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Microsoft and Samsung agree to stop dispute over royalty payments

Posted by wicked February - 10 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Remember when Microsoft was filing a lawsuit over a patent deal and demanding Samsung to pay interest due? According to Microsoft, the South Korean giant owed the Redmond compay a total of $6.9 million interest aside from the $1 billion payment by Samsung the previous year.

The case started in 2013 when these two tech giants agreed on a patent licensing. Samsung was required to pay Microsoft royalty for each Android phone and tablet phone it manufactures for seven years. Unfortunately, Samsung stopped paying royalty payments starting August 2014 as part of a previous licensing agreement due to Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition.

But good news this year 2015, Samsung and Microsoft are finally ending the dispute over late fee payments of patent royalty. The two have agreed on a settlement and are ending their contract dispute in a US court. Samsung insisted that Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia the same year made their contract invalid because that made them a competitor. Everything will change now that Samsung said, “The agreements, now between competitors, invite charges of collusion.”

Samsung and Microsoft are ending the dispute but we have not idea the terms of the settlement but it’s good to know that the two are putting an end to a battle.

VIA: SlashGear

FCC prohibits WiFi-blocking of hotels, says this practice illegal

Posted by wicked January - 28 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

We’re aware that some hotels and companies are blocking the WiFi hotspots of guestS. That is a bad practice and according to the FCC, it’s ILLEGAL. One of the most controversial issues which actually led to FCC issuing a special warning was that of Marriot’s WiFi-blocking efforts. FCC officially released what is called an “FCC Enforcement Advisory” that says jamming other people’s WiFi hotspots is not acceptable. This practice must be stopped immediately.

Hotspot-jamming is a disturbing trend according to the FCC. So whether you are a hotel, company, or an individual, you have no right to block or jam the hotspot of other people. FCC further said that it will work on “aggressively investigating and acting against” the practice. Those caught jamming the WiFi of others will face “enforcement action” because they are in violation of the Section 333 of the Communications Act.

FCC investigated Marriott International back in 2014 and found out that the hotel blocked the WiFi hotspots of the patrons. Because of this, Marriott was fined a hefty sum of $600,000 USD. After this investigation, FCC received similar complaints from individuals who said that some commercial groups are doing the same thing. FCC is already doing investigations on those cases.

The commission reiterated that “intentional blocking or disruption of personal hotspots” is prohibited. If you’re a business owner, don’t block people’s hotspots intentionally. Be gracious enough to let them access mobile Internet on their own.

VIA: SlashGear


Cyanogen’s Steve Kondik chimes in on OnePlus, Micromax row

Posted by wicked January - 16 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Although India seems to be quickly becoming the new darling of the mobile industry after China, it isn’t without its own share of controversy. So far the latest and biggest involves Indian OEM Micromax and Chinese startup OnePlus and it all revolves around the software provided by Cyanogen, Inc. While our limited outsider perspective would have us assign roles of villain and victim in this drama, things are, as always, not as clear cut. CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik gives a few insights into some of the things that have happened behind the scenes.

First, a short trip down memory lane. After a few round of rumors, Cyanogen did reveal its new partnership with Micromax as part of the OEM’s new online YU brand. Then just a few days later, OnePlus announced its own venture into the subcontinent, partnering with Amazon India. It wouldn’t be until a month later that Micromax would unveil the Cyanogen OS-powered YUreka smartphone, but in between Micromax was able to temporarily ban the OnePlus One from imports, though India’s High Court granted the Chinese company a small reprieve in lieu of court hearing this month.

At first glance, some might readily label Cyanogen as the cunning antagonist of the story, committing adultery and simply going where the money is. And the emails from Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster that were shown in court seemed to reinforce that image, likening the communication between Cyanogen and OnePlus to a very bad breakup done over SMS. The problem here, according to Kondik, is that those are merely snippets of a longer communication between the two startups and that the breakup, though present, wasn’t so abrupt, kurt, or disrespectful.

