Trim those trees! Why Bill Gates and friends want to put accelerometers on power lines

Accelerometers have become a common part of the sensor arrays on smartphones and other devices, but a group that includes Bill Gates is suggesting a different application — putting the motion-sensing devices on power lines to understand how far they move in wind and other conditions, and how close they come to trees and other nearby objects. In other words,… Read More

Apple's University Village store. (Credit: Apple)

Apple and Google reach settlement in patent disputes

Apple and Google have reached a settlement in a series of fierce patent battles — marking a major legal truce between the companies responsible for the leading smartphone platforms. The two companies told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today that they have agreed to drop all outstanding patent litigation — although they stopped short of licensing their patent… Read More


Apple lands patent for bayonet-mounted iPhone lenses, similar to Seattle startup’s approach

Want to attach a 100mm lens to an iPhone? A new Apple patent suggests that official detachable lenses may be coming soon. The Cupertino-based company has won a patent that governs “Bayonet attachment mechanisms” for connecting an external lens to a smartphone. Most modern cameras with interchangeable lenses use bayonet mounts, which use a pair of… Read More


Apple wins $930M in patent dispute with Samsung, but judge won’t block sales

Federal Judge Lucy Koh has awarded almost $930 million in damages to Apple, after deciding that a number of Samsung’s devices infringed on Apple’s patents. However, Koh denied Apple’s request for a permanent injunction blocking the sales of those devices in America. Apple did not show that the patented features, including the iconic pinch-to-zoom gesture,… Read More

Nathan Myhrvold

Intellectual Ventures reveals list of 33,000 patents, in move toward (partial) transparency

Intellectual Ventures, under increasing pressure to be more transparent about its patent holdings, this morning released a searchable list of more than 33,000 of its patents — about 82 percent of the nearly 40,000 patents that the company makes available for sale, license and other commercial activities. The list, also available as a downloadable spreadsheet,… Read More


No joke: Google wants a patent on splitting the restaurant bill

The Onion, September 2006: “Sequestered in a private booth at a Pasadena-area Cheesecake Factory for nearly 25 minutes, a party of eight California Institute Of Technology physicists emerged exhausted but visibly excited Friday evening after successfully splitting the bill.” Google Patent Application, October 2013: “For example, continuing with the example of FIG. 4, assume that Users A-C… Read More


Microsoft wins jury verdict vs. Motorola; $14M in damages is half of what Microsoft sought

Updated with Google comment. A federal jury in Seattle ruled in Microsoft’s favor this afternoon in a patent dispute with Motorola Solutions — finding unanimously that Motorola breached its contractual obligations when it offered to license key tech patents to Microsoft for significantly more than what the court determined to be fair and reasonable terms…. Read More


Microsoft vs. Motorola: It’s game day, and the jury is dressed accordingly

Updated with details of Motorola’s closing argument. After a trial lasting more than a week, lawyers for Microsoft and Motorola are making their closing arguments in U.S. District Court in Seattle this morning, before the jury starts its deliberations in the high-profile patent case this afternoon. Even after hours upon hours of testimony about esoteric… Read More


Look out, kids: Microsoft patent would give parents ultimate control over family phones

Microsoft has already given parents an extra element of control with the “Kid’s Corner” feature in Windows Phone 8 — an isolated section of the device, set up and controlled by parents, that lets kids play with the phone without inadvertently responding to mom’s email, for example. But a newly published patent application from the… Read More


Microsoft vs. Motorola: Jury seated, patent trial set to start

A jury of seven women and one man will hear opening statements in federal court in Seattle this afternoon in a high-profile patent suit between Microsoft and Motorola —a key case in a broader set of disputes between Microsoft and Google, the smartphone maker’s parent company. After seating the jury and dismissing them for lunch,… Read More


Microsoft sues U.S. Customs for letting disputed Motorola phones into the country

Microsoft has sued the United States Customs and Border Patrol for failing to enforce an import restriction on Motorola Mobility phones that the International Trade Commission ruled were infringing on one of Microsoft’s patents. The patent in question is number 6370566, entitled “Generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device.” Microsoft claims that… Read More