Web giant Google is looking to monetise its wearable computing project Google Glass by measuring how long users gaze at advertisements in their glasses for. The firm has been granted a patent for its Gaze Tracking System.
For years telcos have faced threats to their business from patent wars and patent “trolls”; a term coined in the 1990s and typically directed at patent owners who do not use the invention themselves. However, a slew of recent court decisions in Europe, Japan and the US appear to have reduced the level of those threats, at least in the most critical cases involving a “standard essential patent”; one which relates to a component which is essential in order to manufacture a device which complies with a standard.
Tech giants Microsoft and Dell have this week announced a patent licensing agreement that allows the two to license each other’s intellectual property related to Android and Chrome OS devices and Xbox gaming consoles.
Embattled handset manufacturers Nokia and RIM are now locked in a dispute with each other over patents in the US, Canada and UK. The two firms are fighting over intellectual property they have licensed to each other since 2003, which enables phones to connect to wifi networks.
As if facing legal action over patents from fellow handset manufacturers, such as Apple, was not enough, Korean firm Samsung is now facing action from the infrastructure market after Ericsson filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the company. The Swedish vendor claims that Samsung refused to sign a license agreement on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, despite two years of negotiations.
Struggling Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been ordered to pay $147.2m to mobile device management (MDM) solutions provider Mformation for infringing its wireless MDM patents. The US Federal District Court of Northern California has ruled that RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), which is used by corporate enterprise customers to manage and secure their BlackBerry devices, infringed upon Mformation’s design patents.
The CEOs of Apple and Samsung, Tim Cook and Choi Gee-sung, have agreed to hold settlement talks to try to resolve a patent lawsuit over smartphone and tablet technology, according to a court filing. Meanwhile, Twitter has announced that it will begin a policy of not using patents as a tool to impede the innovation of others.
The latest patent battle between smartphone players has seen Apple lose an interim ruling in the US, after the firm attempted to sue Motorola Mobility for infringing three of its patents. It has also publicly identified nearly all of its suppliers and invited an outside workplace conditions group to inspect them.
The ongoing patent war between smartphone players is showing no signs of abating in 2012, as it has been revealed that Google acquired more patents from IBM at the end of last year, some of which are likely to be used to protect its Android handset ecosystem.
UK incumbent BT has taken legal action against Google for alleged patent infringement. The two firms have commenced legal proceedings in the US District Court of Delaware.
Apple has been denied a preliminary injunction to block the sale of Samsung’s touchscreen smartphones and tablets in the US, after a judge in California ruled that the Korean manufacturer’s products would not severely impact Apple’s sales. The ruling means that Samsung will be able to sell its devices in the US during the traditionally lucrative Christmas season.
Apple has won an injunction to block the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet in Australia. The device was already temporarily banned pending the court ruling, and the ban has now been upheld until a full patent trial is held next year. Samsung had initially offered to modify the software on the device to counteract the injunction, but Apple’s argument stated that the device also copies the design of its iPad and iPhone products.
Apple has won a case in Germany to prohibit the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet device in the country.
The Düsseldorf court upheld the preliminary injunction secured by Apple, which claims that Samsung had infringed its intellectual property and copied the iPad.
The ongoing patent disputes between Apple and Google and its Android partners is killing innovation, according to Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.