Patent Troll to Pay Legal Fees

Patents are legal pieces of documentation to say that you are the creator or mind behind an idea or design, they are kinda like copyright although they can be a wider range of things such as the concept behind a piece of technology, rather than the exact components and designs needed to implement it. More often than not we find that there are groups or companies seeking to use these documents to gain money where none is due, these groups of individuals are called “Patent Trolls”. In a first, a District Judge in the US has asked a group to pay the legal fees of various companies it sued.

The concept is simple, claim you have the rights to a patent for a design or idea and then request that they pay you for anything they might have used that design for, this is especially common with things like software.

Judge Rodney Gilstrap has stated that due to the exceptional circumstance of the case eDekka LLC should be made to pay the legal fees from the various companies it sued. eDekka used a patent to sue more than 200 companies in 160 separate cases, the basis from which was their use of a database which eDekka claims their patent would reduce the time needed to retrieve information, however, when they were pressed more they began to explain the technology as a teaching tool that would help improve people’s ability to program databases and the systems that use them.

With it being considered an easy win by many patent trolls tend to hope for an early payment or a long drawn of battle resulting in the opposition not being able to continue the case. Hopefully this will deter people from trying to claim others works in exchange for an early payday.

Image courtesy of Book Masters.

Facebook Shuts Down Gift Service, Shifts Focus on Other ‘Commerce-related’ Projects

Facebook’s ‘Gift Shop’ initiative wasn’t doing so good these past years. The social network’s Gift Shop that lets you buy and send gifts to friends was originally launched back a few years back, granting you the ability to send virtual goods to your friends.

In 2010, Facebook closed it since it was not doings so good, which is was to be expected since the website was focusing on social media and not e-commerce. Following Karma’s acquisition by the social media giant in September 2012, a physical ‘Gift Shop’ was then re-opened. However, according to a report by Re/Code, Facebook plans on killing this one too on the 12th of August.

Facebook apparently learned its lesson from these past mistakes, having the first attempt at stopping the second Gift Shop initiative in August 2013, when the social media giant partially shut it down, removing the ability to purchase physical goods and focusing on gift cards. However, Facebook appears not to give up on its idea completely, having another ‘job’ for its e-commerce team.

“We’ll be using everything we learned from Gifts to explore new ways to help businesses and developers drive sales on the Web, on mobile and directly on Facebook,” Tera Randall, a Facebook spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The team formed by Karma founder Lee Linden and the rest of the previous Gift Shop team are said to remain within Facebook and work on other ‘commerce-related’ projects.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Huawei Reported To Be Selling High-End Smartphones Via Messaging App

The increased competition of smartphone manufacturers in China has apparently resulted in companies approaching unique marketing techniques. For example, Xiaomi is said to have success with its ‘Hunger Marketing’ technique, having customers pre-register their interest in a handset in order to grab the e-mail addresses of potential buyers. As soon as the particular handset hits the spotlight, a limited number is manufactured and sold. This is how the company recently sold an estimated 10,000 Xiaomi Redmi Note phablets in less than a second.

Networking and telecom manufacturer Huawei apparently has its own tactics. Sources indicate that the company is apparently using popular messaging application WeChat as a channel to sell its Huawei Honor 6 handset. The device is said to boast an Octa-Core processor, a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920, as well as a 13 MP back camera and 5MP front camera.

The company previously used only local carriers to sell its handsets, but due to the increased competition, it is hoping to widen the distribution of its products using the WeChat app. The application, which is said to be in partnership with Chinese e-commerce company JD, has apparently hosted a competition in which the lucky winner was awarded with a Huawei Honor 6. The rules appeared to have been simple as well, having competitors guess the price of the handset in question. The winner would have had to answer ¥1999 / $322, the actual price of the Huawei Honor 6 handset.

Huawei is said to have 8% of the Chinese market, placing it on the 6th position in the country. This is due to change in the future, providing that the partnership between the company and WeChat app is successful. WeChat is said to have over 400 million users, having it be used as a text and voice messaging app, a gaming app and even a cab hailing app. Reports show that an update last year has even added a payment system, something which Huawei is attempting to exploit. Also, Huawei might have been the first to use this type of marketing camping, but it most certainly will not be the last.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Amazon Workers in Germany Strike Again

Amazon workers in Germany walked off the job again Monday even as they tired to take their case directly to the e-commerce giant’s Seattle headquarters. The first action seemed more of a success, involving more than a thousand workers. The second only drew in about 50 people with one sign saying “We are humans not robots”. The tech companies, including Amazon are getting even richer and more powerful, but just like throughout history whenever a victory is achieved or company grows there will always be some form of backlash. This seems to be the case, as in San Francisco recently, with protesters briefly blocking a Google bus from transporting workers to its Silicon Valley campus.

Amazon’s announcement two weeks ago on “60 Minutes” that it is pursuing delivery by drones inspired not admiration but widespread mockery. Perhaps Amazon brought up the subject of drones as a form of wish fulfillment. For the retailer, the moment when machines prepare and deliver packages could not come too soon. Humans are too much trouble, Germany is Amazon’s second largest market, and the labor turmoil there is increasing dramatically. German warehouse workers have been conducting brief walkouts since last spring in what were the first strikes against the company anywhere. Amazon said that approximately 1,115 workers did not show up Monday but that Christmas packages would still be delivered on time. Germany’s Amazon ware house employees about 23,000 full time and seasonal workers.

On the surface the dispute is money, the German Labor Union wants Amazon to classify workers as retail employees. However Amazon says that the employees are logistics workers who should be paid less. Underneath it all is the bigger question of whether the warehouse workers should have any control over their workplace. The employees also known a “pickers”, assemble the orders. Amazon warehouses are a marvel of engineering and efficiency, however “picking” is still hard physical labor with constant monitoring and very little job security. Amazon in its race to stay the dominate e-commerce company, wants maximum flexibility to use its workers as it will. Negotiation would impede efficiency and innovation according to Dave Clark the companies Vice President. However “pickers” see it differently, with Mr Hoffman-Achenbach  an organizer for the Labor Union on his way to Seattle to participate in the demonstration saying.

“The workers are treated more as robots than Human. As a worldwide company Amazon should treat their workers fairly and with respect in each country. The solidarity of American unions and the united Union of Germany is a sign that social movements are not bounded by national borders and that in times of globalization the workers worldwide stand together as one.” Also traveling to Seattle is Nancy Becker, an American who has been working as an employee at the Amazon warehouse in Germany since 2001 how had this to say. “I’m coming to Seattle to dare Jeff Bezos (Chairman and CEO of Amazon) to try working as a picker for a single week. I’m sure he would not survive”.

Ralf Kleber, the top Amazon executive in Germany dismissed the strikers, saying the walkout did not slow down delivers. He also said the workers were largely unskilled and had been employed for a longtime, with the implication that they should be grateful to be employed at Amazon.

Thank you New York Times for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of New York Times.