ITC Patent Case Pits Microsoft Against Google

The patent battle between Google’s Motorola Mobility and Microsoft went before the US International Trade Commission court in Washington this week. This case follows hot on the heels of Google’s announcement that it plans to buy Motorola, and shows that Microsoft clearly sees this acquisition as a threat.
Microsoft is alleging in its lawsuit that Motorola has infringed on several basic patents that it owns. These include patents on data synchronization methods, battery power notifications and signal strength. The alleged patent infringements amount to seven in total.
The software giant has gone so far as to request an ITC import ban on both the Droid X and Droid 2 smartphones, along with several other Motorola products. Microsoft is confident in their ability to win this case in court, according to the head of their litigation team. The lawsuit has, unsurprisingly, prompted a counter suit by Motorola in the US and Europe.

The patent lawsuit by Microsoft against Motorola is a clear escalation of the ongoing war between the Android OS and Windows Phone. Motorola said that they plan to vigorously defend against the Microsoft attack, and they have brought legal actions of their own against Microsoft as part of a counter attack strategy. There is much at stake in this battle, because a loss either way will weaken the position of the loser in the emerging international mobile market.

The consequence of a loss to Microsoft means that it will have a harder time gaining market share from Android and slowing the momentum of Google’s Android OS. The acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google effectively gives the search giant a hardware arm, which is a direct threat to the Windows Phone platform.

Google recently announced its purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash. Google acquired Motorola Mobility due to its strength in Android smartphones, but also to build up Google’s patent portfolio.

Butamax Patent Lawsuit Against Gevo

Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC has filed a second patent infringement lawsuit against Gevo Inc, which will send the two biofuel companies back to court later this year. The lawsuit alleges that Gevo infringed on a Butamax patent for the company’s foundational technology for producing low-cost biobutanol.

Butamax filed a previous lawsuit against Gevo in January 2011 over the same issue, but Gevo has responded that both cases are without merit. Gevo asserts that it will defend its operations and claims that they are the true leaders in the production and commercialization of low cost isobutanol.

The CEO of Gevo, Pat Gruber, claims that the company will aggressively defend its ability to operate freely. Butamax, on the other hand, is a new company formed through a joint venture between DuPont and BP, with plans to launch commercial production in the 2012 to 2013 time period. Gevo is currently working to convert their existing plants for ethanol production into refineries for the production of isobutanol.

The second patent infringement lawsuit was filed over a patent that was just issued to Butamax in recent weeks and describes the foundational methods for low-cost biobutanol production. The patent was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office under patent number 7,993,889.

The intellectual property portfolio controlled by Butamax includes many novel technologies that span the production chain. For example, Butamax has patents on recombinant microorganisms which are used to convert biological feedstocks into biobutanol.

They also own a patent on process engineering which is used to recover biobutanol that is produced in the fermentation process.

Engineering designs for different chemical compositions, renewable fuels and optimized energy integrations round out the impressive list of Butamax patents on advanced biofuel technologies. Gevo continues to assert that the patent lawsuit is without merit, and they will continue to increase their production of low cost isobutanol.

Developing Invention Ideas That Make Money

money invention ideasOne of the primary goals of most inventors is to make money from their idea. The process of developing profitable invention ideas can begin with a simple and informal survey.

You can ask everyone you know about what problems they have that need solutions and what type of invention would be useful in solving these problems.

Using this list of problems and possible solutions, you can then decide which of the problems are reasonable for you to work on. To figure this out, you can try listing the pros and cons of each choice, and try to predict the best solutions to each problem.

You can then make a choice of one or two problems to work on which would give the best chance of developing an innovative solution. The next step in the process is to develop what’s known as an inventor’s journal or log, which is a place to record your work and ideas.

There are many options for inventors who want to monetize an invention idea they have developed. Those who can sell their product with the help of an invention marketing company are likely to make lots of money. Each year, these type of companies spotlight new products which often end up being big hits.

You can submit your idea to an invention marketer online, and if they think it’s good enough you can get invited to meet with them at one of their local offices.

At the meeting, inventors are able to give a pitch for their product, encouraging the invention marketing company to help them sell their product idea. Royalties earned differ based on the type of patents on the invention and other factors.

While under the agreement with an invention marketing company, inventors largely keep the rights to the idea, while the marketer may either receive a flat fee or a percentage of the royalties.

Licensing Agreement Between LG and Sony

LG Electronics and Sony have ended a patent war with a licensing agreement to share their patent portfolios. This truce brings to an end a patent war that has been raging since last year, and both firms have agreed to drop patent infringement lawsuits against the other but they didn’t reveal all of the details of the agreement.
On the one hand, LG Electronics is a multinational electronics corporation with headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. It is a top manufacturer of products like home appliances, television sets and mobile phones.
Sony Corporation, on the other hand, is a global conglomerate based in Tokyo, Japan, and is a leading manufacturer of electronics and products for the business and consumer markets.

