IBM is once again king of the patents.
For the 17th year in a row, Big Blue earned the most U.S. patents of any company in the world, grabbing 4,914 patents in 2009. Second place Samsung took home 3,611 patents, while Microsoft batted third with 2,906 patents.
Just one of the patents IBM earned for the year was given to Big Blue inventor John Gunnels for an invention to ensure that the internal communications network for the company's Blue Gene supercomputer is running properly.
With almost 5,000 under its belt for the year, IBM … Read more
Although Microsoft was largely ready for an injunction that went into effect on Monday against selling certain versions of Microsoft Office, there were a few visible impacts.
The injunction stems from a verdict in which the custom XML function in recent versions of Microsoft Word was found to infringe on technology patented by Toronto-based I4i. A judge later issued an injunction barring sales of Office 2003 and Office 2007 versions containing the feature.
Microsoft filed another appeal Friday in its patent dispute with I4i, but also said that it will comply with the injunction against Office that is set to go into effect on Monday.
The software maker asked for either a hearing before the full appeals court or for the partial panel that heard its case to grant it a new hearing. A jury last year ruled that the custom XML feature in Office 2007 infringed on an I4i patent and a judge imposed both monetary damages and issued an injunction barring sales of Office containing the offending feature.
"Today Microsoft … Read more
A U.S. trade court has agreed to look into Samsung's claims that Japanese rival Sharp had infringed its patents relating to LCD (liquid crystal display) technology.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said in a statement on its Web site this week that it has "voted to institute an investigation" into Samsung's complaint of patent infringement by Sharp, filed Dec. 1.
The Korean company's allegations, according to the statement, are made against Sharp Corp. of Japan and two of its American subsidiaries.
The legal back-and-forth between Nokia and Apple over patents, and who might be abusing them, continued Tuesday as Nokia lodged a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission.
In its complaint to the USITC, the Finnish company alleges that Apple infringes seven Nokia patents "in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers."
The alleged patent infringement is connected to key features in Apple products including user interface, camera, antenna, and power management technologies. Their value to Nokia, the company says, comes in allowing better user experience, lower manufacturing costs, smaller size, and longer … Read more
A quick rundown of Tuesday's headlines, including a new cybersecurity chief at the White House, a legal loss for Microsoft, and a weather-related win for online retailers.
Updated 12:20 p.m. PST with additional information and background.
Microsoft has lost an appeal in a patent case that will force it to alter Microsoft Word to avoid an injunction on sales of the product.
Microsoft lost a patent case involving a company called I4i in May, after a jury ruled that Microsoft infringed one of i4i's patents with a custom XML feature found in Word. In August an injunction was placed on sales of Word pending the appeal, which did not go in Microsoft's favor Tuesday.
"We couldn't be more pleased with the … Read more
I'm not one to get excited about patent filings, but this one was enough to make me think twice about what the future might hold.
Apple filed a patent this week with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It describes an "electronic device for providing a display that changes based on the user's perspective." The patent says that the product would include "a sensing mechanism" that's capable of detecting the user's position relative to the display. MacRumors originally reported on the patent.
The filing said that the device would include "… Read more
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of articles discussing how people in the tech industry are working with or around federal and state governments.
Can you chart a logical path from a 2003 academic conference on the legal issues surrounding virtual worlds and online games to Barack Obama's first executive action as president?
Beth Noveck can.
If you're not familiar with her--and few outside her specific professional and social circles would be--Noveck, a 38-year-old lawyer originally from Toms River, N.J., is Obama's deputy chief technology officer for open government.
Precisely what &… Read more