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Category Archive for ‘lawsuit’ rss

Google and Microsoft end their years-long patent war

And just like that, another one of the tech industry’s epic patent battles is coming to a close. Google and Microsoft have dropped all 20 (!) of the lawsuits they’ve filed against each other, ending their five-year dispute over everything ranging…

Apple ordered to pay $4.2 million for botched iPad program in LA

The LA Unified School District (LAUSD) will receive a settlement worth $4.2 million from Apple for the ill-fated program that aimed to put an iPad in the hands of 640,000 students in the city. Cupertino was supposed to earn $30 million from the…

Food delivery apps face lawsuits over employee benefits

The fight over employee benefits when it comes to app-based on-demand services continues. The Chicago Tribune reports that food delivery companies GrubHub, DoorDash and Caviar were all hit with separate lawsuits in San Francisco this week. The …

Mitsubishi will repair your broken LaserVue for free

You might not remember Mitsubishi’s rear-projection LaserVue TVs, unless you purchased one and got stuck with a huge repair bill. If so, we hope you kept those receipts, because you may be entitled to a refund for any work done. Mitsubishi has sett…

Apple patent victory puts Samsung devices in jeopardy

Apple has won another small victory in its never-ending patent row with Samsung. The war that nobody asked for (and like most wars will have no winners, only losers) rages on with another appeals court decision. This one went in favor of Apple …

Judge Rules Steve Jobs' iPod Deposition Video Won't Be Released to Public

If you were hoping you’d get to see Steve Jobs’ video testimony that was such a key part of the recent iPod antitrust trial, District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wants you to cast those hopes aside. Members of the media had been insisting on get…

Apple Wins iPod Antitrust Lawsuit

And so today Apple’s long iPod antitrust suit is at an end. Today a jury found the Cupertino company not guilty of violating antitrust laws when it implemented digital rights management software (FairPlay) in the last decade to stop users from download…

Judge Approves Apple's $450 Million E-book Settlement

After months of waiting, the class action lawsuit alleging that Apple played foul with its iBooks customers by fixing the price of e-books may at least be coming to an end. Today U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote accepted Apple’s $450 million propo…

Firm Mulls Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple Pay Rival CurrentC

It’s a shame that some retailers such as CVS and Rite-Aid aren’t so keen on adopting Apple Pay, but do they really deserve to have a class action lawsuit aimed at them? Apparently, if you work at the firm of Schubert, Jonckheer & Kolbe, that answer…

The Week's 10 Hottest Apple News Stories, August 22

This is one heck of a leak week with batteries, screens, and all kinds of specs making their way into your hot little hands. By the time the iPhone 6 comes out, we’ll know every single bit and piece of the device down to the tiniest screw. And there mi…

Bose Files Lawsuit Against Beats, Citing Five Patent Infringements

Now that the dust has settled in the wake of Apple’s widely publicized announcement of its acquisition of Beats Electronics (which still has yet to close), the Cupertino company’s starting to learn that it brought some unexpected baggage with it. Bose today filed a lawsuit against Beats, claiming that the company infringed on five of the company’s patents.

As reported by TechCrunch, Bose alleges that Beats’ headphones, many of which claim to support “Adaptive Noise Cancellation,” draw heavily from Bose’s more than 50 years of research into the design of its QuietComfort noise-cancellation headphones.

The patents in question include United States Patent No. 6,717,537, or “Method and Apparatus for Minimizing Latency in Digital Signal Processing Systems;” Patent No. 6,717,537, or “Method and Apparatus for Minimizing Latency in Digital Signal Processing Systems,” Patent No. 8,073,151: “Dynamically Configurable ANR Filter Block Technology;” Patent No. 8,054,992: “High frequency Compensating;” and No. 8,345,888 – “Digital High Frequency Phase Compensation.”

And Bose isn’t kidding around. The well-known audio company wants Beats to stop producing headphones that infringe on Bose’s patents, and the company’s even gone so far as to request a ban on offending Beats products from the International Trade Commission.

