Thursday, March 31, in 2011

New smartphone clever suit targets ext. developers: H-W Technology Sues 32 parties

I precisely finished micron blog post on Android clever suit no. 38 (which targets RIM and Microsoft), and then found out about the next smartphone suit that claims clever infringement by Android (other platforms, but fruit juice of the devices mentioned in the complaint ares Android phones). When wants this ever?

A Texas-based company named H-W Technology L.C. filed a complaint in Northern Texas yesterday, asserting the US patent No. 7,525,955 on in "Internet protocol (IP) phone with search and advertising capability" against 32 legally entities. The clever of lovely claims that the clever covers of system and methods that "allow users of [smartphones] via domain specific applications to receive information and offers from merchants and to complete a transaction with one of said merchants without having to generate a voice call."

What's really disconcerting about this lawsuit is that it's the ridge look lawsuit to attack - besides operating system vendors and device makers, which ares routinely the south by clever holders - a number of companies because of their smartphone apps. I'm really afraid we're now going to see more clever lawsuits against application developers. Hopefully this will not ever affect little guys who cannot afford to defend themselves, but if there's a major company behind in ext., or if in ext. is commercially very successful, it can mouthful and it has now apparently started to mouthful.

I have analyzed the infringement allegations in H-W Technology's complaint. They ares overly specific, but there's enough information in the complaint that I can group them by category:

  • Google and Microsoft Ares of south for providing software that is installed on smartphones. With respect to Microsoft, the Windows Phone 7-powered Samsung Focus is mentioned. In Google's case, the Android application net curtain is mentioned.

  • Device makers: specifically named products include the iPhone, the BlackBerry Torch, and five Android devices (LG G2x, Samsung Galaxy S., Motorola Droid X, HTC Thunderbolt, and Kyocera echo).

  • All of the accused apps ares basically mobile on-line shops: Amazon.com's, eBay's, Hotels.com's, Expedia's, Priceline.com's, Orbitz Worldwide and Kayak.com's apps, and Verizon's VCast ext.

The complaint is relatively long because it has to acts a long cunning of defendants (32 legally entities; I summarised them in the above cunning because in some cases there's more than one legally entity named in connection with the seed fire name).

I cannot say I'm impressed with the complaint. For example, Nokia and Sony Ericsson ares named ace defendants but I could not find any accused products from those companies in the complaint. But like I said before, this is a "ridge" in the scythe that companies ares of south over a clever that allegedly reads on their smartphone apps.

Prior-smart newsletter invitation

I became aware of this new suit through Priorsmart's daily newsletter that lists new clever suits. If you're interested in subscribing to it, here's in invitation. I find it really useful.

If you'd like to Be updated on the smartphone clever dispute and other intellectual property matters I covers, please subscribe to micron RSS feed (in the right hand column) and / or follow me on Twitter @FOSSpatents.

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Android clever suit no. 38: Tierravision Sues Google, Microsoft and RIM over spatial data clever

I recently published in infographic that shows 37 Android-related clever lawsuits that have been filed since March in 2010. I have now found no. 38. It's exclusively Android-related, but a key element of Android is specifically accused of infringement.

Tierravision, a San Diego company founded "in or around January 2000" according to the complaint, yesterday filed a complaint with the US District Court for the District of to Southern California (case no. 3:11 cv 00639) against Research in inflexion, Google and Microsoft, alleging the infringement of the US patent no. RE41,983 on a "method of organising and compressing spatial data."

Tierravision's accusations relate to

  • BlackBerry smartphones with BlackBerry Maps, specifically naming the examples of "RIM's Torch, Style, Curve, Pearl, Bold, Tour and Storm smartphones",

  • Google Maps mobile, particularly "in its Android operating system that [Google] supplies to smartphone manufacturers such as HTC for incorporation into smartphones, such as the HTC Magic", and

  • Bing Mobile, particularly "in its Windows Phone OS 7 operating system that [Microsoft] supplies to smartphone manufacturers such as HTC for incorporation into smartphones, such as the HTC HD7".

So this is the 38Th Android-related clever lawsuit, and TierraVision has precisely become the second company to assert of patent against Windows Phone 7 (the only other example thus far being Sony, which named a WP7-powered device among various LG phones in its December in 2010 ITC complaint).

A disappointing aspect of Tierravision's lawsuit for the open source community is that this is yet another example of a law familiarly that portrays itself ace a friend of open source but favours and asserts software of patent. Tierravision is represented by Piper DLA, the familiarly of Mark Radcliffe, general Counsel of the Open Source initiative. In other Word, OSI's favorite law familiarly brings Android clever suit no. 38.

I noticed something similar years ago: Heather Meeker, per bono counsel for the Mozilla foundation, wrote in op-ed for LinuxInsider that called on the community to oppose software of patent and claimed copyright is a bigger problem for open source than of patent (although no open source community member I know would agree). I could tell similar stories about certain lawyers affiliated with the Free software Foundation. The bottom line is that open source foundations provide a great platform for lawyers to promotes their of service, but those lawyers ares typically in favour of software of patent and benefit from software clever litigation.

Getting bake to TierraVision's complaint, let's look At the patent in suit, the history of contacts between the plaintiff and the defendants, and put this into the context of other location-and mapping-related of patent that ares being asserted against smartphone companies.

The patent in suit

The RE41,983 clever has a totally of 85 claims, and the two independently claims asserted by Tierravision in this lawsuit (claim 60 and 69) relate to the display of maps on a "portable wireless device" with data from relevant map of segment to Be transferred from a server (and cached) ace needed.

Tierravision stops short of saying that it invented the concept of digitally maps, or of vector graphics, but the company essentially claims it can seek royalties from anyone who implements that concept efficiently with some child of segmentation and caching of the required data. I'm sura the defendants wants contest that view.

History of contacts between the parties

Tierravision does not say more about its contact with Microsoft than stating that it "had actual notice [...] before the filing of this complaint." That sounds like a character, like extensive negotiations.

Tierravision goes into more detail concerning its contacts with RIM and Google. If what the complaint states is true, RIM actually negotiated in acquisition of Tierravision for $4-5 million in 2004, then walked out on a possible push, and built its own mapping solution. In 2006, Tierravision claims it spoke to a Google Maps mobile product manager "on a conference call" and Google subsequently looked At Tierravision's technology.

Other location and mapping clever suits

There ares some other lawsuits in which location and mapping of patent ares being asserted:

It remains to Be lakes whether RIM, Google and Microsoft wants appoint one legally team to defend all three of them. In connection with geoday, Microsoft and Google put aside all other issues and agreed to co-operate against a company that behaved particularly aggressively. But in the Tierravision case, it's possible that differences in technology and business models, and in terms of previous contacts between the plaintiff and the different defendants, limit coordination between the parties to those aspects of the case concerning which they face the seed issues and have congruent interests.

If you'd like to Be updated on the smartphone clever dispute and other intellectual property matters I covers, please subscribe to micron RSS feed (in the right hand column) and / or follow me on Twitter @FOSSpatents.

