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Tag: PATENT

Google bids $900 million for Nortel's patents to protect against litigation trolls

Nortel, once one of the biggest telecoms company in the world but now in the death throes of bankruptcy, has selected Google's $900 million bid for its patent portfolio as the stalking horse bid. This doesn't mean that Google will automatically win Nortel's massive array of telecoms patents, but it does mean that Google is the preferred buyer. Google, which has a history of lobbying for patent...

Google Doodles awarded patent for 'enticing users to access a website'

If you thought the crazy, Wild West days of the United States Patent and Trademark Office were over... think again! Google has been awarded a patent for its famous Doodles. The application was originally filed in 2001, some three years after Google began using custom logos on its home page. With the awesomely vague title "Systems and methods for enticing users to access a web site" we can...

Microsoft Word XML patent case to be heard by Supreme Court

Microsoft struck out on two previous attempts in court, but it's not prepared to give up on Word just yet. Today, the Redmond company received a bit of welcome news: the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Microsoft's appeal in the case to decide who owns the patent for XML, the markup language that powers Word. That takes Microsoft off the hook for the $290 million in damages previously awarded to...

IBM patents system that uses hard drives to accurately measure earthquakes, predict tsunamis

It is with dubiously raised eyebrows that we bring you this gem: using accelerometers in hard disks to detect seismic activity, IBM can divine a wealth of natural disaster-related information. These hard disk sensors are so sensitive that they can detect the tiniest of vibrations. The seismic data, along with the sensor's geographical location, are then sent to a mainframe computer to be...

Patent troll starts suing websites that use roll-over images...

Ars Technica is running a fantastic, facepalm-worthy story of patent trolling gone wild. Webvention is the patent-holder in question, and their entire operations revolve around a single U.S. patent: 5,251,294. The patent abstract opens with one of the vaguest and most terrifying sentences ever conceived: "An interactive information environment for accessing, controlling, and using information."...

Microsoft sues Motorola and its Android phones for patent infringement

In a continuing, drawn-out, and rather banal storyline that's reminiscent of a cheap daytime soap, Microsoft has sued Motorola for infringing nine patents in its Android phones. The patents cover functions such as "synchronizing e-mail, calendars and contacts." This all comes just a few days after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's annual bonus was slashed due to poor performance in the mobile...

Microsoft had a 'priority email inbox' way before Google, and has patents to prove it

Much has been said about Gmail's new priority inbox -- all of it good! -- but it turns out that Microsoft Research has been working on similar technology since the 1990s. Not only is there a slew of research papers detailing how the technology works (it sounds very similar to Gmail's priority inbox), but Microsoft also has a bunch of well-targeted patents filed as far back as 1999! Is this...

MPEG LA chases its tail, says H.264 streaming will be free forever

MPEG LA, famous for nothing other than a portfolio of pretentiously pathetic patents, has finally taken a swing at the rapidly gaining popularity of its free-as-in-matted-beard competitor, WebM. Rather than running out in 2016, the license to stream H.264 will remain free forever. This is a reactionary move to battle the rallying of Mozilla, Google and Opera behind the WebM video standard. As...

Microsoft's Direct Experience Platform could bring instant-on to Windows 8

Remember back when Windows 7 was first being talked about? We'd all gotten wind of that mysterious "MinWin" feature, which had scores of people thinking Microsoft was going to build in some sort of stripped-down instant-on computing option. That, of course, turned out not to be the case. A new patent filing uncovered by Manan Kakkar seems to indicate that Windows 8 will, however, include...

Apple patent controversy: patent diagrams look a lot like existing apps

Apple's got an interesting new patent application for a location-based suggestion system to be used in travel apps. There's nothing too controversial about the idea, but the patent diagrams have third-party iPhone developers taking notice because they look an awful lot like existing apps. Drawings in the patent closely resemble Where To?, GuideYou Amsterdam and an official Ralph Lauren app. Dan...

Amazon has officially patented the "Social Networking System"

As incredible as it sounds, the United States Patent and Trademark Office actually awarded Amazon a patent for the "Social Networking System." To make it truly ridiculous, the abstract on the patent reads as though it were succinctly describing Facebook. Amazon's reasoning throughout the whole process has been that, since they purchased PlanetAll in 1998, and PlanetAll is often considered to be...

Microsoft patents portable applications? I don't think so.

Over at Network World, there's a little but of a fuss being kicked up about a new patent filed by Microsoft. Here's the juicy bit: "A portable storage device includes an interface and one or more flash memories. The one or more flash memories store one or more executable files that can be executed by a host computer to which the device is coupled without altering any environment settings on the...

Apple patents camera-swipe controls for a future iPhone

All kinds of crazy rumors about the next-generation iPhone are already floating around, months ahead of its release. If you were excited when you heard that the back of the phone might be touch-sensitive, you'll love this latest feature: the new iPhone's camera might be usable as a swipe-pad. Patently Apple reports that a newly-discovered Apple patent shows a camera that you can swipe to navigate...

Facebook snaps up a patent on its News Feed, but not status updates

Social networking giant Facebook just scored an intellectual property victory by patenting its News Feed, the constantly-updating stream of friends' activities that users see when they sign into the site. The patent, uncovered by AllFacebook, also includes News Feed features like advertising, filters, and searching the feed. The original application was filed by Mark Zuckerberg and half a dozen...

Quintura chooses software patent claims as revenue stream

I'm not a fan of software patents, and I'm particularly not a fan of companies who use them as a business model. While the concept of patenting software makes sense, in practice it is a complete mess. I was therefore saddened to learn that Quintura, an otherwise interesting search startup, has devolved into using a patent for their visual search technology as a revenue stream by going after other...