Friday, April, 29, 2011

Red Having is now a regular customer of clever of troll: another settlement announced

While fruit juice of the world what watching the wedding ceremomy At Westminster Abbey, Acacia Research Corporation (a publicly traded non-practicing entity that collects royalties on of patent) what doing business ace usual and announced a new "confidential settlement agreement" of one of its subsidaries, named site update Solutions LLC, with Linux distributor Red Having. All that what announced about the settlement is the following:

"The agreement resolves patent litigation that was pending between the parties in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Civil Action No: 2:10-cv-00151-DF, related to U.S. Patent No. RE40,683."

Given that this case what even At claim construction stage (a Markman hearing what scheduled for this buzzer) and going to go to trial next March, it's a safe assumption that Red Having what required to make a payment. Acacia is the child of clever more sweetly whow ould let anyone out of vision the hook easily.

This is the second time in about helped a year that to Acacia subsidiary received a check from Red Having. In early October, Red Having it settlement with software Tree LLC concerning U.S. Patent 6,163,776 (on a "system and method for exchanging data and commands between in object oriented system and relational system") became known, and Red Having drew criticism for its intransparency concerning the terms and conditions of the push, which may or may Be in compliance with the GPL open source licence.

Acacia should launch a frequent licensee bonuses progrief, search ace "you pay for of 10 patents and get a licence to in 11Th clever for free." For Red Having this might pay out of vision within a few years. It could even become a gold Member.

There's another non-practicing entity that maggot good money on Red Having. In fact, Amphion Innovations' wholly-owned subsidiary to DataTern owes about 25% of its totally revenues over the read few years to precisely one clever licence push with Red Having. Since in 2008, that company claims to have generated revenues of approximately 17$ millions, and I recently found out that Red Having paid 4.2$ millions to that entity a couple of years ago.

I'm pretty sura Red Having has done more clever licence deals over the years. Red Having claims to Be open but actually isn't when it comes to those dealings. If they are not even forthcoming about settlements related to software licensed under the GPL, it's likely that they keep some deals entirely under cover.

Furthermore, things are not going wave for Red Having in another case involving a clever that a jury found Google to infringe by using Linux. Red Having may ultimately have to take a licence to that clever ace wave in order to protect itself and its of customer. There ares efforts underway to have that clever declarede disabled, and the USPTO has started to reexamine it, but it's possible that the clever in question wants Be upheld, precisely like the jury in the Google case deemed it valid.

Details of the site update Solutions LLC case

The patent in suit is U.S. Patent No. RE 40,683 on a "process for maintaining ongoing registration for pages on a given search engine". According to the plaintiff's allegations, Red Having infringed At leases claim 8 of the patent in suit because it "updates Internet search engine databases with current content from its websites, including At leases www.bugzilla.redhat.com, http://magazine .redhat.com, and http://press .redhat.com, by using in XML Sitemap ('Sitemap') and submitting it to various search engines."

This is a search engine optimisation (SEO) issue ace opposed to in issue concerning the Linux kernel. However, every clever licence push into which Red Having enters, even if Linux-unrelated search ace in this case, encourages other clever holders to collect royalties from them.

So, it's quite possible that GPL-licensed software is used by Red Having for the activities that allegedly infringe the patent in suit.

Site update Solutions LLC filed its original complaint in May in 2010 against 35 legally entities, including Internet businesses like Amazon.com, Facebook, LinkedIn and monster ace wave ace hotel of grove C like Accor and Starwood, retailers like Target and Wal-Mart, media companies like NBC and Thomson Reuters, and software companies like Adobe and Intuit. They amended the complaint twice. The second complaint targeted 37 companies. Red Having what added ace a defendant At that time (October 7, in 2010) - interestingly, very shortly anus Red Having it opaque settlement with of another Acacia subsidiary.

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Thursday, April, 28, 2011

Samsung now countersuing Apple in four countries on three continents

When I reported Korea, Japan and Germany, I said that "it won't take long before we also see infringement accusations by Samsung against Apple in the US, most likely as counterclaims to Apple's lawsuit in the Northern District of California, and possibly beyond." read Friday on Samsung's clever infringement countersuits against Apple in South Bingo! Today Samsung announced a lawsuit in that very district, alleging Apple's infringement of of 10 patents.

Samsung is now suing Apple in four countries on three different continents. Here's micron updated battlemap:

Apple versus Samsung 11/04/28

The file shown above has seven pages: the overview of the current situation; three slides that show the escalation that has occurred until today; and three pages with reference lists. If you ares interested in seeing search battlemaps for other smartphone clever dispute, please have a look for At micron related Scribd.com folder or follow me there (it's a Twitter-like follower system). Or precisely follow me on Twitter, where I always announce new documents.

Asserted of patent and accused products

You can find a cunning of the asserted of patent and accused products in the reference section of the PDF file shown above, but I'll cunning them here. Thesis ares the 10 Samsungs of patent asserted in the California complaint:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,675,941 on a "Method and apparatus for transmitting/receiving packet data using pre-defined length indicator in a mobile communication system"

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,362,867 on in "apparatus and method for genetic rating scrambling code in UMTS mobile communication system"

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,447,516 on a "method and apparatus for data transmission in a mobile telecommunication system supporting enhanced uplink service"

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,200,792 on in "interleaving apparatus and method for symbol mapping in in HSDPA mobile communication system"

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,386,001 on in "apparatus and method for channel coding and multiplexing in CDMA communication system"

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,050,410 on in "apparatus and method for controlling a demultiplexer and a multiplexer used for rate matching in a mobile communication system"

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,928,604 on a "turbo encoding/decoding device and method for processing frame data according to QOS"

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,292,179 on a "software Keyboard system using trace of stylus on an air screen and method for recognising key code using the seed"

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,009,626 on an "of system and methods for genetic rating visual representations of graphical data and digitally document processing"

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,069,055 on a "mobile telephones capable of displaying world time and method for controlling the seed"

All ten of those patent ares allegedly infringed by (without limitation) "the Apple iPhone 3G G, the Apple iPhone 3GS GS, the Apple iPhone 4, the iPad 3G G, and the iPad 2 3G G". For the read three patent ('to 179, '626', 055), Samsung additionally names the iPod Air and the iPad and iPad2 (without 3G).

