Apple was slammed by privacy experts protested the use of a universal device identifier, or UDID, to track the online preferences of iPhone and iPad users. This made it a perfect target for hackers who broke into digital media firm Bluetoad and made off with close to a million device IDs.
It looks like Apple remains addicted to tracking its users. According to Naked Security iOS 6 has a new tracking system called IDFA, or identifier for advertisers. Like the UDID, the IDFA uniquely identifies your Apple device and any websites that you browse with your iPhone or iPad device can request the IDFA.
While UDID could be tracked to users the IDFA can’t be traced back to individuals, it merely links a pattern of online behaviour with a specific device. In other words, it knows all about you, just not your name.
Fortunately it can be disabled from within iOS, though Apple leaves it enabled, by default and hopes no one will notice. The IDFA acts like a persistent cookie on the phone: allowing advertisers to track user surfing behaviour on their phone and record interactions up to and including purchases or downloads.
Michael Oiknine, the CEO of mobile application analytics firm Apsalar said that IDFA offered many advantages over the discredited UDID. For a start the IDFA is reset when the device, itself, is reset. That will prevent user data from being corrupted when they sell or transfer their phone to a new owner, Oiknine said.
What is a little alarming is that IDFA stands a good chance of being adopted universally, clearing up confusion created by competing standards like OpenUDID and ODIN.
A U.S. court lifted a temporary sales ban against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 granted to Apple Inc in a patent dispute, allowing the South Korean company to sell the product in the United States.
While the Galaxy 10.1 is an older model, the lifting of the ban could still help Samsung in the run-up to the pivotal holiday shopping season.
“We are pleased with the court’s action today, which vindicates our position that there was no infringement of Apple’s design patent and that an injunction was not called for,” Samsung said in a statement.
Separately, Samsung filed a motion against Apple saying the iPhone 5 had infringed on some of the company’s patents.
The world’s top two smartphone makers are locked in patent disputes in 10 countries as they vie to dominate the lucrative market.
The legal fight began last year when Apple sued Samsung in multiple countries, and Samsung countersued.
The injunction on the Galaxy tablet had been put in place ahead of a month-long trial that pitted the iPhone maker against Samsung in a closely watched legal battle that ended in August with a victory for Apple on many of its patent violation claims.
However, the jury found that Samsung had not violated the patent that was the basis for the tablet injunction and Samsung argued the sales ban should be lifted.
The sole basis for the preliminary injunction no longer exists since the jury found that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab had not violated Apple’s D 889 patent.
“The court does not agree with Apple that Samsung’s motion for dissolution of the June 26 preliminary injunction cannot be fairly decided without resolving Apple’s post-trial motions,” Judge Lucy Koh said in her ruling.
Apple won a preliminary sales ban on Motorola mobile phones and tablets in Germany on Thursday when the regional court of Munich ruled that Motorola infringes on a touchscreen-related patent, a spokeswoman for the court said.
Apple sued Google-owned Motorola Mobility for infringing on its “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touchscreen display” patent, said Stefanie Ruhwinkel, spokeswoman for the Munich court. The patent is also known as the “overscroll bounce” or “rubber band” patent and allows pages, documents or photos on touchscreen devices to scroll past their boundaries and bounce back when users release their fingers from the screen.
The Munich court ruled that Motorola Mobility infringes on the patent with its smartphones and tablet computers, said Ruhwinkel. Infringing devices include the Motorola Milestone XT720, the Motorola DEFY, the Motorola Atrix and Motorola XOOM, which all use the Android OS.
Motorola is not allowed to use the patent in Germany, said Ruhwinkel, “so you could call it a sales ban.”
Besides an injunction, Apple also demanded that Motorola disclose its sales figures in the German market so the damages of the infringement could be calculated. It also demanded a recall of all the infringing products from the distribution channel and that devices be destroyed. All of Apple’s demands were “granted in full” by the court, said Ruhwinkel.
The verdict, however, is not yet final. The judge granted Apple a preliminary injunction. Apple could enforce the injunction if it posts a bond of US$32 million, if Motorola Mobility decides not to appeal the verdict or if the appeals court confirms the verdict, said Ruhwinkel.
A U.S. judge on Tuesday sided with Apple’s request to stop Samsung Electronics selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the United States, giving the iPhone maker a huge victory in the global smartphone and tablet patent wars.
