A number of interesting patent applications deal with Google’s efforts to improve online mapping applications. One such application would protect a system of downloading map tiles for offline routing. An issued patent assigned to Google protects a system of depicting multi-level buildings three-dimensionally so that browsers can view flooring plans. Other USPTO activity showcases Google’s focus on creating better media systems for mobile devices. One patent application would protect a system of synchronizing magazine content on apps for better layout among different devices. Another patent application allows users to selectively view images to conserve data usage. Finally, we look at a patent application filed to protect a system of ranking news articles based on the source publication’s quality.
Copyright is important in all forms of media because it provides legal ownership over the work someone produces. This allows the author, artist, etc. control over how their work is used. Without copyright laws, content could be stolen from one creator and used by someone else; thus, a profit could be made by someone other than the creator from content that they put no effort into. Since it is the copyright holder’s responsibility to ensure that a copyright has not been infringed upon, it is vital to keep a close eye on your content and how it is used by others on the internet.
There is no doubt that the Obama position will be loved by Google and other Silicon Valley technology giants that despise the patent system. Given the revolving door between the Obama Administration and Google, the long-term close relationship between President Obama and Google (see here, here and here), and the fact that patent issues don’t resonate with John Q. Public, it seems likely that the President stepping in now to allow him to tout that he is engaged with issues of importance in the minds of tech giants who will be asked for large checks later this week.
As the developer of the Android mobile device software, Google is heavily involved with mobile device and digital media systems development. Two recent patent applications filed by Google would protect different innovations for Internet audio systems, including a user-responsive start page for a music library and a system of allowing multiple users to rate tracks on a playlist to adjust playback. Google is also focused on improving online search methods, as is evidenced by another patent application for a system of searching social media pages for individuals or groups. And another final patent application would protect a more secure system of offering digital media excerpts to potential customers which would prevent stealing.
The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) recently announced that it is joining the other cast of characters who have filed a class action complaint against Google, claiming (as the other plaintiffs have) that Google’s “Google Book Search” program violates the copyrights of several photographers and visual artists. The other plaintiffs include individuals Leif Skoogfors, Al Satterwhite, Morton Beebe, Ed Kashi, John Schmelzer, Simms Taback and Gail Kuenstler Living Trust, Leland Bobbe, John Francis Ficara and David Moser, and associations The American Society of Media Photographers, the Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, the North American Nature Photography Association, the Professional Photographers of America, and American Photographic Artists.
Late yesterday I was contacted via telephone by a representative of Google about my article titled Is Patent Litigation Really a Problem for Big Tech? I was told during that telephone conversation that I misunderstood what Suzanne Michel said during the symposium at American University. I was also told that Google does not sell patents to patent trolls, although other big tech companies do, which concerns Google. Google has asked for a retraction. I am not entirely comfortable with a retraction because I think my interpretation of what Michel said was fair, although I’m willing to accept Google at face value when they tell me that they do not sell to patent trolls.
If big tech companies are selling unwanted patents to patent trolls who then turn around and monetize them there are a lot of questions to ask. First, why are they selling to those who then turn around and sue them? There is an obvious solution to this problem, if it is indeed a real problem and not one made up for sake of publicity and swaying public opinion (and political opinion on Capitol Hill). Second, what are they doing selling patents that can be monetized? If they are giving these patents away how is that appropriate at all when the company needs to answer to shareholders? Isn’t the goal of any company to maximize returns for shareholders? Finally, if operating companies are selling to patent trolls then how is it possible that patent litigation is as big a problem as it is claimed to be? Something just doesn’t smell right here, but a room full of symposium attendees were told that big tech companies sells out to patent trolls. Curious.
Settling nuisance value perpetuates the cycle, as the automobile industry discovered in the 1980s and early 1990s. Show a willingness to pay extortion-like demands and you will see more lawsuits filed. It is an endless cycle, at least until it gets broken. The solution is an easy one — fight at least occasionally, or at least one! Because the easy solution isn’t pursued and instead the industry pursues a strategy akin to a Buck during deer hunting season I have to assume that they really don’t want a solution. What other conclusion can you reach when intelligent people ignore the obvious?
On Friday, March 22, 2013, Administrative Law Judge David P. Shaw of the United States International Trade Commission issued a remand determination relating to the investigation instituted by the Commission to investigate patent infringement allegations leveled against Microsoft’s Xbox console. Judge Shaw determined that the Xbox does not infringe the remaining patent involved in the ITC investigation, which is a complete reversal of his earlier determination that the Xbox did infringe (see below).
Google is another technological innovator whose name comes up often every week at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, as they are in the habit of protecting many of their Android system and Internet developments. This week, the USPTO published 9 patent applications assigned to the firm. Some of these improve user interfaces associated with touchscreen displays or head-mounted displays. Google also received 25 patents this week, including one that looks to improve online systems of user review for products.
After examining the record of the investigation the Commission decided to review the ALJ’s determination with respect to the claim construction of the phrase “touch sensitive input device,” which appears in claim 1 of the ‘862 patent. The Commission will also review: (1) the finding that the accused products literally infringe claim 1 of the ‘862 patent; (2) the finding that Harris ‘464 anticipates claim 1 of the ‘862 patent; and (3) the finding of non-obviousness. In connection with the Commission’s review, the parties have been requested to brief their positions these discrete issues. The Commission will review no other issues.
Paul Ryan is a more common name than you might think. In the world of politics when one speaks of “Paul Ryan” they are talking about the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin who was Mitt Romney’s running-mate and would-have-been Vice President. But in the intellectual property world, particularly the patent litigation world, the name “Paul Ryan” refers to the CEO of Acacia Research Technologies. It is the later Paul Ryan that went on the record with me to discuss Acacia, patent enforcement, how large companies who are infringers disregard innovative independent inventors and more.
Under a settlement reached with the FTC, Google will meet its prior commitments to allow competitors access – on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms – to patents on critical standardized technologies needed to make popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles. In a separate letter of commitment to the Commission, Google has agreed to give online advertisers more flexibility to simultaneously manage ad campaigns on Google’s AdWords platform and on rival ad platforms; and to refrain from misappropriating online content from so-called “vertical” websites that focus on specific categories such as shopping or travel for use in its own vertical offerings.
you might want to take this with a grain of salt, but Arris announced on November 1, 2012, that its Board of Directors authorized an additional $150 million in share repurchases of the company’s common stock. ARRIS currently has $19.6 million available under its prior authorization for share repurchase, and since 2008 the company has repurchased 34.2 million shares at an aggregate cost of $306.3 million. Thus, we have a big deal to acquire the Motorola Home business from Motorola Mobility and an ongoing stock repurchase plan with Google owning nearly 16% of the company? Call me crazy but I think this warrants serious investors taking a closer look at the fundamentals.
This case started back in 2006, when the newspaper publishers took Google to court, stating that the popular search engine was infringing on their copyright. They had been trying to get Google to compensate them for using their online content, claiming that as more and more readers turned to the Internet to get their news, less and less readers were utilizing their printed versions. Under the new agreement, Google will team up with the Rossel Group, a major media group in Brussels that owns some of the top newspapers such as Le Soir and L’Echo; and the IPM Group which puts out publications L’Avenir and La Libre Belgique.