On March 21, 2008, Gibson filed two lawsuits for patent infringement in Nashville. One of those lawsuits names Harmonix Music Systems, MTV Networks and Electronic Arts as defendants. Apparently, these are the companies that market and distribute the Rock Band game and at least some of the Guitar Hero titles. The other suit was filed against a number of major retailers like Amazon and Target who sell those video … Read more
I actually have one of these sitting on my desk right now. It's the corrugated, brown cardboard sleeve wrapped around my venti, no fat, no water chai latte. It insulates my hand from the hot liquid inside and allows me to walk from the barista to my car without a wince or painful grimace.
It's a good idea and whoever came up with it got a patent. I know that because the number, "U.S. Patent No. 5,205,473" is printed in neat, black text right on the sleeve. (There's actually a second patent number as well.) The reason the sleeve on my coffee cup, and most other patented products, have patent numbers printed on them is something patent lawyers call "constructive notice."
Under the law, the public is deemed to have constructive notice that something is patented if that something has a patent number on it. The idea behind the law apparently is that if one sees a patent number, one has the ability to look that patent up, read it, and maybe even understand what it says. For the corrugated sleeve, it was simple enough for me--albeit a little geeky--to take a look at the '473 patent and understand how the sleeve works to make the heat from my latte more bearable.
The collection of laws that govern patents can be found in Title 35 of the U.S. Code. Anyone having any familiarity with patent laws knows about sections 101-103 of 35 U.S.C.--these sections deal with what is patentable and how you judge if a patent is in fact novel or not obvious. But unbeknownst even to most practicing patent lawyers is that two sections later--in section 105--Congress has enacted a law specifically directed to extraterrestrial patents:
Apparently Microsoft has a thing for conservative Japan. Just when I thought Microsoft had closed patent cross-licensing deals with every Japanese firm ever to have considered corporate existence, Microsoft surprises me with a deal with Onkyo.
So far Microsoft's list includes the needy (the various second-rate Linux distributions and Novell, which is a first-class Linux distribution with second-class aspirations of how to build on its technical merit) and the overly cautious (Japanese and Korean electronics companies for whom it's easier to just pay rather than try to figure out whether Microsoft's machinations are worthy). Microsoft might consider this a Very Good Start, but to me it looks like a Very Poor End to Microsoft's attempts to afflict the world with its dubious patent-rattling.… Read more
What do you do when some of the biggest names in consumer electronics might be in violation of your patents?
Why, try to take away their right to sell their products in the U.S., of course.
Columbia University Professor Emeritus Gertrude Neumark Rothschild says 30 companies are infringing on her patent for laser and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In response, she wants the U.S. government to ban those companies' imports to the U.S. that are in violation. A lot of companies use LEDs and laser diodes for a variety of reasons--Sony uses blue laser diodes in its Blu-ray … Read more
This post was updated at 4:12 AM on Monday to reflect the fact that Gibson has added MTV, Harmonix, and EA to the list of plaintiffs.
Legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar has sued six major retailers--Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Amazon.com, Gamestop, and Toys-R-Us--for selling Activision's Guitar Hero video game series, MarketWatch reported Friday.
The decision was made "reluctantly," according to a statement from Gibson.
Earlier this month, Gibson sued Activision over Guitar Hero, claiming that the game violated a 1999 patent for a virtual-reality guitar-playing device that "simulate(s) participation in a concert by playing … Read more
And here I thought Microsoft had a cross-license pact with nearly every tech company other than Red Hat.
Apparently there are still a few more names to cross of the to-do list Microsoft set-up a few years back. On Thursday, Microsoft announced a deal with Tokyo-based Onkyo, which will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount of compensation to Redmond.
Onkyo also signed a deal to use Microsoft's Windows Rally technology which aims to offer a better connection between PCs and other consumer electronics, such as Onkyo's home theater and audio/video gear.
Apple could be embracing the clamshell aesthetic for a future iPhone.
Unwiredview.com found an Apple patent application for a "dual-sided trackpad device," which resembles the current iPhone redesigned into the clamshell format so popular with many mobile phones. The key to this design is having touch-screen capabilities on both the top and bottom of the phone when it's open.
This design goes a step further, as well, in that the closed cover of the iPhone could also have trackpad capability. PC makers have experimented with this, adding some basic buttons and capabilities to the covers of … Read more
If you thought that the issue of whether a patent covered the use of a microprocessor could only concern the computer or semiconductor industry, think again. High tech has extended its reach to zapping rats (literally).
Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Such were the aspirations of Bob Noe, the founder of Agrizap--maker of the patented Rat Zapper, a trap for dispatching pests through electrocution. Agrizap's Rat Zapper, which is about the size of a shoebox, is powered by four AA batteries, and is sold online for about $40 at RatZapper.com.
The slightly larger Rat Zapper Ultra uses D-cell batteries which, according to the Website, enables it to kill "even bigger, badder rats and mice." In the event of serious infestation, or for those with an overdeveloped desire to integrate their equipment, Agrizap also offers the ultimate high-tech equipment including its Battle Station command post and radio-monitoring equipment for use with its traps.… Read more
Just how far might Apple be planning to take Apple TV, Take Three (or maybe four)?
An Apple patent application unearthed by AppleInsider shows a proposed system for using an iPod-like device as a remote control for an Apple TV-like device with DVR capabilities. (They never use the actual product names in the applications, but it's not too hard to tell.) It also suggests that Apple is thinking about making a version of Apple TV that could watch and record live television programming.