The United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple on Thursday that reveals potential next-generation battery designs. As the mobile industry turns toward thinner devices, Apple is looking to redesign batteries to enable these thin designs. According to PatentlyApple, the Cupertino-based company’s invention relates to a battery cell, which includes a set of electrode sheets of different dimensions that can be arranged in a variety of designs. The configuration can be based on a non-rectangular battery design such as an L-shaped, a triangular or a pyramidal design. Existing battery packs typically contain rectangular cells, and by utilizing cells with alternative shapes, Apple will seemingly be able to pack more cells into a smaller battery pack. More →
Microsoft and LG have signed a patent agreement that covers LG’s tablets, mobile phones, and other consumer devices running Android or Chrome OS. Terms of the deal between the two companies have not being disclosed. However, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has targeted an Android vendor, previously signing deals with Samsung, HTC, and Acer, among others. “Together with our 10 previous agreements with Android and Chrome OS device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, this agreement with LG means that more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS.” Each vendor who signs a deal with the Redmond-based company pays an undisclosed licensing fee for using Microsoft’s patents, which Android and Chrome OS reportedly infringe upon. However, not every company is giving in, with Motorola and Barnes & Noble currently involved in a lengthy patent battle with Microsoft. Read on for the press release.
Apple recently won an injunction that could prevent HTC from importing several Android phones into the United States, and now it has been granted a patent for a technology that may drastically affect how Android vendors design their devices and user interfaces. The Cupertino-based company was granted a patent titled “Portable electronic device with graphical user interface supporting application switching,” which basically means Apple has been awarded a patent for switching apps while on a phone call. That’s a pretty valuable patent, considering most smartphones allow users to switch to a new application while on a phone call. As CBS points out, the broad wording within the patent documentation could make it very hard for Apple’s competitors to create a workaround. For example, the patent describes how a user might use his or her finger to tap a menu and choose another application — something that can currently be done on all smartphones. Read on for more. More →
The European Commission announced Tuesday that it has opened formal proceedings to investigate whether or not major eBook publishers, possibly “with the help of Apple,” are “engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of eBooks.” The publishing companies named in the investigation include Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck. “The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition in the EU or in the EEA,” the European Commission said in a statement. It is unclear how long the investigation will take. A press release from the European Commission follows after the break. More →
Apple has reportedly told a German court that it will owe $2.7 billion if it loses a patent lawsuit against Motorola. The two companies have been locked in a legal battle in which Motorola has accused Apple of infringing on a patent related to email sync technology. As a result, Motorola recently won an injunction against Apple Inc. “In light of this risk, Apple’s lawyers have asked the court to determine that MMI will have to give a 2 billion euro bail (US$2.7 billion based on today’s exchange rate) if it seeks to enforce the patent,” patent expert Florian Miller wrote on his blog, FOSS Patents. “The purpose of such a bail is to ensure that an alleged infringer will be compensated if the enforced injunction is later overturned by an appellate court.” The judge presiding over the case isn’t quite convinced that the battle is worth that much money, however. “I am not yet entirely sure that amount adequately mirrors the commercial value of this dispute… The technology isn’t a standard and there are alternative ways to provide the same services,” the judge said.
Microsoft is chasing down Huawei in search of a patent licensing agreement, The Guardian reported on Tuesday. “Yes, Microsoft has come to us,” Huawei Devices chief marketing officer Victor Xu told The Guardian. ”We always respect the intellectual property of companies. But we have 65,000 patents worldwide too. We have enough to protect our interests. We are a very important stakeholder in Android.” Xu also said that “negotiations are in progress” with Microsoft, which takes home an estimated $444 million annually from Android royalties. Microsoft has a cross-licensing agreement with Samsung and has similar deals with HTC, ViewSonic and other Android device vendors. It is expected that Microsoft may soon hunt down Amazon for an agreement related to its new Android-powered Kindle Fire tablet, too. More →
One week after announcing a similar deal with Quanta, Microsoft on Sunday revealed a new licensing arrangement with consumer electronics original design manufacturer Compal Electronics, Inc. The Redmond, Washington-based software company has reached a deal with Compal whereby it will receive royalty payments on sales of Compal’s tablets, cell phones, eReaders and other devices powered by Google’s Android or Chrome platforms. With this new deal in place, Microsoft also now holds licensing agreements with more than half of the worlds Android and Chrome ODMs. ”We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Compal, one of the leaders in the original design manufacturing, or ODM, industry,” Microsoft’s deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement. ”Together with the license agreements signed in the past few months with Wistron and Quanta Computer, today’s agreement with Compal means more than half of the world’s ODM industry for Android and Chrome devices is now under license to Microsoft’s patent portfolio. We are proud of the continued success of our licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome.” Microsoft’s full statement follows below. More →
While sales of Microsoft’s burgeoning Windows Phone platform lag, the company continues to find significant revenue streams elsewhere in the mobile industry. Specifically, Google’s Android partners have proven to be an invaluable asset for the Redmond-based tech giant. Microsoft’s revenue from royalties HTC is forced to pay on each Android phone it sells is estimated to be between three and five times the company’s Windows Phone revenue, which could help explain why Microsoft has been so quiet to date when it comes to marketing its new mobile OS. Now, Microsoft has announced new agreements with ViewSonic and Acer that will bring in cash from two more Android vendors. Read on for more. More →