Some of the news today was surprising, but some not so surprising. Here goes:Don Marti makes a smart but flawed (in my view) suggestion that appeasing patent trolls with a settlement may be the way to go, rather than fighting them off. I see his point, but the problem is that if everyone does this, patent trolls will proliferate. Do we really need to encourage them to have offspring? Firefox has apparently boosted its market share at the expense of Safari and Internet Explorer according to Net Applications. Net Applications also says, however, that it may have overcounted. Watch … Read more
While much of the industry lives in fear of a patent troll rearing its ugly head, Cognex has decided to take on trolls like Lemelson and Acacia, and has been spanking them on a regular basis.
As PJ at Groklaw notes, it's far too early to throw up our hands in despair at the dreaded patent trolls:Imagine if [Cognex] had, instead, thrown up his hands, assumed there was no hope, said the patent system was a joke, the system totally corrupt, etc. and just paid for a license he knew, and as he later proved, he didn't … Read more
Finally, I can call myself an inventor.
I've been inventing things for almost 20 years now, but Montalvo Systems was the first company I worked for that took intellectual property seriously. (That was no coincidence; it was also the first company I worked for where I helped develop the intellectual-property strategy.)
During my years at Montalvo, I came up with quite a few ideas and participated in brainstorming sessions that yielded more ideas. Most of these sessions were limited to Montalvo's own people, but there was one person I brought in to help us as a consultant--Don Alpert, who was the principal architect of Intel's Pentium processor and, possibly less significantly, a member of the editorial board at Microprocessor Report.
Working with three of us from Montalvo--myself and chief architects Greg Favor and Peter Song--Don took the lead in preparing a set of related patent applications describing a new way to design microprocessors.
The first patent from this set was… Read more
Red Hat announced on Wednesday that it has reached a settlement with Firestar Software and DataTern over a patent infringement lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed two years ago in a U.S. District Court in Texas, centered on Firestar's patent for linking object-oriented software with relational databases.
Firestar, in its lawsuit, had alleged that JBoss, which Red Hat had acquired, violated its patent with the JBoss Hibernate 3.0 object-relational mapping tool for Java. Hibernate 3.0 had an open license.
Under the settlement, whose financial terms were not disclosed, all software distributed under Red Hat's brands and predecessor … Read more
Software vendors of the world, take note: Red Hat has just demonstrated a truly open-source friendly way to tackle patent lawsuits. In settling a patent lawsuit with DataTern and Amphion Innovations PLC, Red Hat protected its short-term interests in the JBoss software. But it also went much further.
Unlike other patent deals (Read: Every single one that Microsoft has signed), which try to create a walled garden of protection for the signing parties, Red Hat opted to go much broader:"Typically when a company settles a patent lawsuit, it focuses on getting safety for itself," said Rob Tiller, … Read more
The U.S. Supreme Court handed a big victory to Quanta Computer on Monday when it held that the doctrine of patent exhaustion barred LG Electronics' claims against it.
In doing so, the Supreme Court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's previous decision that patent exhaustion did not apply to method claims and extended that doctrine to licenses for products that "substantially embod[y] a patent." This case is likely to substantially change the playing field for patentees seeking to monetize their patents in a vertical industry value chain.… Read more
Six technology titans are banding together to jointly license patents that cover WiMax in an effort to prevent costly royalty rates that might deter adoption of the wireless technology, according to a report Sunday on the Wall Street Journal 's Web site.
Cisco Systems, Intel Corp., Samsung, Sprint Nextel, Alcatel-Lucent, and Clearwire, plan Monday to announce the creation of the organization--to be called the Open Patent Alliance--the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the groups plans.
WiMax is a wireless broadband standard that has been touted as a breakthrough for cheap high-speed Internet access. Its backers claim that WiMax can … Read more
Hewlett-Packard announced Sunday that it has settled its patent-infringement lawsuits against rival PC maker Acer.
The confidential settlement agreement resolves three federal court lawsuits, as well as two U.S. International Trade Commission investigations between the parties.
HP sued Taiwan-based Acer in October 2007, alleging seven patent violations. The suits covered patents regarding technologies such as read/write optical drives, power management in notebooks, digital bus arrangement, thermal management and video control.
The suits sought to stop Taiwan-based Acer from exporting its PCs to the U.S. and selling them there. As a result of the settlement agreement, each action … Read more
This blog was updated at 1:20 p.m. PDT with a statement from TiVo.
A month after an appeals court confirmed that Dish Network's DVR software had indeed violated a TiVo patent, Dish is retaliating with a lawsuit of its own.
The Colorado-based satellite TV provider filed suit in Delaware Friday, asking the court to declare that Dish's current DVR software does not violate TiVo's '389 patent.
Dish says in the filing that it updated its software nearly two years ago in response to TiVo's patent violation suit. It wants TiVo to stop making public … Read more
It's a simple fact that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the "USPTO") is inundated with patent applications. Given the sheer volume of applications, patent examiners can only spend a limited amount of time examining those applications. Further, given the fact that an applicant for a patent does not have to conduct a "prior art" search before filing, it is virtually impossible for an examiner to turn up all of the prior art that is relevant to a patent application.
Unbeknownst to many patent practitioners, however, the USPTO is getting ready to wrap up … Read more