Posts Tagged: "Google"

Some Observations on the Market Reverberations of the Smart Phone Patent Wars

Commenting on the Yahoo! Inc. patent infringement lawsuit filed against Facebook in March of 2012, Mr. Cuban concludes his post by stating: “I hope Yahoo[!] is awarded $50 billion dollars. It is the only way that consumers will realize what is at stake with patent law as is. Then maybe we can get it right and further innovation and competition in this country.” These statements are from a very influential technology entrepreneur, investor and generally-recognized American business guru. Thus, it would seem that the continuous negative headlines from the smart phone patent wars are definitely giving patents a bad rap!

Google “Goog” Doodle Honors Music Innovator Robert Moog

As most likely already know, Google has made it a tradition to create fun Google logo’s (or Doodles) to celebrate specific holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists. You may recall that on Saturday May 22, 2010, in celebration of Pacman’s 30th Anniversary, Google featured its very first interactive doodle in the form of a Pacman game you could actually play. You can read more about it in my article Pacman Celebrates its 30th Anniversary – Google Style. Yesterday Google featured another interactive doodle that they call the “Goog” this time in celebration of Dr. Robert Moog (rhymes with “vogue”), an American pioneer of music with the invention of the electronic analog Moog Synthesizer. If you missed it, that’s OK, you can still play the fully interactive “Goog” Doodle through the Google Doodle Library.

Patent Lawsuits Extreme: Household Names Compete for Customers, Brand Reputation and Innovative Technologies

But how exactly do patents do all of these wonderful things for companies? Unlike trademarks and copyrights, patents are incredibly difficult to acquire. But a patent, once acquired, grants the holder a fairly long monopoly over their creation. No other individual or corporation can use the patent holder’s creation without negotiating a license (or some other arrangement). Thus, patent holders have a huge advantage over the competition via exclusive use or a profit from licensing. Because, the technology companies heavily market new and cutting-edge products, there is a constant need to acquire new patents to stay ahead of competitors.

Goliath vs. Goliath: Yahoo and Facebook Sue Over Patents

The meat of the litigation revolves around patents. For decades patents have been a significant part of intellectual property law, but in recent years they have proven problematic in the development of new software and the technological innovations. Patents will now be at the heart of a cold war between two of the biggest tech companies in the world. Yahoo, which owns about 1,000 patents, is suing Facebook over 10 patent infringements ranging from Internet advertising methods and privacy controls. One of the patents is described as “optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage.” Yahoo had warned Facebook that they would sue if the social network did not agree to license the patents in question, saying that multiple other major companies had complied. Yahoo was true to their word, and called Facebook’s bluff.

The Smart Phone Patent Wars: What the FRAND is Going On?

This all came to a head when, on February 22, 2012, Microsoft Corporation filed a formal competition law complaint against Google with European Union antitrust regulators. Microsoft’s complaint was brought about because Google (i.e., Motorola Mobility) “has refused to make its patents available at anything remotely close to a reasonable price” and “attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products.” Well isn’t Google’s “maximum per-unit royalty of 2.25% of the net selling price for the relevant end product” in compliance with FRAND!? If you consider that often dozens (and sometimes, hundreds) of patents cover a single device, the answer is a resounding “no.” At 2.25% per patent, it would take only about four dozen patents before the entire selling price would be paid in royalties – an obviously absurd result.

Are the Smartphone Patent Wars Giving Patents a Bad Rap?

So who is the villain in all of these wars responsible for again giving patents a bad rap? Well, the villain in not the ITC, USPTO or any U.S. government agency. Nor it is any country’s protectionist trade regime, or an “irreparably broken” U.S. or global patent system. No, the real villains here may very well be a handful of companies that willingly contributed patented technologies to various SSOs, championing their adoption and encouraging their use in a host of consumer electronics, and now claim (years later) that the very producers they encouraged to implement these standards should be barred from making, using or importing their products into the U.S. market.

Follow the Money – Will the ITC Lose its Patent Jurisdiction?

Such is the case with the newest lobby in Washington, the self-described “ITC Working Group.” You won’t learn anything about this organization by searching Google — odd, considering that Google is a member — but according to industry sources, its aim is twofold: First, it wants to block the International Trade Commission (ITC) from hearing patent infringement cases brought by “non-practicing entities” — i.e., patent holders like universities, independent inventors, and others who license their patents for manufacturers to commercialize. And second, it wants to weaken the ITC’s power to block the importation of infringing products into the U.S.

