On October 12, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued two related precedential opinions affirming the decisions of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, holding that neither Verizon Wireless and Sprint Communications nor Nokia Solutions infringed Traxcell Technologies LLC’s patents. raxcell sued Verizon and Sprint for infringing four of its patents, all of which share a specification and a 2001 priority date. The four patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,977,284 (the ‘284 patent), 9,5,10,320 (the ‘320 patent), 9,642,024 (the ‘024 patent), and 9,549,388 (the ‘388 patent). In a separate suit, Traxcell sued Nokia for infringing the ‘284, the ‘320, and the ‘024 patents.
The claims of three of the four patents at issue—the ‘284, 320, and ‘024 patents (collectively the SON patents)—are related to self-optimizing network (SON) technology for making “corrective actions” to improve communications between a wireless device and a network.
This week in the nation’s capital, subcommittees in the House of Representatives will hold a series of technology-related hearings focused on online competition in data privacy, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing in the financial sector, Internet consumer protections and NASA’s goal to speed up the return of a manned mission to the moon. The House Investigations Subcommittee will also hold a field hearing outside of D.C. exploring innovation in lead mitigation employed within the state of New Jersey. Elsewhere in D.C., the R Street Institute will discuss their theory on the national security implications of patents, the Brookings Institution will look at the impact of digital technologies on African entrepreneurship and the American Enterprise Institute hosts an event exploring the impact of globalization and robotic innovation on the workforce.
Here we go again! Another day, another ridiculous attack on the U.S. patent system. This time the attack comes from the R Street Institute, who claims that patents are too strong and are inhibiting American companies from achieving success in the race for leadership in the 5G marketplace and continued leadership in Artificial Intelligence (AI). R Street will hold a panel discussion on their wildly outlandish theory, for which they can’t possibly have any factual support, on Tuesday, October 15, in the Capitol Visitor Center. In the announcement they claim that patents are inhibiting American companies because Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei, asserted more than 200 patents against Verizon Communications earlier this year. Therefore—and ipso facto—patents are too strong and American companies are suffering. There may be legitimate security concerns around Huawei’s infrastructure, but to suggest that the company’s patents are at the root of these threats is in a word—Absurd!
In the wake of fraudulent IP applications from foreign nations—namely China—the United States has recently enacted or called for policies that require foreign entities to complete more thorough IP applications. For instance, in August, we heard about the new USPTO rule requiring all foreign trademark applicants and registrants to be represented by a licensed U.S. attorney when filing. According to the USPTO website, this is intended to “increase USPTO customer compliance with U.S. trademark law and USPTO regulations, improve the accuracy of trademark submissions to the USPTO and safeguard the integrity of the U.S. trademark register.” And then just last week, news broke that the USPTO had issued new instructions requiring trademark examiners to ask applicants for proof of legal residence in the United States to enforce this new rule (note: these instructions have since been rolled back). The reasoning behind these legislations, or proposed legislations, seems to be that by making the IP application process more involved and more challenging, the USPTO will limit the number of foreign IP applications received—and therefore the number of fraudulent applications received. This will undoubtedly work, but is it the right approach?
This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Chinese and U.S. governments hash out intellectual property issues; a prominent New York City politician joins the effort to break the patent on Gilead’s Truvada; Qualcomm tells the ITC that Apple’s design around undermines the agency’s finding that an exclusion order shouldn’t be entered against infringing iPhones; the Fortnite copyright cases take a new turn; Babybel loses the trademark on its red wax cheese coating in the UK; Fisker & Paykel and ResMed settle their worldwide patent dispute; Facebook could face major FTC fines for payments from children playing video games on the platform; and reports indicate that Pinterest is pursuing an initial public offering.
John Thorne was VP and deputy general counsel for Verizon during its legal battle against former American cable television company Cablevision where Verizon asserted a series of patents it owned… A closer look into the patents renders some interesting information about the patents Verizon asserted and the company’s legal strategy in the case. Two of the eight patents asserted by Verizon in the District of Delaware weren’t originally invented by Verizon, Bell Atlantic or other any other of Verizon’s predecessor companies; they were acquired from outside entities… And haven’t we been told by the likes of Unified Patents that all patent owners who enforce their patents are patent trolls? One would have to assume if Unified is being logically consistent they would have extraordinary problems with Verizon’s activities particularly here where the patents used to sue Cablevision were acquired and not the subject of in-house innovation.
