Apple Countersues Qualcomm for Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on December 7, 2017

San Diego – Qualcomm has long accused Apple of infringing its patents, but now the tables have turned. In a new countersuit, Apple alleges that it owns at least eight battery life patents that Qualcomm has violated. Apple, the company that kickstarted the modern smartphone, stated that Qualcomm is acting like a “common patent troll” – a company that hoards intellectual property without making any real products.

San Diego based Qualcomm is a long-standing technology company specializing in LTE chip design. The two companies have been entangled in a legal war since the beginning of 2017. Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for “technologies they have nothing to do with” and failing to pay for quarterly rebates.

Apple proclaims that Qualcomm charges excessive licensing fees by requesting a percentage of an iPhone’s entire value, while Qualcomm says its technology is “at the heart of every iPhone” and that Apple could not have invented the iPhone without Qualcomm’s innovations.

Qualcomm recently released its Snapdragon 820 Mobile platform with X12 LTE and described it as, “one of the most cutting-edge mobile processors ever created.” The processor only draws the minimum amount of power needed from the battery for a particular task, and is then powered down when it is not needed. These chips power a wide variety of Android-based devices and it is these chips that Apple claims are infringing on its power efficiency patents.

Qualcomm and Apple might be severing their relationship in 2018. Qualcomm has already asked the United States International Trade Commission to block imports of select iPhone models and has requested that China stop manufacturing and selling iPhones.

Apple has used Qualcomm chips in its devices for many years, but has recently started using chips from Intel as well. Qualcomm is allegedly concealing software that Apple needs to test the LTE chips in its iPhone and iPad prototypes, necessitating the move. Qualcomm, meanwhile, apparently denies th Read the rest

Crocs Denied Patent for Plastic Shoe Design

By Joseph Mandour on August 17, 2017

Orange County – Crocs, the footwear company based out of Colorado, appears to be losing any hope to achieving a design patent on its well-known plastic shoes. It has taken 10 years for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to officially reject Crocs’ design patent application. Crocs’ patent had been rejected twice before but Crocs has now received a third rejection.

Despite it being Crocs third rejection, Crocs still may attempt to appeal the decision, though it is looking increasingly unlikely that Crocs will prevail in its attempt to register the design patent. Crocs assertively stated they will “continue to aggressively enforce their intellectual property.”

Crocs has other legal issues as well. USA Dawgs, which is Crocs’ main competitor, filed a lawsuit last month claiming that Crocs infringed on its design of a z-strap sandal and stated that a Crocs employee accessed internal networks illegally. Crocs has responded by stating that the lawsuit is an attempt to harass the company.

Crocs and USA Dawgs have had a long rival history. In 2006, Crocs initially accused rivals of infringing on its molded-clog design. The tables have turned against Crocs however in recent months.

Croc was hopeful that the patent appeal process would result in a favorable outcome which would strengthen its position against its competitors, but now it appears the reverse is occurring. Essentially the patent office is holding that the Crocs design is not original. The USPTO also stated that Crocs’ shoe design could be anticipated from other existing shoe designs and therefore refused to grant a patent. Crocs has claimed that its design is original but there are reports that a similar shoe design was published more than a year prior to Crocs’ design.

Crocs competitors have claimed that Crocs’ patent claims were used to suppress competitors for more than a decade. Now that the patent has been rejected once again it gives other companies, like USA Dawgs, a chance to manufacture shoes under less of a litigation threat from Crocs.

Just in c Read the rest

TiVo Wins a Preliminary Patent Ruling in the ITC Against #Comcast

By Joseph Mandour on June 16, 2017

TiVo and Rovi (which purchased TiVo for $1.1 billion dollars last year) won an initial patent ruling in the International Trade Commission against Comcast. In the complaint against Comcast, TiVo claimed that Comcast had violated six patents. The ruling finds that Comcast, and its hardware partners Arris and Technicolor, had violated two patents held by TiVo.

The ruling is the latest development in a series of ongoing lawsuits between Comcast and TiVo. In addition to the ITC complaint, TiVo is in the midst of federal litigation against Comcast. TiVo sued Comcast and its top suppliers in 2016 for allegedly infringing 14 patents. The case is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The ITC ruling is a positive step for TiVo in resolving the federal dispute with Comcast. The ITC ruling could lead to a license from TiVo to Comcast to avoid what could amount to treble damages in the District Court if it rules in favor of TiVo.

According to Samir Armaly, Rovi’s executive VP of intellectual property and licensing for Rovi Corp, Comcast had licensed Rovi’s technology for a decade, but chose to continue using the technology without renewing a license.