Bose also responded to TechCrunch with a statement that read as follows: “The filing is comprehensive and explains our position, and as a matter of practice, we don’t comment on on-going litigation. We can share that for over 30 years, Bose has made significant investments in the research, development, engineering and design of the proprietary technologies found in our headphones. Bose’s patented technologies enable the exclusive performance found in our QuietComfort® Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones. We are committed to protecting our investment, protecting our customers, and defending the patents we own.”

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Trolls Love the Taste of Apple; Here's Why

Law & AppleWhen patent trolls are hungry, they reach for Apple. And when they do, they often get fed. In the bizarre world of US patent law, even when your case has little merit, you’re probably going to get paid anyway.

Apple vs. Trolls

The Chicago Tribune put together a great report detailing several recent public statements from Apple that support the claim that Cupertino is the most favored target of patent trolls. 

Patent trolls are known in the industry (which can’t call them “patent trolls” in court) as Patent Assertion Entities, or PAEs. They do not invent or create anything, they don’t manufacture anything, they don’t even sell anything. All they do is buy patents so they can take other companies to court.

According to Apple, patent trolls “do nothing more than acquire vague patents, and then use litigation or the threat of litigation to negotiate royalties that are far larger than what the patents warrant.”

In a filing to the Federal Trade Commission, Apple stated that “No firm has been targeted by PAEs more than Apple.” Apple further stated that it has had to battle patent trolls “92 times in the past three years alone,” which is more than any other tech company.

Apple, as we cover in this space every week, generally has its act together in court. The Cupertino legal team is a finely tuned machine, and it’s very uncommon to see them lose in court. So why would patent trolls keep coming after them?

In an amicus brief for an upcoming Supreme Court case, Apple puts the issue into sharper relief: “Apple has rarely lost on the merits. But victory figures as small consolation, because in every one of these cases, Apple has been forced to bear its legal fees. This reality is the lifeblood of the patent assertion industry…”

While it stings to pay trolls cash when they’re threatening you with a bogus lawsuit, it’s sometimes the only smart thing to do, since you have to pay your lawyers whether you win or lose. Too often, it’s cheaper to feed the troll with cash than to go to court, even when you’re right. Even when you win.


Trolling Apple in court: good work if you can find it.

“Indeed, the opening line of many negotiations is some form of, ‘What we’re asking for is less than it will cost you to litigate this case to judgment,’ Apple stated. So how often does Apple just pay to make the troll go away?

Out of the most recent 92 cases, Apple has resolved 57 of them. In 51 of those cases, Apple just decided to settle with the troll to avoid legal costs, despite a firm belief that it had not infringed any patents; in the other six cases, the troll either lost or quit.

So, 51 wins for the trolls out of 57; that’s a winning percentage of 89.5 percent. Easy money. But what is the real cost to this nonsense?

According to one Apple brief, patent trolls “have become a drag on technological innovation, inflicting billions of dollars in deadweight losses every year.”

The reason we’ve received this rare insight into the inner workings of Apple is because it’s one of several tech companies — including Netflix, Facebook. LinkedIn, and Google — that have filed briefs for the upcoming Supreme Court case Highmark v. Allcare Management Systems. If the SCOTUS rules in favor of the Apple and the rest, it will make it easier to collect attorney fees from trolls that lose in court.

That alone might be enough to encourage companies to fight back against trolls, which would certainly be enough to make trolls run and hide. Because right now, having to pay your lawyers to argue an absurd case in court doesn’t make a lot of sense. Right now, feeding the troll is often the only way to win.

Connect with this writer, Adrian Hoppel, through his website:

The 10 Hottest Apple News Stories, The Week of February 21

Good old, Steve Jobs is back in the news this week with two stories. You want to know why Apple TV hasn’t been kicking butt lately? No Steve is the answer there. But if you need your Steve fix, just take a jaunt down to the post office. Meanwhile, who’…

How Many Retrials Does Samsung Want? Infinity Retrials.