The patent war began with a complaint Sony filed against LG last December at the US International Trade Commission, in which it claimed that LG had infringed on its patented technologies for mobile phones.

LG then sued Sony in response, claiming that the Japanese company had infringed its patents for HD TVs and Blu ray in Europe and the US. More specifically, LG hit back against Sony with patent infringement allegations of its own, which alleged that Sony products including the PlayStation 3 and the Bravia infringed on LG patents.

The cross licensing agreement between Sony and LG finally ended the long patent war between the two companies at last. The two have called a truce by agreeing to drop all patent infringement charges in favor of a cross licensing agreement which will cover a wide range of products, from TV’s to smartphones and other gadgets.

However, the companies have kept much of the licensing deal a secret in order to protect their joint interests. The cross licensing agreement is likely to benefit both companies and save them time and money on legal expenses.

Precision Optics Cashes in on Licensing Agreement

Precision Optics Co. has cashed in on a licensing agreement for its robotic surgery equipment. The company has received $2.5 million as part of the agreement with Intuitive Surgical Operations to license all of its patents.

For over 25 years, Precision Optics has provided high tech optics and optical systems for industrial, biomedical, and medical applications, including endoscopes, fiberscopes and micro optics. On the other hand, Intuitive Surgical is based in California and specializes in manufacturing equipment for surgery that is robotically assisted. Precision Optics retains a royalty-free license for the patents for use in other fields.

Precision Optics Co. entered into the asset purchase licensing agreement with Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc on July 28, 2011. They received $2.5 million for the sale of their intellectual property, which assigned all of their patents, both current and pending, to Intuitive Surgical.  The agreement satisfies immediate cash needs at the company and allows them to pursue their core business.

The $2.5 million payout will further research and development at Precision Optics. Precision Optics will use the proceeds from the agreement to build on their recent success in new product development, including work on their Lenslock endoscopes, Microprecision optical elements and cutting edge hand held stereoendoscopes.

Precision Optics is currently working on these new surgical devices which utilize tiny optical elements that enable imaging in body areas that were not accessible in the past, as well as devices for minimally invasive procedures.

As part of the agreement, Intuitive Surgical also agreed to grant to Precision Optics a royalty-free, transferable international non-exclusive license to use, develop, make, combine and distribute for sale in vitro products, services and procedures that use a genomic lab on a chip or proteomic benchtop diagnoses which can be used inside and outside the medical robotics industry in countries around the world.

I Have an Invention, Now What?

I have an invention, now what? This is the question that is regularly voiced by new inventors.   Well, the answer is undoubtedly to file a patent application at the appropriate governmental offices so that the invention may be protected by the umbrella of the patent laws in the nation.

In United States of America, the US patent office is a one-stop-shop for all queries and procedures pertaining to the acquiring of a patent. Intellectual property rights and patent protection are commercial ways of encouraging inventions and promoting research in various vital fields.

With laws in place that acknowledge the work of an inventor and reward him for his efforts, development is kept from stagnating. Patents are issued to inventions that are irrefutable unique and possess the potential to have an impact on the market. As organizations issuing patents strive to ensure that the products that patents are being sought for are not creatively revamped versions of existing products, patented products attract high bidding prices, thereby benefitting the inventor.

Caution must be exercised to ensure that a product seeking patent protection does not infringe the laws protecting an existing patented product. Also, the inventor or the legal representative of the inventor, must ensure that the product is no longer vulnerable to trade sharks seeking to rip off the invention to derive the benefits of its market value.

Once some form of legal protection is obtained, an inventor can then proceed to market their invention to manufacturers.  If an inventor finds a manufacturer who expresses interest in their idea, a licensing or purchase agreement must be negotiated in order to actually begin selling the invention.

If you enter into a licensing agreement with a manufacturer, you will receive royalties, or a portion of each sale when a retail outlet sells your product to a consumer.

Sunplus Benefits From Trident Licensing Deal

Trident Microsystems is a supplier of digital TV chips which recently reached a licensing agreement with multimedia SoC seller Sunplus Technology Co. The royalty-based agreement will license some of the Trident motion video processing and motion compensation technology to Sunplus.

Trident Microsystems is a leader in software and semiconductor products designed for the digital TV market. Sunplus Technology Co, on the other hand, is a major provider of multimedia IC solutions to a range of home entertainment devices.

The non-exclusive patent licensing deal that Trident has entered with Sunplus Technology and its affiliated Orise Technology gives Sunplus access to the Trident patent portfolio of motion estimation and compensation (MEMC) patents. The financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed, other than that it will be based on a royalty.

The licensing agreement is the second patent license agreement for trident’s MEMC patents. The first was signed earlier this year with Mstar Semiconductor of Taiwan. The Trident MEMC technology enables better quality TV pictures on Hi-Def and 3-D TV displays, as well as on tablets, PC monitors and other consumer devices.

The MEMC technology is the result of decades of research and has become the industry standard. There are a stable of patents owned by Trident which are incorporated in MEMC products. Trident is pursuing a turnaround strategy following negative revenue and profit trends this year.

