STLR Link Roundup – February 6, 2013

Apple v. Samsung

The intellectual property battle between Apple and Samsung continues. On January 29, the US federal court has refused Apple’s request to increase the $1 billion in damages. The court ruled that Samsung did not “willfully” violate Apple’s patents and refused to triple the damages that were owed by Samsung. Furthermore, the court has refused to impose a sales ban on Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which had been banned in June of 2012 and lifted in October of 2012. The two companies are expected to meet next month.


Patentability of Software

The US Court of Appeals will be rehearing CLS Bank Int’l v. Alice Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2012) en banc this Friday (February 8, 2013). The initial panel held that computer-implemented methods were patentable subject matter, unless it was “manifestly evident” that they cover an abstract idea. Just few days later, Federal Circuit panel distinguished CLS Bank from Bancorp Services v. Sun Life, and held that a computer-implemented process was an unpatentable abstract idea. The questions presented in the en banc order are:

  1. What test should the court adopt to determine whether a computer-implemented invention is a patent ineligible “abstract idea”; and when, if ever, does the presence of a computer in a claim lend patent eligibility to an otherwise patent-ineligible idea?
  2. In assessing patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. sec. 101 of a computer-implemented invention, should it matter whether the invention is claimed as a method, system, or storage medium; and should such claims at times be considered equivalent for sec. 101 purposes?

By revisiting these questions, the hope is that there will be more guidance on whether certain software is patentable.


Privacy Issues

The California Supreme Court ruled that online retailers like Apple could require California customers making purchases with credit cards to give personal information as a way to verify purchases and to minimize fraud. While minimizing fraud is very important for online retailers, this decision could lead to more private information being vulnerable. Companies like Twitter and Washington Post have reported that their system had been hacked and some personal information was compromised last week.


Kodak Sells Its Digital Patents

Kodak has completed the sale of its patents on digital imaging for about $527 million. Kodak had wanted to get a price in the neighborhood of $2 billion but was unable to find a buyer. With the proceeds of the sale, Kodak will try to get itself out of bankruptcy.


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