HTC Uses Google Patent Against Apple

HTC has filed a patent suit against Apple that amounts to a proxy fight over Android OS. HTC is using nine new patents that it acquired from Google in order to sue the iPhone maker on behalf of the search engine giant. Google is going to great lengths to protect its Android OS from attacks by Apple.

The new patents give HTC more ammo to file another lawsuit against Apple in Delaware and with the International Trade Commission. The suit alleges that Apple has infringed all nine patents in question, which Google acquired last year from Openwave Systems, Motorola, and Palm in order to protect against IP lawsuits. Google gave the patent to HTC on September 1, and wasted no time in filing suit. The patent grant makes good on Google’s promise earlier in the year to support HTC in legal battles with Apple. The largest benefit that Google gets from helping HTC is due to the fact that the Android maker makes tablets and mobile phones which provides large advertising dollars for Google.

The Google patent grant to HTC will help the second largest smartphone manufacturer in Asia fend off a barrage patent infringement suits from Apple. The original claims lodged by Apple allege that phones running Android OS are copying the iPhone and thus infringing on Apple patents. The move by Google to step in and aid HTC in these legal battles opens up a new front in what is fast becoming an industry war over smartphone technology.

The patent wars have entangled all of the major players who are Android customers, including Barnes & Noble, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics. Some industry analysts are calling the move by Google a “game changer”, as it shows their commitment to protecting their customers and the Android operating system at all costs. HTC already has two patent infringement claims pending against Apple at the ITC.

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.

$1 Trillion Projected Price Tag for F-35 Program

Lockheed Martin's F-35Congress is in an uproar over the recent procurement estimate from the Pentagon for the F-35 program.  According to a 50 year forecast created fir the new Pentagon “Selected Acquisition Report”, the new stealth aircraft designed to replace the F-15 and F-18 jet fighters will cost 1 trillion U.S. dollars.  This estimate is only for the expected maintenance and operation costs, it does not include the initial $385 billion to acquire the planes from the manufacturer – Lockheed Martin Corp.
Defenders of the program state that the number is an estimate, and accounts for inflation, rises in fuel costs, and other variables that are difficult to assess on a 50 year scale.  A more useful and relevant number would cover a 5 or 1o year span.
Lockheed Martin claim that the planes are more expensive to operate than their predecessors (by about 33%), but are far more sophisticated.  Operations that previously required several jets, can now be carried out with only 1.  The technological advancements of the fighter will also be far less  visible by enemy radar.  The company also says the number can be significantly reduced as the programs progresses and processes are streamlined.

Massive Tornado Devastates Missouri

A catastrophic tornado ripped through Joplin, a south western Missouri city yesterday. It’s path of destruction lead through the center of Joplin, leaving about 2,000 structures damaged.   According to reports so far, the death toll has reached 89 with an unknown amount of people injured.  Local authorities have implemented a curfew to prevent looters, especially in the poor districts.
This one tornado reached wind speeds of 165mph and cut a path about six miles long and up to a mile wide.    The twister was one of 68 that were reported over the weekend and was a result of a large storm front sweeping across the country.  The weather is expected to reach the east coast by Friday.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Final Mission

NASA’s newest space shuttle, Endeavour, launched this morning to embark on it’s final mission. The space craft will be decommissioned after it’s 16 day mission to the International Space Station.
The Endeavour was built in 1992 and will have logged over 100 million miles during it’s 25 missions.  The vessel has spent more than 294 days in space during it’s historic career.  This leaves only the space shuttle Atlantis in NASA’s fleet and it is scheduled for it’s final mission in June of this year.

U.S. Continued Job Growth

The latest report from the Labor Department gives us a glimmer of hope that the recession is ending and recovery is on it’s way. For a third straight month U.S. employers have added new jobs to the suffering economy. 244,000 new net jobs were added for the month of April, showing similar and consistent growth through February and March.

This information conflicts with an increase in jobless rates, which edged up 0.2% from last month, but experts generally trust information from the payroll reports as they come from more detail surveys received from employers. The jobless rate figures are derived from a survey of households. One sour note is the expected job loss from government agencies as a result in recent budget cuts. Educators are closest to the chopping block with the end of the school year approaching.

