Apple and Google-Motorola Stop Suing Each Other

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 17, 2014 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: Lawsuit, google, apple

If we all could just get along and get back to work...

On Friday, May 16th, Apple and Google (including the remains of its Motorola Mobility division) released a joint statement marking the end of all patent litigation between the two companies. The two companies have been in legal warfare for three-and-a-half years, now. The two companies will also "work together in some areas of patent reform". It is unclear what that actually means.

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This decision does not seem to affect Apple's ongoing litigation with Samsung. Those two companies are still in a famous and fierce skirmish over mankind's greatest UX innovations, like slide-to-unlock and the little bounce that happens when you scroll to the end of a list too fast. Those are, honestly, the issues that we are facing. I have a suggestion for an area to reform...

... but that has been beaten to death for years, now. It, at least, shows a willingness to cooperate going forward. It also shows a slight bit more promise for products like Ubuntu on phones, Firefox OS, and even smaller initiatives. You can say what you like about the current litigation, but closing the road for independent developers with great and innovative ideas is terrible and bad for society. Unique smartphones could be made, each with slide-to-unlock, just like unique OSes can use icons and web browsers can use tabs.

Source: Reuters

Aereo TV Streaming Service Expanding to Midwest, (Several Counties In Illinois and Indiana)

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2013 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: video streaming, tv, midwest, media streaming, Lawsuit, Internet, aereo

Aereo, the popular streaming service that delivers broadcast television channels via the Internet, has announced its plans to expand into the Midwest US despite the numerous lawsuits facing its future from big broadcast companies trying to shut it down. Fortunately, Aereo is forging ahead and will be coming to several counties within Illinois and Indiana later this year.

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When it expands into this new region, it will pick up several local channels and make them (along with a bit of DVR space) available to subscribers over an internet connection to computers and mobile devices. Channels will include ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and FOX.

On September 13, Aereo will be available to residents of the following Illinois counties:

  • Cook
  • Dekalb
  • Grundy
  • Kane
  • Kankakee
  • Kendall
  • La Salle
  • Lake
  • McHenry
  • Will

Additionally, the service will be available to these counties in Indiana:

  • Jasper
  • La Porte
  • Lake
  • Newton
  • Porter

Conveniently (though mere coincidence), I recently moved from the middle of the state to one of the upcoming counties, and I’m looking forward to finally be able to test the service out.

Have you tried Aereo yet? Is it helping with your cord cutting endeavors or merely a supplement to an existing cable subscription?
 

Source: Aereo

NVIDIA Employees Stole 100,000 Confidential Documents Claims AMD

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 16, 2013 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: stolen, nvidia, legal, Lawsuit, console, amd

Things might get interesting for a little while between AMD and NVIDIA again as a complaint has been filed by AMD accusing recently converted NVIDIA employee's of downloading and stealing 100,000 documents on the way out AMD's door. 

The company alleges that Robert Feldstein, Manoo Desai, and Nicolas Kociuk collectively downloaded over 100,000 files onto external hard drives in the six months before leaving the company. All three and another manager, Richard Hagen, were accused of recruiting AMD employees after leaving for Nvidia.

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The most senior of these employees is Robert Feldstein who was acting as the VP of Strategic Development at AMD before leaving for NVIDIA and was responsible for getting AMD inside the Nintendo Wii U as well as the upcoming Xbox and Playstation consoles due out this year.  To say that "stealing" Feldstein was a big win for NVIDIA would seem like a bad pun now with the accusations on the table, but there, we said it. 

After looking at the former employees computers AMD found that "Desai and Kociuk conspired with each other to misappropriate AMD's confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret information; and/or to intentionally access AMD's protected computers, without authorization and/or in a way that exceeded their authorized access."  And since Feldstein and Hagan were responsible for the recruitment of those former AMD employees, they were breaking the "no-solicitation of employees" agreement made before departure.

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Obviously AMD hasn't come out with exactly what is in those 100,000 documents they accuse of being stolen, but the company is hoping that the US District Court in Massachusetts will help them recover the incriminating documents with a restraining order for all four current employees of NVIDIA forcing them to retain all current AMD-related documents. 

The unfortunate part of this for AMD is that if the document leak is true, the damage has likely already been done and they will have to sue for damages down the road.  NVIDA could be in for a world of hurt if the court finds that they were actively requesting those documents from the the four named in the complaint.

If you want to read all the legal source for this complaint, you can find it right here

Source: Arstechnica

Western Digital gets a temporary reprieve from a $600 million fine

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2012 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: western digital, Seagate, Lawsuit

A court settlement against Western Digital has been partly overturned, which means that they won't have to pay the $630 million fine to Seagate for misuse of confidential information.  They are not totally off the hook however as the judge only overturned 5 of the 8 charges, leaving 3 still outstanding.  Those three could well cost more than the amount they were just let off the hook for and even a storage giant like WD is going to notice a half billion dollar fine.  The Register is keeping an eye on this story, we will find out more in 2 weeks when the hearings resume.

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"Western Digital is off the hook for a cool $630m in an arbitration case it initially lost over the alleged misuse of Seagate's confidential information, including trade secrets.

Back last year, Seagate complained about the activities of WD and a former Seagate employee who had joined WD, alleging that WD was using Seagate trade secrets and other confidential information in its activities. The dispute went to an arbitration court, which awarded Seagate $525m in damages in November 2011."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

So... Bungie Jumping back into the PC?

Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2012 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: Bungie, Lawsuit, Activision

Contracts between Activision and certain developers are public evidence thanks to litigation between Activision and the former Infinity Ward executives. It turns out Bungie, of Halo fame before they left Microsoft to partner with Activision, is developing their titles for the PC after their first Xbox-exclusive release. The proposed style of game has “massively-multiplayer client-based mission structures with persistent elements”.

… truth be told I have been disappointed with their games after Halo 2 when they focused on fan lip service...

But as a result of recent litigation involving their publisher we have found out that Bungie is working on a massively-multiplayer game with persistent elements. According to the contract published as evidence we will see certain versions are planned to be developed for the PC supposedly in-house.

This is the first time since the 90’s where Bungie has developed a game for the PC in-house -- excluding the small assistance which Bungie provided to Microsoft Game Studios and Pi Studios for Halo 2 Vista.

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Yeah… the comments for this post won't surprise me...

(Photo: Bungie, Inc.)

If you wish to see a little behind-the-scenes of game publishing then you might like to check the contract out. A lot of amusing information such as royalty rates and bonuses are not-too-buried within the legalese. The formatting makes it actually quite human legible to skim through for the most part.

Even if Activision is ultimately successful in their lawsuit against former executives West and Zampella it would certainly be one of their most annoying victories -- at best. They lose if they win and they very lose if they lose.

Now if only Heart of the Swarm release date was important for the trial…

Source: LA Times

Internet Machines' PCI-Express Patent Lawsuit Targets Numerous System Vendors

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2011 - 12:20 PM |
Tagged: Troll, pcie, PCI Express, Patent, Lawsuit

There is an expression that states "everything is bigger in Texas," and that goes double for patent lawsuits. A company by the name of Internet Machines MC LLC recently lodged a complaint with the Eastern District of Texas for alleged patent infringement by a number of OEM manufacturers, system builders, and retailers of computers containing PCI Express switching technologies. Specifically, Internet Machines holds US Patent number 7,539,190, a rather generalized patent that covers multicasting in a shared address space wherein data is stored in a buffer and then forwarded to its intended port. The companies being called to court include PLX Technology, Alienware, Dell, Samsung, and others. While the computers that are assembled using PCI Express may well be utilizing switching technology, the fact that Internet Machines is going after system assemblers and retailers-- companies that work with computers but do not design and build the motherboards and other components themselves-- instead of the standards body that designs and maintains the PCI Express standard that everyone in the industry uses raises a question of integrity on the part of Internet Machines. Are their motives true in defending their patents, or is it the method of operation of a patent troll?

 

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A diagram describing the patent in question

A system builder who wishes to remain anonymous contacted us with further details on the patent case in question. It seems that this patent showdown is not Internet Machines’ first rodeo. They have previously pursued other companies over US Patents 7,421,532 and 7,454,552 which cover switching with transparent and non-transparent ports. The case was settled in 2010, and it seems that Internet Machines (a seemingly no longer operating company) is not satisfied with the settlement. Internet Machines is moving for a jury trial in this latest round of lawsuits and concerns yet another data switching patent for PCI Express that covers multicasting in a shared address space.  It widens the net further by including numerous system builders and OEMs that build devices that contain PCI Express technology but do not deal with the PCIe standard directly. How the company has been able to patent aspects of the PCI Express standard is unclear; however, they patent is worded in such an ambiguous way that it could apply to almost anything they wanted it to.

Beyond the ambiguous use of the patent system is the issue of targeting companies that have little control over the PCI Express specification to begin with. Our source worded it best in stating that PCI Express is a standard that everyone uses. The companies targeted by Internet Machines’ recent lawsuit do not manufacture motherboards or control the PCI Express standard. “We build computers, that’s it.” What are your thoughts on the issue? Let us know in the comments below.

Cisco Faces Second Lawsuit For Allegedly Supplying Technology To Track Chinese Dissidents

Subject: Networking | June 12, 2011 - 04:24 AM |
Tagged: networking, Lawsuit, Internet, Cisco

Cisco, the worldwide networking heavyweight, is now facing a lawsuit from three Chinese website authors for Harry Wu. Mr. Wu is a Chinese political activist who spent 19 years in Chinese forced-labor prison camps, according to Network World. The charges raised against Cisco allege that Cisco optimized its networking equipment and worked with the Chinese government to train them to identify and track individuals on the Internet that speak out against the Chinese government with pro-democratic speech.

In a similar vein, the networking company was presented with an additional lawsuit last month by members of the Falun Gong religious group. This previous lawsuit claims that Cisco supplied networking technology to the Chinese government with the knowledge that the technology would be used to oppress the religious movement. Falun Gong is religious and spiritual movement that emphasizes morality and the theoretical nature of life. It was banned in July 1999 by the Communist Party Of China for being a “heretical organization”. Practitioners have been the victims of numerous human rights violations throughout the years.

Cisco has stated on the company’s blog that they strongly support free expression on the Internet. Further, they have responded to the allegations by stating that “Our company has been accused in a pair of lawsuits of contributing to the mistreatment of dissidents in China, based on the assertion that we customize our equipment to participate in tracking of dissidents. The lawsuits are inaccurate and entirely without foundation,” as well as “We have never customized our equipment to help the Chinese government—or any government—censor content, track Internet use by individuals or intercept Internet communications.”

It remains to be seen whether the allegations hold any truth; however, Cisco has been here before and are likely to see further lawsuits in the future. How do you feel about the Cisco allegations?