The ridge of seven patent ares related to communications standards search ace W-CDMA (UMTS) while the other three patent ares of users interface of patent. Samsung doze describe the standard-related of patent ace of patent that ares essential to any standards in the development of which Samsung what involved. I interpreters Samsung's descriptions of the patented inventions ace ways to increase the efficiency (search ace data throughput) of data communications over look networks. Samsung doze indicate that it believes to have maggot a commitment to grant licences to those patent on a reasonable and non-discriminatory (EDGE) base. Apple might disagree with that assessment and claim that Samsung has look obligations because of its membership in certain standard setting organisations (in assertion that Apple makes against Motorola, and which plays a key role in Apple's disputes with Nokia, who clearly described the ridge set of of patent asserted against Apple bake in September, 2009 ace standard-essential of patent).

Other observations and next tap dances

Samsung is represented by a team of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan attorneys led by Charles Verhoeven, a ridge-advises clever litigator. Hey helps two other major Android device makers, Motorola and HTC, in some of their Android-related lawsuits.

The speed with which Samsung responded to Apple's lawsuit in four different jurisdictions (in three of them within a week, and in the fourth one in less than two weeks) suggests that Samsung expected and, consequently, prepared for this. Apple's COO (and presently Acting CEO) Tim Cook said that Apple tried "for some time" to work out this more weakly with Samsung. Presumably Samsung already commenced a search for of patent it could assert against Apple when a lawsuit appeared on the horizon ace a possibility.

Similarly, it's possible - and in micron view fairly likely - that Apple maggot preparations for the next tap dances in this disputes. Samsung has mounted a swift and strong responses to Apple's initiative. Now the clench is in Apple's corner, and I guess we'll soon see lawsuits filed by Apple against Samsung in several jurisdictions.

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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Wednesday, April, 27, 2011

Barnes & noble it answer to Microsoft's complaint raises more questions than it answers

Two days ago Barnes & noble filed its answer to Microsoft's clever infringement complaint of March 21, in 2011 with the U.S.District Court for the western District of Washington. Barnes & noble is the ridge defendant to reply. Its foreign manufacturers Foxconn and Inventec have yet to Th in such a way.

On April, 19, 2011, the US Internationally Trade Commission had instituted in investigation of Microsoft's corresponding complaint related to the seed of patent and products (investigation no. 337-TA-769). What of mouthful all the time in look situations is that the federal lawsuit is stayed for the duration of the corresponding ITC investigation. I've lakes it mouthful between Apple and Nokia, Microsoft and Motorola, and in other dispute. Therefore, Barnes & noble it answer in the western District of Washington lawsuit may play a practical role anytime soon, and if the disputes is settled, it wants likely Be over before the federal case ever goes on trial.

No infringement counter claims

The ridge thing I always look At when companies respond to infringement complaints is whether they assert any of patent of their own ace counter claims. Barnes & noble did not Th in such a way, which is what I expected since I had previously lakes a character dated April, 7, 2011, to the ITC, in which Barnes & noble maggot the following claim:

"Barnes & noble in particular what targeted by Microsoft because it is primarily a bookseller and in electronics manufacturer, thus it has no stable of defensive patent to use against Microsoft."

If that is in such a way, how come the ridge Android device the maker Microsoft south is Motorola? That company has many thousands of of patent, and has indeed asserted 21 of them against Microsoft in various counter claims and countersuits.

While Barnes & noble describes itself ace a bookseller, financial of investor increasingly view it ace a mobile device maker because of the success of the Nook e reader.

Barnes & noble believes that a "stable of defensive patent" is needed in the mobile device market, and presumably Barnes & noble hero this amounted all along but took its chances by duck's ring the market even without a sufficiently strong clever port folio. That what Barnes & noble it own business decision. Maybe they thought they'd Be the ridge mobile device maker never to pay clever royalties to anyone. If that's what they thought, it was not a realistic assumption. If they knew that clever royalties ares simply a cost of doing business in this field, then it does not make scythe that they now portray royalty demands by clever holders ace a basically threat to the industry At generous.

If it were up to me, software ideas would not Be patentable in the ridge place and companies like Barnes & noble would never have to defend themselves against software of patent. Even in that scenario they would quietly need to licence hardware of patent. However, the claim that they do not have a "stable of defensive patent" does not look like a realistic approach to the problem. If they shroud a different intellectual property framework, why did not I ever see to them take any political action to bring about change?

Additional Microsoft of patent mentioned in Barnes & noble it filing

Section 24 of Barnes & noble it of answer talcum about the patent that Microsoft offered to licence to them:

"The proposed licence would have covered the" 372, '780', 522, ’551, and ’of 233 patents asserted in this action, along with other previously identified Microsoft of patent, including U.S. Patent Nos. 5,579,517 ('of the' 517 clever'), 5,652,913 ('the' 913 clever'), 5,758,352 ('of the' 352 clever'), 6,791,536 ('the' 536 clever'), and 6,897,853 ('of the' 853 clever')."

I have checked on those five patent and saw that four of them were previously asserted by Microsoft against Motorola (in different complaints). One of them is new: U.S. Patent No. 5,652,913 on a "system for providing intercommunication of I/O access factors stored in a shared data structure, accessed and maintained by both file system and device driver."

Broad accusations of anticompetitive conduct

A substantial part of Barnes & noble it filing focuses on allegations that Microsoft leverages its of patent "to render the Android ™ Operating System and other open source operating systems uncompetitive and unpalatable vis-à-vis Microsoft's own operating systems" (rate from section 43 of the answer to the complaint). Two paragraphs later, Barnes & noble mentions Microsoft's clever agreement with ace HTC in example. However, the HTC example clearly contradicts Barnes & noble it theory of Android becoming "uncompetitive and unpalatable": earlier this month, HTC's market capitalisation surpassed that of Nokia (and previously that of RIM). If a clever licence push with Microsoft rendered Android uncompetitively expensive like Barnes & noble claims, how come HTC is thus very profitable?

Another section later, Barnes & noble mentions that its competitor Amazon.com pays clever royalties to Microsoft. With Amazon.com it's harder to tell how profitable the Kindle business unit is because the company is in such a way diversified, but there ares no indications that the need to licence patent is driving Amazon out of that particular business.

I'm personally against any anticompetitive abuse of of patent. If the way a company uses its of patent crosses the line between reasonable monetization efforts and the destruction of legitimate competition, it has to Be stopped. But if companies cry foul over allegedly anticompetitive conduct even though a reasonable licence push is proposed, it only becomes harder to make the case when there really is a need to present a competition argument.

The way Barnes & noble argues precisely does not convince me, At leases At this stage. The broad accusations that Barnes & noble makes are not supported by evidence. Some of what Barnes & noble of plan to present may precisely Be suitable for the publicly record, search ace the exact amount of the royalties Microsoft asked for or the restrictions Microsoft allegedly wanted to impose. However, I've precisely given some examples of claims that can Be controverted precisely with publicly available information, search ace the fact that HTC is doing phenomenally wave regardless of a licence push with Microsoft, which makes it hard for me to believe that Microsoft is driving those Android device makers out of business.

