to claim more than the company invented.
Nintendo has won another patent case in a federal court in Seattle, the company announced this week. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik found that Nintendo’s Wii system does not infringe on two patents held by UltimatePointer, LLC. Judge Lasnik also found a number of UltimatePointer’s claims invalid, and decided that a trial was not warranted. Judge Lasnik’s decision is in line with a similar decision earlier in the case by Chief Judge Leonard Davis of the Eastern District of Texas, which occurred before the case was transferred to Seattle.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will argue before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Wednesday that it should invalidate the key claims of patents used by Personal Audio to sue podcasters. You may know Personal Audio best for its fight with comedian Adam Carolla, who the company messed with and then quietly settled out of court.
Nintendo and Philips have come to an agreement that pretty much settles a patent infringement case between the two companies filed earlier this year. Philips claimed that, prior to suing Nintendo, it attempted to set up licensing deals for the patents it believed the company was infringing on.. since 2011. Nintendo mostly ignored the company's inquiries (according to Philips' characterization of the situation), causing Philips to sue Nintendo and seek a ban of the company's allegedly infringing products in the U.S.
This is an alarming trend: two major technology companies have settled with Rockstar (no, not the makers of Grand Theft Auto - another company named Rockstar). In 2011 Rockstar (a patent holding company financed by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony) bought up thousands of Nortel Network Corp patents for $4.5 billion.
The company then went about filing lawsuits against some pretty big players including Cisco and Google, among others.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit published a very public reprimand to patent lawyer Edward Reines of law firm Weil Gotshal. The rare order (PDF) details the disciplinary action against Reines for having a too-friendly relationship with now former Chief Appeals Court Judge Rader (he resigned after an email detailing a cozy relationship with Reines became public.
A new report published today by Unified Patents shows a decline in patent lawsuits following this summer's US Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. While it is hard to pin the decline directly on the decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, the evidence shows an anecdotal connection to it in the third quarter of 2014.
A San Jose, California jury ruled that Apple's products do not infringe two patents owned by GPNE Corp., a patent-holding company that has licensed its patents to more than 20 other large firms. According Ars Technica, the jury ruled that two patents, numbered 7,570,954 and 7,792,492, were valid but Apple didn't violate them.
Multiplayer Network Innovations, LLC has added Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Tecmo Koei Games Co., Ltd., Iron Galaxy Studios, LLC, Tencent Holdings Limited, and Tencent America to its growing list of court room combatants in multiple lawsuits claiming that these companies violate an abstract patent for "Interactive Multiple Player Game System and Method of Playing a Game Between at Least Two Players," or "MNI."
The United States District Court for the Central District of California has invalidated the patent claims of McRO, Inc. (d.b.a. Planet Blue) against Activision and other parties in the video games industry. The two patents invalidated by U.S. District Judge George H. Wu concerned processes for "automatically animating lip synchronization and facial expressions of 3D characters."
Another day, another patent case tossed out on its ear thanks to the Supreme Court ruling on Alice v. CLS. This time out it's Lumen View Technology, who had its case against Santa Barbara-based startup FindTheBest thrown out. At first the company approached FindTheBest asking it to pay a settlement of $50,000 for a "do it on a computer" patent related to data matchmaking.
The US Supreme Court's June 26 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank is having a profound effect on computer-related patent fights; the federal courts have already invalidated 11 "do-it-on-a-computer" related patents since that ruling, according to this Ars Technica report.
Nvidia has filed patent suits against Samsung and Qualcomm with the International Trade Commission and the US District Court of Delaware, alleging that the companies violate seven of its patents. Nvidia says that it filed these lawsuits after negotiations on a licensing deal with Samsung went nowhere. This is the first patent lawsuit filed by the company, which is surprising given that it reportedly holds over 7,000 patents. The company explains why it took legal action in more detail here.
Capcom is suing fellow Japanese developer and publisher Koei Tecmo for allegedly infringing on a number of its patents, according to a Sankei report translated by Siliconera. The patents relate to letting players in a new game import or unlock content from an older title and the use of a controller vibration to alert players of nearby enemies.
Kim Kardashian appeared on NBC's morning program The Today Show to defend her ultra popular mobile title Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Last week New York Times best-selling author Ayelet Waldman took to Twitter to lambaste Kardashian, blaming her for her son spending $120 in the game for virtual goods. Waldman called her an "evil scumbag."
Christian music publication Breathecast has an interesting article on actress Kristin Scott Thomas, who says that she would not let her 12-year-old son watch her new film, "Only God Forgives." That makes sense. In the article she also laments about video games and their evil influence on young people.
In a joint announcement Apple and Samsung have agreed to halt all legal cases against each other outside the United States. The two companies have been suing each other around the world over a range of patent disputes in nine countries outside the U.S., including the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Germany, etc. In the joint statement the companies said that the agreement "does not involve any licensing arrangements," and that they would continue to pursue existing cases in U.S. courts.
Two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court gave a crushing blow to supposed patent trolls with last month's ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank, Samsung is trying to use that same ruling to knock out two claims by Apple in its long running feud over mobile device patents. The Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank basically said that lower courts should be throwing out more cases that involve patents that are too abstract in nature to be legally valid.
The White House has backed away from its pick to head the United States Patent and Trademark Office after very vocal opposition from the tech sector in the United States. Two weeks ago Philip Johnson, the top intellectual property lawyer at Johnson & Johnson, was set to be named the next director of the patent office, according to multiple reports.
Ubisoft has received summary judgment from a U.S. District Court judge that allows it to separate itself from a long-running legal fight over patents related to digital rights management, including its own Uplay service. The lawsuit began in 2011 when Digital Reg of Texas, LLC, filed a lawsuit against Adobe Systems, Valve, Ubisoft and other companies over various aspects of their digital content delivery and authentication services. Some of the defendants (like Valve) settled with the company. Ubisoft did not settle and has been found not guilty of infringement.
The White House will tap a top pharmaceutical industry lawyer to be the next head of the US Patent and Trademark Office, according to Ars Technica. This is of particular interest because Philip Johnson, the head of intellectual property at Johnson & Johnson, is best known as a long-time opponent of reforming patent laws.