Patent Wars Legal Dispute Round-Up for Today: Appeals, New Lawsuits and More
Rather than spam a ton of stories in a row, we decided to grab each of today's Patent Wars stories and compile them into one shot for you to disseminate. Here's they are in no particular order:
1. Samsung's Final Secondary Appeal to Stay the Injunction of their Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the U.S. was denied. This one is actually from the end of last week, but we didn't quite get to it because it of greater priorities. Now, Samsung must stop selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the U.S. until their trial date against Apple on July 30th.
2. Also in Samsung vs. Apple related news, in the Australian courts, Samsung has accused Apple of refusing to negotiate in their patent fight over Apple's use of Samsung's 3G FRAND patents. Samsung claimed that, "Apple has refused to engage in negotiations.” Of course, there's more to it than just that, and Apple has claimed the same thing, that Samsung was the one refusing to negotiate. The judge in the case, Australian Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett, said in a quote,
It's interesting to see that the Patent system in the U.S. isn't the only that is broken.
"Why on earth are these proceedings going ahead?” Bennett asked the lawyers in court today. “It’s just ridiculous.” A similar dispute between any other two companies would be immediately ordered to mediation, she said. “Why shouldn’t I order the parties to mediation?” she asked. She said she would expect an answer before the end of the week.
Source: ComputerWorld and Bloomberg
3. Google Finally starts to step-up to the plate to defend Android from Apple and Nokia. First, they are trying to get listed as a co-defendant with HTC in its patent infringement lawsuit defense against Nokia. More than likely, if they are able to be listed as a co-defendant, they will finally bring their Motorola patents to bear against Nokia's assault. Cross your fingers that this works so that Google can help HTC fight there way out of a bad position.
Second, Google filed a 15-page letter with the FTC asking them to consider Apple's design patents as FRAND and accept them as de facto industry standards. Their argument is that otherwise, Apple can sue any manufacturer of a rectangular phone or tablet that uses a sliding movement to unlock it.
Apple's rebuttal to this was, “a proprietary technology becomes quite popular does not transform it into a ‘standard’ subject to the same legal constraints as true standards". Of course, this is relative isn't it, and really just points to how nebulous and arbitrary software and design patents have become. How can the shape of a device or a plain and basic human gesture be considered an "innovation." Still, Apple's lead counsel and made statements regarding these issues and especially the idea of using FRAND patents as weapons,
To enhance their bargaining position, the FRAND patent holders have sought injunctions or other exclusionary remedies — to threaten companies like Apple that have been leaders in developing product-differentiating technology, and to force them to either pay exorbitant royalties or license their product-differentiating technology. ~ General Councel Bruce Sewell
4. Both Motorola and Apple filed appeals to U.S. Judge Richard A. Posner's ruling that dismissed both of their cases against each other with prejudice. This is the same judge that is remarkable for his reasonableness and for calling out for changes to the patent system. At first, it seems strange that Motorola would actually file an appeal, especially since they only filed suit against Apple as a defense measure toward Apple's lawsuits against them.
Apparently, they may have a much stronger case against Apple for patent infringement, and they want to stick it out. We will let you know what the appellate court says, but if this is true, and Moto ends up beating Apple, then Apple may have wished they had left Motorola alone.
5. Finally, it seems that everyone wants to get in on the act of patent trolling. Mojang, the creator of Minecraft is being sued by a company called Uniloc. The Android version of Minecraft supposedly infringes on this patent. Here's a quote with the details,
The creator of Minecraft, Markus Persson, aka Notch, responded with the following in a blog,
Uniloc, a patent protection company specializing in anti-piracy technologies, is suing Mojang, developer of Minecraft, for infringing on an Android-related patent called "System and Method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data". It's basically a system for authenticating license data.
Software patents are plain evil. Innovation within software is basically free, and it's growing incredibly rapid. Patents only slow it down.
— Markus Persson (@notch) July 21, 2012
It will be interesting to see how these cases comes out, but it does make you wonder if there's something in the water making everyone want to sue each other...