ISPs have increasingly come under the focus of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler. The FCC is fresh from a major victory on its net neutrality rules which were recently upheld by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. That victory has now placed some momentum on data privacy rules proposed this March by the FCC, rules which would further protect ISP consumers by ensuring that their ISP sees as little of their data as possible. Some industry analysts believe that the FCC will continue to take action, the proposed broadband privacy rules being one part of that action. Other rules proposed by the FCC would open up set-top boxes to third-party cable providers as well as prevent zero-rating of data services, which allows consumers to access dedicated apps without being charged for data.
The subsea data center operations will be cooled by the surrounding water and designs with turbines or tidal energy systems, which would further reduce electricity costs, have been considered. Although the data center’s aquatic environment is certainly a novel concept, the use of combined heat and power (CHP) plants to provide a cheap, dedicated power supply and temperature controls is being considered more often in recent months.
The navigation and guidance technologies protected by Rovi’s IP holdings have been incorporated into a wide array of electronics such as set-top boxes, digital video recorders, tablets and other mobile devices. As a result, the company is engaged in a range of licensing and litigation activities relative to its patent holdings. The corporation has brought suit against Netflix in recent years for alleged infringement of patents held by Rovi which protect interactive program guide (IPG) technologies. Recently, Rovi renewed a product and patent licensing agreement for many of those same IPG technologies with major Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp.
Verizon’s inaugural appearance in the Companies We Follow series revealed plenty of patent applications in the realm of retail kiosk services, including one that discusses a kiosk which allows users to purchase mobile devices and activate subscriber services. Other recent patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office referenced some useful technologies involving vehicles, including one designed to restrict the use of mobile devices when an owner is driving a vehicle.
Over recent years, online advertising has been a driving force in the growth of the Internet. As business owners, you never stop hearing about the benefits of having your own website and advertising your services on-line. I am guilty of preaching this sermon myself! However, because of the ever-increasing existence of badware, it has become increasingly difficult to know what ads or websites we can trust. Thankfully, tech giants such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, PayPal and others have joined forces with StopBadware.org and formed the Ads Integrity Alliance (AIA) in order to combat Badware, protect users from bad ads and maintain the integrity of the “online advertising ecosystem.”
But how exactly do patents do all of these wonderful things for companies? Unlike trademarks and copyrights, patents are incredibly difficult to acquire. But a patent, once acquired, grants the holder a fairly long monopoly over their creation. No other individual or corporation can use the patent holder’s creation without negotiating a license (or some other arrangement). Thus, patent holders have a huge advantage over the competition via exclusive use or a profit from licensing. Because, the technology companies heavily market new and cutting-edge products, there is a constant need to acquire new patents to stay ahead of competitors.
Forever a PC family, IPWatchdog has slowly converted over to all Apple/Mac products. It started with iPhones, then an iPad, followed by 27″ iMacs, and now MacBook Airs. This conversion ultimately got me thinking, “What happened to the old Mac vs. PC Commercials?” Nearly two years ago I wrote an article Mac vs. PC: A Simplistic Yet Effective Marketing Strategy. You remember Mac vs. PC don’t you? The usually frazzled, often disheveled “PC” was played by John Hodgeman and the always hip, cool and technologically advanced Mac was played by Justin Long. The Get a Mac ads which started in May of 2006 and ended in October of 2009 seem to have virtually disappeared. In fact, the commercials are not even featured on the Apple Website. If you click on the “Commercials” link you are now taken to a “Why You’ll Love a Mac” page. Boring. Could it be that Apple thinks PC’s no longer have the issues that have always plagued them in the past? I doubt it. Why do you think we are moving over to “the Dark Side???” Maybe Hodgeman and Long got too big for their roles? Well no matter what the reason, I have one question, “Hey Apple, what happened to Mac vs. PC?”
With respect to Verizon et al, the petitioners moved to transfer the case to the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, which is approximately 150 miles away from the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. The motion was initially denied by a Magistrate Judge. In his decision, the Magistrate agreed with the petitioners that the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division would likely be more convenient for the parties and the witnesses, and he even noted that a number of party witnesses resided within 100 miles of Dallas and no witness resided within 100 miles of Marshall, Texas. Let’s let that sit for a moment, shall we? It was determined that the Northern District would be more convenient for the parties and witnesses and that not a single witness lived within 100 miles of the Eastern District of Texas, yet the motion to transfer was denied?
Whenever I travel I always take my laptop, and thanks to a Verizon USB wireless modem I can stay connected pretty much anywhere, although twice a year when I am in Chicago getting any signal is a challenge. While I am not such a dinosaur that I don’t have a cell phone, I had resisted the Blackberry temptation, at least…