The two companies, both major players in the smartphone industry, said they have agreed on a “patent and technology collaboration” that will settle all outstanding litigation.
Precise details were not revealed, but the companies said HTC will pay Nokia an undisclosed sum and the collaboration will involve HTC’s patents on LTE technology. LTE, often called 4G, is a high-speed wireless data transmission technology being rolled out by carriers in many countries.
Nokia’s chief intellectual property officer, Paul Melin, hailed the agreement as validating Nokia’s patents while HTC’s general counsel, Grace Lei, said her company was “pleased to come to this agreement.”
Nokia had asserted since 2012 that HTC infringed on about 50 of its patents and engaged in unauthorized use of proprietary innovations.
The cases had been making their way through the courts in countries including the U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S.
In March 2013, Nokia won an injunction in Germany against some HTC smartphones that were found to infringe upon a power-saving technology.
In September, the U.S. International Trade Commission A ruled HTC infringed two patents held by Nokia related to cellphones and tablets, and in October the High Court of England and Wales ruled that some HTC devices infringed on a Nokia mobile network standard patent.
Nokia won a sales ban against the HTC One Minismartphone in the U.K. as a result of that latter judgment.
Patent battles between major smartphone manufacturers have become a common part of the industry in the years since Apple introduced the iPhone and sparked the smartphone boom. Faced with a highly competitive marketplace, companies have been suing each other when one considers a competitor’s products look too similar to their own.
Twitter Inc has purchased 900 patents and inked a cross-licensing agreement with IBM, making peace with Big Blue and bulking up on its intellectual property portfolio as it takes on larger rivals Google and Facebook.
The agreement announced on Friday comes after International Business Machines Corp accused Twitter in November – on the eve of its high-profile initial public offering – of infringing three of its patents. At the time, it underscored how few patents the six-year-old social media company possessed in relation to more established rivals.
A cross-licensing agreement will help safeguard Twitter against similar claims in the future.
IBM is one of the industry’s largest research spenders and stockpilers of intellectual property, a consistent leader in U.S. patent filings and the owner of some 41,000 patents.
Twitter is following on the heels of Facebook, which itself faced similar claims before its own 2012 IPO. The world’s largest social network has since gone on a patent-buying spree, acquiring intellectual property from tech bellwethers, including Microsoft Corp and IBM.
“This acquisition of patents from IBM and licensing agreement provide us with greater intellectual property protection and give us freedom of action to innovate on behalf of all those who use our service,” Ben Lee, Twitter’s legal director, said in a joint statement with IBM on Friday.
Microsoft announced that it will rename its SkyDrive online storage services as OneDrive, picking a name six months after striking a deal with a British broadcaster that had taken the technology giant to trademark court.
“Changing the name of a product as loved as SkyDrive wasn’t easy,” Microsoft acknowledged in a post to a new blog. “We believe the new OneDrive name conveys the value we can deliver for you and best represents our vision for the future.”
Microsoft was forced to rebrand the service — as well as its for-business SkyDrive Pro, which took the name OneDrive for Business — after it lost a trademark infringement case last year brought by British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB), the massive television and broadband Internet service provider owned in part by Rupert Murdoch.
In early August, Microsoft and BSkyB announced a settlement that gave the former a “reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand” for SkyDrive. In return, Microsoft pledged to drop its plans to appeal the U.K. court’s ruling.
Current users of SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro need do nothing as the name change propagates through Microsoft’s properties. “The service will continue to operate as you expect and all of your content will be available on OneDrive and OneDrive for Business respectively as the new name is rolled out across the portfolio,” said Ryan Gavin, general manager of Microsoft’s consumer apps and services group, in the blog.
It wasn’t the first time that Microsoft stumbled with a brand name.
In mid-2012, the Redmond, Wash. companydropped the term “Metro” — which it had used to describe the tile-based, touch-first interface in Windows 8 and the apps that ran in the UI — after Metro AG, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based retail conglomerate, threatened the company. Microsoft has failed to find a catchy replacement for Metro. At one point it cited “Modern” as the new term, then settled on the forgettable “Windows Store” to label the apps, all to little avail: Most references to the UI and apps continue to use Metro.