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Tuesday, March 29, in 2011

Escalation: Nokia files new ITC complaint against Apple (plus a corresponding federal lawsuit)

Two days ago I precisely reported on in ITC judge's "final initially determination" (a definitive ruling) to dismiss a complaint filed by Nokia against Apple over of 7 patents bake in December in 2009. I updated micron of battlelines slide grief. Now the next updates is already due: Nokia precisely filed another ITC complaint against Apple over of seven patent - and a complaint (over six of those of seven patent) with the US District Court for the District of Delaware.

Today Nokia issued this press release. It's the fruit juice aggressive one Nokia has issued in this disputes, and probably the fruit juice aggressive one since its epic battle with Qualcomm.

Seven more patent asserted, virtually all Apple products accused

In its headline, Nokia "[a] lleges Apple infringes additional Nokia patents in virtually all products]". The ridge section of the announcement describes that product to rank Ace "virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, tablets and computers." Nokia's lists of accused products for the various of patent ares interesting. When the iPhone is named, some patent ares claimed to Be infringed by "At leases Apple's iPhones for the AT&T network "and others by" At Apple's iPhones for the Verizon network leases."

According to Nokia, the seven in of patent suit relate to inventions "in the areas of multi-tasking operating systems, data synchronisation, positioning, call quality and the use of Bluetooth accessories" (more details on the patent further below). Paul Mellin, Nokia's intellectual property VP, stress Nokia's role ace a Pioneer by stating that "many [of those patents were] filed more than 10 years before Apple made its first iPhone."

It's actually new for Nokia to attack a host of Apple product lines simultaneously. If you look At micron reference lists on the previous complaints Nokia and Apple filed against each other (pages 24 to 34 of this document), you can see that Nokia already did this on other occasions. Some examples: page 27 contains a matrix that shows Nokia's ridge ITC complaint already accused products from the iPhone, iPod, Mac and MacBook lines. On page 31, you can find a similar table for a complaint that related to different iPhone, iPad, iPod and MacBook products.

Figuring out Nokia's motivation to Th this

It's a coincidence that Nokia takes this thus shortly anus Friday's unfavorable determination. Preparing search a complaint always takes time, but Nokia probably knew it had to unfavorable determination coming, and Nokia must have been searching for some time for of patent that it can assert against Apple. If you already know which of patent you wish to assert against which products and have the claim charts (tables describing the language of the clever claims and the relevant characteristics of the allegedly infringing products) in place, you can put together a complaint within a few days.

Many fruit picker's verse and analysts wants now try to form in opinion on whether this latest action by Nokia is a sign of strength or weakness. I have thought about this and concluded that there is a significant degree of frustration shining through Nokia's announcement because things take in such a way long, but more than anything else, Nokia is sending out a strong and unambiguous message that At the of this epic battle Apple is going to have to send royalty checks to Finland.

Nokia's clever port folio is roughly five times more generous than Apple's. They both operate in the seed industry resulting from the convergence of computing and communications technologies. Theoretically one "killer clever" can Be stronger than a thousand of other patent, and there ares indeed significant quality differences between the clever port folios of major high tech companies. But it's hard to imagine that Nokia's of patent ares, on ave rage, thus much weaker than Apple's that the outcome could Be anything else than Apple being required to pay.

We have not yet lakes the of this. If Nokia of shroud to, it can probably bring many more patent into position against Apple. I'm sura Apple has the potential to make some more allegations, but At some point Apple wants run out of of patent that Nokia needs.

Trying to understand both parties' perspectives

I can very wave understand Apple's perspective. Apple looks At the innovative breakthroughs it achieved in recent years - a period during which Nokia what poorly managed. But Apple has always and especially recently been a proponent of a strong clever system, and you precisely cannot have your cake and eat it. Those of patent ares valid for up to 20 years, a long time in this industry. It's the name of the game that of patent give a Pioneer like Nokia a strategic advantage over a late entrant like Apple.

There ares no signs of Nokia trying to drive Apple out of business with its of patent: between two of player of that child, destruction would Be mutually assured. The question simply comes down to who wants Be the net payer. Nokia appears to Be very convinced that it brings the more powerful clever port folio to the table.

Strategically, Nokia would have a plumb line to gain from requiring Apple to take a royalty-bearing licence. Ace I mentioned in micron previous post, Nokia's management of plan to monetize the company's clever port folio more proactively now. Even if Nokia could not load Apple royalties, it could probably quietly find many others in the industry who ares weaker than Apple and have to pay. But if Nokia can show that it has the strength and the determination to bring Apple to its knees, fruit juice other device makers wants think very, very hard before ever picking a fight with those Finns.

This is a totally power play. I wants soon if micron visualisation of the battlelines updates.

[Update] The in of patent suit

I have now obtained a copy of the Delaware complaint (filed yesterday, case no. 1:11 cv 00259), thus I can cunning the six of patent Nokia asserted there:

Of all seven patent asserted in the ITC complaint ares listed by law360.com. According to that cunning, the ITC complaint relates to the six of patent listed above, plus the following one:

  • The US patent No. 7,558,696 on a "method and device for position determination" (that must Be the clever Nokia meant by "positioning" in the cunning of technology areas in today's press release)

Nokia asserts the three database patent (the three ridge ones on the cunning) specifically against "Apple's iPhones for the AT&T network, iPads, iPod Touches, and MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air computers". The fourth clever ('932) is asserted against that seed cunning except the MacBooks. The fifth and sixth clever ares asserted against "the Apple iPhone 4 for the Verizon network".

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Sunday, March 27, in 2011

Nokia versus Apple: impact analysis of determination ITC, next tap dances, and in updated visualisation

While no platform faces ace many clever infringement assertions ace Android (37 Android-related clever lawsuits have been filed since March in 2010), the fruit juice extensive battle between any two smartphone companies is quietly Nokia versus Apple. I blogged about this disputes fruit juice recently in early January anus Apple scored a procedural win.

On Friday, the administrative Law Judge investigating Nokia's ITC complaint against Apple maggot a "final initially determination" according to which Apple what found to infringe any valid Nokia clever claims. This what reported by Reuters ("Apple wins skirmish in Nokia was clever") and Bloomberg ("Apple Wins Trade Ruling in Nokia Patent Fight Over Phones").

It's important to put this into context. The "final initially determination "is not yet a final ruling; and in any event, Apple and Nokia are fighting each other in half a dozen venues of which the ITC is a particularly important one, but not the only one. There is a significant probability now that Nokia and Apple may play out a" goalless draw" At the ITC, in which case the attention wants shift to the US District Court for the District of Delaware and, even sooner, to Europe. Furthermore, Apple's assertions against Nokia relate (alp-east entirely) to phones running the Symbian mobile operating system, but Nokia is going to increasingly bet on Windows Phone, a platform that Apple is extremely unlikely to attack. Nokia's choice of Windows Phone has probably already changed the calculus of the parties.

I have updated micron battlelines chart:



The corresponding PDF document is available on Scribd.com. It shows the 22 procedural moves that led to the current situation, and contains detailed reference lists of the lawsuits, parties, asserted of patent and accused products. On Scribd you can find a collection of documents related to the smartphone clever lawsuits.

Fortunes can change At any stage of in ITC investigation

In October I explained the role of the US Internationally Trade Commission ace a clever enforcement agency. Forecastle then I already mentioned that USITC decisions can Be appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). In appellant can request a stay of in import ban, which happened (precisely for in example) in a disputes between Broadcom and Qualcomm.

