legal

  • More Patent Trolling, This Time Against Every Major Mobile Manufacturer

    We just heard about a legal action by Microsoft against Barnes & Noble (to be fair, not quite trolling, but bordering on it), and now I’m reading about a new one, directed at pretty much every major manufacturer of mobile hardware. The patents allegedly infringed upon are related to the cameras used in the phones. And yes, it’s sketchy. The company suing is one… Read More

  • Microsoft Alleges Patent Infringement On Barnes & Noble E-Reader Devices

    Microsoft has filed suit against Barnes & Noble, creators of the Nook and Nook Color e-readers, as well as the manufacturers of those devices. The companies allegedly infringe on a number of patents filed between 1998 and 2005, generally applying to UI elements associated with browsing and downloading information. Like many patents from that period (for example those cited by Paul Allen… Read More

  • Sony To Subpoena Two Years Of PS3 Hacker's PayPal Records

    Query: If I donated $10 to Geohot’s legal defense fund, does that make me liable for his actions, and do I have no right to keeping that donation private? It was, after all (if I made it), a perfectly legal transaction between two private citizens. Well, according to Sony and Federal Magistrate Spero (who just a short time ago approved Sony’s request for all IPs visiting the… Read More

  • Judge Allows Sony's Request For Identifying Information For Anyone Who Visited Hacker's Sites

    This is a rather disturbing turn of events. Federal Magistrate Joseph Spero has approved a request by Sony to subpoena the hacker GeoHot’s web host, as well as YouTube, Google, and Twitter, for identifying information on anyone who has accessed, commented, or viewed information relating to the hack. At best this is lazy on Sony’s part and irresponsible on Magistrate Spero’s… Read More

  • Is "App Store" As Generic As Microsoft's "Windows"?

    As tech companies fight for ubiquity, it’s no surprise that there should be disputes like this. Using common words for product names is always a risk, as is establishing generic traditions (like Apple’s “i-” prefix) that are difficult to regulate. At stake today is Apple’s trademark on “App Store,” which as I’m sure our readers are aware, was… Read More

  • iPad Overheating Suit Against Apple Gets Dismissed

    Last year we heard about a class-action lawsuit being filed against Apple for false advertising, that alleged the iPad did not work as Apple said it did. Specifically, Apple said it was “just like reading a book,” and the plaintiffs felt otherwise. Of course, it’s obvious to you and me, reader, that this lawsuit is baseless. But in a court of law, sometimes things go a… Read More

  • PS3 Hacking Case Judge: Why Is This In My Courtroom

    Just a little update on the Sony/George Hotz lawsuit. You know, the one where Sony tries to put the cat back in the bag. Well it turns out that their reason for filing suit in California is that YouTube, Twitter, and Paypal are all based on California. Wait, what? Read More

  • Museum Files $2 Million Suit Against Guy For Taking Pictures There

    Well well, I think we can safely file this one under frivolous. Photographer Thomas Hawk visited the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami, with his camera of course, and took a few photos during his stay. A guard asked him whether he was making a book, and Hawk said no. He later put the pictures up on Flickr. Not long after, the museum informed Mr. Hawk that they were suing him for a minimum of… Read More

  • Why We Care About Apple And The Beatles

    So chances are (though I don’t buy the semaphore thing) that tomorrow will bring an announcement from Apple that they’ve finally reached an agreement with Apple Records, or EMI, or Apple Corps, or somebody, and will now be offering the Beatles catalogue on iTunes. That’s nice, but why should we care? Being that the Beatles MP3 holdout is emblematic of the recording… Read More

  • Nintendo Is Attempting To Trademark "It's On Like Donkey Kong"

    This is… unexpected. The phrase “it’s on like Donkey Kong,” which I don’t say nearly enough, is never something I actually associated with Nintendo. I don’t recall ever seeing it in any games or on box art, or even in promotional materials. Yet now Nintendo is trying to trademark it. Presumably this has to do with the new Donkey Kong Country Returns for… Read More