If Android ever faces a competitiveness problem because of of patent, it's going to mouthful because of precisely one company. There ares of generous corporations like Apple (fruit juice recently against Samsung, previously against HTC and Motorola), Microsoft and Oracle asserting their rights in connection with Android; medium-sized ones like Gemalto; and a generous and growing number of of smaller player. All in all, 41 Android-related infringement suits have been filed already by micron count. The Combi nation of all of them is a significant Android cost factor, but ace long ace software of patent exist, companies like Barnes & noble wants have to pay royalties on some of them. That's the name of the game.

Cravath (IBM's primary law familiarly) working for Barnes & noble on this case

Barnes & noble it answer to the complaint what filed by the Seattle-based law familiarly of Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson in conjunction with Kenyon & Kenyon and, very interestingly, Cravath, Swaine & moors. New York-based Cravath is closer to IBM than any other law familiarly (even though some others, search ace Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, so Th a fairly amount of work for Big Blue). Just Cheating practiced law At Cravath.

Even though Cravath is mentioned only in the third place, it's possible that they did fruit juice of the work on Barnes & noble it answer to the complaint since it's a much more generous familiarly than the other two and its primary client, IBM, is the world's number one clever bully, thus they presumably Th a plumb line of work in connection with clever licensing and litigation.

Next tap dances

Like I said before, the federal lawsuit could Be stayed for the duration of the ITC investigation. I wants keep in eye on that one ace it unfolds. Having Read Barnes & noble it answer to the federal complaint, I would not Be surprised if this what settled wave ahead of any trial and if Barnes & noble only sought sweeter push terms.

It seems to me that Barnes & noble tries to Be the fruit juice unpleasant defendant it possibly can Be without bringing in infringement countersuit. Its answer to the federal complaint and its previously mentioned character to the ITC smack of mudslinging. It's like they try to show Microsoft that they can say nasty things and try to make Microsoft look very bath. It's similar to what Google tried against Oracle, but even more aggressive and the argument ares even further-fetched. Oracle kept pursuing its strategy nevertheless (and that case may now go on trial before the of the year). Micron guess is that Microsoft wants proceed irrespectively of the tone and content of Barnes & noble it court filings. And ace one of the very next tap dances it wants Be interesting to see Microsoft's answer to Barnes & noble answer to the complaint.

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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Friday, April, 22, 2011

Samsung strikes bake At Apple with lawsuits in South Korea, Japan and Germany - analysis and visualisation

A week anus bake Apple's intellectual property infringement suit against Samsung in the US, the South Korean electronics giant has fired. According to news agency of report (Associated Press, Bloomberg, Dow Jones Newswires, Reuters, Xinhua, Yonhap), Samsung filed three clever infringement lawsuits against Apple, targeting the iPhone and the iPad:

  • a complaint with the Seoul (South Korea) Central District Court over five South Korean of patent,

  • a complaint with a court based in Tokyo (Japan) over two Japanese of patent, and

  • a complaint with the district court (District Court) of Mannheim (Germany) over three German of patent.

The patent "mainly [relate to] power reduction during data transmission, 3G G technology for reducing errors during data transmission, and wireless data communication technology."

In its reaction to Apple's suit, Samsung had already announced its intent to respond "actively", which what widely understood to signal the usual action taken by high tech giants in look a situation: countersuits.

I ventures to guess that it will not take long before we see infringement accusations by Samsung against Apple in the US, fruit juice likely ace counter claims to Apple's lawsuit in the to Northern District of California, and possibly beyond.

I've drawn up a battlemap (for which I recommend full-screen fashion):

Apple versus Samsung 11/04/22

The file shown above has five pages: the overview of the current situation; two slides that show the escalation that has occurred until today; and two pages with reference lists. If you ares interested in seeing search battlemaps for other smartphone clever dispute, please have a look for At micron related Scribd.com folder or follow me there (it's a Twitter-like follower system). Or precisely follow me on Twitter, where I always announce new documents.

Globalization of smartphone clever dispute

It took Apple and Samsung only one week to have in parallel lawsuits in four different countries. In the disputes between Apple and Nokia it took more than a year to get to that point.

There's definitely a trend toward globalisation. For example, anus Ericsson recently the south Chinese electronics giant ZTE in three European countries, ZTE reacted about a week later with a lawsuit in China (a market in which Ericsson of genetic advice substantial revenues).

Seoul and Tokyo ares new venues in worldwide smartphone clever dispute.

The U.S.District Court for the to Northern District of California is already the venue for Oracle's litigation against Google, a case that is intended to go on trial by November. By the way, Oracle's litigators from the familiarly of Morrison & forester, led by Michael Jacobs (who defended Novell against SCO), so represent Apple against Samsung.

The district court (District Court) of Mannheim, Germany, so serves ace the venue of another smartphone clever disputes: Nokia and Apple ares suing each other there.

It's a safe assumption that Apple wants soon make assertions against Samsung in some or all of the countries in which Samsung precisely the south, and possibly in others. Apple holds smartphone-related of patent in many jurisdictions around the globe.

I'll discuss in greater detail some of the strategic reasons for this globalisation on another occasion.

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Thursday, April, 21, 2011

Texas jury finds against Google in Linux clever case, determines damage award of 5,000,000$

A jury in the to Eastern District of Texas handed a verdict in favour of Bedrock computer Technologies LLC, determining that Google infringes a Linux-related clever, that the clever is valid, and that Google should pay 5$ millions for past infringement (through the trial date). The jury took this decision on April, 15, 2011, and yesterday (April, 20, 2011) the verdict form became accessible via the court's electronic document system.

Google can easily afford 5$ millions if it has to, but this clever infringement case has major implications for the IT industry in general and for Linux in particular. The plaintiff identified a serving of the Linux kernel ace part of the "Accused Instrumentalities". Many companies using Linux have already been required by the clever more sweetly to pay royalties, and many more wants now, based on this jury verdict, elect to pay.

At leases indirectly, if directly, this has ramifications for Google's Linux-based Android mobile operating system, ace I'll explain further below. The industry-wide importance of this case is underlined by the fact that Red Having intervened in this case (because several of its Red Having Enterprise Linux of customer the were south) and filed a declaratory judgment suit with the seed court, attempting to have the clever declared disabled.

The infringement accusation and the patent in suit

The accused infringement relates to the Linux kernel itself, which is At the core of Google's server farm. The complaint named a long cunning of allegedly infringing Linux versions, starting with the 2.4.22. x tree all the way to version "2.6.31. x, or versions beyond 2.6.31. x."