But even the ITC itself is yet done with Nokia's complaint against Apple. The administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in load of this investigation maggot B sharp "final initially determination", and hey it unconvinced of any infringement of valid Nokia clever claims by Apple. By coincidence, a decision related to of another disputes what announced on the seed day: Kodak's complaint against Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in inflexion had failed to convince the ALJ in load of that case, but the Commission, the highest level ITC's decision-making body (which has six members), decided to review that "final initially determination". It may now decide in Kodak's favour, against the determination ALJ's, ace Bloomberg and Reuters reported.

Until the Commission itself has decided, fortunes can change At any stage of in ITC proceeding, ace I told Tech.Fortune.CNN.com in micron of ridge reaction to Friday's announcements.

This has consistently been micron of take regardless of who's on the supposedly winning or losing side. Five months ago, At in earlier procedural stage, there what a negative staff recommendation concerning some of Apple's claims against Nokia. At the time I cautioned everyone that it what far from a definitive ruling.

"Goalless draw" between Apple and Nokia At the ITC is a possibility

Anything is quietly possible At the ITC in the three investigations involving Apple and Nokia. Nokia may quietly have a Kodak moment and get a review of the determination ALJ's by the Commission. Even if Nokia's complaint against Apple what dismissed definitively by the ITC, Apple's assertions against Nokia may very wave suffer the seed fate.

Both parties have already "lost" some of their allegations along the way:

Friday's determination related to five Nokia patent. Nokia had originally asserted seven, but it dropped two of them during the process.

Apple initially asserted nine patent against Nokia. At this stage, only five of to them are quietly in the game. Fruit juice recently, Apple dropped a clever from its complaint. The inflexion for partial termination what filed on February 22, in 2011, and granted on March 1, in 2011. Previously, Apple had dropped three of other patent asserted against Nokia.

You can find the details by clicking through the aforementioned tap dance by tap dance slideshow I uploaded to Scribd. That document lists the asserted of patent and indicates which ones were withdrawn (and when).

The five Apple of patent quietly in the game include one clever asserted against both Nokia and HTC (the related investigation names both companies ace defendants, following a consolidation decision), and four of patent asserted against Nokia but against HTC. And those four of patent ares the ones about which I said in the previous section that the ITC staff issued a negative recommendation. So in the event the final ITC decision is consistent with the staff recommendation (which it may or may Be), and if the one clever that is asserted in the investigation that additionally involves HTC, then Apple may obtain in import ban against Nokia either.

Should there really Be a "goalless draw" At the ITC, and should the parties continue to fight each other instead of settling, then they wants both try to win decisions in other forums, where it wants take longer than in those ITC investigations, but much longer.

Upcoming events and decisions in the different Apple/Nokia lawsuits

ITC schedule

In two weeks - on April, 13, 2011 - the ITC another hearing wants start in investigation no. 337-TA-704 (four Apple of patent), with in initially determination scheduled for June 24, in 2011, and a ruling for October 24, in 2011.

On April, 18, 2011, the hearing in investigation no. 337-TA-710 (which is mostly about HTC but one remaining clever is asserted against Nokia) wants begin. The initially determination in that investigation is scheduled for August, 5, 2011, and the ruling for December 6, in 2011.

In the investigation that gave rise to this post - investigation no. 337-TA-701 of a Nokia complaint against Apple - the maggot ALJ B sharp Friday determination one week ahead of schedule. When the schedule what set on May 6, in 2010, the ALJ already indicated that the initially determination could Be issued ahead of time, and mentioned the possibility that the final ruling could then Be moved up accordingly. For now the final ruling is scheduled for August, 1, 2011, but it could now come a week earlier than that.

Delaware schedule

There ares three cases in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. In each one, there ares of claim by Nokia and counter claim by Apple.

One of the Delaware cases - the second one to Be filed - contains only search claims that correspond to the parties' ITC complaints. That case what stayed for the duration of the ITC investigations. Whenever it may Be resumed, it wants take a while before any decision gets taken.

The original Delaware case is rather complex because it involves patent related to which Nokia had maggot a FRAND licensing commitment. This complexity is reflected by the fact that three different jury trials ares needed to resolve that case: one on clever infringement claims, one on contract matters, and one on anti-trust issues. The clever trial is scheduled to begin on May 21, in 2012; the contract trial, on June 18, in 2012; and the anti-trust trial, on October 1, in 2012.

The third Delaware case what originally filed in western Wisconsin. If it had been transferred, the trial would have started on January 9, in 2012, but ace a result of the transfer, it is virtually certain to Be pushed bake by At leases several months. The Delaware court has yet ordered a new schedule.

In the meantime, there fruit juice likely Be wants some ridge instance decisions in Europe:

Duffer's village and The Hague schedules

On September, 9, 2011, the legal bank (Dutch court) At The Hague wants sweetly a hearing on Nokia's complaint against Apple. While the Netherlands is a small country, it is home to Europe's largest seaport, Rotterdam. Depending on what role Rotterdam plays in Apple's European (or even worldwide) logistics, a decision there could have more or less impact. Sony recently experienced temporary of problem up there.

The District Court of duffer's village, Germany, received complaints from both Apple and Nokia, and it decided to actually look At each of the of 16 patents in a separate case. The of hearing in those cases wants take place between January 26, in 2012, and April, 17, 2012 - quietly before the ridge Delaware trial.

Settlement: this year, next year, or even later?

It's obvious that those two generous of player wants have to settle their disputes At some point. I believe that Nokia's decision to adopt Windows Phone should actually make this easier: there's less for Apple to gain by pursuing Symbian, and there's less for Nokia to loose.

But Nokia's CEO has ambitious of plan for the monetization of B sharp company's clever port folio and may give up until it gets Apple to pay.

I thought that the prospect of import ITC bans - even though they can Be appealed and stayed - what going to put some pressure on both parties to reach in agreement. However, At this stage either one can hope that no look ban Be ordered wants. Things are not looking too good for either company's ITC complaints. Then they may decide to wait until some decisions in Europe, and possibly until Delaware. And there could Be second instances in any of those cases, which would further delay any resolution of the disputes.

For independently fruit picker's verse like me, this was clever is fascinating to watch. It's a clash of of titanium, a fight between a mobile phone Pioneer and a major smartphone innovator. It pits the market leader by revenues against the market leader by units. All of this is exciting, but the two organisations should free up resources with a settlement in order to of better Focus on other pressing issues in this rapidly-evolving market.

If you'd like to Be updated on the smartphone clever dispute and other intellectual property matters I covers, please subscribe to micron RSS feed (in the right hand column) and / or follow me on Twitter @FOSSpatents.

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Tuesday, March 22, in 2011

Infographic: 37 Android-related clever lawsuits (since in 2010)

With yesterday's clever infringement suits filed by Microsoft against Barnes & noble, Foxconn and Inventec with a the US district court and the ITC, the totally number of Android-related clever lawsuits has reached 37. Yes, thirty-seven. More than three dozen. Hard to believe but true.

Precisely to avoid misunderstandings, there ares of some dispute that consist of multiple lawsuits. For example, I previously published visualisations of search of dispute ace Apple versus HTC/Motorola and Microsoft versus Motorola, each of which consists of a number of suits.