One public relations expert took Microsoft to the woodshed last year for flailing a second time in branding. “It’s unbelievable to me that Microsoft did not see this coming,” said Peter LaMotte, an analyst with Washington, D.C.-based strategic communications consultancy Levick.
According to a WHOIS search of domain registrations, onedrive.com was originally claimed in 1998. On Jan. 23, 2014, the status of the domain was updated; it now shows as owned by Dynadot, a San Jose, Calif. domain nameregistrar and website hosting firm.
BlackBerry has requested that a California court block U.S. sales of the Typo keyboard, an add-on keyboard for the iPhone that BlackBerry says is an “obvious knock-off” of the keyboards on its phones.
The move,intensifies a battle between the two companies that began in January this year when BlackBerry accused Typo of patent infringement. The lawsuit garnered considerable attention, in part because Typo was co-founded by popular U.S. radio and television personality Ryan Seacrest.
The keyboard is designed to slip onto an iPhone 5 or 5S to provide a physical keyboard. The $99 device is currently available for pre-order through the company’s website, which advertises it has already sold out of an unspecified number of keyboards for January and February delivery.
Such keyboards have been a main selling point of BlackBerry devices since the company was making radio pagers and despite the recent popularity of on-screen virtual keyboards, there remains many users who value a physical keyboard.
BlackBerry alleges infringement of two patents: U.S. Design Patent 685,775and U.S. Patent 7,629,964. The former covers the design elements of a “handheld electronic device” and the latter “an electronic device with keyboard optimized for use with the thumbs.”
BlackBerry is asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to prohibit Typo from “making, using, offering to sell, or selling within the United States, or importing into the United States, the Typo Keyboard.”
“Typo’s blatant copying of BlackBerry’s keyboard presents an imminent threat of irreparable harm to BlackBerry, and that threat is magnified in combination with the significant market power of the iPhone,” BlackBerry said in a proposed motion to the court.
Seacrest comes up in the BlackBerry motion. The company notes he was a well-known, long-time user of BlackBerry devices and cites interviews where he said that the inspiration for the keyboard was trying to bring together the best of the BlackBerry typing experience with everything else an iPhone had to offer.
The motion also cites several reviews that note the visual similarity between the Typo and BlackBerry keyboards.
In response to BlackBerry’s proposed motion, Typo said it believes BlackBerry’s claims “lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously.”
The comment repeats, almost word for word, a portion of a statement the company issued earlier in January when the lawsuit was first filed.
For BlackBerry, the issue is perhaps about more than just the visual similarities.
The company has been struggling to keep up with the fast pace of change being driven by Apple and Android phones and recently regrouped to focus more tightly on the government, military and enterprise customer.
That’s the company’s core business audience and the users that value a physical keyboard the most. If comparable keyboards become add-on accessories to Apple and Android phones, it would be more difficult for BlackBerry to compete.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a fight between TV broadcasters and Aereo, a startup that streams television over the Internet, as the last step in a case that could have far reaching implications for the future of online TV services.
The TV networks and broadcasters asked the Supreme Court to take the case after a federal court in New York ruled last year that Aereo’s service wasn’t breaking copyright law.
Aereo allows subscribers access to over-the-air TV signals via the Internet. It installs arrays of tiny, coin-sized antennas in major cities and offers its service to viewers who live within the already established transmission area.
Broadcasters say it infringes on their copyright because it’s redistributing their programming without permission, but Aereo disagrees.
Unlike cable television, which uses a single receiver per TV station and redistributes the signal to subscribers, Aereo gives each subscriber their own receiver and antenna. In that way, argues Aereo, there is no redistribution: only reception via a private antenna and tuner as already happens in people’s homes. The only difference is that the receiver and antenna are in a distant location connected via the Internet.
