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Nintendo says it refuses to ‘succumb to patent trolls’ as it wins Maryland case

Friday, March 2nd, 2012
Nintendo issued a fairly terse press release earlier today, announcing that it has prevailed in a US patent lawsuit for the “third consecutive time this year.” That particular case concerned Nintendo’s Wii Balance Board accessory and Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus software, which a company called IA Labs said infringed on one of its patents (No. 7,121,982); a claim that was dismissed by the Maryland District Court judge in the case. IA Labs was also more or less dismissed as a company by Nintendo’s senior vice president of legal and general counsel Rick Flamm, who said that “we vigorously defend patent lawsuits when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party’s patent,” and that “we refuse to succumb to patent trolls.” The company’s full statement can be found after the break.

Continue reading Nintendo says it refuses to ‘succumb to patent trolls’ as it wins Maryland case

Nintendo says it refuses to ‘succumb to patent trolls’ as it wins Maryland case originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 02 Mar 2012 21:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft lawyer defends Android licensing strategy

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Speaking with The San Francisco Chronicle recently, the deputy general counsel of Microsoft’s intellectual property group, Horacio Gutiérrez, discussed his company’s decisions to chase down other firms for Android-licensing agreements and the current state of patent wars. Gutiérrez doesn’t think Microsoft should be viewed as a “patent troll” for its recent agreements with Samsung, HTC, ViewSonic and Acer (among others) and its ongoing lawsuit with Foxconn and Barnes & Noble over the Nook. He also does not think the current patent system is broken. “Every time there are these technologies that are really disruptive, there are patent cases,” Guitiérrez explained. “Licensing is not some nefarious thing that people should be worried about. Licensing is, in fact, the solution to the patent problem that people are reactive so negatively about.” Read on for more.

Guitiérrez says that Microsoft invented a number of functions used in Android, including the “ability to synchronize the content that you have in your phone with the information in the server of your company or in your computer at home,” and the “efficiency of operating systems” as a whole. “I think the most important part here is that a lot of the innovation that is happening today is really happening in the software space,” Gutiérrez noted. “So the question of whether software should be patentable is, in a sense, the same as asking whether a significant part of the technological innovation happening nowadays should receive patent protection.” The San Francisco Chronicle’s full interview can be found via the read link below.

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Microsoft squeezes more revenue from Android thanks to new Quanta deal

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Microsoft announced on Thursday that Quanta Computer will begin licensing its patent technology for Android and Chrome-based smartphones and tablets. Microsoft will receive royalties from Quanta, but the terms of the deal not disclosed by either company. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Quanta, and proud of the continued success of our Android licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome devices in the marketplace,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property, Horacio Gutierrez, said. Microsoft has similar agreements in place with HTC, Viewsonic, Acer and Samsung, among others. Analysts estimate Microsoft pulls in three to five times more revenue from Android royalties than it does from its own Windows Phone devices.

Microsoft and Quanta Computer Sign Patent Agreement Covering Android and Chrome-Based Devices

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Microsoft Corp. and Quanta Computer Inc. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Quanta’s tablets, smartphones and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome Platform. Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from Quanta under the agreement.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Quanta, and proud of the continued success of our Android licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome devices in the marketplace,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft.

Microsoft’s Commitment to Licensing Intellectual Property

The patent agreement is another example of the important role IP plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 700 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio.

More information about Microsoft’s licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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Google: Microsoft extorts profits, hinders innovation and is failing in smartphone market

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Google issued an irate response to Microsoft’s cross-licensing agreement with Samsung, announced early Wednesday, in which Samsung will pay royalties to Microsoft for each Android smartphone sold. “This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft,” Google said in a statement to TechCrunch. “Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.” Microsoft has similar agreements in place with ViewSonic, HTC and Acer and analysts estimate Android pulls in three to five times the revenue that Windows Phone does for Microsoft. Read on for more.

The Redmond-based company issued a public response to Google on its blog on Wednesday afternoon. “We recognize that some businesses and commentators – Google chief among them – have complained about the potential impact of patents on Android and software innovation,” Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith and deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez wrote in the post. “To them, we say this: look at today’s announcement. If industry leaders such as Samsung and HTC can enter into these agreements, doesn’t this provide a clear path forward?”

Microsoft also explained that HTC and Samsung were responsible for more than half of all Android phones sold in 2011 in the United States and Microsoft admitted that, while there will be more drama, perhaps this is “the end of the beginning” for an “industry-wide assortment” of legal issues.