Samsung’s Galaxy touchscreen tablets, powered by Google’s Android operating system, are considered by many industry experts to be the main rival to the iPad, though they are currently a distant second to Apple’s device. Microsoft and Google are also preparing tablet offerings.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, had previously denied Apple’s bid for an injunction on the tablet and multiple Galaxy smartphones. However, a federal appeals court instructed Koh to reconsider Apple’s request on the tablet.
“Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products,” Koh wrote on Tuesday, adding the order should become effective once Apple posts a $2.6 million bond to protect against damages suffered by Samsung if the injunction is later found to have been wrong.
Apple has waged an international patent war since 2010 as it seeks to limit the growth of Google’s Android system, the world’s best-selling mobile operating platform. A decisive injunction in one of the U.S. legal cases could strengthen Apple’s hand in negotiating cross-licensing deals, where firms agree to let each other use their patented technologies.
Opponents of Apple say the iPhone and iPad maker is using patents too aggressively in its bid to stamp out competition.
The injunction against Samsung comes less than a week after Apple suffered a serious setback when a federal judge in Chicago dismissed its patent claims against Google’s Motorola Mobility unit. Judge Richard Posner ruled that an injunction barring the sale of Motorola smartphones would harm consumers.
The manufacturer of a new digital video recorder that allows viewers to skip television commercials at the touch of a button has asked a federal judge to let it sell the product, in a challenge to broadcast TV networks that are vehemently opposing the technology.
Dish Network Corp on Thursday asked for a court order that its “Auto Hop” feature does not infringe any copyright owned by the four major U.S. television networks: Walt Disney Co’s ABC, CBS Corp’s CBS, News Corp’s Fox and Comcast Corp’s NBC.
It filed its request with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Apple devices using touch technology infringe on a patent owned by the Pennsylvanian company FlatWorld Interactives, the company stated in court documents filed on last Friday. FlatWorld asked for a permanent injunction that Apple stop infringing, and for sufficient compensation for the infringements, the company’s attorneys said.
The Pennsylvanian designer of touchscreen systems for use in museum displays alleged that Apple knowingly infringed on its patent, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said. The infringing products are said to include the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad.
FlatWorld said Apple’s infringement has been on a massive scale and has caused it irreparable harm. The company demanded a permanent injunction enjoining Apple from continued infringement plus an unspecified amount of damages to compensate for Apple’s infringement. The company is seeking a jury trial.
FlatWorld was founded in January 2007 by Slavko Milekic, a professor in cognitive science and digital design at the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania, in order to commercialize his touch screen patent, the filing said.
Milekic filed a provisional patent application on August 28, 1997, claiming priority from that date in his definitive patent application, according to the court documents. He applied for his patent on June 12, 1998 and was granted it as U.S. patent 6,920,619 on July 19 2005, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple received a notification about the original patent and the reissue application in September 2007, shortly after the first iPhone went on sale in the U.S. at the end of June 2007, FlatWorld’s attorneys noted in the court filing. The filing also revealed that FlatWorld believes that Apple first started developing touch screen technology for the iPhone in 2005.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the camera firm is alleging infringement of four patents by both companies as well as a fifth by HTC. It also filed a related complaint against both companies with the US International Trade Commission (ITC).
Kodak said it obtained its patents because it decided that people would like to easily share pictures from their digital cameras before putting them on their PCs.
It claimed Apple and HTC are infringing the patents by selling and importing mobile camera phones, tablets and other devices. The federal lawsuits were filed in Kodak’s home town of Rochester, New York.
The firm wants to stop Apple and HTC from selling products such as the Iphone and Ipad and is seeking compensatory and triple damages.
Kodak also has patent litigation ongoing against RIM, and legal proceedings have been taking place for more than a year.
On Tuesday, Kodak announced a business restructuring, creating a new unit with a focus on consumer digital products.
We have contacted the companies involved for comment.
Corbyn Alvey, 21, a security guard from Magna, was the only one of the 12 jurors to find that there was not enough evidence to support Novell’s antitrust claims. Alvey said he believed that Microsoft committed anti-competitive acts, but said he did not see enough evidence to convince him that Novell was substantially damaged by this. He also told KSL that while the other 11 jurors decided to find for Novell, they did not share the same reasoning for that verdict.
