The U.S. Patent office recently granted patent for a “Back panel for a portable electronic device with different camera lens options” and “Magnetic add-on lenses with alignment ridge” to Apple. The first patent basically covers the way in which one can interchange the imaging component of the mobile device. Imagine the ability to switch from a normal lens to wide-angle lens when needed. The second one is related to the same idea where the new imaging component that can be attached to the device will be magnetically attached and aligned to the existing imaging component of the device.
I think both of them are really interesting and essential patents for the future of mobile imaging. I wondered if Nokia already has patents in this area being a mobile imaging leader for more than a decade. On a quick research, I found out that Apple is referencing a Nokia owned patent titled “Mobile Terminal Device Having Camera System”. It was filed back in 2001 and basically defines the same concept of extra add-ons to improve imaging capabilities of mobile phones.
I’m waiting for Nokia and Apple to execute their patents in their respective products. What do you think?
Check out the Apple patents No. 8,638,369 and No. 8,639,106 from USPTO. And Nokia patent from 2012/0099015. Find the abstracts after the break.
Source: Apple Insider
Few days back, we reported that Nokia was handed another injunction win against HTC in Germany related to Android devices. So far, HTC was found to infringe seven Nokia patents in various courts across the world. In response to that, Nokia has provided the following statement to HTC and even advised HTC on their New Year’s resolution for 2014.
Read the full statement below,
“Nokia is pleased that the Regional Court in Munich, Germany has today ruled that any HTC product using Bluetooth or NFC connections infringes Nokia’s patent EP 1 148 681, which covers the transfer of network resource information between mobile devices.
This judgment enables Nokia to enforce an injunction against the import and sale of all infringing HTC products in Germany, as well as to obtain damages for past infringement. This follows another ruling from the same court ten days earlier, which found that HTC products infringed Nokia’s USB patent EP 1 246 071 and granting Nokia right to an injunction and damages against products infringing that patent.
Nokia began its actions against HTC in 2012, with the aim of ending HTC’s unauthorised use of Nokia’s proprietary innovations and has asserted more than 50 patents against HTC. During 2013, Nokia believes it has demonstrated beyond doubt the extent to which HTC has been free riding on Nokia technologies, with HTC found to infringe seven Nokia patents in venues including the Regional Courts in Mannheim and Munich, Germany, the UK High Court and the US International Trade Commission. HTC’s first New Year’s resolution for 2014 should be to stop this free riding and compete fairly in the market.”
Source: FOSS Patents
Thanks to Karthick for the heads up!
PatentBolt reports on a new patent by Microsoft suggesting a new 3D cube-based user interface rather than the existing tiled one.
The cubes would respond in a physical way to swipes, strokes and taps and would mean more information would be presented to a user on the same page and a bit like a Panorama would maintain the continuity of several pages of info.
The cubes could also in fact be pyramids and other polyhedrons, and may have graphic faces and edges, or alternatively, transparent or semi-transparent faces and/or edges (or no edges).
Cubes may also be tied into a search feature, with cubes rotating to surface information generated from a search. Cubes with matching applications may also be shuffled to the top of the user interface or duplicated onto a results cube. Cubes may also contain further cubes, much like sub-folders.
Read more at patentbolt.com here
There has been rumours of Windows 9/Windows Phone 9 having a radically different, more Android-like UI. Do our readers think floating cubes could do any better in the market than tiles? Let us know below.
Nokia has got its New Year gift in the form of injunction win against HTC in Germany. HTC is one of the few companies that are still fighting in court to protect their Android devices from patent infringement. Motorola which is now owned by Google is struggling in a similar case against Microsoft regarding Android patents. Nokia’s this injunction win against HTC involves all of HTC products and the patent is related to method of transferring information between devices using Bluetooth or NFC.
From FOSS Patents,
The New Year’s Eve fireworks kicked off a day early at the Munich I Regional Court, where Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann just handed Nokia a Germany-wide patent injunction against all HTC Android devices (including the One series) that infringe EP1148681 on a “method for transferring resource information” by allowing end users to connect two HTC devices directly over NFC or Bluetooth (but not over WiFi or the Internet) to transfer resource information such as a URL. The patent is not standard-essential, meaning that Nokia does not have any FRAND licensing obligations.
Source: FOSS Patents
Fosspatents reports that after Nokia has succeeded in obtaining an injunction against HTC’s smartphones in UK (which was largely stayed pending an appeal) Nokia was bringing the same case with the same patent library to court in France.