Analysts expect that Comcast will contest the ITC ruling. The cable giant has already counter sued TiVo, filing the lawsuit in 2016. In the lawsuit, Comcast accuses TiVo of breaching its contract. According to Comcast, TiVo violated the terms of s licensing deal by filing in Texas instead of New York. Furthermore, Comcast stated to a New York federal court that Rovi breached the terms of their contract when they brought the dispute to the International Trade Commission.

TiVo has a long history of aggressively protecting its patents through litigation. Between TiVo and Rovi, they hold roughly 6,000 patents across a number of technologies, including DVR functions, interactive program guides, and mobile device media processes.

Following the ITC decision, TiVo stock value jumped up by more than 17%. On Tuesday, May 30th, 2017, TiVo shares were trading for as high as $19.30 per share. At the time of the closing bell, TiVo shares were up 14% for the day, closing at $18.70.

Read the rest

Schutt Sports Sues Riddell Over Football Helmet Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on June 2, 2017

Orange County – On May 18th 2017, Kranos Corp, operating as Schutt Sports, filed a lawsuit against Riddell Inc. for patent infringement. The two companies are market rivals in the football helmet design and manufacturing industry. Schutt Sports claims that Riddell has infringed three different helmet designs. Schutt is seeking an injunction as well as an undisclosed amount in damages.

Robert Erb, president and CEO of Schutt, in a statement to the news and posted again on the Kranos Corporation website, states that they “take the violation of our intellectual property right seriously” and goes on to assert that Schutt would “vigorously defend” its patent rights from competitors who use its technology without permission. This obviously includes its chief rival Riddell.

This is not the first time these two companies have faced each other in court. In 2008, the tables were turned as Riddell sued Schutt for patent infringement. After two years of litigation, in August of 2010, a jury awarded $29 million to Riddell. After the case, Schutt was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A month later, Platinum Equity acquired Schutt at auction for just over $33 million.

Then, again, in 2016, Riddell filed a lawsuit against Schutt for patent infringement. This time specifically alleging that Schutt’s Vengence, ION4D, Air XP, and DNA helmets were all patent infringements. Schutt responded by accusing Riddel of violating patents as well. In an interview with Erb, he said that he believed that Riddell’s lawsuit had “no merit.” He went on to state that Riddell was making a desperate attempt to attack the market while it faces a myriad of challenges within the business. In February of 2017, Riddell asked an Illinois federal court not to pause the lawsuit while the Patent Trial and Appeal board reviewed the patents in issue. They claim that Schutt is just trying to delay the proceedings. That case is still ongoing.

The two companies are the two largest football helmet manufactures in the United States. Between both companies, they compri Read the rest

Costco and Titleist Tangle Over Golf Ball Patents

By Joseph Mandour on March 23, 2017

San Diego – Costco is preemptively suing Acushnet Holdings, maker of the popular Titleist golf ball. Costco is seeking a judge’s ruling that Costco’s brand new line of Kirkland Signature golf balls do not violate any of Acushnet’s patents.

In 2016, Costco released its now famous Kirkland Signature golf ball. As part of the Kirkland Signature series, the golf balls were advertised as living up to the brand’s quality pledge that they, “must be equal to or better than the national brands, and must offer a savings to our members”. Costco’s new golf balls drew favorable attention from consumers almost immediately. In a blind quality test conducted by mygolfspy.com, the Costco ball either equaled or exceeded performance of the “number 1 ball in golf,” the Titleist 1, in all measurable categories.

Furthermore, the price of two dozen Kirkland Signature balls is about $15, compared to $56 for the Titleist 1. The average price of a golf ball in the United States is about $3.50 per ball. The Kirkland series sell for roughly $1.15 per ball. Costco’s golf balls sold so quickly, they removed the item from their website at the end of 2016 because they had run out of stock.
After the run on the market for Kirkland Signature golf balls, Acushnet sent Costco a threatening letter. In the letter, Acushnet accused Costco of both false advertising and violating 11 of Acushnet’s golf ball patents. As to the patents, they include the methods of manufacturing the ball all the way down to the design of the dimples on the ball.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dean Snell, a former Titleist ball designer said, “If you look at the amount of patents filed everyday versus the number of golf balls actually made, it’s a ridiculous number.” Acushnet currently holds more than 2,500 patents.

Costco’s lawyers responded to the claims of false advertising by pointing to several testimonials from golfers and tests conducted by industry experts. The lawsuit states, “Many individual golfers and golf ball testers and experts have used and/or tested the KS ball and concluded that it is at least comparable to balls sold by other leading national brands, including Acushnet.”
Costco is scheduled to have more golf balls for sale in w Read the rest

Google’s Waymo Files Patent and Trade Secret Lawsuit Against Uber

By Joseph Mandour on March 9, 2017

San Diego – In 2009, Google began to design self-driving cars. Since that time, the project, known as Waymo, has been an industry leader in the area and has helped Google acquire thousands of patents in nearly every aspect of autonomous driving technology.