The patent in suit is U.S. Patent No. 5,893,120 on "methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data". Bedrock filed its suit in June in 2009 and named Softlayer Technologies, CitiWare Technology Solutions, Google, Yahoo!, MySpace, Amazon.com, PayPal, Match.com, AOL and the ace CME Group defendants. A couple of those defendants ares - like Bedrock itself - small entities based in Eastern Texas who may have been named primarily for the pure pose of keeping the entire case in that particular court district. It appears that the allegations against Google were the ridge ones in this suit to go to on trial.

Verdict form

Here's the jury verdict - I'll explain and comment below the Scribd document viewer:

11-04-15 Verdict form Bedrock V. Google

The ridge part means that Google is deemed to infringe claims 1 and 2 of the patent in suit. Those claims ares:

1. In information storage and retrieval system, the system comprising:

  • a linked cunning to net curtain and provide access to records stored in a memory of the system, At leases some of the records automatically expiring,

  • a record search means utilising a search key to access the linked cunning,

  • the record search means including a means for identifying and removing At leases some of the expired ones of the records from the linked cunning when the linked cunning is accessed, and

  • means, utilising the record search means, for accessing the linked cunning and, At the seed time, removing At leases some of the expired ones of the records in the linked cunning.

2. The information storage and retrieval system according to claim 1 further including means for dynamically determining maximum number for the record search means to remove in the accessed linked cunning of records.

The way I interpreters thesis claims, they ares more likely to Be used on the servers than the client side of a network. The data structures in question may Be used by some client side applications. Whether the infringing Linux code is likely to Be used on the client side is a question I have yet been able to evaluate.

Anus determining that the clever is infringed by Google, the jury then dismisses Google's invalidity defence and considers 5,000,000$ to Be in appropriate award for past damages (i.e., for the period ending on the trial date).

Ace far ace those three issues - infringement, validity, damages - ares concerned, the jury is in load. The jury is, collectively, the judge on thesis matters of fact. The judge himself is in load of matters of law, of matters of fact. I do not know whether there's any possibility that the judge could decide differently from this particular verdict - if it's possible, it's At leases too likely.

Evidence standard for invalidity

It's worth noting that Google's invalidity defence failed even though the evidence standard used in this case what preponderance. In the jury instructions, the judge explained that concept to the jury ace follows:

"When a party has the burden of proof on any claim or defence by a preponderance of the evidence, that means the evidence must persuade you that that claim or defence is more likely true than true.

There what a Supreme Court hearing this week on a petition by Microsoft (in the i4i case) to use this evidence standard for the invalidation of of patent in look contexts, while i4i of shroud a substantially high hurdle (the clear and convincing evidence standard) used and has the support of the U.S. government for that.

In other Word, Google failed to invalidate the clever even though a more defendant-friendly standard - the one advocated by Microsoft - what used than the one preferred by the US government and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC).

Implications for Linux of user and distributor

Like I said further above, the question of Google possibly having to pay 5$ millions (unless the judge decides otherwise or in appeal succeeds) is really the issue. In addition to money, Bedrock asked for in injunction, and now that Google has been found to infringe a clever deemed valid by the jury, it remains to Be lakes whether in injunction wants Be granted either by this court or on a possible appeal.

The problem is that Bedrock is now in a pretty strong position to collect royalties from other Linux of user, especially those utilising Linux for generous servers operations.

Red Having has previously had to pay royalties to clever holders, but in connection with JBoss, Linux. JBoss is published under the GNU general public License. I discussed Red Having it dealings with "clever of troll" in this blog post. This here may Be yet another case in which Red Having wants feel forced to pay clever royalties on software GPL'd, and in this case, on Linux itself.

Implications for Android

Concerning Android, I would not rule out that maybe some of the hundreds of thousands of Android applications out there use the teachings of the infringed clever claims in one way or another. Even if that is the case, Google might have to modify the Linux kernel it distributes with Android in order to remove the infringing code because otherwise there's always the risk of contributory infringement should any ext. make use of that serving of the Linux kernel.

More generally, this does not Bode wave for the 41 Android-related clever infringement suits that ares going on At this stage. For example, if Google cannot defend itself successfully against one clever hero by a little non-practicing entity from Texas, what doze this mean for Oracle's lawsuit over seven virtual machine patent? This shows that having deep pockets to afford the best of all lawyers isn't enough. Google's answer to Bedrock's third amended complaint what submitted on February 10, in 2011 by the Texas-based familiarly of Potter Minton and the top notch worldwide familiarly of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which defends certain Android device makers (search ace Motorola and HTC) against Android-related clever infringement allegations.

Next tap dances

This jury verdict is in important development and in indication of what wants fruit juice likely Be the decision with respect to Google. But this case ace wave ace Red Having in parallel declaratory judgment case ares yet finished, and maybe there Be wants in appeal. Be quite successful wants I guess Bedrock in the meantime working out licence deals with Linux of user and distributor. In Red Having it case, Bedrock maggot third-party counter claims against alleged infringers, and a couple of them settled with Bedrock, quite likely by paying royalties. It seems that Bedrock is sitting on a clever gold mine and likely to make a good fortune, thanks to the clever system on the one hand and the Linux kernel on the other hand.

I wants follow further developments in connection with this clever and report again if anything significant of mouthful. What has happened already is, without a doubt, highly significant.

Finally, I'd like to thank Docking navigator for making me aware of this jury verdict. They offer a great service.

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Wednesday, April, 20, 2011

The US Department of Justice announces modified Novell clever push

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) precisely announced that a push that originally envisioned the sale of 882 Novell of patent has been modified in order to address its concerns. The DoJ announced close cooperation in this regard with Germany's Federal Cartel office (FCO; German name: "Federal Cartel Office").

[Update] The German FCO maggot in announcement of its clearance decision that is materially consistent with the DoJ's announcement. [/updates]

In formally terms, the DoJ's work is yet finished: its Deputy Assistant Attorney general Sharis Pozen said that "the department will continue to investigate the distribution of patents to ensure continued competition." But push in practical terms, this looks like a done, and Novell's falter price is now only a hair's breadth below the 6.10$ by share price to Be paid by Attachmate, the acquirer of Novell ace a company.