We are just a few weeks away from the second major Apple v. Samsung trial to happen in Northern California, but we still haven’t wrapped up the first one. Why does Samsung think it should get a re-trial of the last re-trial, and what does the judge thi…

The Licensing Agreement between Google and Samsung Changes Nothing. Here's Why

A few days ago, Google and Samsung announced a surprising 10-year global patent licensing agreement. Mostly it was surprising because Samsung suing Google for patent infringement is about as likely as you suing your parents for patent infringement. So …

You Won't Believe Google's Latest Hypocrisy

Law & Apple

Google formed with an internal motto of “Don’t Be Evil” in response to the perceived business practices of Microsoft, and then proceeded over the years to manipulate customer data (see what Google does when you search) and force software on users (see how you are already signed up for Google+) much like Redmond. Now the Mountain View company is taking hypocrisy to a new level with their latest lawsuit against the Apple- and Microsoft-led Rockstar Consortium. Ah, the irony!

Google vs. Rockstar

Last week Google filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California against Rockstar and its subsidiary, MobileStar Technologies. The case was brought in response to a series of lawsuits Rockstar filed in October 2013 in the Eastern District of Texas against Google and seven of its Android hardware partners: Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, LG, HTC, Pantech, and ASUSTeK.

The Rockstar lawsuit against Google focused on search engine use, and also included actions against the Android manufacturer for a variety of hardware and software issues. Google’s response, however, is an attempt to block and disrupt that lawsuit, based on lots of fancy talk about what a rotten patent troll Rockstar is.

Many bloggers around the internet have taken the bait and attempted to turn this story into a “Google against Apple’s Patent Troll” hero’s journey, but the facts suggest something ironically different.

Patent Troll

Patent troll? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Rockstar was formed by Apple, BlackBerry, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony to purchase the patents of dying tech star Nortel in July of 2011 for $4.5 billion. Google is attempting to spin this event as an example of patent trolling, while ignoring the fact that it was the company that overinflated the price for these patents in the first place.

Google went hard after the Nortel patents, opening with a $900 million bid that sounded alarm bells across the industry. It was clear what Google wanted to do with these patents: use them to force Apple to stop suing Android manufactures. Google bid as high as $4.4 billion for the patents. No other single company wanted to pay as much as Google to gain these patents, but by joining together and forming Rockstar, they were able to cobble together a winning bid of $4.5 billion.

But Google was not finished there; the Mountain View company went on to buy the remains of Motorola for $12.5 billion and has tried unsuccessfully to use those patents to sue Apple and other members of Rockstar. To date, the Motorola purchase has been a total bust for Google in the courtroom.

And that isn’t even the extent of Google’s use/misuse of the patent system to protect itself. As Florian Mueller points outs in an op/ed piece for The Hill from this past November, Google “bought roughly 2,000 patents from IBM, and smaller quantities from failed startups and entities it now denounces as ‘trolls’, such as Mosaid, against which it later brought an antitrust complaint in the European Union. Another ‘troll’, Intellectual Ventures, had received one of its first investments ever from Google.”

Google has been aggressive in seeking out patents to use as leverage against other companies since the release of Android, which Mueller correctly states was released “in 2007, using — but not licensing — Apple’s multi-touch interface concepts, Microsoft’s operating system technologies, Oracle’s Java programming language, and probably also some other players’ inventions.” The fact is, using other company’s patents without paying for them, and then manipulating the patent system to cover its tracks, is simply what Google does.

Clearly, the patent system in the U.S. is broken, and clearly all of the major companies in the tech industry attempt to leverage it agains their competitors. But at this point, for Google to play the part of the victim against a big bad Apple patent troll is almost as absurd as the bloggers that are regurgitating the Mountain View propaganda.

Connect with this writer, Adrian Hoppel, through his website:

Law & Apple: Apple Asks Samsung to Go Dutch on Legal Fees

Law & AppleNow that Apple has proven in court that Samsung slavishly copied the iPhone, and proved it twice, we have approached the part of the event where everyone scrambles to figure out who owes what part of the bill. Like two people on a blind date gone bad, Apple and Samsung both want to go home without paying any more than they have to. Here’s hoping they just use one credit card for the bill, because people who give the waiter a handful of plastic to ring up separate amounts are totally annoying. Don’t do that. So, what’s the damage? Read on.

