Samsung and Apple Exchange Patent Victories Between US ITC and The Hague
In the ongoing worldwide IP battle royale, Apple has struck another blow against Samsung. The US International Trade Commission yesterday issued a preliminary ruling in favor of Apple, holding that Samsung phones infringed on four of six claimed patents relating to audio, multi-touch and display technology. Further review of the decision by the full panel is likely to take place in February, so this particular skirmish is still far from over.
However, despite the recent losses there are signs of hope for Samsung and Google’s Android OS. In The Hague District Court today, Judge Blok denied Apple’s claims of infringement against Android OS, confirming similar rulings in Germany and the United Kingdom.
Sigh of Relief for Sony as 2011 Privacy Breach Class Action Dismissed
A federal judge last week dismissed a class action suit brought against Sony for last year’s catastrophic security compromise of the Playstation Network and Qriocity, an affiliated audio streaming service. The breach resulted in weeks of downtime for the services as well as damage to Sony’s brand, once it was revealed that hackers had gained access to the personal information of over 77 million subscribers, including credit card numbers. While some consumer protection claims will be amended, the dismissal is great news for Sony considering the immense costs borne already through identity theft protection for customers, free services, brand rebuilding and lost business.
Google Faces Increasing Pressure for Linking French News Without Commission
At technology conference EmTech on Thursday, hosted by MIT’s Technology Review, French minister Fleur Pellerin pressured Google to come to a solution with respect to their practice of indexing and reference online articles from French news publications. Mr. Pellerin indicated that if Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s visit next week did not move negotiations forward, other ways would be found to protect the French newspaper industry. Legislation has already been proposed targeting Google, as the issue becomes increasingly contentious. In response, Google published a letter threatening to ban French media sites altogether. Although an outright ban in France seems unlikely, Brazil is going strong one year into a Google boycott instituted after a similar dispute.
Microsoft Called Out for Violations of 2009 EU Antitrust Settlement
In a reminder of the good old days, European Union antitrust commissioner Joaquin Almunia has formally charged Microsoft with violation of a 2009 settlement agreement. The suit involved ensuring equal access to rival internet browsers, and the settlement required Microsoft to feature a “Browser Choice Screen” offering alternative browsers. Microsoft claims the infringement was the result of a technical error this past July. Comments by Mr. Almunia indicate that regulators will be watching the deployment of Windows 8 very closely.