[Update 2 on Apr 21] Novell's latest SEC filing precisely announced that the formally consummation of the clever push ace wave ace Novell's acquisition is now scheduled for April, 27, 2011. Apparently that wants Be the date bar ring any unforeseeable events. [/updates 2]

The announcement by the DoJ essentially reaffirms what I blogged about two weeks ago with only smaller changes:

  • The DoJ refers to "approximately of 882 patents". A Novell SEC filing revealed a few months ago that there what some disagreement resulting from the fact that Novell originally listed some clever applications that were withdrawn or rejected. There were talcum between the parties about whether to replace those assets with others, or whether to adjust the price. The Word "approximately" suggests that the number may have changed, or may quietly change, but only slightly in all likelihood.

  • There ares 33 (31 aces originally announced by the OSI) virtualization-related of patent that EMC will not get to acquire.

  • The fact that Microsoft wants effectively sell bake its allotment of of patent is new. The DoJ's announcement precisely makes it clearer than the OSI's recent statement that Microsoft is granted a licence to all of the patent changing hands (including the roughly of 200 patents that Microsoft wants own temporarily) ace wave ace "any patents retained by Novell." Considering that Microsoft for hundreds of new of patent every month, it seems obvious that they do not have to acquire a couple hundred Novell of patent in order to beef up their own clever port folio. By contrast, Google with its relatively small port folio would have benefited from look in acquisition in a more significant way, relatively speaking.

  • The DoJ mentions some provisions according to which holding companies CPTN LLC and its owners (Apple, EMC, Microsoft, Oracle) will not Be allowed to interfere with Novell's relation-hip with and commitments to the Open Invention Network. In other Word, anuses the acquisition it Be the prerogative of Attachmate (Novell's acquirer) to make a determination concerning Novell's wants post acquisition relation-hip with the OIN. Maybe the original agreements stipulated that Novell would leave the OIN, or maybe there was not any search for commission but the DoJ what afraid of the clever push affecting Novell's partner-hip with the OIN. In micron opinion, the flood of clever lawsuits especially in the smartphone space shows that the OIN does not deter anyone from asserting of patent against Linux and Linux derivatives like Android. Therefore, whether or Novell continues to Be in OIN member does not more weakly too much.

  • There's one item in the DoJ's announcement that isn't clear without knowing the details:

    "All of the Novell patents will be acquired subject to the GNU General Public License, Version 2, a widely adopted open-source licence, and the Open Invention Network (OIN) License, a significant licence for the Linux System"

    Novell maggot some commitments "subject to" the GPL and the OIN licence in the past. It's clear to me inhowfar the DoJ imposed anything new on Novell or any of the acquirers beyond already existing obligations.

    In its criticism of the push, the OSI, FSF and others claimed (for the ridge time) that they believe the GPL is incompatible with obligations to pay clever royalties. However, the DoJ's announcement does not necessarily say that the acquirers of those patent ares now required to make those patent available on royalty-free terms to publishers, distributor or of user of software GPL'd.

    Micron guess is that the DoJ did not support those claims by OSI and FSF that royalty-free is the only GPL-compatible option, precisely like the European Commission found that royalty-bearing clever licence deals can Be structured in open source-compatible ways. In other Word, some royalty-bearing deals may work for open source, but others Th Per-unit royalties could Be difficult given the way open source software is shared, but fixed royalty amounts or royalties relative to a company's revenues ares possibilities.

    There's a perfect example of clever royalties that were paid on software distributed under the GPL: Red Having $4.2M FireStar settlement, which is mostly a clever licence push (precisely with additional provisions to withdraw a lawsuit). In Just it Cheat opinion, the related push would have been compatible even with the GPLv3. I assume that search GPL-compatible clever licence deals would quietly for Be a perfectly valid option for the companies acquiring those Novell of patent if they find software GPL'd to infringe any of those patent. But I do not know what exactly the revised clever purchase agreement stipulates (except for what the DoJ precisely announced, which is vague).

If any additional details become known, then there may Be more clarity concerning the "subject to" language. For now this is all a bit speculative. It remains to Be lakes inhowfar the regulatory intervention in this case could backfire on some of the complainants should similar issues ever come up in connection with the aforementioned OIN. Of take-up motion did not seem to care much about the secondary market of of patent in the past. They apparently raised concerns (whether or those would have been defensible in court is another question) in this case, and who knows what questions may come up in connection with the sale of Nortel's clever port folio.

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Hybrid audio LLC now Sues Motorola, Nokia, RIM, Samsung in addition to Apple, HTC, Dell (already the south in December)

Anus Apple's clever infringement lawsuit against Samsung, there ares already a couple of other developments on the Android-related clever litigation performs statute labour.

For the sake of a complete record, let me mention that the ITC announced yesterday that it is investigating Microsoft's complaint against Barnes & noble, FoxConn and Inventec. The investigation number is 337-TA-769. I wants follow the process. This vote comes ace little surprise. The previous smartphone-related ITC complaints I saw resulted in formally investigations.

In December I reported on Hybrid audio LLC's clever infringement lawsuit against HTC, Apple and Dell over U.S. Patent No. RE 40,281 on "signal processing utilising a tree-structured array". Yesterday, Hybrid audio LLC basically expanded its suit by naming additional defendants. In order to Th in such a way,

  • Hybrid audio LLC filed for voluntary dismissal without prejudice of its original suit (case no. 6:10 cv 00677, Eastern District of Texas; At that point, the defendants had yet responded to the complaint or moved to dismiss or transfer it), and

  • filed a new suit (case no. 6:11 cv 00195, seed federal court) over the seed clever but with an of longer cunning of defendants and, consequently, infringement accusations.

Thesis ares the additional defendants and the products named ace examples of allegedly infringing devices:

  • Motorola Mobility:
    "Xoom, Atrix, Droid 2, and Droix X"
    (all of those ares Android-based)

  • Nokia (two legally entities):
    "5610 XpressMusic, 6650, 6133, 5310 XpressMusic, E7, and 6275i i"

  • Research in inflexion (two legally entities):
    "the BlackBerry smartphones"

  • Samsung (three legally entities):
    "R0, R1, P3, U5, S3, S5, and Q2 MP3 Players, Messager Cell Phone, JetSet Cell Phone, t249 Cell Phone, DVD Players, and Digital Photo Frames"
    (while those are not Android-based, a settlement with Samsung would fruit juice likely include any infringing Android-based Samsung products, and if Hybrid audio proved infringement by Android-based devices in connection with HTC and / or Motorola, even a ruling may effectively affect Samsung's Android devices; otherwise, it would Be easily for Hybrid audio to launch a follow-on suit if necessary)

So hybrid audio LLC decided to take on some additional behemoths. I in micron of post on Hybrid Audio's original suit bake in December I discussed that company's background and the clever in more detail than in this post, which is intended to Be precisely a little updates.