[Via TechCrunch]

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AT&T tempts FCC, promises to bring 5,000 jobs back to U.S. if T-Mobile merger is approved

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

AT&T said on Wednesday that it promises to bring 5,000 of its outsourced call center jobs back to the United States if its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA is approved by the FCC. AT&T also promised that it will not layoff any AT&T or T-Mobile call center employee who is employed at the time of the merger. In addition, AT&T will invest $8 billion in its U.S. infrastructure and the Economic Policy Institute has suggested that move could provide up to 96,000 new jobs. AT&T made its announcement hours before the United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the merger. “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the Justice Department said. AT&T responded and said that “there was no indication” from the DOJ that a lawsuit was being contemplated. “We remain confident that this merger is in the best interest of consumers and our country, and the facts will prevail in court,” AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel Wayne Watts said, noting that AT&T will continue to fight for the merger’s approval. Read on for the full press release from AT&T.

AT&T to Bring 5,000 Call Center Jobs Back to U.S. Following T-Mobile Merger Closing

Commits Merger Will Not Result in Job Losses for Existing U.S. Wireless Call Center Employees of T-Mobile and AT&T

Largest Return of Jobs by Any U.S. Company Since 2008

DALLAS, Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) today committed that after closing its proposed merger with T-Mobile USA, it will bring back 5,000 wireless call center jobs to the United States that today are outsourced to other countries.

Today’s commitment results from AT&T developing detailed analysis focused specifically on identifying opportunities with the T-Mobile merger to bring good-paying wireless call center jobs back to the United States.

In addition to bringing jobs back, AT&T committed that the merger will not result in any job losses for U.S.-based wireless call center employees of T-Mobile USA or AT&T, who are on the payroll when the merger closes.

The 5,000 new wireless call center jobs at AT&T will offer among the nation’s most highly competitive wages and benefits. AT&T, which has not yet determined where in the U.S. the new jobs will be located, is the nation’s largest employer of full-time union employees and the only unionized major U.S. wireless carrier.

“At a time when many Americans are struggling and our economy faces significant challenges, we’re pleased that the T-Mobile merger allows us to bring 5,000 jobs back to the United States and significantly increase our investment here,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO. “This merger and today’s commitment are good for our employees, our customers and our country.”

Today’s announcement represents the largest commitment by an individual American company to bring jobs back to the U.S. since the economic crisis began in 2008.

Also, AT&T has committed as part of the T-Mobile merger to increase its U.S. infrastructure investment by more than $8 billion.  According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute that was commissioned by the Communications Workers of America, AT&T’s increased investment is estimated to produce up to approximately 96,000 new U.S. jobs.

AT&T said today’s jobs commitment does not change its previous guidance on the expected overall merger synergies.

Beyond the jobs created, AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA provides a fast, efficient and certain solution to the impending exhaustion of wireless spectrum in many markets, which limits both companies’ ability to meet the ongoing explosive customer demand for mobile broadband. The uniquely complementary nature of AT&T and T-Mobile’s network assets will allow the combined company to add wireless network capacity – the functional equivalent of new spectrum – sooner than any other alternative.

This additional wireless network capacity will enable AT&T to offer better service — fewer dropped and blocked calls, and faster data speeds. Plus, the economic scale, additional spectrum and other benefits resulting from the merger will enable AT&T to deliver high-speed 4G LTE mobile broadband service to 97 percent of the U.S. population, or 55 million more Americans than it would without the merger. Reaching 97 percent of the population with LTE will create a much more extensive and robust mobile broadband platform that will fuel growth and investment throughout the country.

The benefits of the AT&T and T-Mobile merger have been recognized by numerous elected officials throughout the country, including 27 governors, more than 100 mayors, 11 state attorneys general, 79 Democratic Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and more than 150 chambers of commerce from 40 states, as well as a dozen labor unions and dozens of high-tech companies, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Oracle.

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Microsoft moves to block sale of Motorola Android phones

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Microsoft opened its case in front of the United States International Trade Commission on Monday in an attempt to block Motorola Mobility from selling its Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour and Backflip smartphones in the U.S. Microsoft believes that Motorola Mobility is infringing on seven of its patents related to how a user interacts with calendars, contacts, email and more. “We have a responsibility to our employees, customers, partners and shareholders to safeguard our intellectual property,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for litigation David Howard told Bloomberg. “Motorola is infringing on our patents and we are confident that the ITC will rule in our favor.” Google recently announced its intentions to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in an effort to bolster its patent portfolio and help its Android partners fight in lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft. A Motorola Mobility spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the company is “vigorously defending … against Microsoft’s patent attack business strategy,” and that the company has also “brought legal actions of our own in the U.S. and in Europe to address Microsoft’s large scale of infringement of Motorola Mobility’s patents.” The U.S. ITC expects to conclude its investigation of the matter by March 5th.