  • How Reasonable: German Court Fines Convicted File-Sharer €30

    You may have seen the settlement yesterday, likely being appealed, in which a woman was ordered to pay $1.5 million for illegally downloading and sharing 24 songs. That’s $62,600 per song, far above the (equally arbitrary, but considerably more realistic) $2250 per song ruled as the absolute maximum in another court, during an earlier trial. Higher figures, particularly those requested… Read More

  • Supreme Court Makes A Mockery Of California's Violent Game Ban

    This is fantastic. As you may know, California is attempting to bring about a nationwide ban on selling violent video games to minors. Their case must be phenomenally weak, because the Justices spend quite a bit of time ribbing the Attorney General over how this incredibly vague and biased proposal could potentially be applied to all manner of things. Justice Sotomayor: “Would a video… Read More

  • A Closer Look At Apple's Latest Patents

    Apple has been granted nine new patents, and I thought I’d take a look at the claims therein and see whether they match up to the descriptions, and whether they seem (to this humble blogger) like realistic items for which to gain exclusive rights. I’ve included links to all the patents, but the USPTO office is behaving strangely, and often returned an error when I tried to pull… Read More

  • A Method For Encumbering Progress By Patenting Other People's Ideas


    Inventor: Paul Allen
    Filed: August 27, 2010
    Abstract: A method for preventing innovation, specifically in the tech sector, by way of a dangerous misconception of what is patentable and a sadly overtaxed intellectual property regulatory system.
    Summary of the Invention: During a period of change and invention, ideas may occur to a person, and a few possible ways of manifesting those ideas. Read More

  • New York Alleges LCD Price-Fixing By LG, Hitachi, Samsung, and Sharp


    Accusations of price fixing like those now being filed in New York are nothing new, but as it turns out, the penalties don’t really stick. LG and Sharp paid hundreds of millions in a settlement back in 2008, Hitachi had its own scandal in 2009, and Sharp is already the defendant in a Dell lawsuit also alleging price fixing. Samsung seems to be the new kid on the block, but I think they… Read More

  • Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple Alleges That iPads Get Too Hot When Used In The Sun

    Apple must make a big, juicy target to lawyers trying to cobble together class-action lawsuits. They make promises in plain English that, as is the case with almost all advertising, don’t exactly pan out, but usually allowances can be made. Does Old Spice make you “smell like a man”? If you think a man smells otherwise, can you sue Old Spice for false advertising? Similarly… Read More

  • How will Apple respond to the DMCA revision? They won't.

    Today’s adjustment of the DMCA has far-reaching legal implications, which will only be evident after a few weeks, months, or even years as various parties exploit them however they can. I’m going to let the experts play in that sandbox. But one of the new rules seems to have had a specific target in mind: Apple. To wit: “(2) Computer programs that enable wireless… Read More

  • Auction off your Cease and Desist from LucasFilm for fun and profit


    Remember that cool-looking Spyder III Pro Arctic laser from WickedLasers? Remember how LucasFilm thought it looked a little too much like a lightsaber? Remember how they then served WickedLasers a Cease and Desist? And then, remember how WickedLasers put that Cease and Desist up on eBay? You probably don’t remember that last part, because I’m just telling you now. It’s up… Read More

  • Discovery sues Amazon over Kindle patent infringement – again

    When I read this story at Reuters, I thought it sounded a bit familiar. And sure enough, in March of 2009, we wrote pretty much the same thing. I immediately thought: “Could Reuters have messed up? Are they really that bad at this?” As it turns out, no — but they missed a key bit of context. Discovery is suing Amazon again, over essentially the same thing. They missed that… Read More

  • It's time to settle lawsuits and chew bubble gum – and I'm all out of bubble gum


    Duke Nukem Forever, a title subject to more delays, controversies, and lawsuits than Rockstar’s notorious Grand Theft Baby, may finally see a release. Well, there’s actually no reason to think that will happen, except that now there’s nothing actively preventing its release — except, of course, the fact that the game was never finished. The lawsuits between Take Two and… Read More