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Interview With 'Idiot' Behind Key Software Patent 223

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, an appeals court ruling opened the door to making it easier to kill software patents. It turns out that the guy whose name was on the actual patent didn't even realize it was at the center of the debate, and doesn't like software patents very much. 'So I was thinking — great they invalidated software patents, lets see what crappy patent written by an idiot they picked to do it — then I realized the idiot in question was me.'"

Motorola's Most Important 18 Patents 137

quarterbuck writes "Bloomberg has a story on Google's acquisition of Motorola and quotes IP lawyers who claim that 18 patents dating to 1994 are probably what Google is after. These patents cover technology essential to the mobile-device industry, including location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touchscreen motions, software-application management and third-generation wireless."

Patent Troll Lawyer Sanctioned Over Extortion Tactics 147

An anonymous reader writes "For all the stories of patent trolls and copyright trolls, there haven't been too many stories of either being sanctioned for abusive or extortion-like practices... until now. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (one level below the Supreme Court) has approved over $600,000 in sanctions against a lawyer for a patent troll, saying that filing over a hundred lawsuits, each of which was followed up almost immediately with offers to settle at fees much cheaper than it would cost to fight, has the 'indicia of extortion.' Now if only judges started doing that more often."

Facebook Locks Down Social Gift Giving Patent 185

bizwriter writes "Facebook has been on a roll of late, nailing a number of patent grants that will help it retain dominance in social networking by creating barriers for competitors. Yesterday came patent number 7,970,657, 'Giving gifts and displaying assets in a social network environment'. Although it doesn't directly prevent other social networks from enabling gift giving among users, a clever legal and technical maneuver makes it far more difficult."

New Apple Multi-Touch Patent Is Too Broad 310

adeelarshad82 writes "Nearly three and a half years later, Apple has finally been awarded the U.S. patent number 7,966,578, which according to the patent experts should worry rivals. According to exclusive interviews with patent experts, the incredibly broad patent puts Apple in a strong position when it comes to displaying content and using certain finger gestures on smart phones. The patent is so broad that not only will Apple's legal team target iPhone competitors but will also look to go after iPad and iPod rivals. Experts also discussed the scenario of Apple licensing its patented technology or for that matter, the courts completely scrapping the patent in public's interest."

Bittorrent and uTorrent Sued For Patent Violations 182

dutchwhizzman writes "Bittorrent and uTorrent have been sued for using certain techniques in their clients and the bittorrent protocol. From the article it appears technologies are being used that were submitted in a 1999 patent that was subsequently approved in 2007. This itself is not uncommon, but given the technologies involved, HTTP could very well be prior art, or it could violate at least part of the same protocol."

Apple Patents Tech to Stop iPhones Filming in Venues 391

An anonymous reader writes "A patent application filed by Apple, and obtained by the Times, reveals how the software would work. If a person were to hold up their iPhone, the device would trigger the attention of infra-red sensors installed at the venue. These sensors would then instruct the iPhone to disable its camera."

Patented Gestures Detailed 87

An anonymous reader writes "Annalee Newitz wrote a fresh/interesting/informative piece on the io9 site about 10 Gestures that are already patented; unsurprisingly by the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Nintendo. But it's the other patent holders on the list that seem more interesting to me: Xerox, Lucent, Palm and lesser known Gesturetek have very broad patents for this tech."

Facebook's Broad Patent On Digital Media Tagging 61

bizwriter writes "Facebook has done well with the Friendster patents and patent applications that it acquired. Just last week, a patent application for passing personal info between users based on degrees of separation became public. Now, thanks to the Friendster IP purchase, Facebook pretty much owns the technology for publicly identity-tagging digital media of any sort in a database."

Woz and the RCA Character-generator Patent 219

doperative writes with this quote from Steve Wozniak: "A lot of patents are pretty much not worth that much ... In other words, any fifth-grader could come up with the same approach ... And then we find out RCA has a patent on a character generator for any raster-scanned setup .. And they patented it at a time when nobody could have envisioned it really being used or anything ... and they got five bucks for each Apple II, based on this little idea that's not even an idea. Y'know: store the bits, store the bits, then pop in a character on your TV."

Linux Patent Protection Network Lures Facebook, HP 106

jbrodkin writes "Facebook, HP, Rackspace, Juniper, Fujitsu and dozens of other organizations have joined a group building a defensive patent portfolio to protect Linux-using members from potential lawsuits. The Open Invention Network (OIN) — founded in 2005 by IBM, NEC, Novell, Phillips, Red Hat and Sony — has acquired 300 Linux-related patents and licenses to 2,000 in total in a bid to protect the Linux community from intellectual property lawsuits. The group added 74 new members this year and is giving a leadership role to Google, which is fighting lawsuits targeting Linux-based Android."

37 Android Patent Lawsuits 154

An anonymous reader writes "37 lawsuits have been filed against Android in a little more than a year, the latest one of them being Microsoft's lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec. ReadWriteWeb says 'the number of patent lawsuits related to the Android operating system is unprecedented' and shows an infographic that is also available on Twitpic and as a PDF file, on Scribd. The first two suits were filed in March 2010 by Apple and MobileMedia against HTC. The original source of the chart, the FOSS Patents blog, says that Android's market share is only one factor, other reasons being that Google's patent portfolio is 'far too weak for what's undertaken in connection with Android'; that Google doesn't do 'inbound licensing' from trolls; and that Google tends to ignore patent issues because Google itself is rarely sued: in most of these cases, Android device makers are under attack."

Red Hat Paid $4.2m To Settle Patent Suit 48

An anonymous reader writes "'Red Hat paid $US4.2 million to settle a patent infringement suit brought against it by FireStar Software, an intellectual property activist claims. Florian Mueller, who made a name for himself during the campaign to prevent the adoption of software patents in Europe some years ago, said he had dug up a court filing that showed the payment had been made.' Mueller says the payment made by Red Hat was kept secret but news about it surfaced in another suit."

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