Another issue is how the two companies interpreted “exclusivity”, which somewhat clashed with the companies’ target markets. Micromax does have an exclusive deal with Cyanogen in India but its market is confined to the country’s borders. OnePlus, on the other hand, also has exclusivity, but its smartphone is a global product. So the two definitions of exclusivity butt heads in India. Kondik says, however, that Cyanogen didn’t anticipate that Micromax would hold that retroactively against OnePlus, which started the whole mess. Cyanogen is still committed to supporting the OnePlus One, even as far as bringing Android 5.0 to it soon. Whether that will still happen for devices sold in India, Kondik does not say and will most likely depend on the court’s verdict. Whether or not OnePlus is still interested, however, is a different question.


As to the implication that Cyanogen’s seemingly duplicitous actions were motivated by financial gain, Kondik reveals that the company isn’t actually making money off licensing, which throws that theory out the window. The company is still venture-funded, which implies that Cyanogen, at least for now, isn’t motivated by profits. That is partly reassuring, as it means the developers are primarily still committed to the excellence of software more than anything. At the same time, it does invite questions of sustainability in the future.

SOURCE: Android Central

Micromax wins temporary injunction against Shenzhen OnePlus in India

Posted by wicked December - 17 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

A legal battle was fought recently in India with a Delhi high court granting Micromax Informatics Ltd a temporary injunction this week against Chinese smartphone maker Shenzhen OnePlus Technology Co Ltd. The court barred OnePlus from marketing, selling, and shipping OnePlus mobile phones in India that bear the Cyanogen mark.

Micromax filed the suit seeking to bar OnePlus devices that use Cyanogen due to exclusive rights Micromax has in the form of an “ambient services and application distributions agreement” in effect with the US firm that develops Cyanogen.

The judge did decide to allow OnePlus to clear stock of the OnePlus One smartphone in India. The device is being sold in the country via Amazon. Micromax told the court that it had “incurred major expenses for creation of a brand exclusivity for providing to Indian customers mobile phones with Cyanogen operating systems” and would face irreparable harm and loss if OnePlus continued to illegally sell devices with Cyanogen.

OnePlus says that it has a collaboration agreement and license for the Cyanogen trademark covering the entire world except China. Cyanogen says that the agreement with Micromax supersedes all prior agreements.

SOURCE: Livemint

India bans Xiaomi sales and imports for patent infringement

Posted by wicked December - 11 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Xiaomi has been hit with a sales and import ban in India. A court in New Delhi has banned sales and imports due to copyright infringement. The case was brought against Xiaomi by Ericsson India and Ericsson says that it has tried to get Xiaomi to license the standard essential patents it is using in its devices.

Ericsson says that Xiaomi wouldn’t come to the negotiating table and it field charges as a result. The judge overseeing the case in India passed an ex parte order that bans Xiaomi from importing, selling, and advertising its smartphones in India.

This is certainly a blow to Xiaomi; India was its second largest market in the world. The judge also ordered customs officials to stop imports under IPR Rules, 2007. Xiaomi isn’t the first smartphone maker operating in India to lose a patent case to Ericsson.

A judge in India previously ordered Micromax to pay Ericsson up to 1% of the sales price of each device it sold in royalties after Micromax lost a similar case. Xiaomi has only been selling in India since July 2014, and already the country has become a very important market for the company.

SOURCE: Times of India

FTC files complaint in federal court against AT&T for throttling

Posted by wicked October - 29 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

The FTC has filed a complaint against AT&T in federal court that alleges AT&T Mobility has misled millions of smartphone customers by charging them for so-called unlimited data plans while reducing data speeds. The FTC says that in some cases AT&T reduced data speeds by nearly 90%. AT&T failed to adequately disclose to customers on unlimited data plans that if they hit a certain amount of data use, speeds would be throttled according to the FTC complaint.