Apple vs. Samsung

Apple incurred over $60 million in costs and legal fees to prove in court what was fairly obvious at a glance: that Samsung copied the iPhone. Now, according to The San Jose Mercury News, Apple wants a federal judge to order Samsung to pay about a third of the bill.

Apple has determined that $16 million of the legal fees should totally be paid by Samsung, and also added an additional $6.2 million to cover a variety of other expenses. That’s over $22 million, before the tip.

In asking the court to “award Apple fees in this exceptional case” Apple made the argument that making Samsung pay some of Cupertino’s bills was an obvious course of action, that it “‘flows quite naturally’ from the jury’s willfulness verdict as well as Samsung’s extensive record of willful, deliberate and calculated decisions to copy the iPhone, in blatant disregard for Apple’s (intellectual property).” 

Samsung CEO

When does this end?

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, the primary judge in most of the Apple v. Samsung cases to date, is scheduled to rule on this request during a hearing in January. Should Judge Koh rule for Apple, it will set a precedent that will make the newest case between Apple and Samsung, scheduled to being in March 2014, even scarier for Samsung.

Also, Apple made it clear that these charges do not include what was billed to them for arguing in the last damages retrial. So, again, Judge Koh’s ruling in January could become an ongoing cash drain for Samsung.

Ultimately, the winners in this case are Apple’s law firms, Morrison & Foerster and Wilmer Hale (the website for the former is — I know, right?), and you can rest assured that they will be getting paid one way or another.

Clearly, Apple will continue to make this as painful as possible for Samsung. Having already forced Samsung to redesign its devices, the ultimate goal for Cupertino would have to be for Samsung to settle out of court and agree to a licensing agreement, effectively putting an end to the Patent Wars. To that end, it appears Apple is taking the strategy of “Every Dollar Counts!” Time will tell if this will work, but it seems advantageous, in any event, to have the MoFo legal team on your side.

Connect with this writer, Adrian Hoppel, through his website:

Law & Apple: Apple Wins Two Dismissals in Consumer Lawsuits

Law & AppleLast week, federal courts dismissed two consumer lawsuits against Apple, one dealing with privacy issues, the other dealing with antitrust issues. In both cases, consumers were seeking monetary damages from Apple, and in both cases, judges decided they’d heard enough and sent everyone home. Once again, we see that suing Apple over imaginary injuries is not a very effective get-rich-quick scheme.

Consumers vs. Apple (Privacy!)

Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh dismissed a lawsuit brought by consumers against Apple Inc. over privacy concerns, saying the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate they had relied on any alleged company misrepresentations or that they had suffered real harm whatsover.

The lawsuit originated in 2011, when the four plaintiffs claimed that Apple designed iOS to easily send personal information to third parties, and that this action violated Cupertino’s privacy policy.

Somehow, according the lawsuit, this alleged action caused the plaintiffs to pay too much money for their iPhones, as well as to lose valuable storage space on their devices.

Win Apple's Money!

Is that is your final argument?

Oh, so sorry. See, kids, to win an argument like this in court, you really need to show that you were tricked, and that the trickery cost you some dough. As Judge Koh put it,”Plaintiffs must be able to provide some evidence that they saw one or more of Apple’s alleged misrepresentations, that they actually relied on those misrepresentations, and that they were harmed thereby.”

And then Judge Koh just dismissed the case outright. Thanks for playing “Who Wants To Win Apple’s Money?” and better luck next time!

Consumers vs. Apple (Monopoly!)

Next up, a group of consumers claimed that by charging 30 percent on apps sold in the App Store, Apple created a monopoly that overcharged people hundreds of millions of dollars. If Apple did not impose this “fixed” fee, according to the complaint, then consumers would pay less for apps.

According to a report from Bloomberg, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers tossed this case out of court, ruling that consumers don’t have the right to sue for antitrust violations over such passed-on charges.