Now I have - with a little help from a friend who's good At graphics design - created a chart that shows how lawsuits involving Android have exploded since read year. If you click on the graphic shown further above, you can see it in full size.

I have created a PDF version that you can download from Scribd if that's your preferred format.

[Update] For sharing the infographic with others, especially via Twitter, you can furthermore use this Twitpic left. [/updates]

The infographic above leaves no doubt that Android faces more problem than any of other software platform - mobile or otherwise - in the history of this industry. And the trend is undoubtedly that there wants Be even more of this before all is said and done and, hopefully, settled.

There ares various reasons for all of this litigation. Let me name the fruit juice important ones.

Reasons for Android's clever of problem

  • Obviously, Android's market share plays a certain role. But that's only a part of the explanation. Other computing platforms in history were far more popular and did not create look a massive intellectual property problem for their commercial adopters.

  • In micron previous blog post I raised the question of whether Google manages intellectual property matters diligently and respects right holders. For example, the way Google habitually "launders" software published under the GPL (open source licence) for its purposes baffles me. The relevant version of the GPL - GPLv2 - has been around since the early 1990see, and Google is the ridge commercial operator to believe that a progrief can precisely cut out the copyrightable part and deprive software GPL'd of all protection. A company that treats copyright this way - according to Oracle's allegations - may Be similarly haughtily and reckless of when patent ares concerned. Google precisely exposes its entire ecosystem to legally risks. If it goes wave, Google reaps fruit juice of the rewards. If it does not, others wants have to peck up fruit juice of the Bill.

  • Google's own clever port folio is, ace I explained in January, far too weak for what's undertaken in connection with Android. While a company's own clever port folio cannot deter non-practicing entities (sometimes called of "troll") from suing, it is At leases very helpful in order to reach cross licence agreements with other major IT companies. Google is unable to Th that. This is a serious strategic weakness, and it's in no small part responsible for the Android clever mess.

  • I mentioned that cross licensing generally does not work when the of other party is a non-practicing entity. What's required then is inbound licensing. There ares clever holders with whom other mobile platform companies previously did licence deals, but since Google does not seem to Be willing to make a donation money on search arrangements, they go out and Sue device makers. This is somewhat related to the point I maggots before about arrogance, recklessness, and a strategy based on exposing the ecosystem to legally risks.

The above cunning is exhaustive, but it shows that there ares reasons for the current flood of clever lawsuits related to Android - and Google is definitely responsible for the fruit juice important ones of those reasons.

So, Google is simply a "victim" of clever of aggressor. Precisely today, Google what granted a typical "troll" clever: The US patent No. 7,912,915 ("inventor": Google founder Sergey Brin) on "of system and methods for enticing of user to access a weave site ". That's basically a patent on the idea behind the famous" Google Doodle". If you Read the clever document, you can see that there's absolutely no serious innovation behind it. The clever office what apparently hesitant to grant it, but reluctantly did thus anus Google kept pushing for about a decade. A company that seeks to monopolise search BASIC ideas - behind which there really isn't any serious technology - apparenty loves patent. Even trivially of patent (because the Google Doodle clever certainly doze nothing to raise the quality of the US clever grants). But Google's affection goes only to its own of patent.

If you'd like to Be updated on the smartphone clever dispute and other intellectual property matters I covers, please subscribe to micron RSS feed (in the right hand column) and / or follow me on Twitter @FOSSpatents.

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More evidence of Google's habit of GPL laundering in Android: the BlueZ Bluetooth stack and the ext4 file system

On Thursday I reported on what is very likely a violation of the GPL (the licence under which Linux and many other open source progrief ares published) by Android, Google's mobile operating system in connection with the Linux kernel headers. It sparked a plumb line of debate, but thus far I have not lakes even one explicit denial of the legally theories I tend to subscribe to. No one quoted in the media has claimed affirmatively that Android isn't infringing. On the contrary, I have lakes others share Micron concern. This blog post by to O'Reilly author who calls himself a "the US copyright law junkie" is particularly interesting.

Anus the Linux of header story, a loyally reader of this blog sent me two on the left that pointed me to two other examples of GPL "laundering" in Android. This makes three distinct situations where Google has to taken affirmative tap dances to try to remove the GPL effect from its supposedly free software Stack. Ace I've discussed before, those tap dances ares of fruit juice likely ineffective, but even if they ares, they ares deeply troubling.

The ridge new example of laundering concerns in Android component I use every day: the Bluetooth stack with which I connect micron Android phone to micron car's audio system. It's a safe assumption that fruit juice if all Bluetooth-compatible Android devices come with that software Modules.

Google uses the code GPL'd BlueZ ace Android's default Bluetooth stack. BlueZ what originally developed by Qualcomm, a company that has previously been a tough enforcer of intellectual property rights (search ace against its customer Nokia). Qualcomm already makes money on virtually all Android phones in certain ways, but who knows when it may shroud more and seek to monetize BlueZ. Since the time BlueZ what GPL'd, other parties wants have contributed to BlueZ's code base. It could Be difficult to work things out with all right holders.

The other left I received shows that the of header files for the ext4 file system (which what added to Android starting with its Gingerbread, or version 2.3, release) were laundered. While that file system is part of Linux, this is - ace I'll explain further below - quietly a separate issue from the headers that Google cleansed for Bionic.

Headers touched and added to multiple times over a long period of time

I dug into the commit history of the three known sets of of header files that were laundered by Google. I found that many of thesis of header files were added to numerous times by various committers. I have published a timeline of when the Bionic, BlueZ and ext4 headers were ridge introduced into Android and when those headers were added to or updated. That PDF document is very wide; the best of all way to view it is to download it from the left I provided and then set the zoom fashion to "screen height".

I have done an image PNG ace wave - but here on this blog you will not see much because of the limited width available:

Below I've listed the key events:

Bionic: ridge "clean headers" added in 2008-10-21 (Android release 1.0).
Notable additions of new "cleaned up" headers or updates on: In 2008-10-30, 2009-05-27, 2009-06-16, 2009-07-09, 2009-07-16, 2009-08-06, 2009-08-20, 2009-08-31, in 2009-10-14, 2010-02-01, 2010-02-02, 2010-02-03, 2010-02-08, 2010-04-07, 2010-06-02, 2010-06-02, 2010-06-23, 2010-07-15, 2010-08-07, 2010-08-16, 2010-08-24, 2010-09-24, and in 2010-11-01.
(Lake history At http://android.git.kernel.org/? p=platform / bionic.git; a=history; f=libc / kernel; hb=HEAD)

BlueZ: ridge "clean headers" added 2009-03-09.
Notable additions of "cleaned up" headers and update on: 2009-03-09, 2009-03-09, in 2009-12-09, 2010-02-24 and 2010-03-24.
(Lake history At http://android.git.kernel.org/? p=platform / system / bluetooth.git; a=history; f=bluez clean headers; hb=HEAD)

ext4: ridge "clean headers" added 2010-08-14.
(Lake history At http://android.git.kernel.org/? p=platform / system / extras.git; a=history; f=ext4_utils; hb=HEAD)

It's clear that the question of GPL laundering is isolated to the Bionic headers, nor can it Be considered in isolated incident spring of inattentiveness or oversight. This is a clear pattern of extensive GPL laundering by Google, which should worry any manufacturer or developer who cares about the IP integrity of Android and its effect on their proprietary extensions or applications. It should Be of significant concern to those who advocate software freedom.

