Tag Archives: patents

What Google’s Acquisition of Motorola Means for Android

In many, many ways, the best thing to ever happen to Android will be Google’s acquisition of Motorola. Google can now defend its mobile operating system with Motorola’s patents and create dynamic devices with Motorola’s hardware. At the same time, the E.U. and U.S. have put in measures concerning litigation around essential patents and China has ensured that Android will remain open and free. There will be losers in the Android ecosystem, among them several mobile manufacturers and maybe mobile carriers, depending on how much control Google can exercise over the sale of the devices. 

When the Motorola deal was announced last August and Page said that Google wanted to “supercharge” Android, he was not being facetious. Google has a tremendous opportunity in front of it. The path is paved with daggers but the benefit to the entire ecosystem at this point outweighs the risks. 

via readwriteweb.com

A Patent Lie: How Yahoo Weaponized My Work via Wired.com

Every Yahoo employee was encouraged to participate in their “Patent Incentive Program,” with sizable bonuses issued to everyone who took the time to apply.

Now, I’ve always hated the idea of software patents. But Yahoo assured us that their patent portfolio was a precautionary measure, to defend against patent trolls and others who might try to attack Yahoo with their own holdings. It was a cold war, stockpiling patents instead of nuclear arms, and every company in the valley had a bunker full of them.

Against my better judgement, I sat in a conference room with my co-founders and a couple of patent attorneys and told them what we’d created. They took notes and created nonsensical documents that I still can’t make sense of. In all, I helped Yahoo file eight patent applications.

Years after I left I discovered to my dismay that four of them were granted by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office.

I thought I was giving them a shield, but turns out I gave them a missile with my name permanently engraved on it.

I was naive. Even if the original intention was truly defensive, a patent portfolio can easily change hands, and a company can even more easily change its mind. Since I left in 2007, Yahoo has had three CEOs and a board overhaul.

The scary part is that even the most innocuous patent can be used to crush another’s creativity. One of the patents I co-invented is so abstract, it could not only cover Facebook’s News Feed, but virtually any activity feed. It puts into very sharp focus the trouble with software patents: Purposefully vague wording invites broad interpretation.

In their complaint, Yahoo alleges that Facebook’s News Feed violates “Dynamic page generator,” a patent filed in 1997 by their former CTO related to the launch of My Yahoo, one of the first personalized websites. Every web application, from Twitter to Pinterest, could be said to violate this patent. This is chaos.

Patents and the intellectual arms race over owning creativity. This is NOT the protection for creatives the creators of copyright law had in mind – for huge corporations to buy them up en masse, to be wielded like enormous clubs to browbeat your competition and crush innovation.

And for every politician who claims these laws preserve American ingenuity, there are 10 actual inventors clamoring away for free in their basements, simply for the love of the work. It’s the money-grubbing corporate barons who really want this state of affairs to continue, not the average man it’s meant to protect.

Samsung Exec: We’re Coming After The iPhone 5 As Soon As It Lands In Korea

Samsung has been on the receiving end of many of these lawsuits. But according to another unnamed senior executive, “We are taking different tactics since we are quite confident. If Samsung wins in Germany that will give us a big breakthrough and so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5.”

For a short while after this Samsung/Apple madness started, it was somewhat expected that the fight would be resolved amicably based on the highly beneficial and symbiotic business relationship shared by the two companies. Apple is one of Samsung’s biggest customers, which is likely the reason for the South Korea-based company’s tentative attitude during these legal proceedings. But the plan has clearly changed.

Google, needing patents, buys Motorola wireless for $12.5 billion

Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility this morning for $12.5 billion in cash. One of Google’s biggest motivations for the purchase is to bolster its patent profile, which has been under relentless attack by companies including Microsoft and Apple. With the purchase, Google will gain control of more than 17,000 mobile-related patents worldwide, with 7,000 more Motorola patent applications in the pipeline.