The collection of laws that govern patents can be found in Title 35 of the U.S. Code. Anyone having any familiarity with patent laws knows about sections 101-103 of 35 U.S.C.--these sections deal with what is patentable and how you judge if a patent is in fact novel or not obvious. But unbeknownst even to most practicing patent lawyers is that two sections later--in section 105--Congress has enacted a law specifically directed to extraterrestrial patents:
Apparently Microsoft has a thing for conservative Japan. Just when I thought Microsoft had closed patent cross-licensing deals with every Japanese firm ever to have considered corporate existence, Microsoft surprises me with a deal with Onkyo.
So far Microsoft's list includes the needy (the various second-rate Linux distributions and Novell, which is a first-class Linux distribution with second-class aspirations of how to build on its technical merit) and the overly cautious (Japanese and Korean electronics companies for whom it's easier to just pay rather than try to figure out whether Microsoft's machinations are worthy). Microsoft might consider this a Very Good Start, but to me it looks like a Very Poor End to Microsoft's attempts to afflict the world with its dubious patent-rattling.… Read more
What do you do when some of the biggest names in consumer electronics might be in violation of your patents?
Why, try to take away their right to sell their products in the U.S., of course.
Columbia University Professor Emeritus Gertrude Neumark Rothschild says 30 companies are infringing on her patent for laser and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In response, she wants the U.S. government to ban those companies' imports to the U.S. that are in violation. A lot of companies use LEDs and laser diodes for a variety of reasons--Sony uses blue laser diodes in its Blu-ray … Read more
This post was updated at 4:12 AM on Monday to reflect the fact that Gibson has added MTV, Harmonix, and EA to the list of plaintiffs.
Legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar has sued six major retailers--Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Amazon.com, Gamestop, and Toys-R-Us--for selling Activision's Guitar Hero video game series, MarketWatch reported Friday.
The decision was made "reluctantly," according to a statement from Gibson.
Earlier this month, Gibson sued Activision over Guitar Hero, claiming that the game violated a 1999 patent for a virtual-reality guitar-playing device that "simulate(s) participation in a concert by playing … Read more
And here I thought Microsoft had a cross-license pact with nearly every tech company other than Red Hat.
Apparently there are still a few more names to cross of the to-do list Microsoft set-up a few years back. On Thursday, Microsoft announced a deal with Tokyo-based Onkyo, which will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount of compensation to Redmond.
Onkyo also signed a deal to use Microsoft's Windows Rally technology which aims to offer a better connection between PCs and other consumer electronics, such as Onkyo's home theater and audio/video gear.
Apple could be embracing the clamshell aesthetic for a future iPhone.
Unwiredview.com found an Apple patent application for a "dual-sided trackpad device," which resembles the current iPhone redesigned into the clamshell format so popular with many mobile phones. The key to this design is having touch-screen capabilities on both the top and bottom of the phone when it's open.
This design goes a step further, as well, in that the closed cover of the iPhone could also have trackpad capability. PC makers have experimented with this, adding some basic buttons and capabilities to the covers of … Read more
If you thought that the issue of whether a patent covered the use of a microprocessor could only concern the computer or semiconductor industry, think again. High tech has extended its reach to zapping rats (literally).
Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Such were the aspirations of Bob Noe, the founder of Agrizap--maker of the patented Rat Zapper, a trap for dispatching pests through electrocution. Agrizap's Rat Zapper, which is about the size of a shoebox, is powered by four AA batteries, and is sold online for about $40 at RatZapper.com.
The slightly larger Rat Zapper Ultra uses D-cell batteries which, according to the Website, enables it to kill "even bigger, badder rats and mice." In the event of serious infestation, or for those with an overdeveloped desire to integrate their equipment, Agrizap also offers the ultimate high-tech equipment including its Battle Station command post and radio-monitoring equipment for use with its traps.… Read more
Just how far might Apple be planning to take Apple TV, Take Three (or maybe four)?
An Apple patent application unearthed by AppleInsider shows a proposed system for using an iPod-like device as a remote control for an Apple TV-like device with DVR capabilities. (They never use the actual product names in the applications, but it's not too hard to tell.) It also suggests that Apple is thinking about making a version of Apple TV that could watch and record live television programming.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will be on tour in Silicon Valley the week of November 3.
The court, which is in charge of reviewing appeals of patent-related cases for the entire United States, normally works only in Washington, D.C. So if you live near Silicon Valley, and you're interested in patent law, this is a rare opportunity to see the judges in your own backyard.
Judges from the court will hear cases at several locations during that week including at Santa Clara University School of Law, Stanford University School of Law, and … Read more
Sun is shifting the license that governs OpenOffice from the Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 2 to LGPLv3 in an effort to give the open-source office suite greater patent protection. I'm not sure it's going to work:By moving from version 2 of the LGPL to version 3, Sun is bringing new language prohibiting the use of software patents to OpenOffice.org. "The most important protection for developers comes from creating mutual patent grants. ... LGPLv3 does this," [Sun's Simon] Crosby noted. In effect, a code issuer using either the plain GPL or LGPL … Read more