The lawyers for both sides are now negotiating a possible settlement to avoid the case going to trial again, which could drag it out for another few months and might also fail to return a unanimous verdict.
Alvey’s refusal to give into pressure from the other jurors makes him a god-send to Microsoft, as it would have been a definite loss for the Redmond-based company otherwise. This will likely affect the negotiations, as Novell’s team will undoubtedly claim that it will win a retrial, while Microsoft can always claim that it has its own supporters and the case could go on for years. Microsoft is also attempting to have the case dismissed altogether.
The lawsuit centres on Microsoft’s dismissal of Novell’s Wordperfect word processor software for Windows 95 for alleged incompatibility. Novell claims that Microsoft misled it and dropped support for its product to push its own software, Microsoft Word, and that it acted in an anticompetitive manner to do so, costing the company over $1bn in lost sales.
“I walk away feeling honestly myself, and I can’t speak for the other jurors, that I made the right decision even if it resulted in a hung jury,” said Alvey, according to the Associated Press. “There were so many inferences that needed to be drawn that I felt that it was unfair to Microsoft to go out on a limb and say, ‘yes.’”
Cequint, which cites many smartphone makers including HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Research in Motion and Samsung on its books, has sued Apple alleging it has infringed Cequint’s caller-ID patents. Cequint is seeking unspecified damages and a court order to stop Apple from using what it claims are its inventions.
According to the firm’s lawyers, “Cequint has been damaged by Apple’s infringement” and “the firm will be irreparably harmed” unless a judge stops Apple in its tracks.
Judging by Cequint’s client list, it seems that a number of big firms do license its software. Samsung, one of the firms Apple is battling against in various courts all over the world, gives a testimonial on Cequint’s web site and one wonders if the Korean company will be only too happy to give supporting statements in court to create a roadblock for Apple.
The fact that Cequint waited over four years since the debut of Apple’s Iphone to slap this lawsuit on the firm shows just how hot the market for intellectual property litigation is at the moment. It is highly unlikely that Apple will have to remove caller-ID functions in its Iphones, rather Cequint’s move is more likely to force an endgame to its negotiations with Apple leading to a patent royalties deal.
A German court on Friday ruled that Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices infringe a Motorola patent and issued an injunction halting sales of the products in Germany, in the latest move in a long series of legal battles between the two firms.
However, Apple can appeal the ruling, requesting a stay of the injunction in the meantime, according to Florian Mueller, who has been closely following patent lawsuits in the mobile industry. Mueller is a patent expert who sometimes does consulting work for technology companies.
Apple did not reply to a request for comment regarding its next move.
Should Apple make the appeal but the court decline the stay, Motorola must post a 100 million ($134 million) bond before the court will enforce the injunction, Mueller said. He posted the ruling, issued in German, on his blog.
The Mannheim Regional Court also ruled that Motorola is entitled to a damages award. The ruling is against Apple’s European sales company and only impacts products sold in Germany.
This battle — one of several ongoing between the companies around the world — is over a Motorola patent that is essential to GPRS, a radio communication standard, Motorola said. It has been negotiating with Apple since 2007 over a license to the technology, it said. “We will continue our efforts to resolve our patent dispute as soon as practicable,” Motorola said in a statement.
The injunction follows a preliminary injunction issued against Apple Inc., the U.S. parent company, by the same court last month related to the GPRS patent and another. That judgment is scheduled to be reviewed by the German court in February, Mueller said.
The district court in Mannheim, Germany, made a default judgment in Motorola’s favor after Apple failed to appear in court, a spokesman at the Landgericht Mannheim said.
The verdict didn’t mention any Apple products by name, but said that the company can’t offer any mobile devices that infringe on two Motorola patents related to wireless technology, which makes the iPhone and iPad the most likely to be affected. If Apple does not respect the judgment, it may have to pay a 250,000, the court ruled.
Apple is not worried by the decision: “This is a procedural issue and has nothing to do with the merits of the case. It does not affect our ability to sell products or do business in Germany at this time,” a company spokesman said via email.
Vodafone Germany, which on Monday had banners for the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 on its website, expects the verdict will have no impact on its sales activites. The judgment refers to Apple Inc., the U.S. parent company, and not to the European subsidiary responsible for delivery of products in Germany, a Vodafone spokesman said via email.