Speeds were throttled to the point that the FTC alleges common phone applications like web browsing, GPS navigation, and streaming video were difficult or nearly impossible to use. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said, “AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise. The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”

Marketing material used by AT&T emphasized “unlimited” amounts of data available for customers on the plan, says the FTC, and even as these customers renewed their plans, AT&T failed to inform them of the throttling. AT&T was throttling data as early as 2011 after customers used as little as 2GB of data according to the complaint.

AT&T violated the FTC Act by changing the terms of the unlimited data plan while customers were under contract by falling to disclose the throttling program to customers who renewed plans according to the FTC. The FTC files a complaint like this when it has “reason to believe” the law has been violated and the outcome will be decided by the court when the case is heard.


Apple can’t stop Samsung from selling infringing devices

Posted by wicked August - 28 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Apple may have won its second patent case against Samsung, but Judge Lucy Koh won’t allow it to take more. She has denied Cupertino’s request for an injunction that would have banned Samsung devices that have been found to be infringing on Apple’s patents from being sold in the US.

At the heart of the matter is cause and effect. In essence, Judge Koh claims that Apple was unable to convince the court that Samsung’s patent infringement has caused it significant harm, either in loss of sales or injury to Apple’s reputation. Since Apple failed to prove that, there was no reason for the court to halt sales of those infringing devices. It is almost tantamount to saying that even if Samsung has been found guilty of copying features, Apple wasn’t able to prove those features were significant enough to have cost it a fortune or users.

This latest decision may not be a devastating blow to Apple, but it sure is a slap on the face. Although Samsung isn’t exactly getting away scot-free for its crime, it will only be paying damages in the amount of $119.6 million, a measly fraction of the $2.2 billion that Apple was going after. Plus now the court is practically telling Apple that those features that Samsung copied aren’t exactly all that. Or rather, they aren’t enough to have made a significant negative impact on Apple’s part.

It isn’t known yet if Apple plans to appeal this decision, that is if it has any other legal recourse left. Could this finally be the end to the patent squabble between Apple and Samsung in the US? The two rivals have agreed to a truce on patent litigation outside the US, but so far there has been no word on their relationship this side of the world. That said, even the international ceasefire between the two isn’t exactly legally binding, so there’s really no assurance that even that would hold in the long run.

VIA: Apple Insider

California “kill switch” bill takes effect July 1, 2015

Posted by wicked August - 26 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

The once contentious “kill switch” feature, previously blocked and now accepted by the mobile industry, has finally been signed into law, at least in California. But given the practical implications of this new legal mandate, suffice it to say that we would most likely see this anti-theft feature implemented equally across the country, whether or not other states legally require it.

The ability to remotely wipe and lock down a smartphone via some security service is nothing new, at least not recently. Android has had this for quite some time now via the Android Device Manager. iPhones, too, have their Find My iPhone feature. The CTIA Wireless Association, mostly made up of mobile carriers, once disapproved of this method, preferring to simply have a database of stolen devices as a deterrent to theft. Finally, however, they caved in and announced a voluntary commitment to let users install such features. The commitment has already been signed by major carriers and manufacturers, making it practically enforcing.

The difference between these features and California’s new law is one of subtle implementation. While those previously mentioned left the decision up to carriers, manufacturers, and users, California will soon require these kill switches by default. Or to be exact, it will require devices to prompt users to enable the feature during initial setup of the device instead of burying it under dozens of settings. Users of course have the freedom to not enable it (or disable it if it is enabled by default) but should be informed of the potential consequences of that decision. Considering that OEMs, carriers, or other retailers are unlikely to have a special California-only edition, this implementation is as good as nationwide.

The law, however, isn’t overarching. For one, it doesn’t cover smartphones launched before January 1, 2015 that cannot be modified to support the feature, though that set is probably few and far in between. It also doesn’t cover devices that are just being resold in the state of California in secondhand markets. And lastly, perhaps more worryingly, it doesn’t cover tablets. At least not yet. The law goes into effect July 1, 2015 and the penalty for violating it ranges from $500 to $2,500. That’s per smartphone sold.

