Segway Patent Looks To Ban Hoverboards

Segways are the next best thing when it comes to showing off your technology in public. The end result though was the creation of “hoverboards” or swagboards as some call them. A device that operates in a similar fashion just without the handlebars that you find in Segways. A Segway patent could see away with the competition though as it looks to ban Hoverboards and other such devices.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has accepted a patent complaint that Segway filed in 2014 that is now going to be enforced by a general exclusion order. A general exclusion order is considered the most powerful remedy the ITC can issue, even involving people not directly involved in the complaint.

US Patent No 8,830,048 describes a device with wheels, a drive, and sensors to detect the pitch of the user support among other things. The second claim then carries this on by mentioning the use of a handlebar extending the features previously mentioned.

While the second claim covers the segway, the first claim would effectively cover devices such as the hoverboard which have been received and purchased by the public in far greater quantities than the original Segway.

President Obama has 60 days to accept the exclusion (something that is rarely blocked) and if it is accepted the exclusion order will then need enforcing, blocking imports and sales of anything that would infringe on Segway’s patent.

Judge Rules NVIDIA Violated Three Samsung Patents – Sales Ban Threatened

NVIDIA must be regretting filing the lawsuit accusing of Samsung of building GPUs without permission – surreptitiously claiming that NVIDIA invented the GPU – that it subsequently lost back in October. Samsung filed a countersuit against NVIDIA, alleging that the latter was infringing on a number of its patents. Judge David Shaw of the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has now ruled that NVIDIA is indeed in violation of three of Samsung’s patents.

While the decision is not yet final, the judge considers NVIDIA to be in violation of Samsung’s US6147385US6173349, and US7804734 patents, for an SRAM module, a shared strobe buffer, and data strobe buffer, respectively.

Samsung argued during the case that its patents allowed chip manufacturers to put “what used to fill an entire circuit board with dozens of discrete components all onto a single chip the size of your thumbnail.”

If the ruling enforced, it could result in a sales ban of any infringing  NVIDIA chip. However, patent US6173349 expires during 2016, so any ban against technology that violates that patent would only be in effect for a matter of months.

Following the decision, NVIDIA’s stock dropped by 27 cents to $32.66 during after-hours trading.

“We are disappointed,” said  NVIDIA spokesperson Hector Marinez, in a statement to Bloomberg. “We look forward to seeking review by the full ITC which will decide this case several months from now.”

Samsung has yet to comment on the matter.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

AMD Officially Responds to Fury X Cease-and-Desist

It has been a couple of months now since Asetek won over Cooler Master’s appeal in the long-time going legal battle in regards to patent infringement in the all-in-one liquid coolers. Shortly after this victory for Asetek we foresaw some issues for AMD’s liquid cooled Fury X graphics card that uses a Cooler Master system and we were right. A couple of days ago we brought you the news that Asetek had made a Cease & Desist orders to AMD in regards to the Radeon Fury X graphics card.

AMD is naturally not taking this lying down and have officially responded to the issue. They, AMD, argue that the jury in the Asetek versus Cooler Master case didn’t mention the specific cooling solution used in the Radeon R9 Fury X models as infringing on the Asetek held patents.

“We are aware that Asetek has sued Cooler Master. While we defer to Cooler Master regarding the details of the litigation, we understand that the jury in that case did not find that the Cooler Master heat sink currently used with the Radeon Fury X infringed any of Asetek’s patents.”

AMD and Asetek have without a doubt entered some sort of discussion in this matter and it is also clear that AMD will battle this outcome in order to keep their flagship GPU on the market. While it all looks a bit grim right now, it isn’t as bad as it could be. First of all, AMD shouldn’t be hit by with any financial burdens even if they should be found using a patent infringing cooling system. If it’s the case, it should be Cooler Master’s problem again. It could however still be removed from the market as it is, but the way the legal system is built, that could take a long time. And with such a long time to work it out, AMD has plenty of time to find another cooling solution and make a revision of their cards before any legal proceedings can be entered.

It will still be interesting to see how this plays out, whether an agreement will be reached or AMD will revise the Radeon R9 Fury X’s cooling solution.

German Court Says YouTube Is Responsible for User-Uploaded Content

There have been a lot of debate about copyright infringements on Google’s streaming service, YouTube. The streaming service has been in court with GEMA, the German organisations protecting authors’ rights, since 2006, but two German courts have now ruled their decision on the matter.