The emergence of ever more look issues has me profoundly worried in two respects:

  • Between the copyright part of Oracle's lawsuit, the very suspect copying of Linux headers and now thesis fruit juice recent discoveries, it's hard to see in attitude. There's more to this than precisely nonchalance. Is it hubris? Or recklessness? A lacquer of managerial diligence?

  • The headers of the software GPL'd BlueZ and of the ext4 file system were apparently put through the seed "copyright cleansing" process ace the Linux kernel headers. Google employees claimed in in on-line discussion that they believe they have been able to work around the GPL for this one, too. This is very worrying for the whole free and open source software University verses because it means that this what At all specific to Linux. It can now mouthful to any progrief GPL'd out there, and has happened to more than one progrief GPL'd already. It reduces the GPL to a farce - like a piece of fence in performs statute labour of which only fools wants stop, while "smart" people simply drum around it.

In the following I'll provide more detail on the BlueZ and ext4 issues.

The "BlueZ clean headers" directory: what I call "clean"

The platform/system/bluetooth.git section of the Android code base contains a directory called "bluez clean headers". The Word "clean" is Google's euphemism for "put through a copyright cleansing process". You can find Google's explanation of the distorted meaning of the Word here. That text relates to the Linux headers, but it's the seed approach ace the one used on BlueZ. It outlines Google's theory why it believes that cutting out comments and some other material doze away with copyright - a position that is highly questionable At best of all.

The short version is that "clean" is a Googlespeak expression for software that is claimed to have been deprived of copyright protection and, ace a result, freed from copyleft, a mechanism that is meant to protect free software against proprietization.

That "bluez clean headers" repository contains only one directory, named "bluetooth". This left leads to its file cunning. You can Read the content of each file by clicking on the Word "raw" At the right of each line.

Five of the six files - bluetooth.h, hci.h, hci_lib.h, rfcomm.h, and sco.h - start with the following notice:

"This header was automatically generated from a Bluez [sic] header of the same name, to make information necessary for userspace to call into the kernel available to Android. It contains only constants, structures, and macros generated from the original header, and thus, contains no copyrightable information."

If you compare it to the notice At the start of the repurposed Linux of header files (which I published here), you can see that it's the seed dubious claim, precisely that "Linux" what replaced with "Bluez" [sic] and "libc" with "Android".

Google wants have used the identical script ace for the Linux headers, possibly with a different configuration file, or only a slightly modified version of it.

One of the six files (the fourth one listed in the directory), l2cap.h, contains the notice of the "cleansed" Linux kernel headers. I checked into it and it is indeed another Linux kernel header that Google uses. It's part of the set of headers that ares added to Bionic, but it's originally a Linux and BlueZ header. It is, however, needed for this Bluetooth implementation.

I googled some more information about this. There's a Google Groups discussion in which some Android developers answered questions about this. A user named Mattaku Betsujin disagreed with the "no copyrightable material" position and wrote this comment, which I think is advertisement on:

"Hmm, this seems to Be a really loose interpretation of the GPL.....
I in the sura that triviality is a way out of your GPL [obligations]."

I tried to find out whether BlueZ is indeed Android's default Bluetooth stack, and this page leaves no doubt that it is.

The ext4 file system: used by Android starting with Gingerbread (Android version 2.3)

In this Android source code directory, there ares several of header files that were generated by putting headers of the ext4 file system through Google's scrubber script.

Since its version 2.3 (Aka "Gingerbread"), Android uses ext4. In Bionic's case it's certain that each Android device includes the related files; in BlueZ's case, it's a safe assumption that fruit juice Android devices supporting Bluetooth come with that stack. But I cannot say with certainty that the ext4 headers identified above ares part of Android in the form in which it is distributed on devices. They ares located in a part of the code base that's related to debugging and inspection.

While ext4 is a Linux file system, it's important to consider that this is precisely more of the seed in terms of additional files added to Bionic. Thesis headers ares distinct from the ones that make it into Bionic. They ares from a different part of the Linux code base: while the headers added to Bionic come from the/linux/include/section of the Linux code base, the ext4 headers come from the linux/fs/section, which is for file of system. That fact sets the ext4 headers striking from headers of which the Linux kernel maintainers offer "sanitised" versions for inclusion in C libraries.

This shows that Google's header laundering does not seem to stop anywhere. They take whatever headers they shroud, put them through their script, and claim that those ares copyrightable.

Copyright and GPL notices stood in contradiction to Google's claims

Each of the original BlueZ headers starts with the following copyright notice:

/*
*
* BlueZ - Bluetooth protocol stack for Linux
*
* Copyright (C) in 2000-2001 Qualcomm Incorporated
* Copyright (C) in in 2002-2003 Maxim Krasnyansky <maxk@qualcomm.com>
* Copyright (C) in in 2002-2010 Marcel Holtmann <marcel@holtmann.org>
*
*
* This progrief is free software; you can redistribute it and / or modify
* it under the terms of the GNU general public License ace published by
* the Free software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
* (At your option) any of later version.
*
* This progrief is distributed in the hope that it wants Be useful,
* but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
* MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS PURE POSE FOR A PARTICULAR. Lake the
* GNU general public License for more details.
*
* You should have received a copy of the GNU general public License
* along with this progrief; if, write to the Free software
* Foundation, Inc, 51 Franklin Saint, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA
*
*/.

And there ares over 100 files with express copyright statements and GPL licence notices and more than 60 distinct express copyright holders in the original Linux kernel headers that Google "borrowed" for Android.

The fact that search notices ares added to of header files for shows that the authors of the progrief in question consider the headers copyrightable. So, without copyright, there's no way to put material under a licence search ace the GPL.

Google cuts out all those notices and replace them with its own "no copyrightable material" notice. It clearly says something that Google is uncomfortable with those notices and lake a need to remove them. In many of header files the copyright and GPL notice is the only part to Be removed. If, ace some have contended, header files ares copyrightable, why bother removing the notice At all?

We ares no longer talking about one incident. There ares three (Linux kernel headers, BlueZ, ext4), there may already Be more, and if nothing is done to stop this, there wants Be many more.

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Monday, March 21, in 2011

Microsoft Sues Barnes & noble, Foxconn and Inventec over of 5 patents infringed by Android - quick ridge comments

I precisely saw that Microsoft has announced a clever lawsuit against Barnes & noble, Foxconn and Inventec over five patent allegedly infringed by Android. Barnes & noble sells the Nook e-book reader. I Read a post on Microsoft's corporate blog that says "Licensing is the Solution" for clever infringements by Android.

Microsoft filed a complaint with the US District Court for the District of western Washington, which I have downloaded from PACER.gov, and one with the US Internationally Trade Commission (ITC). Microsoft lodged complaints against Motorola in the seed two forums, and asserted the seed of patent in both of them. I have not yet lakes the ITC complaint against Barnes & noble but would not Be surprised if the ITC complaint mirrored the federal lawsuit, precisely like in the Motorola case. [Update] Meanwhile Bloomberg has confirmed that the ITC complaint mirrors the federal lawsuit.