Waymo recently filed a lawsuit against fellow automation technology giant Uber and its driverless truck division known as Otto. Waymo claims that key intellectual property was stolen by a former employee and is now being used by their competitor. The specific technology in question is called LiDAR. It is a laser sensor system that allows a car to “see” 3-D high-definition images in 360 degrees around the car. It is a key piece of the car’s “vision” system. Waymo has invested tens of millions of dollars in developing LiDAR, and it is considered the most advanced vision system on the market to date.

In 2016, Waymo underwent a series of changes. Several key engineers left Waymo to either start their own automated driving ventures or join the competition. Most notable of these departures was Anthony Levandowski, who was a founding member of the Google Car team. Levandowski started San Francisco based Otto, which Uber purchased last year.

Waymo alleges that Levandowski installed special software on his company issued laptop, then downloaded 14,000 proprietary design files and transferred them to an external hard drive, and then after the transfer he wiped the memory on his computer to erase any digital fingerprint of his activity.

In a statement made in February, Uber challenged Waymo’s claims by stating they are “a baseless attempt to slow down a competitor,” and they are going to fight Waymo’s lawsuit in court.
Waymo’s lawsuit requests a jury trial and is seeking an injunction to stop Uber from using its trade secrets, as well as unspecified damages and legal fees.

The lawsuit continues a string of bad news for Uber. It has recently been fighting allegations of sexual harassment. Also very recently an unflattering video was made public of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver. After the release of the footage, Mr. Kalanick issued the statement: “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up”.

Read the rest

#ProctorandGamble Files #Patent Infringement Lawsuit Versus #Shaving Rival

By Joseph Mandour on August 26, 2016

shaverOrange County – Proctor and Gamble (P&G) filed a lawsuit through its subsidiary The Gillette Company against Edgewell Personal Care Co., which produces Schick brand razors and Edge shave gels. The lawsuit claims Edgewell engaged in false advertising, unfair competition, patent infringement, and deceptive acts and practices.

Edgewell released a new razor and cartridges in June designed to fit Gillette’s Mach3 razor. The marketing for the razor claimed it is “as good or better” than Mach3.

Gillette argues that claim is false advertising, citing internal testing comparing the razors that found Edgewell blades cause more nicks and cuts and, therefore, cannot be better.

“By falsely promoting its razor as being ‘as good or better’ than Mach3 and providing reduced irritation as compared to Mach3, Edgewell’s actions threaten harm to Gillette’s reputation and that of Mach3, thus jeopardizing Gillette’s hard-earned standing and market share,” Gillette stated in the lawsuit.

The patents Edgewell allegedly infringed expired on April 10, 2016, but Gillette argues the razor was designed while the patents were active and thus it is an infringement. The lawsuit is seeking damages and for Edgewell to remove its products from stores and cease using the claim that it shaves “as good or better” than the Mach3.

In a comment on the lawsuit, P&G stated, “When a competitor makes false and misleading claims against one of our products and infringes our patents, it’s unfair to consumers, and to our employees and shareholders.”

Edgewell commented on the lawsuit, stating, “We believe P&G’s allegations have no basis. Gillette’s Mach 3 patents have expired and we are confident in the quality and performance of our private label products. We will vigorously defend ourselves against these meritless claims and will continue to support our valued customers around the world.”

Gillette is the largest player in the $3 billion razors and blades market, making up 59% of the industry. This lawsuit is the third Gillette filed in the last year.

In a lawsuit that’s still pending, Gillette also claims patent infringement by The Dollar Shave Club, the largest online razor subscription service.

Gille Read the rest

#Adidas Sues #Skechers Over #Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on July 20, 2016

shoesSan Diego – The athletic shoe industry has heated up with lawsuits recently and the latest is another lawsuit against Skechers. Adidas filed a patent infringement lawsuit claiming that the Skechers Mega Flex series copied the design of its Springblade shoe.

First released in 2013, the Springblade shoe has an innovative design where several individual blades are attached to the sole of the shoe. This approach is modeled after the running blades used by amputees. Runners who use the shoes, Adidas claims in the lawsuit, are given a “high energy return” and a “sense of buoyancy, even when you’re walking.”

The design of the Skechers Mega Flex series is strikingly similar, with several individual blades attached to the sole of the shoe as well.

