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Posts tagged patent

Amazon patents scheduled recurring deliveries
February 10, 2013 | 5:02 pm

Amazon Fresh truck Seattle deliveryA few days ago I brought up a patent Amazon got on reselling “used” digital content. It turns out that’s not the only odd patent Amazon’s gotten lately. Dan brought to my attention U.S. patent number 8,370,271, which Amazon just received on “recurring delivery of products.” Essentially, Amazon just received a patent on the ability to ship a new order of a particular good every so often to a customer without being asked. Or, as one pundit put it, Amazon has just “patented the milkman.” Amazon has already been offering this service for some time now. If you order some sort...

Apple awarded patent for digital page turning
November 18, 2012 | 5:15 pm

Here I go, turn the page. On the NY Times Bits blog, Nick Bilton gleefully reports that the patent office has seen fit to award Apple a design patent on, of all things, the digital page turn used in iBooks. Bilton uses this as proof of the ridiculousness of the current patent system, as well as a reminder of the obnoxiousness of Apple’s recent patent litigation practices. But is this patent really as silly as it looks? As some people point out in the comments under Bilton’s article, the patent is narrower than Bilton makes it seem—it doesn’t cover any page turns,...

Three users of Speak For Yourself apply to intervene in AAC app patent case
July 17, 2012 | 8:40 pm

I’ve lately covered the legal situation surrounding the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) iPad app Speak For Yourself, which is the subject of patent litigation from larger AAC companies. Concerned parent Dana Nieder, whose 4-year-old nonverbal child Maya uses the app, has blogged several times about the difficulties the lawsuit has caused, including the removal of the app from the iTunes store, and its possible future nonfunctionality, due to legal pressure by the patent holders. Up to this point, she and her family have largely been legal bystanders in the case. However, she now reports that her daughter Maya,...

Apple will reinstate AAC app Speak For Yourself if its developers win in court
June 28, 2012 | 5:15 pm

The Register reports that Apple will reinstate the AAC app “Speak For Yourself” if the speech therapists who made the app are able to win the patent lawsuit brought against them. Apple pulled the app several weeks ago as part of the ongoing dispute between two larger AAC device companies and the small start-up that created the app. Apple removed the app as a matter of policy, says The Register, as it always removes apps that are subjects of litigation to protect users from any potential legal consequences of using a possibly illegal application. There was no significance of...

Augmentative communication app Speak For Yourself pulled from iTunes store at patent plaintiff request
June 13, 2012 | 8:26 pm

A few months ago I wrote about the patent situation surrounding an app called “Speak For Yourself” that allows autistic and otherwise nonverbal people to communicate with others. A couple of companies who make much more expensive AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) devices are suing the makers of Speak For Yourself for infringing 100 of their patents. Dana Nieder, mother of a four-year-old nonverbal child named Maya, has updated her blog to note that thanks to the app, Maya’s communication skills with the app have improved dramatically over just a few weeks. But she also notes that, as...

Netherlands court dismisses Apple injunction request against Galaxy Tab
January 24, 2012 | 11:46 pm

Another ruling from a European court on the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuits over the Galaxy Tab’s design has come in, and it doesn’t bode well for Apple. An appeals court in The Hague, Netherlands dismissed Apple’s patent-infringement attempt to get the Galaxy Tab banned from sale in the country, following up on Apple’s appeal after a lower court’s similar decision in August. The court made its decision based on at least two pieces of prior art for each of Apple’s claims, determining that Apple’s claims were therefore narrow enough that they had not been infringed. Next week, a German...

Amazon settles Discovery patent lawsuit
November 16, 2011 | 11:52 am

Amazon has settled a 2009 patent lawsuit from Discovery, the company behind the Discovery Channel, the Military Channel, and others, PaidContent reports. (We mentioned the lawsuit here and here.) The patent, filed for in 1999 and granted in 2007, had to do with e-book copy protection and secure distribution. Although Discovery does not itself have anything to do with e-books, its founder, John Hendricks, is an amateur inventor who dabbled in e-book digitization and distribution. The details of the settlement will remain private and confidential (as they usually do), but it seems clear Amazon’s Kindle sales have reached the...

Samsung cites 2001 as prior art in tablet dispute with Apple
August 29, 2011 | 11:56 pm

2001The Apple vs. Samsung court case in Europe over whether seems to get more ridiculous by the day. Recently, Samsung introduced as prior art footage from the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which depicted astronauts watching video on tablets that looked very similar to the design of the iPad. Inspired by this notion, CNet put together a photo gallery suggesting other patents that could be invalidated by science-fictional prior art—including a comparison of the Kindle to Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Of course, they neglect to mention that this isn’t even the first case of...

Apple wants to defend developers from Lodsys, halt sale of Galaxy Tab and Xoom tablets
August 11, 2011 | 11:15 am

Ars Technica reports that Apple is again stepping up to the plate to defend its developers from patent troll Lodsys, stating in its most recent filing that it has every right to intervene in Lodsys’s lawsuits against its developers. Apple contends that its licenses to Lodsys’s technology extend to developers, who would not have the resources necessary to represent Apple’s interests in the suit. An interesting note in the piece is that Apple’s defense acknowledges Lodsys’s patents as valid, and is based on the doctrine of “exhaustion”, that its license extends to third-party developers. However, others are insisting...

International smartphone app developers begin removing apps from US stores
July 17, 2011 | 7:15 pm

The Guardian’s Apps Blog reports that a growing number of non-US-based app developers are withdrawing their applications from the US versions of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market for fear of patent litigation from companies such as Lodsys, the patent troll who has filed a number of suits against app developers. The article covers developers such as Scottish developer Fraser Speirs, who removed his products from US app stores and tweeted, “Screw you, Lodsys.” The growth of patent lawsuits over apps raises serious issues for all the emerging smartphone platforms, because none of the...

Intellectual property’s great fallacy
February 23, 2011 | 11:26 am

Yinyang From DigitalKoans: Eric E. Johnson has self-archived "Intellectual Property’s Great Fallacy" in SSRN. Here's an excerpt: Intellectual property law has long been justified on the belief that external incentives are necessary to get people to produce artistic works and technological innovations that are easily copied. This Essay argues that this foundational premise of the economic theory of intellectual property is wrong. Using recent advances in behavioral economics, psychology, and business-management studies, it is now possible to show that there are natural and intrinsic motivations that will cause technology and the arts to flourish even in the...