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Google hates smartphone patent wars, but buys 1,000 new patents to go to war

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Google’s general counsel Kent Walker apparently doesn’t see eye to eye with the rest of his company. “The tech industry has a significant problem,” Walker said earlier this week. “Software patents are kind of gumming up the works of innovation.” According to SEO by the Sea however, Google purchased 1,030 patents from IBM just two weeks before Walker made those comments. According to the report, the patents purchased cover a wide rage of IP, “from the fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips, to other areas of computer architecture including servers and routers as well.” Still more patents cover specific database functions, various aspects of object-oriented programming and even some business processes. The terms of Google’s acquisition have not been disclosed.

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AT&T: T-Mobile acquisition on schedule for March 2012 approval

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Speaking to reporters recently, AT&T’s General Counsel Wayne Watts said that AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile is still on schedule for approval in March of next year. “The number one question I get from investors is can we get [the deal] done,” Watt explained.  “I think we can.” Sprint, one of the deal’s most outspoken opponents, has argued that AT&T does not need to purchase T-Mobile in order to increase its network capacity, and that the deal would “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market. T-Mobile’s senior vice president of government affairs, Tom Sugure, responded to Sprint and other opponents on Tuesday, noting that each has “failed to offer any credible arguments to support their view that the Commission should deny the transaction.”

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WSJ: three Sprint executives resign from Clearwire board

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that three sprint executives — Dan Hesse, Keith Cowan, and Steven Elfman — have resigned from WiMAX network-operator Clearwire’s board. Sprint informed the WSJ that they would appoint “independent successor directors” within the next few months; Sprint has named its general counsel, Charles Wunsch, as an observer in the meantime. Clearwire writes that the resignations are due to “recent changes in antitrust laws,” but also admit that the move could provide the company with “added flexibility” in pursuing additional funding. Sprint is the majority owner of Clearwire, holding a 54% position.

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Skype says Fring violated its Terms of Use, ‘damaging our brand and reputation’ in the process

Monday, July 12th, 2010

It looks like Fring’s recent decision to block Skype access to its iPhone 4 video app was the final straw for Skype, who charges that VoIP network was in breach of the Terms of Use and EULA for the Skype API. “Over time,” writes General Counsel Robert Miller, “Fring’s mis-use of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers.” Although they’ve “been talking with Fring for some time to try to resolve this amicably,” Friday’s action is being called “disappointing [for] our customers, who have high expectations of the Skype experience.” He goes on to say that “Skype will rigorously protect our brand and reputation, and those developers that do not comply with our terms will be subject to legal enforcement.” Meaning, presumably, that in the case of more Fring shenanigans there will be some sort of red-hot legal action. For its part, Fring CEO Avi Shechter had this to say: “We are disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness, is now attempting to muzzle competition, even to the detriment of its own users.” Which is all well and good, but we can hardly see how Skype is the problem here when you were the ones who locked out its users in the first place.

Skype says Fring violated its Terms of Use, ‘damaging our brand and reputation’ in the process originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 12 Jul 2010 15:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft and HTC announce a patent licensing agreement

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

htc-logo

With Apple and its team of lawyers breathing down its back, HTC has been exploring opportunities to quickly bolster its patent library and provide protection for its Android efforts. HTC was rumored to be eyeballing Palm’s large treasure chest of patents, and its acquisition potential, but reportedly snubbed its nose at the ailing handset manufacturer after a closer look at Palm’s financial status. Rather than gamble on a sinking ship, HTC turned towards Microsoft and has signed a licensing deal with the software giant from Redmond. Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide broad coverage under it’s large patent library for HTC’s Android handsets while HTC, in exchange for this patent umbrella, will pay an undisclosed amount of royalties to Microsoft. Horatio Gutierrez, corporate VP and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft had this to say about the deal:

Microsoft has a decades-long record of investment in software platforms. As a result, we have built a significant patent portfolio in this field, and we have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to ensure that competitors do not free ride on our innovations. We have also consistently taken a proactive approach to licensing to resolve IP infringement by other companies, and have been talking with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform.

What do we make of this? Is this strictly business, or is Microsoft simply getting back at HTC for all of their Android efforts?

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