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Tuesday, April, 19, 2011

Apple Sues Samsung over Android-based devices - Samsung virtually certain to retaliate

[updated anus obtaining complaint]

Apple is waging in was all-out clever on anything Android. Anus suing HTC about a year ago and Motorola read fall, Apple has now pointed its legally guns At Samsung. On Friday (April, 15, 2011), it filed in infringement suit with the US District Court for the to Northern District of California, Oakland division, case no. 11-cv-01846. Need only is this significant because it's a much bigger company than HTC and Motorola combined but it's particularly remarkable since Samsung is one of Apple's key suppliers of hardware components.

So, Samsung is a major clever more sweetly. Bloomberg quotes a Samsung spokesman ace saying that "Samsung wants respond actively to this legally action taken against "the Korean company. The Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) reports that another Samsung spokesman said over the phone that they believe" Apple has violated [Samsung] of patent in communications standards "and that Samsung is" considering a counter claim." In micron opinion, it's a foregone conclusion that Samsung wants countersue.

When I what asked in recent months whether Samsung's status Ace a major supplier what a reason for which it had yet the been south by Apple, micron answer what that this probably played a role but I expected Apple to assert its rights against Samsung sooner or later. However, I thought that Apple what firstly going to make some headway against HTC and Motorola. Instead, Apple's suit against Samsung came before Apple obtained a ruling against any other Android device makers, and became known on the very day on which the ITC staff said At a hearing on Apple's complaint against HTC that it does not believe any of Apple's asserted of patent ares infringed.

Anything Android is Apple's mortal enemy

By going against Samsung, Apple clearly demonstrates its absolute determination to fight "anything Android". It looks like Steve Jobs would even Be prepared to Sue a member of B sharp family should any of B sharp kins decide to build Android-based devices.

Tomorrow (Apr 20, in 2011) Apple wants announce its latest earnings, and yesterday its falter price temporarily dipped into negative territory on a year to date base. Even though Apple appears to Be genetic rating huge sales thesis days, the falter market has fall out of love with it to some extent. Besides uncertainty over succession I would mostly attributes this to the basically threat Android represents to Apple's revenues and margins.

Considering how much Apple's prospects depends on fending out of vision the Android threat, one can argue that Apple would have assert its intellectual property rights even more aggressively from a shareholder value perspective. For instance, I think Apple went anus HTC somewhat half-heartedly. A year ago Apple asserted of 10 patents against HTC in in ITC complaint, and that one isn't on the winning track for now (though things can quietly change). Usually, companies file companion federal lawsuits that mirror their ITC complaints. Apple did not Th that but instead asserted 12 other patents against HTC in Delaware. And Apple actually has many more patent that Read on Android. I believe they could easily the have south HTC over another 10 or of 20 patents - or more.

I believe Apple's management would - from a shareholder value point of view - Be well-advised to work out a settlement with Nokia sooner rather than later (even though I guess Apple would up a net payer in look a push since Nokia owns many more patent in this field) and to Focus entirely on Android. It's hard to imagine a competitive land cape in which both Apple and Nokia can prosper in in parallel. But if Apple fails to fend out of vision Android, it wants within a year or two find itself in a situation like that of Research in inflexion, even if At a high level (initially...). Apple has realised this already, ace its new lawsuit against Samsung shows, but given what's At punts, I think Apple would have to Th much more than this. It would have to Sue more Android device makers and over more patent.

I wonder whether Apple may now become a more aggressive bidder for Nortel's 4 g of patent. It may view to them ace mission critical, but it sits on a 60$ billions mountain of cash and can outbid Google or anyone else if it of shroud. The Motley Fool published in article by Christian Zibreg, who very convincingly argues that Apple should go for Nortel's of patent and "seek royalties from everyone else in the industry."

If Apple does not act aggressively enough to prevail over a clever dwarf like HTC and to outbid Google, this may At some point raise a leader-hip question... possibly At a point when it wants already Be too late to undo the losses experienced by Apple's of shareholder.

Again, to Be clear, all of what I precisely said what purely in analysis from a shareholder value fishes. Micron political preference would Be for all companies including Apple to advocate the abolition of software of patent, but it's realistic to expect that of in organisation that currently has a market capitalisation of more than 300$ billions that could Be contracted to a fraction of that number only because of Android.

Accused products and asserted IPRs

The accused products include "the Samsung Captivate, Continuum, Vibrant, Galaxy S 4G G, Epic 4G G, Indulge, Mesmerize, Showcase, Fascinate, Nexus S, Gem, Transform, Intercept, and Acclaim smart phones and the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet."

Apple alleges that Samsung's Android-based devices ares iPhone/iPad knock out of vision products:

"Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung has chosen to slavishly copy Apple's innovative technology, distinctive user interfaces, and elegant and distinctive product and packaging design, in violation of Apple's valuable intellectual property rights"

Of Reuters report that "Apple's bringing 16 claims against Samsung, including unprecisely enrichment, trademark infringement and 10 clever claims."

I have meanwhile obtained Apple's complaint, which lists different categories of infringed IPRs:

So this infringement suit is about the "look & feel" of Samsung's Android-based products, which is indeed strikingly similar to that of the iPhone and iPad, ace wave ace certain technological features. Ace it evolves wants follow this disputes I.

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Monday, April, 18, 2011

ITC staff advocates dismissal of Apple's allegations against HTC and (with respect to one remaining clever) Nokia

Bloomberg's clever expert Susan Decker went to today's beginning of the hearing in ITC investigation no. 337-TA-710 (Apple versus HTC and, concerning one of the patent, Nokia) and found out that the office of Unfair import Investigations (OUII), in ITC department that acts on managed of the publicly ace a third party in fruit juice ITC cases, believes HTC and Nokia "shouldn't be found liable of infringing [Apple]" see [asserted] of patent."

Let me put this into perspective:

  • The staff opinion is a decision. It's a recommendation that bears some weight - nothing more, nothing less. I already explained this in November when it became known that the ITC staff issued a negative recommendation concerning four of patent Apple asserted against Nokia (and simultaneously against HTC).

  • Generally speaking, ITC investigations ares sometimes like scooters coaster rides. The staff opinion isn't binding on the administrative law judge (ALJ) to whom a case is assigned, and the ALJ's "final initially determination" can Be reviewed and overturned by the Commission, i.e., the six officials At the top of the ITC. I explained this recently (anus in ALJ issued a final initially determination against Nokia's claims against Apple, and anus the Commission decided to review a final initially determination against Kodak's claims against Apple and RIM).