Win Apple's Money!

You should have used a lifeline!

Judge Rogers stated that since the 30 percent fee is not charged by Apple directly to consumers, the cost is then assumed to be passed on by app developers. “Any injury to plaintiffs,” Judge Rogers stated, “is an indirect effect resulting from the software developers’ own costs.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Alexander Schmidt, plans to appeal the decision to a federal appeals court in San Francisco, which has previously allowed cases like this to proceed. “It’s clear to us,” Schmidt stated, “that a consumer that buys a monopoly priced product directly from a monopolist is a direct purchaser.”

So, this contestant is doubling down, and we are off to Round Two of “Who Wants To Win Apple’s Money?”.

It seems this game has some legs, even if the odds of winning are low. Just in the last few weeks, we’ve seen people claiming the iMac is a lemon, a man suing Apple because he hates iOS 7, and an engineer who sued Apple claiming he invented the iPhone first. The quest for Apple’s gold never ends, it seems. See you next time!

Connect with this writer, Adrian Hoppel, through his website:

Law & Apple: Man Claims He Invented Smartphone, Court Disagrees

Law & AppleAn electrical engineer filed a lawsuit against Apple in California, claiming that he invented the smartphone and Apple was infringing on his idea. The jury sided with Apple, but it wasn’t as clear-cut as you might think. Was this another case of a patent troll trying to score big against Apple, or was it a case of a deep-pocketed corporate behemoth crushing the little guy? Read on.

NetAirus vs. Apple

Bloomberg reports that a federal jury decided Apple did not infringe on a patent holder who claims to have invented the smartphone. NetAirus Technologies LLC, a company owned by Richard L. Ditzik, was seeking damages from Apple over sales of the iPhone 4 since last October, when NetAirus’ patent was recertified with new language. It was that change in language that perhaps swung the court in Cupertino’s favor.

During the trial, Apple argued that the original patent application from NetAirus was for “a handset that used a laptop computer to make phone calls.” Apple claimed that it was only after reading about additional features already on the market, like the handset serving as a PDA and being able to send and receive email, that NetAirus revised its patent and went after the iPhone in court.

Seemingly, this appears to be another case of someone with a dubious patent trying to strike it rich against Apple in court; this is not the first case like that, nor will it be the last. So why was the jury deadlocked for days over this particular case, and why do some jury members lament having to side with Apple?

David and Goliath
What if Goliath was right? Does that make it OK? (Image source: Tuomas Korpi/Piñata)

The jury was deadlocked for three days, claiming that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision over the issue of if Apple had infringed on the patents, and if so, what the damages should be. Finally, attorneys for both sides agreed to accept a majority decision from the jury, and Apple prevailed. So what was the holdup?

According to juror George Escarrega, several of the jurors felt that “we were failing in doing everything we could for the system and for the inventor,” and that there “was an aspect to the case that Apple was this giant crushing the little guy.”

After the verdict, Escarrega wished “to find some way” to compensate Ditzik, opining that “the giant has more resources than the little guy and the little guy needs somebody to fight for him.” Ultimately, Escarrega continued, that desire to fight for the underdog “needs to be justified” and in this case, the law clearly favored Cupertino.

Ditzik and his lawyer stated that they were disappointed with the verdict and are considering options to appeal, while Apple did not comment after the ruling at all.

We’ve discussed how the U.S. patent system is nothing short of broken, and its dual purpose — to encourage innovation while protecting the work of the inventor — is a challenge to balance fairly. However, a desire to help the little guy against the giant corporation is not justification in and of itself. No matter the best intentions of the jury, and no matter how much some of the members wanted to rule for Ditzik, it appears in this case they (eventually) got it right.

Connect with this writer, Adrian Hoppel, through his website:

Jury selection for Apple, Samsung damages retrial complete

The damages retrial between Apple and Samsung will begin today following Tuesday’s successful jury selection. Reuters is reporting that out of dozens of jurors interviewed by lawyers for the two tech companies, they were able to settle on six women a…

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