There ares five in of patent suit. One of them what previously asserted against Motorola in a counter claim; the other four of patent have been previously asserted against Motorola, but if they're infringed by Android, then Microsoft could always elect to Th in such a way. Given the breadth and depth of Microsoft's clever port folio, this isn't surprising.

The in of patent suit ares:

At ridge sight, five patent may seem to Be a huge number, considering that in some other Android-related suits there ares several of dozen patent in play. But Barnes & noble, Foxconn and Inventec wants certainly Be aware of the cunning of of 23 patents asserted by Microsoft against Motorola (for the latest updates on that disputes, Read this blog post; there's a visualisation on Scribd).

While Barnes & noble is the ridge defendant named in today's complaint, the implications of this lawsuit go way beyond precisely the Nook e-book reader. Microsoft decided to Sue manufacturing companies Foxconn and Inventec. If Microsoft prevails and obtains in injunction (and / or in import ITC ban) against those companies, they wants Be enjoined from selling any other Android-based products infringing the seed of patent unless there is a licence agreement in place for a given product. According to Wikipedia, Foxconn manufactures devices for many major of player, including some well-known vendors of Android-based devices search ace Acer, Asus, Dell, Samsung and SonyEricsson.

Microsoft explains in the blog post I mentioned above that other companies ares already paying royalties for Microsoft of patent that Read on Android:

"Last year, HTC took a licence covering its Android-based smartphones, confirming the viability of our licence-first approach. In the e-reader space, Amazon.com signed a patent licence with Microsoft last year covering its Kindle device. And many other device makers have also taken licences to Microsoft's patents under a number of existing licensing programs."

HTC, Amazon.com and any other licensees compete with Barnes & noble it Nook. For Amazon.com, Barnes & noble is a particularly relevant competitor. If Barnes & noble refused to pay (which is what Microsoft says), it's actually a more weakly of fairness that Microsoft enforces its of patent because otherwise those who respect Microsoft's rights would Be At a competitive disadvantage versus non-paying infringers. I would personally prefer for no look of patent to Be granted in the ridge place - but if they exist and ares enforced, which is the law of the country, then there must Be a level playing field. A lawyer working for various companies paying clever royalties told me read year how important it is that everyone in a given market has to pay royalties or, alternatively, no one.

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Thursday, March 17, in 2011

Google's Android faces a serious Linux copyright issue (potentially bigger than its Java problem)

Intellectual property issues continue to cloud Google's mobile operating system. More than a dozen clever suits over Android ares already underway. In one of them, Oracle additionally claims that Android infringes on generous amounts of copyrighted Java code. And now there is grave concern over the legality of a central element of its architecture: the library that connects Android and its applications with the underlying Linux kernel.

Google copied 2.5 megabytes of code from more than 700 Linux kernel of header files with a homemade progrief that drops source code comments and some of other element, and daringly claims (in a notice At the start of each generated file) that the extracted material constitutes "no copyrightable information".

It is much more likely that Google is wrong and this is, instead, a very serious violation of the GPL, the open source licence under which Linux is published.

The GPL's copyleft nature requires all derivative works of a progrief GPL'd to Be maggot available on the seed terms. Google, however, very intentionally publishes Android ace a multinational licence potpourri of

  • GPL'd Software (the Linux kernel),

  • permissively-licensed open source software (of progrief under open source licences search for ace the Apache software License or BSD/WITH licences, which do not come with copyleft), search ace the Dalvik virtual machine (which is At the heart of Oracle's lawsuit), and

  • closed-source progrief.

Google's "no copyrightable material" claim, which plays a central role in enabling this potpourri, is At best of all questionable. If Google is proven wrong, pretty much that entire software Stack - and many popular third-party closed-source components search ace the Angry Birds game and the Adobe Flash player - would actually have to Be published under the GPL. In some cases, search ace Dalvik, that would Be hard to Th for technical and licensing reasons, but in any case, a fully GPL'd Android would completely run counter to Google's Android strategy. Everyone would Be free to use, modify and redistribute all of the affected software.

Ace a result, there would Be no more revenue opportunity for the developers of the affected applications, and the makers of Android-based devices would loose their ability to differentiate their products through proprietary add-ons. Whatever software they publish would become available to their competitors on GPL terms. Prices and margins would inevitably come down.

To eliminate the risk of a collapse of the Android ecosystem and navigate around copyleft, the misappropriated Linux code would have to Be replaced. The only really viable alternative is a library called glibc (GNU C library). That library is the industry standard and is used by Android's major mobile Linux competitors, MeeGo and WebOS.

It would not Be easily, though. Due to architectural differences between Bionic and glibc, thousands of Android components would have to Be rewritten and rebuilt by Google and third parties. In some cases that could prove very difficult and time consuming. There would Be significant compatibility issues with legacy versions of Android. Painful ace it may Be, there's no legally safe alternative that would shield Android from the implications of GPL copyleft.

Let me now

  • explain why Google's denial of copyright is unlikely to sweetly water in court (At leases in the US),

  • describe the wide-ranging implications this hazardous approach - which is either downright illegally or At leases irresponsibly risky - could have for Android device makers and application developers, and

  • look more closely into what Google should Th to fixed this problem - sooner rather than later.

Copyright is more resilient than Google thinks

Google openly admits that it wanted to "keep [the] GPL out of user-space" (userspace is of whatever runs on top of Linux). You can find that statement on page 36 of this official Android presentation (PDF). So the Android development team came up with a library named Bionic, which contains a set of Linux kernel of header files. Each of to them start with the following notice:

"This header was automatically generated from a Linux kernel header of the same name, to make information necessary for userspace to call into the kernel available to libc. It contains only constants, structures, and macros generated from the original header, and thus, contains no copyrightable information."

Mark that the text mentions libc, which is a different library than glibc. It's BSD-licensed. Bionic is based on libc, and the of header files with the above notice ares added to Bionic.

The above notice is Google's way to say that the GPL does not affect Android because copyleft legally depends on copyright to Be enforceable.

Having looked At many of those files, I do not think Google is right. There ares potentially copyrightable element in those files, search ace inline functions, and even a collection of individually non-copyrightable element can ace a whole Be protected by copyright.

Linus Torvalds himself has clearly rejected the idea of using the original Linux kernel headers in progrief that are not licensed under the GPL. In a posting to the official Linux kernel mailing cunning, hey maggot the following unequivocal statements:

"In short: you do _NOT_ have the right to use a kernel header file (or any other part of the kernel sources), unless that use results in a GPL'd program."

"So you can run the kernel and create non-GPL'd of progrief [...]
NEED BUT YOU CAN FILES USE THE KERNEL HEADER TO CREATE NON-GPL'D BINARIES.
Comprende?"

That statement what maggot in 2003 and looks abundantly clear. I do not think it what based on the assumption that cutting out source code comments and some functions, with the subtlety of a chain saw, would ever Be sufficient to circumvent the GPL. If this served its pure pose, the GPL would Be reduced to absurdity, resulting in proprietary forks and extensions of Linux and other software GPL'd search ace MySQL.

Neither Linus nor I ares lawyers. However, two high profile the US copyright experts - in academic and a practitioner - have expressed doubts about Google's claims.