In a statement Nokia said:
"Nokia was pleased that the UK High Court imposed an injunction on certain HTC products which it found in October to infringe a Nokia patent. The UK Court of Appeal has stayed the injunction until a full appeal hearing next year and Nokia welcomes the Court’s invitation for the parties to expedite this. It is unfortunate that the stay means that HTC can continue to benefit from its unauthorized and uncompensated use of Nokia innovations. We look forward to the Court of Appeal confirming that the patent is valid and infringed, lifting the stay on the injunction and awarding Nokia financial compensation for HTC’s infringement.
The same patent comes to trial in Dusseldorf, Germany next month and is also in suit in Paris, France; Rome, Italy[;] and its US counterpart is in Nokia’s second complaint against HTC at the US International Trade Commission. Nokia began its actions against HTC in 2012, with the aim of ending HTC’s unauthorised use of Nokia’s proprietary innovations and has asserted more than 50 patents against HTC in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, UK and US. During 2013, HTC has been found to infringe Nokia patents in venues including the Regional Court in Mannheim, Germany, the UK High Court and the US International Trade Commission."
Nokia is currently suing HTC in 7 countries, as the Taiwanese company continues to refuse to take out a royalty-bearing license for Nokia’s non-standard-essential patents.
Yes, the patent battle between Microsoft and Google’s Motorola is still going on. Microsoft already won in the court that Motorola’s Android devices are infringing Microsoft’s patents. Motorola was trying to persuade the Federal Circuit to reverse lower court’s finding. However, The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today ruled against Motorola’s appeal of an import ban Microsoft won from the United States ITC in May 2012.
From FOSS Patents,
The appeals court found that the ITC’s related determinations were based on substantial evidence. This is a rather difficult standard of review for appellants to overcome. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the appellate judges would have decided the case the same way with the same set of facts before them. It merely means that there were facts based on which one can’t blame the ITC for arriving at its conclusions, but the appeals court might have upheld the opposite decision as well.
Read more from the link below.
Source: FOSS Patents
Bloomberg reports that Nokia has won its patent infringement case against HTC in UK, resulting in the HTC One Mini being banned from the 6th December.
The HTC One is affected by the same patent, but as banning that device would cause “considerable” damage to HTC, that injunction bas been delayed by the court to allow HTC time to appeal the ruling.
Nokia is not satisfied with just the ban, but “… is also claiming financial compensation for the infringement of this patent,” the company said in a prepared statement.
Nokia settled a similar infringement case with Apple in April 2011 and was then paid regular royalties for its use.
While Microsoft is set to purchase Nokia’s handset division, the intellectual property part will remain with Nokia, and with its Here Maps and telecom infrastructure arm will be key to the continuing profitability of the company.
This is a really interesting patent that could make into future Windows Phone OS versions anytime soon. This could be the like the extension of the current Kids corner feature in the cloud that restricts people from accessing certain apps, etc,. Microsoft describes a great use case scenario for this feature, read it below.
Children and teenagers with connected mobile devices may have difficulty balancing the time that they spend in front of the many various devices, commonly referred to as “screentime”, with other activities, including spending time with their family and getting enough sleep. Parents often have to regulate the amount of children’s time with devices, such as texting, talking on the phone, watching television, and surfing the Internet. When children over use such devices, the parents may have to step-in and physically separate a device from a child, such as by taking a mobile phone or tablet computer away at bedtime.
So, parents can basically control their children’s mobile device whenever they want! This is just for an example, actually it can be applied to lots of other use cases. Take for example, your phone is restricted while you are driving, or some crazy situations you can imagine.
In implementations of automatically quieting mobile devices, a mobile device includes a communication interface for communicating with other devices that are associated with the mobile device, and the other devices correspond to respective users of the devices. A device quiet service is implemented to initiate a device quiet control that quiets one or more of the other associated devices that are controllable by the mobile device, and the device quiet service initiates communication of the device quiet control to the associated devices. A device quiet control can be initiated to restrict communication functions of the other associated devices, such as for a designated time duration. Alternatively or in addition, a device quiet control can quiet the other associated devices at a designated location, during an event, within a designated quiet zone, and/or quiet the associated devices that are proximate the mobile device at a location.
