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Posts tagged patents

Patent absurdity: Trying to protect its rule set lands small role-playing game publisher in hot water
June 20, 2014 | 4:54 am

patent_trollLadies and gentlemen, I give you the tabletop role-playing game community’s current tempestuous teapot. Recently, a small role-playing game publisher held an IRC interview about the new multi-genre tabletop role-playing game it had just published. The game and the company both seem to share the name Universal Horizons. Inspired by the publisher/writers’ disgust at the change from D&D 3rd edition to 4th edition, this game includes multiple campaign worlds, or “genres”—an urban fantasy world, a science-fiction fighting-off-bug-like-aliens world, and so on. These “genres” use the same character statistics but may have different skill bonuses from genre to genre. ...

Judge Cote awards patent troll victim legal fees under new Supreme Court precedent
June 2, 2014 | 4:50 am

Speaking of Judge Cote, turns out she’s got her head on straight in other ways than just the Apple trial. Ars Technica covers her ruling on a patent troll lawsuit, the first of its kind under a new Supreme Court precedent stating that patent trolls who lose their case can be required to pay the victor’s legal fees. Judge Cote didn’t give the troll victim, FindTheBest, everything it wanted—she threw out their attempt to file a RICO anti-extortion case against the troll—but she rejected the patent and declared that the legal fee award “will serve as an instrument of...

NewEgg butts another patent troll off the bridge
April 3, 2014 | 5:50 pm

neweggWhen I ordered my clattery new Cherry MX Brown-springed mechanical keyboard at NewEgg, and it arrived yesterday, I wasn’t thinking of NewEgg’s tireless efforts when it comes to fighting patent trolls. But perhaps I should have been. Ars Technica reports on their latest victory, against a company called Macrosolve which claimed to have patented the ability to use questionnaires in a mobile app. Although it had formerly actually produced real products, Macrosolve at this point is merely a patent troll making a hand-to-mouth living shaking down companies for settlements and immediately paying them out to cover legal fees...

What you should know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership
February 21, 2014 | 1:27 pm

freetradepanelWe’ve mentioned the forthcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty in passing, but in case you’re wanting to find out more about these treaties and why they might not be such a good thing in general, you might want to take a closer look at this. I’ve run across a great explanation in the form of a 27-page online comic book that explains exactly what trade agreements in general are supposed to do, what they actually end up doing, and what we know about the TPP. The biggest problem with these treaties is that they basically override nations’ laws—but unlike those...

Google sells Motorola phone business, keeps patent portfolio
January 30, 2014 | 3:23 am

Motorola_logo26Well, there’s an example of comedic timing for you. Just the other day, Gizmodo speculated that Google might kill off the Nexus line of tablets and phones in favor of “Google Play Edition” devices from other hardware manufacturers—including, notably, Motorola, who Google owns. But today, news came out that had Gizmodo saying, “What?!” Turns out Google is selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. The deal includes all Motorola’s phone hardware, but Google is keeping most of Motorola’s patents. Google already sold Motorola’s set-top box unit to Arris for $2.35 billion. It only just bought Motorola in 2011...

ReDigi awarded patent on digital resale ‘without making a copy’
January 29, 2014 | 7:00 am

Yesterday I received a press release from ReDigi, the company trying to allow (and monetize) the resale of “used” digital goods such as music or e-books, with an embargo time of, well, right now. The release claims the award of a patent on the technology ReDigi wants to use to enable the resale of digital media. It says the patent covers the transfer of digital media files without making a copy. ReDigi has been in the news a great deal in the last couple of years. The RIAA complained, and record label EMI sued, over ReDigi’s plan to allow...

Germany catches the stupid disease with Nokia-led ban on HTC sales
January 8, 2014 | 10:38 am

In sad proof that the U.S. is not the only market hobbled by an arcane and unnecessarily obtrusive patents system, Nokia has won an injunction in the Munich I Regional Court in Germany banning the sale of smartphones from Android-packing rival HTC nationwide. According to the patents blog FOSS Patents, HTC is infringing on a 2oo5 patent (EP1148681  (B1) ― 2005-12-07, which, incidentally, does appear to be a genuine original Nokia patent, rather than one bought on a patent litigation fishing exercise) for a "method for transferring resource information" over NFC or Bluetooth. Naturally, an injunction enforcing a total nationwide sales ban...

More developments in the scientific publishing controversy
December 12, 2013 | 4:20 pm

scientific publishing Following the current controversy over open access research and scientific publishing, a couple more items have surfaced to lend color to the debate. For one, scientific publisher Wiley is trialing a system of "transferable peer review" to speed and systematize the assessment of new research before publication. "On average, peer review takes 80 days. That’s 1,920 hours of waiting for a decision," states the Wiley announcement.  "And it all starts over if a paper gets rejected. We think that’s a long time. We know you do too. So, why not review a paper just once? If a paper is rejected, the review travels...

Microsoft hides mobile, gaming losses with $2 billion in annual Android patent income
November 7, 2013 | 12:11 pm

Who’s one of the biggest beneficiaries of Android? According to Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund, it could be Microsoft. In a new note on Microsoft, Sherlund estimates that Microsoft is generating $2 billion per year from Android patent royalties—almost pure profit. It is using that profit to conceal the losses from its Windows Phone and Xbox groups by grouping them together into one division and then reporting that division’s profit and loss as a single unit. That group always seemed to be profitable, but Sherlund says it's largely because of the Android money. Sherlund...

Apple reality distortion field goes right up to 11 on ebook autographs
September 30, 2013 | 3:36 pm

DOJThat infamous Apple reality distortion field that brought us such technological breakthroughs as the extra few nths of an inch on the iPad Mini screen is obviously cranked up to the max again. Apple has just filed a patent application (United States Patent Application 20130254284) with the US Patent and Trademarks Office for "Embedding an autograph in an electronic book." And many tech journalists are reporting this as cutting-edge Apple innovation - despite the fact that other solutions for digitally autographing ebooks have been around in the market for years. I mean, it's an area that is so well-established that...

Google donates cloud computing patents to non-aggression pact
August 10, 2013 | 12:00 pm

1266961996_patent-symbolHere's an interesting story, via our friends at GigaOM: Google, in an effort to protect innovators experimenting with 'cloud' computing from nuisance patent lawsuits, has donated 79 of its patents to general use by others. As the article explains: On Thursday, the company designated 79 more patents to be part of its “Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge,” which amounts to a non-aggression pact under which anyone can use the technology described in the patents—anyone, that is, who doesn’t use patents to attack Google first. I find this a fascinating move on Google's part. How many...

Amazon patents social e-book extras
July 3, 2013 | 4:36 am

Looks like it’s that time again. Amazon’s just gotten another patent. Wired describes it as covering “’DVD extras’ for e-books,” though it seems a little more focused than that.  Nate Hoffelder points out that Amazon has actually implemented some parts of it already. The patent covers customizing e-books with “supplemental content items” either provided with the book or generated through social interaction with users. Those highlighted passages you see in Kindle books from time to time with a note on how many users highlighted them are an example of this type of added content, and so is “X-Ray”....