Posts made in August, 2012

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Apple’s Patents Are Essential According to Google 0

Apple’s Patents Are Essential According to Google

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in Patent

For the past few years, mobile phone manufacturers have continued to fight patent battles across the globe, many of which involve Apple’s iPhone patents. Recently, Google General Counsel Kent Walker has written a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee arguing that many of Apple’s patents should be considered de facto standards due to their widespread use. Much like standards essential patents, Google believes that Apple’s technological innovations are commercially essential. Standards Essential Patents are those patents that have been adopted as standard for an industry. Standards Essential Patent holders are obligated to license the use of their patent under fair and reasonable non-discriminatory terms. Google believes that many of Apple’s patents, like multi-touch screen technology and the “slide to unlock” feature, have been adopted as standard features by the smartphone industry as a whole. Since these features have become so common, Google believes Apple’s patents are commercially essential and should be treated like Standards Essential Patents in the interests of fairness. Google also argues that failing to standardize Apple’s patents would hurt consumer welfare. Not surprisingly, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook disagrees. Cook dismissed Google’s argument as an attempt to piggy-back on Apple’s industry-leading innovation and said Apple would not be “developer for the world.” Apple also argued that allowing...

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NASA DMCA Takedown 0

NASA DMCA Takedown

Posted by on Aug 6, 2012 in Copyright

If you missed last night’s NASA landing and tried to check it out this morning, you may have had some trouble. NASA posted a 13 minute excerpt of the Curiosity Mars rover’s landing on their official YouTube channel. Within a matter of minutes, the video was taken down with a message explaining the video contained copyrighted material claimed by Scripps Local News. NASA’s video should not have been removed, since, not only did they create it, but it’s also public domain content. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows YouTube to escape liability if they remove content when someone claims to hold a copyright to it. The DMCA then allows users to submit a counter claim if they believe their content does not infringe on an existing copyright and was wrongfully removed. It’s unclear exactly how or why Scripps filed the complaint, or whether YouTube took it down automatically because their system believed it copied an existing video. Scripps Local News released an apology for the problem through a spokesperson for their parent company, E.W. Scripps Company. This is not the first NASA video that has been taken down on a claim by Scripps. Bob Jacobs, NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications said that DMCA complaints routinely disrupt NASA’s online...

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Electronic Arts v. Zynga: Is it a clone? 0

Electronic Arts v. Zynga: Is it a clone?

Posted by on Aug 3, 2012 in Computer Law, Copyright

Video game publisher Electronic Arts  (EA) has challenged video game creator Zynga in California Federal Court.  It appears that Electronic Arts suspects Zynga has been borrowing a few too many elements from its game, The Sims Social, and incorporated those elements into the Zynga game, The Ville.  From EA’s complaint it appears that various design elements of The Sims Social were copied directly into the Zynga game.  A few months ago it would have seemed that EA had an uphill battle on their hands but a recent case may have shifted the verdict in EA’s favor.  That recent case involved cloning the popular game Tetris (See Cloning Tetris).  It would be wholly unsurprising if EA’s recent action was spurred by the verdict of the Tetris case, firstly because of the many common elements with EA’s case against Zynga and the Tetris case and secondly and more importantly, the connection that EA has with the owner of the rights to Tetris.  It may be that EA’s actions against Zynga were started as a result of the Tetris case or it may be that the Tetris case was a result of some agreement that EA has with the owners of the rights to the Tetris game. The Tetris case and the...

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