Intellectual property

Tesla faces new trademark troubles in China

A Chinese man who owns trademarks and a domain name for Tesla in China is suing to shut down the company across the country unless it pays him. Given China’s unpredictable IP system, anything could happen.

Rackspace helps school Congress on copyright and open source

Rackspace VP of Intellectual Property Van Lindberg was one of six tech-industry executives testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about intellectual property on Thursday. He highlighted the value of open source and the sometimes ridiculous nature of DMCA takedown requests.

Study: Trolls account for 40 percent of patent lawsuits

A study of 500 patent lawsuits found that those brought by patent trolls, which the study’s authors call “monetizers,” account for nearly 40 percent of the cases brought in 2011. Of course, their study doesn’t account for the untold thousands that never make it to court.

Will 3-D printing lead to a new wave of piracy?

It’s becoming ever easier to copy and share not just computer files but physical objects too. An Economist article reports that the technology could inaugurate a technological revolution — but also give rise to massive new piracy problems.

Apple plays with fire in Chinese trademark stick-up

The problem with paying a ransom is that the hostage takers can come back for more — as Apple can now attest. The company paid $60 million to settle a spurious trademark suit in China only to be confronted with another claim as fishy as the first.

Chinese iPad trademark costs Apple $60m

Apple has ended a long-running trademark dispute in China by agreeing to pay $60 million to use the iPad brand name in the country. But will its settlement open the door to a sequence of ransom demands from trademark squatters?

The White House wants your advice on fighting piracy

Having learned a lesson from the backlash its peers in Congress endured recently, the White House is trying, presumably, to develop an anti-piracy strategy that’s actually sane. On Monday, it announced an open call for comments on a new IP strategy.

Meet the mobile patent kings: Samsung and Nokia

Google, Apple and Samsung get all of the attention in the mobile patent wars, but only one of them is a true powerhouse in terms of mobile intellectual property. Samsung, along with Nokia, lead the overall mobile patent portfolio rankings, according to a new study.

It’s imperfect, but CISPA isn’t the devil in disguise

The EFF and Anonymous might have overblown the ramifications of the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 — calling it SOPA 2.0 — but that doesn’t mean the bill is well-written. However, strong support means it might be hard to stop.

If Congress wants jobs, it can’t want SOPA

SOPA and PIPA supporters still have faith in their shelved bills, citing the jobs they’ll save as making the bills worthy of salvage. However, the Internet economy is a potential job creator the likes of which Hollywood — already its own worst enemy — could ever be.

ITC says Motorola’s Android devices infringe on a Microsoft patent

One day after the International Trade Commission approved a formal ban on certain HTC products that infringe on an Apple patent, an ITC administrative law judge has issued an initial determination that Motorola has infringed on four claims of a Microsoft patent with its Android products.

How Europe is giving the U.S. a lesson in Internet due process

Last week, a European court struck down a rule forcing a Belgian ISP to monitor traffic for copyright infringement. Experts believe the decision could help rein in the spread of SOPA-like laws throughout Europe. So why is the U.S. rushing headling into deeply flawed legislation?

With friends like the DMCA, who needs SOPA?

The proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, garners a lot of hatred from commentators and the Internet industry as whole, but it’s only the next logical step after the problematic Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the safe harbor of which is more like a plea bargain.

No, a copyright case didn’t spur cloud investment

According to a Harvard Business School professor, cloud startups can thank a copyright law decision for increased funding in the past few years. The case’s timing certainly aligns with an uptick in cloud funding, but it’s tough to see how the two are related.

Samsung shows lack of confidence in Google

Samsung on Wednesday became the latest and most high-profile Android licensee to agree to pay royalties to Redmond. But the deal may not be so much “extortion” — as Google quickly labeled it — as Samsung’s lack of trust and confidence in Google.

Wanna be a mobile player? Get ready to spend on IP

Patent acquisitions and litigation dominated the wireless industry in 2011, and it looks like we should expect more of the same going forward. If anything, experts seem to think it’s only going to get worse for anyone wanting to be taken seriously as a mobile player.

The (patent) fear factor in the Motorola-Google deal

New details about Google’s $12.5 billion bid for Motorola have surfaced showing that Google was eager to buy Motorola. But why? One observer believes it was because Motorola was threatening Google with a number of dire consequences to Android if Google didn’t buy up the manufacturer.

Apple files countersuit against Samsung in the UK

Apple has fired back against Samsung in the UK, where the Korean company originally filed suit against the iPhone maker in June. In a new countersuit, Apple argues that Samsung’s Android tablets and smartphones infringe on its iPhone and iPad designs, not the other way around.

Google inches closer to patent showdown with Apple

Google is apparently putting its new Motorola patents to work, transferring some of them to HTC, who has turned around and sued Apple for patent infringement. The move by HTC escalates the fighting between the Apple and HTC and marks a more aggressive stance by Google.

More legal trouble for Apple with WiLAN patent claim

It seems Apple can’t even go a full week without being targeted with a new patent violation claim. Friday, patent-holding firm WiLAN announced that it had begun the process of litigation against Apple, as well as Dell, HP and others related to patents around wireless tech.

Samsung tablet launch delayed again in Australia

Apple scored another victory in its battle with Samsung in Australia, as the South Korean company agreed to a further delay of the launch of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android-powered tablet. The tablet now won’t go on sale in Australia until Sept. 29 at the earliest.

Zynga hit with another patent lawsuit

Social gaming giant Zynga is the subject of a new patent infringement lawsuit, the latest in a string of such claims. Now that Zynga is under a microscope as it moves toward an IPO, will its legal troubles be too much for potential investors to handle?

