Microsoft on Wednesday announced it has reached a settlement agreement with Primax Electronics, a mouse maker the software company sued in July for patent infringement.
As part of the settlement, Primax has entered into a nonexclusive licensing agreement that covers Microsoft's patents for U2 and Tilt Wheel technology, for both past and future sales of relevant Primax products in the United States. The rest of the settlement terms are confidential.
Apple has recently filed a couple of patents that could shed light on the company's future plans. One addresses the implementation of proximity sensors into its multitouch technology on devices larger than the iPhone. The other suggests a user interface that would present the Mac OS X desktop screen in three dimensions.
Given that patents often portend what's to come, what would you like Apple to take on in its next patent? If none of our answers fit, be sure to suggest your own in the Talkback section.
Are you ready for a 3D desktop?
Apple is working on such a project, according to patent filings unearthed by MacRumors this week. The "multidimensional desktop" applications suggest that Apple wants to take familiar parts of the Mac OS X desktop--such as the dock--and add depth, allowing you to stack documents or folders behind application icons on the "floor" of your desktop.
Social network Friendster announced Tuesday that it has been awarded its fourth U.S. patent, called "Compatibility Scoring of Users in a Social Network." It does pretty much exactly what it sounds like--it parses user profile data to find people who might be compatible as friends.
The social network, considered an also-ran in the U.S. but a much bigger phenomenon in a number of Asian countries--it has 65 million registered users in Asia--had its first patent granted in July 2006 and says that more are on the way.
"In just six years, social networking has … Read more
IEEE, a professional organization for the advancement of tech, is announcing on Monday a collaboration with Via Licensing to foster the development of patent pools based on IEEE standards.
San Francisco-based Via administers licensing programs for intellectual property owners.
The collaboration will encourage intellectual property holders to establish joint licensing programs through which they can offer streamlined royalty rates and licenses for all of the patents in the pool.
"What it means if you're an implementer … Read more
A new company is launching with the intent of acquiring patents to shield technology companies from costly patent lawsuits.
RPX, a San Francisco-based start-up, calls itself a "defensive patent aggregator." The company plans to buy available patents to keep them out of the hands of "patent trolls," or firms that obtain patents for the purpose of suing other companies for royalties or licensing fees.
RPX will sell memberships to companies for a fixed annual fee that could range from $35,000 to $4.9 million, depending on the member company's operating income. For the price … Read more
Apple has been hit with a patent-infringement suit from an inventor who claims to have patented iPhone-like mobile Web surfing.
EMG Technology, which appears to be a holding company for the interests of inventor Elliot Gottfurcht, filed suit against Apple on Monday in the 21st century rocket docket, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in the Tyler Division. EMG was awarded U.S. Patent number 7,441,196 in October after filing its patent application in March 2006, and thinks Apple's iPhone has run afoul of the claims in the patent.
In a basic … Read more
Though SCO still has the option to appeal, a federal district court judge Dale Kimball has now effectively written its death sentence in the form of a somewhat blistering final judgment (PDF), as Groklaw reports.
SCO, once the bane of the open-source world, is effectively dead. The company, which long ago stopped trying to make useful products and instead morphed into a boutique law firm, has seen its revenue slide into oblivion while Novell, which stood up to SCO and has now won in court, has seen its Linux revenue jump.
Lesson? You can only milk a weak intellectual property … Read more
Correction: The article inadvertently states that RPX has raised $40 million in venture capital funds. This is incorrect. A spokesperson contacted the author to note that a correct reading of the website would be that "The company has acquired more than $40 million in patent rights since its founding."
Patent trolls are the bane of existence for technology companies. Patent trolls buy up patents so that they can extort money from companies that actually build and sell products. The world's largest patent troll is arguably Intellectual Ventures, which holds billions of dollars worth of patents.
It is … Read more