According to the Higher Regional Court in Hamburg, YouTube is responsible for what its users upload to the service. However, the streaming service is not liable for any copyright infringements. Therefore, nobody can sue the service for any infringements, though YouTube must act and take down any content that is marked and notified as infringing active copyrights.

However, GEMA did sue YouTube and expected some compensation. But the Munich district court’s decision ruled in YouTube’s favour and rejected GEMA’s bid. The copyright organisation demanded to be compensated with €0.375 per view of copyright material from artists it holds under its wing, leading to a sum of €1.6 million.

Truth be told, streaming services such as YouTube cannot be responsible for what its users upload, but it indeed can take down anything infringing copyright. The search media giant said it was open to discuss and take reasonable action alongside GEMA without having the need of taking everything to court. Despite the latter, GEMA is still thinking of making an appeal to the Munich Higher Regional Court.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

Nvidia Sues Samsung over Additional Four Patent Infringements

You’ve probably heard by now that Nvidia and Samsung don’t see eye to eye when it comes to patents. This little dispute has escalated to Nvidia suing Samsung and then Samsung countersuing Nvidia in the process, leading to a whirlwind of alleged patent infringements. Now, Nvidia apparently revealed some details about the ongoing dispute on its blog.

For those who are not aware with the case, Nvidia sued Samsung back in September last year for infringing their IP by using one of the company’s GPU patents without sharing some of its profits. Samsung then went on to sue Nvidia and one of their smaller customers, Velocity Micro, for allegedly infringing six out of eight patents the South Korean manufacturer owns (Velocity reportedly infringed all of them).

Nvidias’ case is scheduled to have a hearing in late June and they are now assured by some good news in their pretrial decision, having the judge siding with the GPU maker. With this, Nvidia aims to block some Galaxy phones and tablets from landing on the US market. In addition to the latter, Nvidia comes with two more updates on the case.

It seems that Nvidia went on to counter sue Samsung with an additional four patent infringements aside from the seven cited in its first case the company filed. Also, the court gave a January 11th 2016 date for the trial to begin, where it will focus on the six patents filed against Nvidia, the additional two filed against Velocity, as well as the new four patents filed against Samsung.

This all seems a bit confusing (and childish to some extent), but it seems that yet again the two companies are playing ping-pong over IP infringements. Will it ever end? Also, the two companies struck a deal in which Samsung agreed to make chips for Nvidia not too long ago. However, looking at the two companies from a consumer perspective, you might agree that their behaviour seems a bit like the video below.

NSA Revealed to have Collected Docs from Innocent Individuals, not Valid Targets

It appears that a huge report from The Washington Post has uncovered a large number of communications and documents collected by the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

The report is stated to have revealed that 9 out of 10 users from the collected documents are not the people targeted by the agency. However, personal emails, instant messages, photos and personal documents from these people are said to still remain in the NSA database, even though they have been marked as irrelevant to the agency.

It is said that a large number of ‘victims’ are US citizens or residents, having The Washington Post analyse the files, also known as FISA documents, collected by the NSA between 2009 and 2012 under programs such as PRISM or Upstream.

The collected documents are said to have been delivered by Edward Snowden, having it be previously debated with NSA officials that Snowden in fact did not have access to such private communications. The agency did however ‘minimize’ collected information, having email addresses for example obscured, as the law states.

The Post is said to have found over 65,000 ‘minimised’ documents, but the most interesting part is around 900 of them were not obscured. This meant that sensitive information made it through censorship. More shocking is the way security analysts handled communications from foreign individuals. The Post stated that e-mails simply written in a foreign language were reason enough to believe that a person was not an American, having them opened to a degree warrantless surveillance under US law. In addition to the latter, everyone in the friends’ list of a so-called ‘foreigner’ was also deemed to be a non-American individual.

While the privacy concerns mentioned above are very real, information gathered did however lead to some suspected terrorists. The information however is kept private so as not to interfere with current investigations. Nevertheless, the real question which everybody should be asking themselves is whether or not all the surveillance attempts and non-relevant information gathered, on top of law infringing actions, is really worth it.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

The word iPhone becomes banned in Mexico after trademark ruling

We hear enough these days about how Apple is taking on Samsung for the nth reason yet again, but over the last few months there has been another case brewing with Apple, but this time it is against them. In Mexico, a company known as iFone S.A. de C.V. registered their name way back in 2003, where their business model is to provide bespoke services to call centres and businesses. The key fact here is that Apple did not register their mobile handset; the iPhone until later in 2007.