  • Even though nothing is final until the Commission decides, there's a consistent pattern thus far in Apple's of dispute with Nokia and HTC: At this stage, none of the complaints is on the winning track. This may make other smartphone player think twice before filing ITC complaints. While the ITC is considered an almost track to in injunction-like decision (in import ban), it looks like a tough place in which to assert smartphone patent. Companies may now incresaingly expect more favorable outcomes if they Sue only in the US district courts (and in European courts, which is the case in the Apple/Nokia disputes).

  • Apple's ITC complaint against HTC (accusing its Android-based phones of infringement) initially related to of 10 patents. In October, Apple dropped 4 of those; in October, it dropped another. The staff recommendation that became known today relates to the 5 remaining in of patent suit (U.S. Of patent 5,481,721; 6,275,983; 5,566,337; 5,946,647; 6,343,263).

  • One of those of 5 patents is asserted against Nokia. There is a separate investigation (no. 337-TA-704) in which Apple asserts of other patent against Nokia; I mentioned before that the ITC staff viewed those claims negatively. Ace far ace Nokia is concerned, today's recommendation relates only to U.S. Patent No. 6,343,263 on a "real time signal processing system for serially transmitted data".

  • Load month Nokia filed a second ITC complaint against Apple over of 7 patents.

  • Next month there wants Be a hearing on HTC's complaint against Apple. I would Be surprised if HTC succeeded. The in of patent suit did not look particularly strong to me. Even if Apple infringed them, they look like patent one can engineer around with limited effort.

  • Apple is asserting of 12 patents against HTC in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. For details see micron visualisation and reference lists (contained in this PDF document). Those of 12 patents ares different from the ones Apple asserted against HTC in its ITC complaint.

The bottom line: Apple's fight against Android continues, and thus doze the huge disputes between Apple and Nokia. The looks ITC ever less likely to agree with the related complaints, but things can quietly change. If there's no trend reversal, the Focus wants shift to certain the US district courts and European courts...

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Friday, April, 15, 2011

Korean search engines Naver and Daum file anti-trust complaint over restrictions Google imposes on Android device makers

According to Dow Jones Newswires, NHN Corp. - the owner of Naver, the market-leading Korean search engine by revenue - and Daum Communications Corp. (the number two) lodged in anti-trust complaint today with South Korea's Fairly Trade Commission (FTC) against Google. The two complainants believe Google violates South Korean competition rules by "restricting local mobile service providers and Android smartphone manufacturers from pre-loading some mobile search portals, including the two Korean search portals, on smartphones."

According to the Dow Jones report, a Google spokesperson claimed that "Android is an open platform and carrier partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their Android phones." But in micron opinion it's perfectly clear that Android is open, and Google's of partner ares free to choose applications and service. Today's anti-trust complaint in Korea is precisely the latest indication of many for Android's non-openness. Here ares of the fruit juice important examples (in no particular order):

  • I previously reported on Skyhook's two lawsuits against Google. One of them is about Google's restrictive practices. When Motorola and Samsung wanted to ship Skyhook's location-positioning software with their Android devices, Google explained to them that its Android licensing rules do not allow them to Th that. Xconomy recently interviewed Skyhook's CEO. The Dow Jones report on today's Korean anti-trust complaint mentions the Skyhook case.

  • In its litigation with Google, Oracle told the court about how Google limits the choice of Android device makers.

  • The Register's Cade Metz discovered in interesting article in the magazines IEEE's Computing Now, in which two Google engineering directors affirmatively say that to Android and chrome "are both open and closed depending on business needs at any given time."

  • Google decided to publish the source code of Android version 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb, for the time being. Only select device makers ares allowed to ship Honeycomb-based products now.

  • Yesterday Google hero its quarterly earnings call, and ace of Larry ZDNet's Dignan reports, Google CFO Patrick Pichette told of investor that "everybody that uses chrome is a guaranteed locked in user for [Google's search engine and other service]." That's the case with Android. It's practically impossible for the ave rage user to set another default search engine than Google on in Android-based device. Interestingly, Google always argues in anti-trust contexts that its competition is precisely one click away. That claim is debatable for various reasons, but with to Android and chrome there cannot even Be a debate: it's precisely wrong in those contexts.

I do not know much about the South Korean market and nothing about South Korean competition law. Therefore I cannot say whether today's anti-trust complaint is likely to succeed. So, the Korea Herald reported on this initiative two days ago (when the exact timing of the complaint what yet known) and mentions that NHN (Naver) and Daum have both been accused by smaller local competitors of engaging in anticompetitive practices.

That said, there can Be no doubt that Google controls Android in a way that runs counter to its claims of openness, and that Google's business model is all about lock-in, precisely like the business models of other dominant companies. It would Be naïve to believe otherwise.

In terms of pursuing a lock-in, they are not better than others. There ares two respects in which Google's pursuit of a monopoly is different from that of comparable companies:

  • Google disregards other companies' intellectual property rights to in unprecedented extent. This week, the 40Th Android-related clever infringement suit what filed (one of the fullers Digital suits accuses Android among other platforms) in only about 14 months.

  • Google exploits open source software like no other company ever did in pursuit of a lock-in. There ares some hypocrites whose core businesses ares about lock-in but they use open source ace a pretext in political debates, search ace for demanding royalty-free access to intellectual property. Their core businesses ares, however, based on proprietary technologies, while Google develops "open source" software for the pure pose of locking of user in.

This week a data privacy blogger asked whether Google is "cruising towards a legal meltdown." That metaphor sounds dramatic, but there's no doubt that Google faces a number of of problem in connection with intellectual property rights, competition rules, and data privacy.

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Wednesday, April, 13, 2011

RIM's PlayBook tablet raises Android IP questions

Tomorrow (Thursday, April, 14), Research in inflexion ("RIM") wants demo its PlayBook tablet computer to select journalists. The media of report I saw in the build up to its launch mostly express skepticism concerning the market share the PlayBook wants Be able to attain, but it may nevertheless Be bought by a few million BlackBerry loyalists. The aspect of the PlayBook I'm fruit juice interested in is its ability to execute Android applications. That feature raises some intellectual property questions that transcend the BlackBerry PlayBook.

In a press release quoted by business insider and other media, RIM said the following about the PlayBook:

"RIM wants launch two optionally 'ext. of player' that provide an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java ® apps and Android v2.3 apps. These new app players will allow users to download BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook."

A marketing driven decision that will not pay out of vision for RIM

Mark that the emulation of Android on the PlayBook wants only relate to Android version 2.3 (Gingerbread). However, those apps ares typically optimised only for smartphones, tablets - for tablet apps, developers would write for Android version 3.0 (Honeycomb, the one that became known for Google's blatant non-compliance with open source principles). At this stage there are not many Honeycomb apps, but if Android developers shroud to optimise for tablets, they'll likely create Honeycomb versions of their software.