In response to Skechers’ design, Adidas said in a statement, “We will not stand by and allow others to blatantly copy our products and infringe on our valuable intellectual property.”

This lawsuit marks the third infringement lawsuit brought against Skechers by a major competitor in the last year, with several lawsuits from lesser known companies that have not been as frequently presented in the media. Nike filed a patent infringement lawsuit regarding eight patents Skechers allegedly violated in the last two years.

Another lawsuit was brought by Adidas over three different trademark infringement claims. The first issue was a similar use of the iconic three stripe Adidas trademark on Skechers’ Relaxed Fit Cross Court TR shoe. The second issue was the Skechers’ Supernova sneaker which Adidas alleged infringed on its Supernova sneaker. The third issue was the similarities between the Adidas Stan Smith shoe and the Skechers’ Onix sneaker. Searching “Stan Smith” on the Skechers website brought up results for the Onix shoe which only further made the connection hard to deny.

Lawsuits between Adidas and Sketchers dates back to 1995. Skechers most recently sued Adidas’ Reebok brand over infringement of the Go Walk shoes in 2014.

On the most recent infringement claims, Adidas stated, “This pattern of unlawful behavior and freeloading in the industry is outrageous and must end. We will take every league measure possible to protect and defend our innovations. Read the rest

#Siri #Patent Infringement Settlement to Cost #Apple $24.9M

By Joseph Mandour on April 26, 2016

apple-storeLos Angeles – Apple has agreed to pay out $24.9 million to settle a lawsuit that has dragged on for years. The lawsuit is alleging that its Siri voice assistant technology violated a patent licensed to a Dallas company and owned by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. The Dallas company, Dynamic Advances, was the exclusive licensee of Rensselaer’s patent.

Dynamic Advances does not mention what exactly it does with all of the patents it has licensed; however, it appears the company is a non-practicing entity also know as a patent troll. There is no further information about the company’s operations or history that has been revealed at this point. Under the terms of the agreement, Dynamic Advances’ parent company, Marathon Patent Group, will receive $5 million from Apple as soon as Dynamic Advances drops its case. In exchange, Apple will receive a patent license and a promise that they will not be sued again for the next three years over this issue. The remaining $19.9 million will be paid after later conditions are met.

Dynamic Advances suggested that about half of its gross proceeds will probably go to New York state’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The contended patent was originally developed by an Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor, Cheng Hsu, and Veera Boonjing, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute doctoral student, but licensed exclusively to Dynamic Advances. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has not, however, agreed to the royalty rate proposed in the settlement. The contended U.S. patent in this case is only one of several in Apple’s pile of ongoing worldwide litigation. It covers one of Siri’s main features, conversational interaction, titled “Natural language interface using constrained intermediate dictionary of results.”

The patent in question was issued in 2007, four years before Apple debuted Siri in 2011. In that same year, Rensselaer licensed the patent to Dynamic Advances. The lawsuit dates back to October 2012, almost exactly a year after Apple introduced Siri with i Read the rest

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Patent Case Between Apple and Samsung

By Joseph Mandour on March 24, 2016

apple-storeOrange County – It seems as though the battle between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. has been going on forever. The two companies have been involved in quite a few legal battles, yet the patent case that dates back to 2011 is the highest profile case yet. The case goes something like this: Apple sued Samsung accusing it of copying the designs of its phones. The design patents include the rectangular and curved phone body, and the phone’s grid of sixteen colorful icons that appear on the screen.

Back in December of last year, Samsung petitioned the Supreme Court saying that if Apple wins, it would stifle competition and innovation in the cell phone design world. Now, the highest court has accepted Samsung’s appeal that it shouldn’t be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to Apple for alleged patent infringement. The Supreme Court says it will hear the case in October. Apple and Samsung will present their arguments, and a ruling is likely early next year. The Supreme Court decision could affect other cases, including a design patent lawsuit Microsoft Corp. filed against software maker Corel Corp. in federal court last December.

This heated and long-running legal battle with rival Apple would be a huge win for Samsung. If the Supreme Court upholds an earlier ruling, Samsung would have to turn over $399 million to Apple. Otherwise, the court’s decision could end a worldwide patent feud between the two companies. Both Apple and Samsung have argued that the other copies its designs and concepts, and sued each other because of it. Apple was dealt its first victory in 2012, when a jury determined that Samsung had copied Apple’s designs.
Apple had hoped to be awarded more than $2 billion in that case, but its damages were ultimately pared down to $1 billion. After a series of appeals and rulings, that figure was knocked down to $548 million. In December, Samsung made the surprising move to pay the $548 million in damages, with one caveat: It wanted Apple to agree to give the cash back if Read the rest

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