Things move pretty fast in in the world of high technology, and the seesaw patent battles among the largest players are no exception. The last several weeks have produced a number of developments involving some of the big fish in the space, including Microsoft, Samsung and Apple. And, while their patent wars have produced a lot of noise, there have been other big stories in the world of intellectual property, including the launch of a potentially game-changing IP network and a clash of heroic proportions over a geeky trademark. For the scoop on these stories, click through the slideshow and click the embedded links for more information.
Microsoft sues Samsung
Microsoft is suing Samsung in a battle over Android patent fees. Microsoft says that the South Korean electronics giant has failed to make scheduled payments for the use of its intellectual property. “After spending months trying to resolve our disagreement, Samsung has made clear in a series of letters and discussions that we have a fundamental disagreement as to the meaning of our contract,” wrote David Howard, Microsoft’s assistant general counsel. The disagreement stems from Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s assets, and Samsung is taking aggressive action itself, looking for the Korean government to intervene and threatening to sure Microsoft for infringement.
Apple and Samsung vs. patent trolls
Common enemies can bring even the fiercest of rivals together, and this seems to be the case for two leaders in the high-tech – and patent litigation – space, Apple and Samsung. The two tech giants have become targets of the Luxembourg-based non-practicing entity known as Enterprise Systems Technology (EST), which owns several patents that once belonged to Siemens. EST claims that both Apple and Samsung make mobile devices that infringe on these patents. The troll is also targeting HTC, LG and others, with Microsoft having already decided to settle with the company rather than go to court. For now, at least, the big companies have a common foe.
Samsung, Apple reach patent détente
Having a common enemy to hate is one thing, but actually deciding to a truce is something altogether different. Now, Apple and Samsung have decided to scale back their ongoing patent war. The two tech companies released a joint statement indicating that they are dropping all suits against one another in countries other than the United States, including Australia, Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, the Netherlands, Japan and South Korea. “Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” the joint statement said. “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.”
Trading on IPXI platform begins
Touted as the world’s first financial exchange for the licensing and trading of intellectual property rights, Intellectual Property Exchange International (IPXI) has successfully closed its first two initial offerings involving license rights. The offerings are based on patent rights to prepared stored value card technology owned by JPMorgan Chase. Buyers can purchase unit license rights (ULR) that cover the patents. These operate like shares in a traditional public offering, and buyers and investors can use them like a traditional patent license or trade them via IPXI’s platform. Each ULR represents the rights to produce 100 cards and they have been priced at $5 apiece with 750,000 expected to become available.
While the world’s biggest comic book convention, Comic-Con International: San Diego (or the San Diego Comic-Con or SDCC) just wrapped up a week of pop culture mayhem, the organizers of the event are just getting warmed up. Lawyers representing SDCC have sent a cease and desist letter to the organizers of the Salt Lake Comic Con, accusing them of trademark infringement. SDCC was previously denied a trademark for “Comic Con,” although it does own a trademark on they hyphenated version “Comic-Con.” Previously, it has tried and failed to block the Chicago Comic Con from using the term. No word on whether the Guardians of the Galaxy plan to get involved in this kerfuffle.