SOURCE: State of California (PDF)
VIA: SlashGear

XBMC changing name to Kodi

Posted by wicked August - 3 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off


The developers behind XBMC, the entertainment and media center software, have announced a change in name for the platform. XBMC has started the process to be renamed Kodi as part of the upcoming release of version 14. This is not the first time the group has changed the name, the last time being in 2008. However, all of the previous name changes have been variants of the original “Xbox Media Player” which was coined in 2002. Two years after that it was renamed “Xbox Media Center” and then four years later it was shortened to the current XBMC. The change to Kodi is a radical change taking things in a whole new direction.

The development team indicates one of the factors in deciding to pursue the name change was potential legal concerns due to the inclusion of a trademarked name from another company. This not only left open the potential for action to be taken against anyone using that name, it was creating some confusion as to what sites and services were related to the XBMC platform and which ones were connected to something else.

The developers also felt the current name, and its history, was no longer reflective of the platform. As they note, the ability to run XBMC on an actual Xbox was very limited and only with the older Xbox, not the Xbox 360 or Xbox One, thus the “XB” portion of the name does not really fit. Likewise, the platform is capable of much more than displaying media as it can stream content, load games, and run addons among others, making it an entertainment center, rendering the “MC” portion no longer accurate.

As these problems and the issues they generated became more common, the XBMC team decided to seek out assistance from the Software Freedom Law Center. It was ultimately determined a change in name made the most sense. The team has determined it will continue to license the software under GPL 2.0. As far as use of the name and logo, the team plans to adopt policies modeled after the Mozilla Foundation with respect to trademark licensing. Although programmers and developers have some work to do to strip out the old name and add in the new Kodi name, for end users the change should be minimal.

The new Kodi team indicates they are still finalizing the logo, so what you see above is likely going to change. Since it is not quite ready yet, a final sale of “official” XBMC t-shirts is being offered. If you want one to hold onto so you can break it out twenty years from now to show the world what you were doing, hit the source link for more information.

Finally, the team is also making their alpha2 version of the new Kodi 14, codenamed “Helix” available for download for anyone that wants to get an early look. Again, just hit the source link for more info on how to grab it.

source: XBMC

Come comment on this article: XBMC changing name to Kodi

Microsoft brings Samsung to court over Android patent deal

Posted by wicked August - 2 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

On Friday, the Redmond-based global software giant Microsoft announced that it has brought South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung to court over a contract dispute in their patent deal for Android devices. Microsoft, in very basic terms, has a contract with Samsung where it receives royalties for every Android device it sells, and it is suing Samsung because according to them, the latter has not been keeping its part of the contract.

According to Microsoft’s deputy general counsel David Howard, this legal action was done “simply to enforce our contract with Samsung.” In 2011, Microsoft signed one of those landmark Android patent deals, claiming that every Android device Samsung sells infringes on its patents, hence the royalties. As of late, Microsoft claims that Samsung has not been paying them the royalties they’ve agreed upon based on that 2011 contract, a situation that started last year – specifically after Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition.

What Microsoft is asking is actually for the court to enforce the contract as legal and binding, where Samsung has already made clear its disagreement to it. “After spending months trying to resolve our disagreement, Samsung has made clear in a series of letters and discussions that we have a fundamental disagreement as to the meaning of our contract,” Howard said.

Samsung has replied with a standard answer to the lawsuit, saying in a published statement: “We will review the complaint in detail and determine appropriate measures in response.” This patent contract has made Samsung – and many other Android device manufacturers – beholden to Microsoft, something that Google has vocally lambasted over the years. “This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft,” Google said in a statement when the patent deal was signed in 2011. “Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation.”

VIA: Recode

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