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Tech companies backing Samsung in patent battle with Apple

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Apple-vs-Samsung-lawsuit1

The patent battle between Apple and Samsung has resurfaced thanks to a new amicus filing by some of the tech industries heavyweights who are lining up behind Samsung. In the friend of the court briefing, companies like Google, HP, Facebook and others, make an argument we have heard from Samsung in the past.

Although Samsung lost in the courtroom to Apple which accused Samsung of infringing several iPhone related patents, the companies have continued to fight at the appellate level over the appropriateness of decision and the amount of damages. Samsung has achieved some success in whittling the $1 billion judgment down $548 million. Samsung is trying to get that reduced even more by challenging the appropriateness of giving up all profits from the sale of devices that were found to infringe.

In the amicus filing, the tech companies argue that,

“That feature — a result of a few lines out of millions of code — may appear only during a particular use of the product, on one screen display among hundreds. But the panel’s decision could allow the owner of the design patent to receive all profits generated by the product or platform, even if the infringing element was largely insignificant to the user.”

The end result of even the smallest infringement out of a totality of ideas and concepts that go into a product would be the stifling of innovation and the likelihood that every company would infringe some patent in some manner the companies claim. The effect would be “devastating” on companies.

source: The Verge

Come comment on this article: Tech companies backing Samsung in patent battle with Apple

Google may have helped the privacy cause in hotel ruling from Supreme Court

Posted by wicked June - 24 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

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In a ruling issued by the Supreme Court this week, Los Angeles saw an ordinance overturned in which they sought to give their police force the ability to seize information from hotel registries on demand and without a warrant. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing the majority opinion in the 5-4 ruling, deemed the ordinance unconstitutional and importantly, found the ordinance as written could have been extended to apply to any business, not just hotels. It was on that point that Google had jumped into the case via an amicus brief.

Google’s brief noted that the Los Angeles ordinance would have allowed the City to access information like their users’ Gmail, search history, and other data without any kind of prior judicial review or Google’s input or approval.

The ordinance also would not give a company like Google the opportunity to notify affected customers so that they could file their own objections to such a search. This is a situation that Google found itself in recently when government agencies sought data from WikiLeaks members. In the case of one, Jacob Applebaum, the government had succeeded in restraining Google from providing notice.

source: Re/code

Come comment on this article: Google may have helped the privacy cause in hotel ruling from Supreme Court

OnePlus ends legal battles in India, Cyanogen to continue support

Posted by wicked May - 11 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

If you remember last year, China-based smartphone manufacturer OnePlus got itself into a sticky situation with primary software partner Cyanogen over business actions in the sub-continent of India. As you may know, India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, and everybody wants a piece of the pie – even Cyanogen and OnePlus. The year of 2014 ended with OnePlus and Cyanogen, plus Cyanogen’s India-based partner Micromaxx, in a legal scuffle. OnePlus just released what seems like good news today that their legal troubles in India are over.

OnePlus has just officially confirmed through its blog that the legal battle between them, Cyanogen and Micromaxx have been resolved and that the legal cases brought to court have been withdrawn through mutual consent. The way things were going and with the words coming out from both camps, we thought there would be no end to that, so this is very good.

The bonus here is that those in India who have bought the OnePlus One smartphone will continue to receive updates from Cyanogen OS for their devices. It looks like the two camps have come to an agreement over update support for Cyanogen OS. This means that those who own the OnePlus One in India can expect to receive OTA updates still coming from Cyanogen for their proprietary Cyanogen OS, the Android version that launched with the smartphone.

cyanogen_opo

What most likely can NOT be fixed is the close partnership between Cyanogen and OnePlus. We continue to ask what Cyanogen’s role will be moving forward, but it looks like OnePlus will be committed to bringing its own software – Oxygen OS – to the next devices it will launch this year.

SOURCE: OnePlus

Judge dismisses AT&T claim that FTC can’t sue them for data throttling

Posted by wicked April - 2 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

October last year, the Federal Trade Commission filed in federal court lawsuit against AT&T for data throttling. According to the FTC, the carrier deceived consumers by offering unlimited data plans and throttling speeds. Allegedly, AT&T was controlling the network speed once the 3GB or 5GB limit was reached. AT&T was then quick to respond by saying FTC can’t sue them because they were just a common carrier and there was an exception.

AT&T made the claims last January but it was only yesterday, April 1, that Judge Edward Chen US District Court in Northern California refused to dismiss the lawsuit and claim by the carrier. (April Fool’s Day but it wasn’t a joke). You see, there is an FTC Act that exempts common carriers from some issues. AT&T said they fall under that category. That is true but only for landline telephone and mobile voice service. The company’s mobile data services, the main subject of the case, were not considered a common carrier service.

Judge Chen said this exception applies “only where the entity has the status of common carrier and is actually engaging in common carrier activity”. At the time when the lawsuit was filed, AT&T’s mobile services were not classified as common carrier service. In February, however, the Federal Communications Commission made some changes by reclassifying mobile data as a common carrier service. AT&T used this argument but the Judge still rejected it.

Judge Chen wrote:

“When this suit was filed, AT&T’s mobile data service was not regulated as common carrier activity by the Federal Communications Commission. Once the Reclassification Order of the Federal Communications Commission (which now treats mobile data serve as common carrier activity) goes into effect, that will not deprive the FTC of any jurisdiction over past alleged misconduct as asserted in this pending action.”

Judge Edward Chen believes AT&T misinterpreted the rule which was really meant to “prevent overlap between common carrier regulations”.

SOURCE: arstechnica

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

SOURCE: FCC

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.

cyanogen-inc-1

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.

SOURCE: FTC