Microsoft has just launched Windows 8 and it has already been downloaded over 4 million times in four days. With the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft has also attracted a patent troll that claims its rights over the Live Tiles used on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the Surface tablet.
A company called SurfCast that claims to design operating systems is suing Microsoft for the use of Live Tiles. If you visit the SurfCast website, you will clearly see that their technical expertise is still stuck in the 1990’s but their legal and patent-trolling expertise seems to have kept pace with the industry. SurfCast owns four patents, one of which deals with Live Tiles. The verge writes,
SurfCast owns US Patent #6,724,403, which was filed in October 2000 and issued in April 2004. Broadly, the patent covers selecting a variety of information sources, assigning each of those sources to a tile, and updating those tiles at variable refresh rates.
SurfCast defines its own patent as,
Tiles can be thought of as dynamically updating icons. A Tile is different from an icon because it can be both selectable and live — containing refreshed content that provides a real-time or near-real-time view of the underlying information.
This is as abstract as it gets, because this description matches all kinds of widgets.
Live Tiles constitutes the flagship UI of Windows Phone and Windows 8. Microsoft showed off the Windows 8 UI for the first time back in June 2011. It has been 16 months since then, and Microsoft has come a long way with Live Tiles. SurfCast on the other hand, own this patent for the last eight years, and has been sitting atop it all this time, waiting for someone to use it so that it can cry foul.
Last week, Apple managed to get preliminary injunction against the sales of the Galaxy Nexus in the United States, which was later followed by the removal of the handset from sale on Google Play Store. Google and Samsung also confirmed that they are working on an OTA update to remove the universal search patent in question, on which basis Apple was granted the injunction.
Well, Google has once again re-listed the Galaxy Nexus on the Play Store with an expected delivery date of 1-2 weeks. There is no clear reason as to why Google has re-listed the handset for sale on the Play Store once again, considering Apple’s preliminary injunction is still valid. However, the court did temporarily remove the ban on the handset awaiting Apple’s response. Even if that is the case, the handset still has a delivery time of 1-2 weeks, in contrast to its immediate availability before this.
The only logical explanation here is that since the device has a delivery time of 1-2 weeks, it will be running on Jelly Bean, which does not infringes on any of the Apple’s patent(s). Whatever the case may be, the tempting price of the Galaxy Nexus along with all the attention it has been getting thanks to the Apple’s legal team is surely enough to give the handset’s sale a slight boost.
Remember the preliminary injunction that Apple got against the sale of the Galaxy Nexus in the United States? Apple had appealed that the Galaxy Nexus infringes on four of its patents, and the judge agreed to it, and handed a preliminary injunction on the sale of the Galaxy Nexus in the United States on the basis of the four patent – universal search.
Well, things just went from bad to worse for Samsung as the judge has ruled out Samsung’s request to remove the ban on the sale of the handset in the U.S. Soon after this decision, the Galaxy Nexus was also taken off from sale from Google’s Play Store.
The good news is that both Samsung and Google are working hard on releasing an OTA update that will remove the universal search feature from the Galaxy Nexus. The OTA update should take only a few days before it’s ready for a roll-out. Samsung can once again file for a motion to dissolve the injunction once the OTA update is live in the United States.
What truly saddens me is that Judge Koh instead of bashing both the companies for their stupidity, is banning the sales of products left and right. She had earlier granted Apple an injunction against the sale of the Galaxy Tab in the United States. This patent war is getting out of hand, and it’s high time something is done to fix it.
Via – AllThingsD
The Patent war has taken the mobile industry by a storm. Companies have started spending more money on lawyers and suing the heck out of its competitors, instead of innovating and releasing new products. Apple has been at the center of the patent war suing each and every Android OEM maker out there or any product that threatens its iDevices. Up until now, Apple had managed to get a ban on Galaxy Tab sales in some regions of the world, along with a short ban on the import of the HTC One series, including the EVO 4G LTE, in the United States.
Today, a U.S judge has granted Apple a pre-trial injunction against the sale of the Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus in the United States. This means that Samsung/Google won’t be allowed to sell the Galaxy Nexus in the United States until the trial begins sometime in late-July. Apple has alleged that Samsung has infringed on four of its patents, including Slide to unlock, word suggestions, link actions and universal search. The judge granted the pre-trial injunction against the universal search patent, which Apple states is an integral part of Siri.
The situation in the mobile industry has definitely gotten worse thanks to the patent wars, and I’m pretty sure this ban on sale of Galaxy Nexus is not going to go down well with Google and Samsung. Looks like it’s time for Google to make use of all that patents it got access to, when it purchased Motorola.
Via – Reuters