The recovery has been painstakingly slow and inconsistent, we have only gained 1.8 million jobs of the 8.8 million lost between 2007 and 2010, but these new figures will help restore confidence in our economy and will further stimulate growth.

Osama Bin Laden is Dead

America’s quest for vengence is at a close this morning as the world woke to the news that U.S. forces had killed fugitive Osama bin Laden last week. In a live press conference last night, U.S.A. President Barack Obama reported that the U.S. was in possession of the Al-Qaeda founder’s body. In an attack ordered last week in Abbottabad, Pakistan covert U.S. troops killed Osama in a firefight unauthorized by the Pakistan government. According to reports by the United States government, U.S. forces suffered no losses or injuries while Osama, three men who were with him, and a woman who was used as a human shield were shot and killed.
A U.S. official stated that Osama’s body is to be buried at sea according to Islamic traditions. The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide alert for caution, citing possible retaliation from Al-Qaeda. Crowds gathered outside the White House and New York’s Times Square to celebrate the terrorist’s death.

Recent Supreme Court Ruling Limits Class Actions

A recent case involving AT&T and a Californian couple over a $30 cell phone charge resulted in the Supreme Court ruling that arbitration clauses commonly found in consumer contracts do take precedence over any class action lawsuits.  This has profound implications for businesses nationwide as arbitration, or the use of a third part to settle disputes, is far more efficient and cost effective than a lawsuit.  The consumer generally prefers a lawsuit because of the open forum a courtroom provides, and thus typically a more favorable outcome for the individual with a legitimate complaint.  The decision comes from a 5-4 split, the more liberal justices presiding over the case feel it is up to the individual state to determine whether an arbitration agreement nulls the ability to file a class action lawsuit.

In this particular case, AT&T lawyers argued that the consumer does not lose out in arbitration, that it is a fair and efficient process for both parties.  Class actions often take more time and resources than a consumer might want to invest for most claims.

Critics of the ruling cite that class actions are an efficient way to guarantee consumer protection against fraudulent companies.  Losing the ability to hold organizations accountable on a large scale is detrimental to consumer rights and tips the scales of justice in favor of business owners.

Japan Power Plant Sealed Off

The Japanese government has set a 12 mile restricted zone surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in Futaba, Japan.  Expected to last at least for the next 6 months, evacuated residents are risking fines and jail time to return to their homes and retrieve personal belongings.  In mid March the area was quickly emptied and evacuees were told they could return in a few days.  As a result many just grabbed the essentials and have been without access to their homes ever since.

The radioactive levels in the protected zone are relatively low, the current medical risk is long term exposure.  Residents and the local mayor, Katsunobu Sakurai, are upset with seemingly arbitrary 6 mile radius around the plant.

“It feels like some outsider who doesn’t know anything about our geography sat at a desk and drew these circles. The zones have zero scientific basis,” Sakurai said. “Radiation doesn’t travel in neat circles. Just putting up circles around the plant is unreasonable.”

While plans are in development to allow short bus trips to retrieve items, the two mile area closest to the plant will remain completely off limits.  Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said they will do everything possible to expedite the cleanup and allow residents to return to their homes as soon as possible.

More Informative Terror-Alert System

The current highly criticized color coded system for alerting Americans will be replaced next week.  The new program , the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), will provide a more specific detail about known credible threats and can be applied to localized locations such as hotels and airports.  The system will also make the information accessible from social media and will be updated every few weeks or as new information becomes available.  The distributed information can also be used to engage the public in assisting authorities, for instance finding a specific make and model of a vehicle.

The DHS and it’s efforts have been ridiculed since it’s inception following the Sept. 11 attacks.  The NTAS is a much needed replacement for the previous terror alert system which did not involve the public and was rarely ever updated.  In fact it remained at alert level “orange” for over five years.  The DHS hopes it’s newest attempt at keeping Americans safe is more successful and improves it’s public image.