Writing on his company’s blog, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said he welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court and positioned the case as something that would be important “to the entire cloud computing and cloud storage industry.”
“We believe that consumers have a right to use an antenna to access over-the-air television and to make personal recordings of those broadcasts. The broadcasters are asking the Court to deny consumers the ability to usethe cloud to access a more modern-day television antenna and DVR. If the broadcasters succeed, the consequences to consumers and the cloud industry are chilling,” he wrote.
At present, Aereo is available in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Baltimore. It has plans to expand its US$8-per-month service to additional cities in 2014. The video recording service is available for an additional $4 per month.
The case is being fought as television in the U.S. is increasingly moving online. At present, that move is taking place largely through on-demand services such as Hulu, Netflix and websites and apps run by the broadcasters themselves.
No major U.S. broadcast TV networks stream their programming online, as is common in many other countries.
The site was shut down in August 2012 by Ukrainian authorities following a difficult time in which a DDoS attack temporarily pushed it off the internet.
“Investigators have copied all the information from the servers Demonoid and sealed them,” said an anonymous source from hoster Colocall at the time.
“Some equipment was not seized, but now it does not work, and we were forced to terminate the agreement with the site.”
It was news site Torrentfreak that reported the shutdown, and it is on the same site that we read about its phoenix like return.
Torrentfreak says that this URL http://inferno.demonoid.com:3396/announce has gone live and is in the process of collating some 388,321 torrent files from over one million peers.
“This means that Demonoid has instantly settled itself among the five largest BitTorrent trackers on the Internet,” it adds.
There is no official comment, yet, and Torrentfreak has linked this site to the old one because it shares the same domain. It does, however, appear to be hosted in Sweden.
The old Demonoid was hosted in the Ukraine and was not shut down for breaking any local laws, we are given to understand.
Rather it was wiped from local servers in the preparation for the country’s deputy prime minister Valery Khoroshkovsky’s first trip to the United States.
The old Demonoid “We are closed” page, is still live and still asking for Bitcoins. “Coming back soon, please check back later,” it says. “Thanks for your visit!!”
Responses to the relaunch mostly fall in the skeptical camp.
The website is reacting to pressures from rights holders. It is very unpopular among media firms and in the UK, at least, most ISPs are blocking access to it and some other websites like it.
The Pirate Bay has made a number of changes already, most recently having to do with its domain name and address, and it has also been working behind the scenes on a system that makes the website and its Bittorrent links available to users.
“The goal is to create a browser-like client to circumvent censorship, including domain blocking, domain confiscation, IP-blocking. This will be accomplished by sharing all of a site’s indexed data as P2P downloadable packages, that are then browsed/rendered locally,” said a Pirate Bay insider to the Torrentfreak website.
“It’s basically a browser-like app that uses webkit to render pages, Bittorrent to download the content while storing everything locally.”
The Pirate Bay already has its own web browser and that has acquired some 2.5 million users. Released on the 10-year anniversary of the filesharing website, it promised a TOR-based browser bundle. Again, as now, that was pitched as a solution for security and content aware web users.
“Piratebrowser is a bundle package of the TOR client (Vidalia), Firefox Portable browser (with foxyproxy addon) and some custom configs that allows you to circumvent censorship that certain countries such as Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland impose onto their citizens,” it explained.
“While it uses TOR network, which is designed for anonymous surfing, this browser is intended just to circumvent censorship – to remove limits on accessing websites your government doesn’t want you to know about.”
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Tuesday it would allow a U.S. ban to become effective at midnight on importing or selling mobile devices manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd that infringe on Apple Inc patents.
The decision is the latest step in a patent battle between the two companies that has spread across several countries as Apple and Samsung vie for market share in the lucrative mobile industry. Samsung and Apple are the No. 1 and No. 2 smartphone makers globally, respectively.