All around the world, the word iPhone is close to a household name and whilst there are a few small time spin offs, particularly in China, for the most part it is what it is. This can’t be said for Mexico however as iFone S.A. de C.V. have been upholding their case with the Mexican Intellectual Property Agency, urging them to ban the later Apple name due to the fact that it is pronounced in the exact same way and therefore there is no way to distinguish between the two.

After months of debate and arguments flowing around the table, last Thursday a ruling was settled in favor of iFone, meaning that mobile phone carriers are no longer allowed to use the work iPhone in any of their contracts or advertisements and to rub salt into the wounds, each carrier has to pay a fine of $104,000 – even though they were not the ones who decided on the name, they simply act as a third-party that sells the products.

Whilst the ban is effective as of now, Apple are allowed to set an appeal to the ruling, in hope that they can once again have the word in circulation, however the chance of this happening is as much as that of Apple themselves not suing someone else in the future and if that was not enough, there is word that the Mexican firm could meet Apple in the courts, where they would sue them for anything up to an estimated $1.5B.

Considering this is not the first time that the word iPhone has landed an argument over who has the rightful ownership over it, whilst Apple may have made the word a household name, perhaps finding a more local alternative such as iTeléfono may be more appropriate – there’s no mistaking between the two that way – they’re phonetically different so surely that would be acceptable? Time will tell I guess.

Source: Fudzilla, Image courtesy nixsense.net

Google Earth Reportedly Infringes ACI’s Terravision, ‘Terrafight’ in Progress?

Alleged patent infringements look like consist of a daily business around the world nowadays. This is the case with a company named ART+COM, or ACI for short, which has recently fled an infringement suit against Google.

The suit reported consists of Google infringing a patent which ACI holds (#RE44,550), having the following title: “Method and Device for Pictorial Representation of Space-related Data”. In the suite, ACI describes how Google Earth looks strikingly similar to their software named Terravision, developed over a decade ago before Google Earth moved into the market.

“Terravision was developed using Onyx computers of Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) which were the most powerful available at the time for processing and displaying graphical data,” ACI’s Detlef Andreovits stated. “In the course of developing Terravision, our inventors worked directly with Michael T. Jones when he was at SGI, where he was our designated contact person. We understand SGI subsequently used Terravision as a demonstration of the capabilities of their Onyx computers.” he added.

Judging by the images, it does have similar elements present in their interface and graphical interpretation of planet Earth (even though it’s the same planet?), however ACI also says that it has issue with some Google executives, in particular with Michael Jones, CTO of Google Earth, and Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering for Google Maps.

ACI state that the latter mentioned Google executives worked for companies which had access to data on the Terravision system in the past. The company added that Google’s infringement is deliberate and could be greatly impacted in court.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TweakTown

King.com Clones Scamperghost And Infringes Namco’s Pac-Man With Pac-Avoid?

Candy Crush maker King.com, known for its ‘pay-to-win’ casual games style approach, is apparently taking it too far when it comes to legal trademarks. Recently, King started the process of claiming the generic title ‘Saga’, having attacked rival Sonic with its legal threats.

Now, it seems that a game by developer Matthew Cox and Nick Bray accuse King.com of a greater offence. Matthew states that King.com has cloned the game, which is a far more serious offence than a legal trademark issue. He states on his blog that his colleague, Nick, contacted Lars Jornow in 2009 to license a Pac-Man derivative game called Scamperghost. But they received a better offer from another of King.com’s rivals, so they went with it before actually signing the contract.

However, King.com has then been accused of hiring EpicShadow afterwards to come up with a clone of Scamperghost. The company has admitted in producing the clone, a game called Pac-Avoid, claiming that the contracts have been signed, giving King.com the rights to the game. However, the company also states that Matthew and Nick have broken the contract, something that they strongly deny.

Furthermore, the Pac-Avoid game not only infringes Matthew and Nick’s Scamperghost game, but also Namco’s Pac-Man trademark, which King.com is attempting to use against its rivals.

“King does not clone other peoples’ games. King believes that IP – both our own IP and that of others – is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers. Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace, as well as a review of trademark filings, to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else’s IP. However, for the avoidance of doubt, in this case, this game – which was coded by a third-party developer 5 years ago – has been taken down” – by King.com in a press statement.

King.com did not comment on why the Pac-Avoid game was taken out off their website, if it indeed infringed Namco’s IP on Pac-Man or if they really did request a direct clone of Scamerghost.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information