The licensing agreements are part of this strategy to restore profitability at the company.

The agreement underlines Trident’s leadership role in terms of quality digital imaging for a range of consumer devices. Trident’s strategy is to arrange a limited number of similar licensing agreements for the MEMC technology to semiconductor vendors and TV OEMs.

Other Trident patents related to audio TV interfaces, demodulators, 3D, and video technology. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and is a major player in smarthome technology innovations.

Spotify Sued for Patent Infringement

SpotifySpotify, an online music streaming service, has just been sued for patent infringement by PacketVideo. The suit is over software that enables wireless music and video streaming to mobile devices.
It didn’t take long for
patent trouble to find Spotify in the US. The company has only been operating in the US for a few weeks and it has already attracted the attention of PacketVideo, which accuses the British company of patent infringement in the US and Europe for its cloud music service.
UK-based Spotify is being charged with violating a patent on digital music distribution. Specifically, PacketVideo is claiming that Spotify infringed it’s
U.S. patent 5,636,276 patent.

PacketVideo was established in San Diego, California in 1998. Its software is said to be installed in more than 260 million devices worldwide. The company already has license deals with well known companies such as Nokia and Verizon Wireless.

The patent suit was filed in both San Diego and Netherlands courts following an unsuccessful attempt by PacketVideo to broker a licensing agreement with Spotify. The suit overall involves two patents, one US and one European, which according to PacketVideo enable Spotify’s service.

Both patents date to the mid-1990s and relate to a device for digital music distribution. PacketVideo is seeking an injunction against Spotify plus damages, while Spotfiy continues to assert that its technology is proprietary and that the suit lacks merit.

A victory in this case by PacketVideo could impact the market profoundly, due to the fact that the patent in question is broad-based. Spotify is not the only music-streaming service likely to have violated the ‘276 patent, so it’s possible that PacketVideo could go after others following a judgment in their favor.

Spotify has become one of the most popular services of its kind, and the company claims that this success is due to their proprietary technology.

Patent Issued for New Wireless Medical Technology

B Braun has received a patent on their innovative wireless communications technology for medical devices which enhance the data transfer capabilities between the firm’s smart pump lines and information management systems.

The company announced its patent acquisition just recently, although the patent was issued in April, 2011. US Patent No. 7,933,780 was granted to the firm and two additional patent applications are still pending, all related to the company’s bedside medical device applications.

The patent applies to the B Braun Space Infusion Pump System and the Outlook Safety Infusion System, which are two lines of smart pump products designed to make the job of clinician’s simpler. The new patent adds to the company’s already expansive patent portfolio.

The patent covers wireless communication between IV pumps and hospital IMS systems. The company also makes innovative products like NuTRIflex Omega, which is a fish oil bag that helps patients avoid malnutrition while they are in the hospital.

The new patent, which relates to bedside point-of-care devices, helps to automate the communications between these devices and hospital IMS systems which helps to reduce the workload on clinicians.The patent helps to protect this innovative technology by strengthening the ownership rights of B Braun, as well as broadening the company’s existing patent portfolio.

B Braun is known as a leader in the manufacture of infusion therapy, pain management, infection prevention and medical safety technology. They create products that help to reduce errors in medical practice and improve efficiency to achieve environmental sustainability goals.

B Braun employees are also known for sharing their best practices with their customers to improve the overall working conditions in hospitals and medical practices they partner with. The latest patented technology is a good example of their approach to medical automation as a way of improving the accuracy and efficiency of medical practice.

Blaze Mobile’s NFC Sticker Patent

Blaze Mobile has been granted a patent for its innovative technology for mobile devices that allows consumers to use them as a form of payment at retail checkouts. The Blaze mobile wallet technology uses a sticker which allows the user to wave the device in front of a checkout reader to automatically pay for their purchase.

Blaze has been an early developer of mobile payment solutions before they became popular with larger companies, and Blaze was also one of the first to use NFC technology to enable instant payment capability. The Blaze NFC sticker attaches to the back of your device and works with the company’s mobile wallet app to process transactions. The sticker was a simple yet effective way to get around the fact that few smartphones sold today are NFC enabled.

It’s interesting to note that this year Google also introduced a similar payment service called Google Wallet, which used stickers as a workaround for devices without built-in NFC. The obvious question arises as to whether the Google technology infringes on the just-issued Blaze patent, which currently works with an iPhone app and a Java-based app.

According to the CEO of Blaze, Michelle Fisher, the company is well aware that its technology has been used by others, although she stated diplomatically that Blaze was not in competition with any other NFC phone including the Google Nexus NFC phone. She said that the company’s niche remains to offer an alternative to consumers who want to use mobile payment technology without purchasing a new NFC-enabled phone. This is a market that has years of growth, if Google’s estimate is correct that only 50% of handsets by 2014 will come with NFC chips built-in. Blaze is also working on a mobile wallet that is based on text messaging, which should be introduced by the fourth quarter.