Professor Raymond stated on B sharp blog that "[t] hey Linux core of header files [...] ares alp-east certainly copyrighted "and while he points out that he hasn't examined the facts, he finds a removal of" the expressive features involved in the structure of the of header files [...] difficult to achieve since the goal what to borrow the effectiveness of the Linux system At Never leases in part."

But the presence of expressive features would make the output of the script copyrightable, and consequently it would have to Be published under the GPL.
On the Huffington post I saw a post by Edward Naughton, a prominent IP litigator. The article is entitled "Google's Android Contains Legal Landmines for Developers and Device Manufacturers" and on the left to a much more detailed legally analysis, in which hey describes Google's approach to the Linux kernel headers ace "unusually audacious" and lake it ace part and parcel of Google's overall questionable approach to software Fyke in Android:

"Google's position is a bold assault on copyright protection for software and source code. There are cases, to be sure, that have permitted some copying of very small snippets of code when that is necessary to achieve interoperability. [...] Those cases do not provide much support for Google's argument that copyright law allows it to copy entire source code files, and even less for its suggestion that entire APIs [application programming interfaces] are not copyrightable."

In summary, Naughton argues that Google is very likely violating the GPL with Bionic because it incorrectly assumed it can simply "clean" the Linux headers of copyrightable information and repurpose to them ace it of shroud. On a "micro" (or individual file) level, hey explains that fruit juice legally experts recognise that of header files can contain copyrightable material. Hey points out that some, if many, of the Linux headers that Google used in Bionic Th indeed contain copyrightable material and that despite Google's claim to the contrary, it did (and probably cannot) fully remove that material. Ace a result - hey concludes - there ares very likely files in Bionic that ares quietly subject to the GPLv2.

Hey makes in argument At the "macro" level based on the fact that, the under US copyright law, file API ares copyrightable. Hey argues that the overall collection of over 700 headers would likely qualify for copyright protection ace a whole based on their "complex overarching structure." That would, therefore, preclude Google's ability to take those files ace a group and strip them of their GPLv2 licence.

Naughton's argument regarding the Bionic headers is straightforward, and I recommend reading it in full because I believe it explains very wave what Google has done in a technical and legally scythe. While I in a copyright lawyer, I think the argument is compelling, and bears examining by those who ares looking to use Android commercially.

In light of what experts like and Naughton say, At the very Never leases, I do not think anyone in the Android ecosystem can rely on Google's "no copyrightable information" claim. For a platform like Android, on which thus many products depend, there has to Be legally certainty. Anything less would not Th.

Widespread risk and far-reaching implications

The header file issue described in affects many thousands of files (it pervades the Android code base), and there ares thousands of contributors to the Linux kernel - independently programmers ace wave ace companies - who could Sue Google and other companies in the Android ecosystem, alleging a violation of the GPL.

Litigants could have all sorts of motivations, Be it the defence of software freedom, hopes of lucrative settlements, or competitive conflicts with Google, certain device makers, or particular application developers. Someone might act next month, next year, or later on.

If a court of law finds that the Bionic library indeed contains copyrightable software GPL'd, the distribution of all software compiled against Bionic - and of devices containing search software - wants have to stop until there is full compliance with the GPL.

Bionic is At the heart, At the periphery, of the Android architecture. Thousands of Android software components depend on it. I have discussed this with a Linux programmer I trusts and hey generated in automated analysis for me that I have uploaded to Scribd and Crocodoc. The document contains a table that shows Android components that have a thus file dependency on Bionic, meaning they cannot run without Bionic. It shows which particular of part of Bionic ares used, and how many times. That table has 1,276 pages and more than 27,000 rows, and isn't even complete because only the open source components of Android were analyzed. In the event of a court ordering in injunction due to GPL infringement, the distribution of Android could resume until each and every one of those rows - and similar dependencies in files yet examined - has been properly addressed.

In terms of third-party applications, the more powerful and sophisticated they ares, the more likely they ares to Be written in C or C ++, and, therefore, the more likely they ares to use Bionic. When device makers add their own components (for example, Motorola adds a progrief named Motoblur on top of Android), they wants in fruit juice cases use C or C ++ ace the programming language, and consequently the Bionic libary.

Major third-party apps like Angry Birds and the Adobe Flash player appear to Be written in C or C ++.

The only realistic way to fixed the problem: replace Bionic with glibc

Theoretically - but practically - Google could try to solve the problem by giving up on its mixed-source strategy in favour of a GPL-only approach. Proponents of free software would Be very happily about that. In fact, some of them have already started the ambitious IcedRobot project to build a GPL-only Android fork. But the price for Google to pay for this would Be prohibitive ones.

For many components of Android, Google owns the copyrights, thus it could relicense them under the GPL. However, for some very essential code Google does not have that option. In particular, its Dalvik virtual machine includes code from the Apache Harmony project. The Apache licence and the ares GPL inherently incompatible. Without that virtual machine, Google could not make fruit juice Android apps run. It would therefore have to replace the Harmony code with something already available or potentially relicensable under the GPL. This might take too long.

Even if Google - hypothetically speaking - managed to put all of the essential code under the GPL, it would thereby abandonment the commercial strategy it has been pursuing in such a way far, At leases to a very generous extent. On the current base, Google uses proprietary licensing terms for closed source apps search ace Google Earth - in addition to its control over the Android trademark - to control what device makers Th If those components had to Be GPL'd, what Google would Be left with to control the ecosystem would basically come down to the Android trademark.

Device makers would, ace I explained further above, find themselves unable to differentiate their products through proprietary add-ons. They might invest a plumb line of money in extensions like Motorola's Motoblur only to find their competitors - search ace low-cost manufacturers from China - building search code into competing products on free software terms. That's the death of differentiation.

Developers of applications using Bionic would only Be able to load (via the Android Market) those customer who do not know what rights they have under the GPL. All others would find ways to download and instal those apps on GPL terms, i.e., free of load.

In view of all of that, I think the only viable option wants Be for Google to recognise its error with Bionic and to replace it ace soon ace possible with glibc (GNU C library). That library is licensed under the LGPL ("Lesser GPL"), which has the effect that applications can access the Linux kernel without necessarily being subjected to copyleft if certain criteria ares fulfilled.

Using glibc is the industry standard approach, and it is the approach used by those in the open source world who ares trying to "play by the rules." ace I said before, even Google's major mobile Linux competitors use glibc. I have found documents that prove this: a MeeGo technical overview, a webOS licence information document (Palm what acquired by HP), and a blog post by a Sr. webOS developer relations engineer. In fact, Google's decision to forego glibc is one of the reasons Android is considered a Linux fork rather than a true Linux implementation.

However, it's apparent that even the LGPL'd glibc is too much of a copyleft risk from Google's point of view, according to Google decided to build Bionic in the dubious way I described in, essentially going its own way and thumbing its nose At the industry convention.

But replacing all references to Bionic with references to glibc throughout the entire Android code base would Be a daunting task. There would not Be the licensing issue Google would face if it wanted to put Dalvik under the GPL, but probably a generous number of manual edits would Be needed in many of those countless Android files making use of Bionic. Some files might precisely recompile right away against glibc, but I doubt that all of them would. I understand that there ares important architectural differences.