A default judgement was handed down by the judge because representatives for Apple didn’t turn up, and Apple will now have to appeal the verdict if the company doesn’t agree with it, the spokesman at the court said.
Apple didn’t comment on what its next legal move will be.
Apple attempted to trademark ‘multi-touch’, describing it as: “A new technology called multi-touch, which responds to multiple inputs by multiple fingers – even multiple users – at the same time.” However the USPTO decided that Apple’s case for trademarking ‘multi-touch’ did not have merit, denying the firm’s application.
Apple appealed that decision with the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which reached the same conclusion. Effectively the board said that Apple’s declaration of ‘multi-touch’ did not meet the standard of “acquired distinctiveness” in order to issue a trademark.
It seems that Apple’s crack legal team, the same one that is trying to do a number on Samsung, perhaps filed the wrong evidence, deciding to concentrate on the Iphone rather than ‘multi-touch’.
The USPTO wrote: “Applicant’s evidence for the most part consists of Internet and Nexis articles, as well as applicant’s webpages, describing the Iphone product. This evidence establishes that the Iphone is a very successful product that has generated much interest among potential purchasers. However, as the examining attorney correctly pointed out, the applied-for mark is not Iphone, it is multi-touch. Thus, applicant’s evidence pertaining to the success, sales volumes and, to a limited extent, advertising expenditures of the Iphone, is not helpful in establishing that the purchasing public associates the term multi-touch with applicant.”
Apple used a number of web articles to make its case, and it did make a case, just the wrong case. The board seemingly was convinced that the Iphone is a popular device, something that could have been proven without hiring $300 per hour lawyers.
The USPTO ruling means that other device manufacturers can use the term ‘multi-touch’ to describe multi-finger input in marketing materials without having to pay royalties to Apple. Perhaps even more importantly, the ruling shows that the USPTO doesn’t always rubber-stamp vague ideas or general terms.
“The requested injunction of certain Samsung products will harm Verizon Wireless and U.S. consumers,” Verizon said in a court filing dated September 23.
“It also has the possibility of slowing the deployment of next-generation networks — such as Verizon Wireless’s — contrary to the stated goals of the U.S. government,” it said.
Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Plc.
Apple and Samsung have been locked in an acrimonious global battle over smartphone and tablet patents since April. Last month Apple won a symbolic legal victory when a German court upheld a ban on Samsung’s local unit selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablets in Europe’s biggest economy.
The proposed class action, filed in a Seattle federal court on Wednesday, states Microsoft intentionally designed camera software on the Windows Phone 7 operating system to ignore customer requests that they not be tracked.
A Microsoft representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
The lawsuit comes after concerns surfaced earlier this year that Apple’s iPhones collected location data and stored it for up to a year, even when location software was supposedly turned off. Apple issued a patch to fix the problem.
However, the revelation prompted renewed scrutiny of the nexus between location and privacy. At a hearing in May, U.S. lawmakers accused the tech industry of exploiting location data for marketing purposes — a potentially multibillion-dollar industry — without getting proper consent from millions of Americans.
The lawsuit against Microsoft cites a letter the company sent to Congress, in which Microsoft said it only collects geolocation data with the express consent of the user.
“Microsoft’s representations to Congress were false,” the lawsuit says.
The litigation, brought on behalf of a Windows Phone 7 user, claims Microsoft transmits data — including approximate latitude and longitude coordinates of the user’s device — while the camera application is activated. It seeks an injunction and punitive damages, among other remedies.
Apple, the maker of the highly popular iPhones and iPad tablets, filed a trademark lawsuit alleging that Amazon has improperly used Apple’s App Store name to solicit software developers throughout the United States.
Apple also asked a federal judge in Oakland, Calif. for a preliminary injunction to bar Amazon from using the name, which Apple says is trademark protected. However, Amazon argued that the term is generic and, therefore, not subjected to such protection.
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton did not agree that the term is purely generic, according to an order released on Wednesday. However Apple has not established “a likelihood of confusion” with Amazon’s services to get an injunction, Hamilton wrote.
On Wednesday Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet referred to the company’s prior statements, which said Apple asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will “confuse and mislead customers.”
An Amazon representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
In an earlier ruling on Wednesday, Hamilton set a trial date for October 2012.