What do you think of this patent from Microsoft?
via: Patent-bolt Source: USPTO
Smartphone OEMs like Samsung and LG have already started making devices with curved displays. Recently, Samsung even promised to release fully foldable displays in 2015. To make a foldable mobile device, you need foldable battery technology. LG revealed their foldable battery tech few months back. In a recently revealed Nokia’s patent, Nokia’s design of foldable batter technology was revealed. The battery pack will be made of ‘foldable cells’ that can curve and bend with the shape of a phone. The same technology can be used to fill in battery between the free spaces available in small devices. This could lead to super-thin and foldable devices.
‘Even though the internal components are becoming smaller and smaller, batteries generally lag behind other technological advancements, consistently consuming a large portion of the portable electronic device.
‘In current portable electronic devices, to have a curved and aesthetically pleasing form factor, space is generally wasted between the battery and a case making the portable electronic device seem larger and a result may be less appealing,’
‘Additionally, there may also be wasted space between the internal components and the case and/or between certain internal components.’
Read more from the source links below.
Source:Nokia’s patent, Dailymail
Nokia today announced that Samsung has extended the patent licensing agreement with Nokia for another five years. Read the full press release below.
Espoo, Finland – Nokia announced that Samsung has extended a patent license agreement between Nokia and Samsung for five years. The agreement would have expired at the end of 2013. According to the agreement, Samsung will pay additional compensation to Nokia for the period commencing from January 1, 2014 onwards, and the amount of such compensation shall be finally settled in a binding arbitration which is expected to be concluded during 2015.
“This extension and agreement to arbitrate represent a hallmark of constructive resolution of licensing disputes, and are expected to save significant transaction costs for both parties”, said Paul Melin, Chief Intellectual Property Officer of Nokia.
Nokia will retain its industry-leading patent portfolio following the proposed transaction to sell substantially all of its Devices & Services business to Microsoft and sees further opportunity to create value by investing in innovation, and by actively managing its patent portfolio and licensing activities.
The Financial Times reports that Nokia has won a major patent fight against HTC in UK and said it would seek an injunction against the import and sale of HTC’s products in Britain.
The patents were related to a technology used to transmit voice and text messages and is just one of several similar cases against HTC in Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.
Nokia said “Today’s judgment is a significant development in our dispute with HTC,” while HTC said “Naturally HTC is disappointed by the decision that the UK court has reached in this case and we will be seeking to appeal the finding immediately.”
After Nokia divests itself of its handset division it will retain control of its patents, and its litigation is expected to intensify.
Analysts at Berenberg said that it had been a “masterstroke” of the Nokia board to maintain its patent assets. The bank said that net royalty income this year will be about $600m but forecast that this could rise sharply after Nokia forge licensing deals with Samsung and other OEMs.
Read more at the Financial Times here.
Microsoft announced a record quarter yesterday, earning $5.24 billion on revenue of $18.53 billion.
Part of that success story, despite decreasing Windows revenue, there was growth in Windows Phone licensing, which grew by $102 million last quarter.
Microsoft unfortunately does not break out Windows Phone itself in the Devices and Consumer Licensing segment, so we do not know exactly how much Windows Phone is earning for them at present.
The $102 million increase also includes Android patent licensing, making it difficult to say it if represents growth for Android or Windows Phone.
On the other hand having Android patent revenue assigned to Windows Phone means Samsung, HTC and LG are all paying for the development and marketing of Windows Phone, which is somewhat ironic in the end, given the level of support they give the OS in general.
See the relevant results at Microsoft here.
In a preliminary ruling the ITC has found that HTC infringes two Nokia patents to do with sending and receiving signals. The move could block 7 older HTC handsets in the US, including the HTC Amaze 4G, Inspire 4G, Flyer, Jetstream, Radar 4G, Rezound and Sensation 4G, most of which are no longer on sale.
Despite Nokia choosing the ITC as a rapid venue for action, the full ITC is scheduled to make a final decision on the matter only January 23, 2014, by which time I doubt any of the handsets will have any market relevance.
Once divested of its handset division next year, Nokia may become more aggressive in pursuing patent litigation, as as a non-practicing entity they will no longer be vulnerable to countersuits from the companies it is suing.
In the mean time however there is a bigger threat looming for smartphone makers from the rapidly fading Blackberry, which may itself soon exit the handset market. The company owns around 5,135 patents, most related to now obsolete features like keyboards, but others still fundamental given the company was around at the start of the smartphone market.
Wikibon analyst Scott Lowe notes there is a risk some-one could buy Blackberry’s patent portfolio and “start suing everyone.” Even Fairfax holdings may be looking to leverage the asset for a return on their investment.
Ultimately Blackberry’s death throes may present a bigger risk to its competitors than when it was alive.