The patent is currently under public review via Peer to Patent. Here is the summary from the filing.According to the present invention, methods and apparatus are provided for manipulating objects in a user interface. The user interface includes a first interface object operable to be selected and moved within the user interface. In response to selection and movement of the first interface object in the user interface, at least one … Read more
Read the full story on MSNBC: "New book claims Bell stole key telephone idea."
Apple is developing a volume control device for its iPods that would automatically calculate how long a person has been listening and at what volume, before gradually reducing the sound level, all in an effort to protect users' hearing, according to the London-based Daily Mail.
Citing a new patent application, the report--to which Apple declined to comment--says the "device will also calculate the amount of 'quiet time' between when the iPod is turned off and when it is restarted, allowing the volume to be increased again to a safe level."
Established defense contractor iRobot has prevailed in courtroom battles against Robotic FX, effectively gaining an unconditional surrender from the upstart military-industrial wannabe.
Late on Friday, Burlington, Mass.-based iRobot said that two federal courts had ruled in its favor. The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts determined that Robotic FX and founder Jameel Ahed--a former iRobot employee--had misused trade secrets belonging to iRobot, while the U.S. District Court in Northern Alabama determined that Robotic FX had deliberately infringed on patents.
As if that weren't enough, a related settlement requires the disbanding of Robotic FX, with certain assets to … Read more
Nick Carr has a funny, but potentially prescient, post on two apparently competing patents that Amazon ("blurbs") and Google ("snippets") were just granted.What happens...when Google tries to snippetize a blurb? It could be the defining epistemological debate of out time.
At least it continues to call into question the US Patent and Trademark Office's ability to grok and process the myriad patent applications it receives. I mean, surely someone should have noticed the similarity between snippets and blurbs?
Or not. :-)
A complicated third-party arrangement means that the open-source Samba project will be able to make use of proprietary documents describing Microsoft file-sharing software.
Samba, governed by the General Public License (GPL), lets Unix or Linux servers behave like Windows machines used to share files over a network and control networked printers. But the effort has been difficult: Microsoft doesn't go out of its way to share the details of the protocols; patent infringement concerns also have appeared more than once.
On Thursday, though, the Samba team announced a deal that gets around the previous barriers. The increasingly influential Software Freedom Law Center, … Read more
I was reading through IEEE's recent patent portfolio survey and was surprised to see that Microsoft was ranked No. 1 in terms of the overall quality, and more importantly, scientific value of its patent portfolio. The company that gave us Clippy is also sitting on a small mountain of innovation.
The question, of course, is how to turn raw innovation into saleable products. In this area Microsoft may be too dependent on last decade's products to truly focus on the next decade. Yes, Microsoft has churned out the Zune, Xbox, and other new products. But I suspect its dominance in operating systems and office productivity suites keeps it from truly pushing the envelope with new products, because everything has to fit within yesterday's conception of how computing should work.
In short, could Microsoft be its own worst enemy?
Here are the rankings:… Read more
The Register ponders the question, "Why does the music industry make licensing its catalogs so cost prohibitive?"
For years, the Big Five (now Four) have preferred to litigate rather than license their catalogues, but we were told that was no longer the case.
"We have to license... and think like the publishers," said UMG's digital chief Larry Kenswil back in January, setting the tone for the year.
The problem is that the music industry sets its license fees so high that its licensees are doomed to fail, notes Michael Robertson (in "Imeem gets license and death sentence"). Could this be Microsoft's game plan in its patent initiative? Put on the guise of cooperating while pricing its competition into oblivion?… Read more
I received this update from Sun Microsystems on Tuesday on the ongoing ZFS patent litigation with NetApp. While colored by its source, the news seems positive for Sun (and, given the importance of ZFS, for the open-source development community). Sun has succeeded in getting the venue changed to California and it appears that its public request for examples of prior art have yielded fruit.
What follows was sent to me by Sun:
As of Friday, December 14, Sun has filed reexamination requests for three Network Appliance patents as part of its response to a lawsuit initially filed by Network Appliance against Sun on September 5, 2007. This follows the agreement last month with Network Appliance to transfer Network Appliance's lawsuit from Texas and litigate it along with the case Sun filed in California. The motion to transfer was filed on November 21 and the cases are now assigned to a mutually agreed upon judge. With each company being headquartered in northern California and the majority of inventors and innovation in dispute originating in California, it makes sense for this case to be litigated in this jurisdiction. We are pleased that Network Appliance agreed to Sun's request and retracted its imprudent choice of venue for this litigation.… Read more
Just when you thought its legal troubles were over, Vonage gets involved in another legal squabble with telecommunications equipment maker Nortel Networks.
On Friday, Nortel filed a lawsuit against Vonage claiming that the voice provider has violated nine patents related to its Internet phone service, including features such as 911 and 411 calling and click to call.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, comes in response to a suit Vonage is pursuing against Nortel. In 2004, a company called Digital Packet Licensing sued Nortel for infringing on three of its patents. Vonage acquired Digital … Read more