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Patents The Courts Apple

Audio and Video Patents Haunt Apple and Android 98

FlorianMueller writes "There seems to be no end to those smartphone patent suits. This week's special: audio and video patents that its owners claim are key to formats like MP3 and MPEG 2. The targets: Apple and Android. On Monday, Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary Multimedia Patent Trust filed a patent infringement suit in Southern California against Apple, LG (over 64 different phones including some Android-based ones), Canon and TiVo over four video patents. Fortunately for Apple and LG, none of the patents asserted against those two companies are likely to be in force by the time the judge decides, so there's no risk of an injunction. They may nevertheless have to pay for past damages. The same company once obtained a record $1.5 billion jury verdict against Microsoft but saw it slashed by a judge. And on Tuesday, Hybrid Audio LLC filed a suit in Eastern Texas, asserting a patent against various Apple products and certain Android-based products from HTC and Dell."
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Audio and Video Patents Haunt Apple and Android

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  • MPEG-LA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by qbast ( 1265706 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:00AM (#34651162)
    So MPEG-LA protection racket does not actually protect anybody? What a surprise.
  • Boom! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RenHoek ( 101570 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:25AM (#34651304) Homepage

    I can only hope so many patent lawsuits will be started so that the whole system implodes upon its own stupidity.. Seems to much to ask for lawmakers to not take money from the industry so this might be the only way left..

  • Re:Enough already! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:33AM (#34651366)

    Those companies themselves have more than enough patents to fence off possibile competitors (coincedently they are competitors of eachother ;)). So I wouldn't be too sure about them getting sick of patents. Especially since they also have the means to defend themselves from patent trolls and can afford an army of lawyers to get the best out of these lawsuits.

    Exactly. The worst (but very likely) scenario is a cartel of software giants all holding patents and having agreements with others but meaning that no small developer or new company could develop anything without being attacked with thousands of general patents they could not afford to contest,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:44AM (#34651416)

    Money is being spent on innovation........

  • by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @11:09AM (#34651588)

    big corps are being targeted by other patent trolls.

  • by Old97 ( 1341297 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @11:14AM (#34651618)
    You both have good points, but I'd like to remind the GP that the legislators who've either taken IP law to absurd lengths or failed to correct it and the Judges who've been enforcing software and business method patents when they don't appear to be included in the intent of the law are almost all lawyers. American society seems to me be be of the Lawyers, by the Lawyers and for the Lawyers. The "Law" and the Legal system have become ends in themselves which is not why they were created. They were created in order to facilitate a more orderly and just society. Unfortunately its all devolved into a religious cult divorced from any higher purpose.
  • by nkovacs ( 1199463 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @12:11PM (#34652138)
    Blaming the lawyers is neither fair nor productive. The blame lies in a broken patent system that cripples innovation rather than promotes it. We need to change the laws such that software patents are not allowed. Blaming the lawyers is like shooting the messenger.
  • Re:Libre Formats? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @01:08PM (#34652800) Homepage

    No one is say that the Ogg Vorbis people are hiding patents under a rug waiting for someone to fall into their clever trap. What is considerably more likely is that someone, somewhere has patent on something that looks vaguely like Ogg Vorbis, and either hasn't realized it yet or hasn't yet found a juicy enough target to shoot a lawsuit at.

    Example: Android. Open Source and and unencumbered by any patents from its inventor, Google. Google can, and has, guaranteed that they have left Android as free as possible for others to make use of. Unfortunately Oracle thinks they have some patents applicable to the technology that is the base of Android. So Oracle is suing both Google *and* the phone manufacturers. Google can't guarantee that their technology is unencumbered by other people's patents, no more can Ogg Vorbis.

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