The U.S. International Trade Commission said on August 9 that some older smartphones and tablets made by South Korea’s Samsung infringed on Apple patents. It banned the importation or sale of the devices.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman could have overturned the ban – as he did on August 3 in a case where Apple was found to have infringed on a Samsung patent – but did not.
“After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow the commission’s determination,” Froman said in a statement.
Apple had filed a complaint in mid-2011, accusing Samsung of infringing its patents in making a wide range of smartphones and tablets.
The ITC ruled that the Samsung devices infringed on portions of two Apple patents on digital mobile devices, related to the detection of headphone jacks and the operation of touchscreens.
Samsung has said its newer models incorporate features that work around disputed technology, and that those changes have been approved by the ITC.
In the August case, when the USTR overturned a proposed ban on some older-model Apple iPhones and iPads, the patents covered were standard essential patents, while the patents covered by Tuesday’s decision were not.
Standard essential patents are central to the products at issue and are supposed to be licensed broadly and inexpensively. U.S. antitrust authorities have argued that infringing on them should trigger requirements for license payments but not import or sales bans.
Eastman Kodak might get itself out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and return to trading.
The company said that it will seek court approval for a $406 million rights offering that could give creditors a big equity stake in the company after it emerges from protection. Kodak said creditors agreed to backstop an offering that would let the iconic company issue 34 million common shares at $11.94 each, equal to about 85 percent of the equity of a reorganized company.
Kodak Chief Executive Antonio Perez said: “This agreement, which serves as a critical component of the capital structure for the emerging Kodak, positions us to comprehensively settle our obligations with our various key creditor constituencies.”
Kodak has said it wants to emerge from Chapter 11 in the third quarter of this year.
Proceeds from the rights offering would go to repay various creditors, including more junior second-lien creditors who would no longer receive equity in the reorganised company. Kodak sought protection from creditors in January 2012 amid high pension costs, and after falling many years behind rivals in embracing digital technology in its photography business.
The company has been selling off its assets and plans to emerge from Chapter 11 as a commercial imaging business.
Google said in August last year that it was adding the number of valid copyright removal notices received for a website as one of more than 200 signals the company uses in its rankings.
“Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results,” Google said in the blog post. The ranking change would help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily, it added.
Six months later, the RIAA has found no evidence that Google’s policy had a “demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy,” it said in a statement on Thursday, while releasing a ”report card” on Google’s demotion policy.
“The sites we analyzed, all of which were serial infringers per Google’s Copyright Transparency Report, were not demoted in any significant way in the search results and still managed to appear on page 1 of the search results over 98% of the time in the searches conducted,” RIAA said in the report.
The websites also figured consistently in three to five of the top 10 search results, which is of concern as studies have shown that about 94 percent of users do not go beyond the first page of results, RIAA said.
Reputed and authorized download sites, such as iTunes, Amazon.com and eMusic, only appeared in the top 10 results for a little more than half of the searches, according to the study. For 88% of searches for MP3 files and downloads of popular tracks, Google’s auto-complete feature suggested appending to the searches certain terms which are associated with sites for which it has received multiple notices of infringement, thus leading to illegal content, according to the study.
Google did not immediately comment.
Fox Broadcasting Co has requested a federal judge to stop Dish Network Corp from letting customers who use Dish’s controversial Hopper digital video recording device watch Fox programs on tablets and smartphones.
Fox, a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, asked U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles to issue a preliminary injunction against Dish.
If granted, the injunction would also stop Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite TV company, from re-transmitting live programs to computers and mobile devices via the latest Hopper set-top box.
The second version of the Hopper DVR with these new features became available to Dish’s 14 million subscribers on February 11.
“With its latest motion, Fox continues its war against how Americans watch TV,” Dish spokesman John Hall said in an emailed statement on Friday. “Dish has long argued consumers have the right to privately watch shows anywhere, anytime, and it looks forward to continuing its fight.”
The Hopper has been controversial because its “AutoHop” feature lets subscribers skip commercials on recorded programs, including prime-time shows from Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC.
