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Apple lawsuit wrap-up for December 2012

Sections: Apple Business, Apple News, Originals

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Apple vs. Samsung

December 2012 was an interesting month for Apple lawsuits. We saw the return of our favorite troll, the patent troll, as patents were bought and sold and new victims brought to court. The Samsung vs. Apple lawsuit heated up again, not only in America, but in Europe as well with both companies wanting to ban the other’s products. All of this and more in this edition of Apple lawsuit wrap-up.

  • Washington Research Foundation has a bunch of patents related to Bluetooth, FM, WiFi, GSM and other radio technologies. They’ve licensed these patents to a number of companies including Airoha Technology, Broadcom, CSR, Ericsson, National Semiconductor, Winbond, Infineon, Marvell Toshiba, NXP Semiconductor, SiTel Semiconductor, and Silicon Laboratories. They don’t have a licensing agreement with Qualcomm-Atheros and Apple uses them for radio chipsets. Therefore Washington Research Foundation is suing Apple for violating their patents.
  • Apple and HTC settled their many disputes with a 10-year licensing agreement. Samsung asked for and received information about the agreement and the public was able to see them as well. Unfortunately, many of the details were removed, but we were able to see that Apple didn’t make any payments to HTC and promised not to sue them over several patents. Now the only question is how Samsung’s lawyers will try to use that against Apple in their own lawsuits.
  • The Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit saga is far from over. Samsung wanted a new trial and was trying to use the foreman’s past as a reason why Judge Koh should start over from scratch. Unfortunately for Samsung, she refused Samsung’s request for an evidentiary hearing which would have led to the foreman being evaluated. Apple wanted a permanent sales ban on the Samsung products that infringed on Apple’s patents, but Judge Koh refused. Next Judge Koh will look at Apple’s request for additional damages, and Samsung’s request to reduce the damages already awarded to Apple.
  • Samsung sued Apple in Germany over a patent describing a smiley input method. However, the patent is being evaluated at the Federal Patent Court and it may be nullified. That means it can’t be used in a lawsuit until its fate is decided.
  • Digitech Image Technologies sued Apple using a patent it received from Polaroid, a patent that Polaroid successfully used against Kodak in 1986 over the instant camera. The claim will likely be against all of Apple’s devices that use backside HD cameras, such as the iPhone and iPad. Digitech Image Technologies used this same patent to sue several other companies in the past month including Sony, Toshiba, Motorola, Asus Computer, and others.
  • WiLan, a patent licensing firm from Canada, sued Apple, HTC, and Sierra Wireless in a Florida court for patents related to LTE technologies. WiLan then went to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and sued Apple and Sierra Wireless over a patent related to 3G HSPA handset products.
  • MobileMedia, a software patent holding company, won a jury trial against Apple in Delaware over three patents relating to smartphones and other mobile computing devices. Originally MobileMedia claimed Apple violated 14 patents and while Apple managed to get most of them removed from the lawsuit, they weren’t able to get the case thrown out. It’s unknown what Apple has to pay MobileMedia and whether or not they will fight against the ruling.
  • Apple has agreed to end its agreements with Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck (owner of Macmillan) that prevented them from charging less money to Apple’s rivals for their e-books than they charged Apple. This ends Apple’s dispute with European Union regulators and will enable retailers to set e-book prices and discounts for the next two years.
  • Princeton Digital Image Corporation was given a 1987 patent by General Electric and are using Patent 4,813,056 to sue Apple in addition to HP, Intel, Facebook, Eastman Kodak, Canon and others they sued over the past 15 months.
  • EON Corporation IP Holdings is suing Apple over four patents, one of which describes a unit receiving and controlling interactive video content. The kind of content you’d get from Netflix, YouTube, and cable television through Apple TV or iTunes on your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
  • Motorola used European Patent No. EP0847654 which describes a “multiple pager synchronization system and method” to shut down Apple’s iCloud push notification system in Germany. Motorola then used that same patent against Microsoft in the UK who invalidated the patent. Hopefully Apple will try to get the injunction lifted in Germany.
  • China has ordered Apple to pay $165,170 to eight writers and two companies to compensate them for allowing unofficial ebooks to be sold on Apple’s App Store in China.
  • Samsung sued Apple in Korea over iOS notifications. Not much is known about what patents, if any, Apple has violated or what damages Samsung wants from Apple.
  • An ITC judge has ruled that Apple, Intel, and HP did not violate patents owned by X2Y Attenuators LLC. These patents were also invalidated which prevents them from being used to sue anyone else.
  • Even though Apple clarified its website and stopped selling AppleCare products in stores, Italian regulators still fined Apple another $264,000 for when it was not in compliance with EU laws. This seems to be the last fine from Italy, but Apple may get fines from other EU countries who are looking at Apple’s warranties and how they are marketed.
  • Samsung has been trying to get Apple products banned in Europe and in doing so may have used standard-essential patents to make their case. This has angered the European Commission and as a result, Samsung may be fined up to 10% of its 2011 revenue, or about $15 billion. Earlier this month, Samsung withdrew its request to get Apple products banned in Europe but may still be fined.
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