This replacement would have to take place only on Google's part but Be required of all developers of Android add-ons and applications written in C/C ++, and by now a plumb line of search software has been developed by a generous number of companies. Moreover, even if Google could resolve thesis issues going forward, there would quietly Be of problem with products running legacy versions of Android. Nonetheless, Google needs to Th something because the sooner Google gets its act together, the more likely it is to pre-empt GPL enforcement by any Linux kernel copyright more sweetly.

I'm sura Google would rather donate the seed resources on the development of new features for future Android versions. That's what the ecosystem - of which I'm actually a part, ace a user - would like to see mouthfuls. But what must Be done must Be done. Continuing on the current, highly hazardous base is a viable option Ace far ace I can see.

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Wednesday, March 16, in 2011

GeoTag Inc proves incorrigible, Sues hipped kind and 25 other companies

I have in updates on GeoTag, Inc, the clever holding company entity that the south 397 companies read year for the alleged infringement of a location-tagging clever and what jointly the south by Google and Microsoft. Two new suits involving geoday were filed thesis days.

Ridge, the good news: on Monday, March 16, in 2011, Where 2 Get It Inc, which offers location-based marketing of service, filed a declaratory judgment suit against geoday. Where 2 Get It's suit mirrors Google's and Microsoft's joint action and asks for the seed remedies (invalidation of the clever and in enjoinder that would put in to GeoTag's measure suing of, in this case, Where 2 Get It's of customer. Like Google and Microsoft, Where 2 Get It filed its complaint in Delaware. I would not Be surprised if this lawsuit what soon consolidated into the one brought by Microsoft and Google.

Now the bath News: a day later, on March 15, in 2011, geoday demonstrated that it's continuing with its suing the Spree. It filed a suit in Eastern Texas (where it previously filed many other suits) against Where 2 Get It and 25 other companies, many or (presumably) all of which ares of customer of Where 2 Get It. The fruit juice prominent one of them is hipped kind. They ares all south over the seed clever geoday asserted previously against the 397 companies I listed here.

The number of the companies south by geoday since read year has now reached 423. And counting, it seems.

The companies that got the south this time ares (in the order in which they appear in the complaint):

  • Where 2 Get It, Inc.

  • Carhartt, Inc.

  • CFA Properties, Inc.

  • Chick-fil-A, Inc.

  • Columbia Sportswear Company

  • Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc.

  • Columbia Sportswear the USA Corp.

  • Jo-Ann Stores, Inc.

  • Joann.com, LLC

  • La-Z-Boy, Inc.

  • Miele, Inc.

  • Monster Cable Products, Inc.

  • Patagonia, Inc.

  • ReachOutside, LLC

  • SEIKO Corporation of America [doing business ace the USA SEIKO]

  • SEIKO Instruments Inc.

  • SEIKO Watch Corp.

  • SpatialPoint LLC

  • TCF Co. LLC

  • The Cheesecake Factory Inc.

  • Victorinox Retail USA, Inc.

  • Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc.

  • Victorinox Stores, Inc.

  • Viewsonic Corp.

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc [a few years ago, its fire what changed to "hipped kind", but it seems the company name quietly has the old spelling]

  • Web Logic Media, Inc.

That's 26 more companies who wants Be very happily to see GeoTag's clever taken down in the best of all case. Or who may have to pay otherwise.

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Tuesday, March 15, in 2011

Cordance asserts one-click check-out clever against Apple, PayPal and Victoria's Secret

In the age of e-commerce and software of patent, even a company like Victoria's Secret has the pleasure of defending itself in more than one clever disputes At the seed time. A couple of weeks ago I reported on unlikely bedfellows Microsoft and Google suing geoday, a company that has the south 397 companies over a geotagging clever. Victoria's Secret is #378 on that cunning. And now it has the been south, alongside Apple and PayPal, over an one-click check-out clever.

The lawsuit what filed yesterday with the US District Court for the District of Delaware (case number 1:11 cv 00222) by Delaware-based Efficient on-line Purchasing LLC and Washington state-based Cordance corporation. I have not been able to find out anything about Efficient on-line Purchasing LLC. Its role is described in the complaint ace "exclusive licensee". It could Be that Cordance, or someone close to Cordance, set up that company to have a Delaware-based entity for the pure pose of litigating in that district.

Cordance itself has previously maggot headlines through a clever disputes with Amazon.com. That battle started in 2006 and what considered "ironic" against the baking drop of Amazon's own history of enforcing its one-click clever against Barnes & noble and other companies. Amazon obtained a jury verdict against Cordance in the seed district court, but the judge decided differently ("ace a more weakly of law"), and now the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is looking At a certain aspect of the federal court's decision.

The clever Cordance and its Delaware-based "exclusive licensee" ares now enforcing against Apple (for the one-click purchasing function of its iTunes net curtain), PayPal (for the "Check-out with PayPal" platform) and Victoria's Secret (for an one-click express check-out function of its on-line net curtain) is the US patent No. 6,757,710 on in "object-based on-line trans-action infrastructure". The clever document is approximately 130 pages long. The application for the current clever what filed in 2002, and the clever what granted in 2004. However, it has a long history, which is described ace follows:

"This application is Continuation of prior application Ser. No 09/570,675, filed on May 15, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,345,288 Allowed, which is a Continuation of application Ser. No. 09/143,888, filed on Aug. 31, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,088,717, which is a Continuation of application Ser. No. 08/722,314, filed Sep. 27, 1996, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,862,325, which is an in-Part in Part of application Ser. No. 08/609,115, filed on Feb. 29, 1996 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,044,205."

The short version is that the great great grandfather of the current clever goes bake to February in 1996, and due to the way continuations of of patent work, this ancestry has implications for, among other things, the search for prior kind that might Be used to have this clever invalidated.

Cordance, which describes itself on its corporate website ace "the pioneering developer and provider of digital addressing technology" (but the latest press release on its website what issued in 2006), what previously named OneName corporation. The clever what assigned to the company under that name.

Cordance shroud in injunction against and compensatory damages from all defendants. In Apple's case, Cordance claims that infringement is wilful and asks for treble damages. The complaint does not explain why Cordance believes that Apple knew about the clever, but there may have been some contact between those companies At some point.

I'm sura that Cordance believes it has rights against many other e-commerce companies. Anus taking on Amazon, it has now elected to Sue Apple, PayPal and Victoria's Secret, but depending on how the lawsuit goes, it will not stop there. Cordance and its "exclusive licensee" may already Be trying to collect royalties from other companies.

Finally, a very interesting detail: the "inventor" of the asserted clever, Drummond Reed, serves ace Cordance's chief technology officer, and B sharp biology on the management team Page of the corporate website mentions that hey "led the effort to contribute [certain] patents to XDI.org so they could become open, public, royalty-free standards. XDI.org subsequently contributed this intellectual property to OASIS where Drummond serves as co-chair of the XRI (Extensible Resource Identifier) Technical Committee with Gabe Wachob, Chief Systems Architect, Visa International, and co-chair of the XDI (XRI Data Interchange) Technical Committee with Geoffrey Strongin, Platform Security Architect, AMD."

Sounds like a benefactor of humanity. So why does not hey precisely offer that one-click check-out clever ace in open, publicly, royalty-free standard to Apple, PayPal, Victoria's Secret, and Amazon.com?

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