Fox lost an attempt last November to block the Dish AutoHop feature, but is currently appealing that ruling by Gee to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Networks have said the feature violates copyright law and can cut into their revenue from advertisers, who fear some subscribers will fast-forward over their advertisements.
Now Fox is also fighting back against a new service from Dish – an on-the-go app that lets subscribers transfer programs to devices such as Apple iPads, making viewing possible in places lacking Internet access, such as planes and subway stations.
According to Fox, such services breached Dish’s license agreement with Fox, and Dish’s Internet re-transmission service infringed Fox’s copyrights.
Apple’s offer, disclosed in a filing to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison, comes five days before a trial is due to begin that centers on the issue of patent licensing.
During the trial, the two companies are expected to argue over licensing rates.
The patents in question are considered vital to the UMTS, GPRS, GSM and 802.11 standards in which they are used, so Motorola Mobility is required to license them to competitors on “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms,” often referred to by the acronym FRAND.
Motorola Mobility is arguing for a royalty payment of 2.25 percent on each device.
“Apple would be willing to pay a Court-ordered FRAND rate of less than or equal to $1 per covered product on the going-forward basis,” it said in the filing. “This is the rate that Apple believes is appropriate in these circumstances for Motorola’s portfolio of cellular and WiFi essential patents.”
Apple said that if the court orders it to pay a rate higher than $1 per device, it would pursue all possible appeals.
Apple said if it had to pay the Motorola Mobility rate, the total cost over several years would be larger than the $12.5 billion acquisition cost paid by Google, which bought Motorola Mobility in May.
The project aims to bring heterogeneous computing capabilities to Java for servers and clouds. It will look at how the Java virtual machine, language and APIs, can be spruced up to allow applications to take advantage of GPU acceleration, either in discrete graphics cards or in high-performance graphics processor cores such as those found in AMD APUs.
Manju Hegde, corporate vice president heterogeneous applications and developer solutions at AMD said that the OpenJDK Project represents the next step towards bringing heterogeneous computing to millions of Java developers. AMD has an established track record of collaboration with open-software development communities from OpenCL to the heterogeneous system architecture (HSA) foundation, and with this initiative we will help further the development of graphics acceleration within the Java community, he said.
Japan will enforce anti-’piracy’ laws that criminalize illegally downloading media files.
The penalties see downloaders running the risk of a two year stay in prison and a fine of up to about $25K, according to a BBC report.
The BBC reports that the enforcement proposal follows a lobbying campaign by the Japanese music industry, adding that the penalties could apply even if someone has downloaded only a single file. The laws were passed two years ago, but so far have not been implemented.
Local rightsholders will be hoping that from now on the criminal penalties will be enforced, and in spades. They are the kind of sanctions that rightsholders dream of and are much stricter than the three-strikes policy in the US.
Anyone caught uploading is also treated more sternly, and could be jailed for as long as ten years.
Japan has a large market for media material, and its government apparently is bowing to protect the interests of rightsholders.
This past Summer the Japanese government ratified the draconian Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), despite it being rejected elsewhere.
A California jury may have granted Apple more than US$1 billion in damages in late August when it defeated Samsung in a hard-fought case over smartphone and tablet patents, but the iPhone maker is coming back for more: late last Friday it asked for additional damages of $707 million.
The request includes an enhanced award of $535 million for willful violation of Apple’s designs and patents, as well as about $172 million in supplemental damages based on the fact that the original damages were calculated on Samsung’s sales through June 30. Apple wants the supplemental amount to cover the period from July 1 through the date when the case is resolved, which it estimated as December 31, 2012.
In its filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Apple also said that if the court decides to review the damage award based on a challenge from Samsung, it also wants an additional $155.8 million for five infringing products where the jury awarded less than the minimum amount calculated by Samsung’s damages expert.
Apple also wants either a new trial or amended judgments finding that the iPad and iPad2 design is protected and is infringed by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, and that a wide range of Samsung phones infringe on Apple patents or trade dress.