Have a look at the most expensive mobile patent deals

Google’s $12.5 billion bid for Motorola is about a lot of things, but one of the biggest assets in the deal is Motorola’s patent portfolio. UBS has put together a chart looking at some of the biggest patent-related deals recently and how much they’re worth.

Ubuntu’s Shuttleworth: patents misunderstood, misused, outdated

The escalating patent battle provides a moment to reflect on how the implementation of patents have strayed from their intended use. Mark Shuttleworth, who leads the Ubuntu Foundation, had some thoughts on the matter, saying that patents are misunderstood, misused and are outdated in many ways.

Google lashes out at patent rivals, pledges to defend Android

I recently wrote that Google had passed on an opportunity to signal a stronger defense of Android during its earnings call. Today, Google reiterated its plans to defend Android and let loose a broadside attack against competitors who are targeting the operating system with patent suits.

HTC wants to talk, but will Apple listen?

HTC said it’s open to negotiating with Apple to settle a pitched patent fight between the two companies, but it’s unclear how willing Apple is to talk and how much HTC can extract from negotiations. My guess: Apple’s not in a cooperative mood.

What should Apple do with all that cash?

Apple put away $10.4 billion in cash during the most recent quarter, bringing its total cash and securities to $76.2 billion. Apple is extremely conservative about what it does with its money, which has become a little controversial. Here’s what people are saying.

Apple wins initial patent victory against HTC

The ITC has ruled that Android manufacturer HTC has infringed on two Apple patents, handing the iPhone maker an early victory that could have large implications on HTC’s business in the U.S. and potential impacts on the overall Android platform. HTC is appealing.

Google passes on chance to signal stronger Android patent defense

Google CEO Larry Page addressed a question about what Google’s plans regarding Android’s patent situation, but generally side-stepped the query, pointing to Android’s momentum before finishing with a modest commitment to the platform. It seems like a missed opportunity to signal support to manufacturers and developers.

Apple keeps the pressure on HTC with new patent complaint

Apple is ratcheting up its patent war against HTC, filing a new complaint with the ITC seeking the ban of “personal electronic devices.” The filing comes after an initial complaint lodged against HTC last year and a similar case filed last week by Apple against Samsung.

Samsung asks ITC to ban the import of Apple devices

The back-and-forth in the patent dispute between Samsung and Apple continues, with Samsung filing a request for a U.S. import ban against the iPhone, iPad and iPod. The complaint was filed with the ITC on Tuesday and will almost certainly provoke a response in kind.

Apple raises the stakes in patent battle with Samsung

Apple has amended its existing complaint against Samsung over intellectual property rights violations, removing a few infringement claims, but adding many more. The Mac-maker also clarified language in an attempt to deflect Samsung’s recent request to see unreleased iPhone and iPad hardware related to the case.

iOS Devs Using In-App Purchases Urged to Play Nice

The best course of action for iOS developers faced with patent infringement suit threats issued by patent holding firm Lodsys earlier this month might be to play nice with licensing requests, according to one intellectual property researcher. It might be the only affordable course of action.

Spaniard Turns Tables on Nintendo Over Piracy Claims

Spanish shopkeeper Alejandro Fernandez is on trial amid accusations that he is aiding piracy by selling jailbreak cartridges for Nintendo devices. But he’s trying to fight back by leading a legal action against the Japanese games giant that accuses it of breaking European law.

Chinese Gear Makers Huawei, ZTE Locked in IP Showdown

In a surprise attack against a fellow Chinese telecom, Huawei filed patent suits against ZTE in Germany, France and Hungary. The move isn’t just an attack on a rival, but a signal to the rest of the telecom world that Huawei plans to be a player.

Europe Bans PS3 Imports, But Who Wins in Patent Wars?

Europe has halted shipments of PlayStation 3 game consoles as Sony battles with rival LG over intellectual property associated with Blu-Ray. It’s the latest salvo in a growing patent war that’s spreading across the technology industry — and the only real losers are customers.


Who Owns Android’s Future? Google — Or Apple?

Google’s upstart smartphone OS has taken the industry by storm. Sure, Android isn’t the biggest phone platform, but with 60,000 handsets shipping daily, it’s become a force to be reckoned with. Want proof? A sure sign of success for a product is the point when competitors come after it, and Android definitely has a target on its back. Apple fired the first shot with its patent infringement law suit against HTC, and Microsoft recently has indicated it believes Android is stepping on its intellectual property. Google had better be preparing a strategy to defend against these and future claims.

Where to Watch Facebook’s f8 Live Online

Starting with Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT, Facebook will launch f8 Live, which will stream all sessions from the conference live on the Interwebz, along with a number of interactive features that are designed to let those who can’t attend feel like they are a part of the action.

Daily Sprout

Calling Dibs on Cleantech: “Just as the rise of the Internet spawned battles over technology rights and patents, the clean tech revolution…


Fan Films: A Way to Turn Passion into Profit

For most folks, the idea of dressing up as Star Wars’ Boba Fett is silly. Even sillier is the notion of going out in public dressed as Boba Fett and being videotaped as you “battle” your friends… who just happen to be dressed like Stormtroopers. But, what’s silly to some is a passion for others, and making “fan films” is a passion for many aspiring filmmakers today. While these projects could easily be dismissed as a nerd’s folly — they might be an untapped resource for Hollywood studios to maintain and generate buzz for a film franchise.

Hillcrest Labs: Nintendo's Wii Infringing Our Patents

Hillcrest Labs, a Rockville, Mnd.-based startup, says it has filed complaints for patent infringement against Nintendo, related to the Wii video game system. The company claims that many consumer electronics companies (not disclosed publicly) have licensed Hillcrest’s technologies.