patents

Richard Waters

Google is constantly on the receiving end of patent lawsuits: its last annual report listed challenges to 13 of its services, including Android, YouTube and Chrome.

But when a claim comes along that’s aimed squarely at AdWords, the money-minting machine on which its entire fortune rests, it has a way of grabbing the attention – particularly when the case is launched by a consortium of tech companies that include Microsoft and Apple. Read more >>

A South Korean website has unearthed trademark and patent filings by Samsung regarding a possible smartwatch. That’s a reminder that – while Samsung and Apple squabble over old intellectual property – they will soon have a whole new set of designs to fight over.

In the drawings, Samsung’s device looks like a smartphone bent round a wrist. Unlike similar products from Sony, LG and Pebble, it has a flexible screen rather than the familiar usual strap. Read more >>

Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.

The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.

“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” Read more >>

Nevermind superfast broadband – the British government is lining up “superfast patents”. Inventors could be awarded a patent in just ninety days, under a government consultation published on Tuesday. That’s a fraction of the usual two to five years, and only a little longer than the ticketing process for the 2012 London Olympics.

Observers may see anything that makes patents easier as a bad idea, given the smartphone wars. Hence the UK is proposing an extra fee of £3,500-£4,000 for the fast-track service. The hope is that will strip out less credible claims, while allowing serious investors to get their patent – and then some venture capital. Read more >>

Tim Bradshaw

In a move that has raised eyebrows in legal and technology circles, Samsung has hired a former British appeals-court judge, who reprimanded the electronics giant’s patent opponent Apple last year, to be its expert witness in another intellectual property trial. Read more >>

Sarah Mishkin

When Apple filed suit against HTC for patent violations in 2010, it was the first time the California-based company had turned its legal arsenal on an Android phone-maker.

Two years, and many more lawsuits later, Apple and HTC’s decision to settle those disputes is likewise the first time that Apple has agreed a settlement with an Android-based rival. Read more >>

Tim Bradshaw

Peace has broken out in one corner of the multilateral patent war between smartphone makers, with Apple and HTC signing a global settlement and licensing agreement. Read more >>

Apple’s $1bn win over Samsung in California should give inventors cautious optimism, writes James Dyson, founder and chief engineer of Dyson. It was an overwhelming victory in spite of a vacillating process that puts the onus on the patent’s owner to prove it has been copied, rather than the infringer to prove it has not.

 Read more >>

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

Apple’s patent win against Samsung in the US courts last week prompted a wave of reactions from across the tech sphere. While some found that Apple’s victory would slow down technology development, others argued it could be the driving force behind a push to innovate more in the smartphone industry. Read more >>

Maija Palmer

Apple’s victory over Samsung in the patents dispute shone an interesting light on the murky world of patents. For one thing it demonstrated clearly that there are two different types of patents around mobile devices that operate very differently.

On the one hand you have patents that are to do with how the phone actually operates, how it connects calls and handles data. These are the standards essential patents and they are the things that companies like Samsung, Nokia and Motorola have a lot of, as they have been in the business of making phones for a very long time. Read more >>