At the Core: Patent Examiner and Art Unit Data Explained

Early in my career, I encountered a series of approximately 20 patent applications that were assigned to a small number of different art units. During the time it took to bring the cases to resolution, I kept detailed notes of my experiences prosecuting each case. It eventually occurred to me that the information I’d collected might be useful to other prosecutors working with the same examiners and/or art units. I wondered whether my colleagues, by reviewing my notes and gaining insight from my experiences, might be able to accomplish resolution more effectively and efficiently. However, the subjective and anecdotal nature of my notes limited their practicality. Recognizing that fact, I began to consider strategies for facilitating ways in which practitioners could more effectively share their prosecution experiences with one another.

Harness Social Media & Stop Losing Customers with Social Login

Frustration with registration and login isn’t limited to mobile devices, of course. As the web has become more participatory and an integral component of our lives, the average web user has accumulated dozens of accounts at different websites — each with a distinct username and password to remember. Even more problematic, many people try to cope with this problem by recycling the same password across multiple sites, thereby jeopardizing their online security. Social login alleviates this “password fatigue” problem and offers up benefits both for online users and online businesses and other websites.

Android Woes: IV Sues Motorola Mobility for Patent Infringement

So here we are, many years later and IV’s philosophy seems to have changed. No longer is litigation a poor way to monetize patents, but rather IV sees itself as having a responsibility to litigate. The self-righteousness of IV’s claims is why they engender such distrust, even bordering on hatred. For so long they came in peace and now that they have the leverage they seem to be playing a different tune, and using patent litigation with greater frequency. They accumulated patents over time, sometimes getting as much as $50 million from companies like Google, eBay, Sony, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia and others, ostensibly for the purpose of obtaining a defensive patent position. Oh how the tables have turned.

Mining Patent Gold: What Every CEO Should Know

The truth is that Google bought a great deal more than patents when it acquired Motorola, though there are doubtless some real gems in the Motorola portfolio. As a relative newcomer to the wireless arena, the search giant in one bold move got its hands on the unmatched innovation experience of the longest-lived mobile phone company on earth. The technical acumen and product experience of those thousands of mobile software and hardware engineers will prove hugely valuable to Google as it seeks to dominate the $250 billion global market in smartphones, especially if it decides to become a handset maker as Motorola had been.

Internet Copyright Theft: Content Creators Must Stay Vigilant

Changes were made in the copyright laws of the United States in order to ensure that what David LaMacchia did would be criminal in the future. Nevertheless, those changes to the copyright laws did not put an end to piracy on the Internet, nor could they have been realistically expected to do so. Corporations, entrepreneurs, artists and creators have lobbied the United States Congress for changes in the law to help them protect their copyrighted works, but they have also increasingly relied upon technological measures to protect their copyrighted works. While there is no legal requirement that a copyright holder take steps to secure or sequester material in order to avail themselves of the protection offered by U.S. copyright laws, there is no prohibition against copyright owners seeking to use technological means to preserve their rights. Prudence dictates content creators continually monitor to see if there is ongoing infringement, take steps to make such infringement more difficut and do whatever can be done to address infringement when (not if) it is discovered.

My Advice to Google – Keep Acquiring Patents

Most patents are obtained simply on the “refrigeration theory” as I call it. Just like if you are in food service you won’t get far without the preserving effects of refrigeration. Everything spoils unless eaten immediately. Likewise in technology; without the coverage of a patent, everything spoils unless consumed forthwith (first mover advantage). The decision is simple: if it is worth doing, i.e., putting resources into, it is worth patenting.

Turning Your Small Business Into Big Business

Having a small business means having many challenges, especially in the earliest phases of development. Faced with challenges such as letting people know about your new business, establishing and augmenting your brand, creating a website, designing logos, developing and implementing marketing initiatives, creating and printing real world marketing materials, procuring new clients and customers, building and maintaining a blog, initiating and executing a social media campaign, acquiring followers within your social media platforms, securing office space at a reasonable cost, book keeping and everything else that must be done during the start-up process. This seemingly endless list of tasks seems to imply that starting a new business will most certainly be a stressful and very expensive endeavor. But starting and growing a small business, does not have to cost you an arm and a leg nor does having a small business mean that your business has to look “Small.”

Google Claims Patents Block Innovation

The mutually assured destruction approach to patenting can explain in part why large companies continue to patent at the rate they do, but the justification completely misses the point that these large tech giants were not always large. They were, at one time, rather small companies that pursued an aggressive agenda of innovation. A big part of that innovation strategy included obtaining protection for said innovation, largely in the form of acquiring patents. That undeniable truth makes it hard not to question whether the tech giants that lament the failings of the patent system and want to limit or abolish it are simply engaging in good old-fashioned protectionism.