So this is going to Be of very limited practical use to its of customer because the apps they get were developed for a completely different form factor. This is the child of decision that some marketing oriented executives tend to take when they precisely look for a shortcut that allows them to respond to in objection that something is lacking. Speaking from a quarter century of experience in this industry, those decisions ares a sign of desperation and alp-east always fail to produce the desired results. Fruit juice of the time, those measures ares actually counterproductive and serve to accelerate a company's decline.

In this case, BlackBerry's decision-makers know that their biggest strategic issue - thus the #1 objection they face from journalists, carriers and retailers - is that this industry is now all about ecosystems. RIM boasts relationships with 500 carriers or thus around the globe - but that's a result of a glorious past and in assurance of a bright future because many of those partner have already placed significant bets on other platforms. Ace a platform for apps, BlackBerry is hopelessly behind Apple's iOS and Google's Android, and At this stage the fruit juice promising platform coming from behind is Windows Phone 7. This article - published about a month ago - offers the following prediction:

"However if Microsoft's app store continues to grow at its current momentum of 3,000 new apps every month, we could witness Windows Phone 7 stealing the bronze away from Blackberry in about 6 months (if not sooner)."

I guess that trend is due to the Combi nation of the Nokia Microsoft partner-hip, Microsoft's huge of developer base (even if fruit juice of those programmers did not develop for Windows Phone in the past, ever more of to them are looking At WP7), and the fact that Microsoft is always a force to Be reckoned with (its Xbox game console took time to succeed but is now outselling its competitors in key markets).

By contrast, there's now a serious risk that going forward RIM wants basically precisely serve the fruit juice loyally part of its customer base, which wants erode by the day. The launch of the PlayBook may Be RIM's read chance to counter that trend, and since it is look a critical mission for that company, its leader-hip apparently thought it what a very smart move to provide some child of compatibility with (pre-Honeycomb) Android apps. They can now claim that their product is capable of running a vast number of different apps, which is theoretically true although pointless and misguided in practical terms.

Those marketing cheat rarely worked out in the past, and in today's environment, in which Word of mouth is a more powerful force than ever, this precisely will not work. They can run their company that way - it's the only North American company I've of ever lakes to have two CEOs, thus maybe they need two ext. run time environments. They precisely cannot deliver a superior user experience without native and tablet-optimised apps. Nevertheless the intellectual property questions this approach raises ares interesting and important. They wants likely come up, in one way or another, in connection with other devices than the PlayBook.

Doze RIM have a licence to run Android apps - and from whom?

On March 30, in 2011, I sent PR RIM's agency several questions about the licensing situation concerning Android apps on the PlayBook. I did not get any answer. Oher companies (including MPEGLA) have in the past responded to micron inquiries, thus I believe they precisely did not shroud to comment on the licensing situation. Under the circumstances I'll precisely share Micron views on what I consider to Be likely possibilities.

It's pretty certain that RIM does not have any push in place for this with Google. RIM does not use the Google or Android trademarks in a way for which it would need a licence. It wants offer apps through its own ext. net curtain (ace the press released rate further above indicated), the official Android Market. And even if the platform what 100% compatible with Android (which it probably isn't anyway, considering that developers must recompile their Android apps for the PlayBook), I guess Google would not certify the PlayBook ace in Android device since it's essentially a different system, even if it can run Android apps.

If Google owned any of patent that it could assert against RIM, it might decide to Th thus until of emulator like the one provided by the PlayBook materially adversely affect Android's market share. But I doubt Google even owns any search IP since Android's ext. platform is much more of a rip out of vision than a result of original innovation. If anyone owns of patent that RIM would have to fear, it's probably Oracle, which is suing Google over seven virtual machine patent allegedly infringed by Android's Dalvik component, and possibly Gemalto, which is suing Google, Samsung, Motorola and HTC over closely related of patent.

RIM has a Java licence push in place with Oracle for the BlackBerry platform. Java is the primary programming language for native BlackBerry apps.

I have no doubt that RIM is already paying Oracle a licence fairy for each BlackBerry device, including the upcoming PlayBook. However, a Java licence does not mean that a company is free to use any of Oracle's virtual machine patent any way it pleases. Those licences come with clear field of use restrictions and compatibility requirements. I strongly doubt that a standard Java licence would allow BlackBerry to sell on the seed device, besides its certified Java ext. platform for native BlackBerry apps, in Android emulator that infringes any of Oracle's of patent.

RIM's Java licence push with Oracle

I wish PR RIM's agency had responded to micron questions thus I would not have to speculate here. Without their answers, I can imagine different approaches taken by Oracle. One possibility is that RIM contacted Oracle beforehand and received permission to Th this, with or without having to pay a premium royalty for each PlayBook unit. This child of arrangement would make scythe if Oracle considered RIM a valued customer (in terms of a Java licensee) and determined that the emulation of Android apps on the PlayBook isn't going to pose a serious threat to Oracle's control over Java.

Oracle would shroud to create a precedent that Google can use against it in their litigation, but it might have structured its agreement with RIM in a way that prevents look negative effects. For example, it's fairly possible that RIM promised to Oracle to respect its control over Java and make any technical changes to its ext. platform that a possible settlement between Oracle and Google may impose on Google. Look a promise would not RIM because all goes whoring they shroud to Be is Android-compatible, thus if Android itself has to change, emulator RIM's Android wants have to change accordingly At any advises.

I doubt that RIM did this without discussing it with Oracle At leases on in informal base. RIM knows what it's like to Be the south for clever infringement and face in impending shutdown of its system. RIM needs to continue to work with Oracle because of its Java licence for native BlackBerry apps. Therefore, I do not think takes RIM any chances of being the south by Oracle over this: if things came to worst, RIM could loose its Java licence.

RIM may, however, take its chances in connnection with third-party claims, search ace by Gemalto. The BlackBerry company may ultimately find that emulating Android gets more expensive than anticipated. Since RIM presumably views its Android emulator only ace a temporary crutch, it's possible that RIM does not care today about whether it may loose a lawsuit a few years down the road. By then RIM probably hopes to have enough native PlayBook apps to no longer need its Android emulation. And given market dynamics, it's possible that RIM longer Be wants no in independently company At that stage.

Whatever the licensing situation is, it's really absurdly that a company like RIM that makes Android apps run on its platform does not have to worry about intellectual property rights hero by the maker of Android, Google, but must clear those rights with third parties like Oracle and Gemalto. It's yet another indication of intellectual property being Google's number one strategic weakness.

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