Apple lawsuit wrap-up for July 2012

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July 2012 had a wide variety of lawsuits, both new and old, most having to do with patents.

  • Even though the Department of Justice (DOJ) is defending their lawsuit against Apple and major book publishers, not everyone thinks it should continue. New York Senator Charles Schumer reprimanded the DOJ, and said “… the suit could wipe out the publishing industry as we know it.”
  • Siri has been the cause of several lawsuits, and more seem to be filed every month. This time, Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University says it owns two U.S. patents that allows Siri to translate voice commands into texts and notes. The university is seeking damages “… based on Apple’s U.S. sales of devices that use Siri,” which means iPhone 4S and iPads when iOS 6 is released.
  • There’s a lot going in the Apple vs. Samsung trial, with drama happening both in and out of court. The Verge has the best and most comprehensive coverage, with transcripts from people testifying, motions from lawyers, and even pictures of the evidence that’s being submitted. It’s being constantly updated, which makes it a great place to get all of the news.
  • Kodak won a battle in its patent war against Apple when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper ruled Apple does not own two patents Kodak wants to sell at auction this month. Apple also lost its bid to move the case from bankruptcy court to a local district court, which may have helped stop the patents Kodak owns from being sold.
  • All is not against Apple, as the International Trade Commission ruled that Kodak’s color image preview patent, No. 6,292,218, was invalid. Kodak was using this patent to try and get money from companies that were not licensing the patent.
  • HTC counter sued Apple over two patents which makes up for the five patents that were tossed out by the International Trade Commission. Later on, HTC withdrew one of the patents from the lawsuit, which brings down the total to two patents.
  • Apple suffered a defeat against Motorola because its lawsuit was thrown out and sales of the Xoom throughout the European Union can continue.
  • Apple purchased AuthenTec—an electronic fingerprint-authentication provider—for $356 million, and already there’s a lawsuit in the works. An investor claims AuthenTec accepted Apple’s bid of $8 a share, and that was too low. Right now, the law firms are investigating whether AuthenTec’s board of directors purposely undervalued the company.
  • The Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection (DECO) is going to sue Apple over supposedly misleading advertising over AppleCare, similar to what happened in Italy. Essentially, Portuguese law “presumes that a defect found within two years after a product is purchased was also present at time of delivery,” which Apple doesn’t state, making AppleCare more important than it really is.
  • Noise Free Wireless is suing Apple and claims Apple violated its noise-canceling technology patents, breached a contract, and stole trade secrets. Noise Free claims it met with Apple over using its technology in the iPhone and iPad, and they later used this knowledge to file a patent which used their technology.
  • Apple and 12 other companies settled a lawsuit from NTP Inc. over patents describing the delivery of email over wireless systems. Terms of the settlement weren’t released, but at least it’s one less thing to worry about.
  • Google may have to pay Apple $22.5 million dollars for violating the privacy of users of Apple’s Safari browser.
  • Google wrote a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee saying that patents that “cover features that are so popular as to have become ubiquitous” should be treated just as technical patents. Apple disagreed and said that just because a feature becomes really popular, such as slide-to-unlock, that doesn’t make them into standards and doesn’t mean Apple has to license them to competitors.
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