Facebook Releases Patent to Allow Children to Join 0

Facebook Releases Patent to Allow Children to Join

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Patent

Recently, Facebook announced that they have created a patent which would allow children under the age of 13 to join Facebook, if their information can be matched to the Facebook accounts of their parents. As of now, Facebook limits children under 13 from registering an account. Legislation known as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) limits how a website operator has to protect children’s privacy and safety, thus restricting the activity of children under 13 on most websites. In complying with this legislation, most websites have disallowed children from using their website because of the amount of work involved. The patent, which complies with COPPA would allow a system for children under the age of 13 to join Facebook under their parent’s supervision. Facebook released a statement to The Guardian stating, “Like any responsible company, we have looked at ways to tackle this issue, but a patent application based on two year old research is not a predictor of future work in this area.” The patent application was filed in November of 2012 and was recently published by the USPTO last week which described a system in which parents can “authorize and supervise Facebook accounts for their children”. In order for the child to activate their...

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Sale of Fisker Automotive Shows the Value of Patents

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Patent

Two Chinese companies have been locked in a bidding war to buy United States automaker Fisker Automotive Holdings, Inc.   The overall prospects of the company are bleak (it is in bankruptcy after all) but whoever purchases the company will own the eighteen patents it developed.  Outside of entry into US market, whoever buys Fisker will not have much else to work with. Fisker had received hundreds of millions in federal dollars to develop hybrid cars.  However, it has not produced a car since 2012.  It owns a factory formerly owned by General Motors but has let it fall into disrepair.  After the company failed to meet milestones established by the Energy Department the company stopped receiving payouts from the federal government.  Fisker then declared bankruptcy the bankruptcy judge set a February 12th date for an auction of Fisker’s assets. The company’s patent holdings are particularly valuable to anyone looking to enter the alternative-fuels market.  These patents include drivetrain technology for electric cars, cover grille designs, and a fender vent.  Fisker also has pending patents on aluminum subframing and solar technology in vehicles.  Whichever company obtains these patents will be able to avoid years of research and development and be able to implement these inventions in new car models.  Even...

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Patent Infringement Claims Brought Against Apple 0

Patent Infringement Claims Brought Against Apple

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Patent

On April 10, 2014 OpenTV and Nagravision, two subsidiaries of The Kudelski Group, filed suit against Apple in the Northern District of California.  The lawsuit alleges Apple is infringing upon five of OpenTV’s patents relating to video technology.  OpenTV focuses on software for advanced program guides, video-on-demand, personal video recording, interactive and addressable advertising and a variety of enhanced television applications.  Nagravision provides security and multiscreen user experience solutions for the monetization of digital media.  The lawsuit states Apple’s iOS mobile devices, Apple TV, App Store, iTunes, iAd’s, Safari and OS X-based personal computers infringe these patents. This is not the first time OpenTV has sued a company for patent infringement.  It also sued Netflix in 2012 and 2013.  In that suit, OpenTV alleged seven of its patents were infringed which covered aspects of over-the-top TV technology. Cisco Systems was also sued by OpenTV under similar circumstances.  Cisco decided to settle, but the settlement amount was not disclosed. OpenTV owns about 800 patents at this point.  The company obviously has not lost its zeal for defending its patent rights.  Anyone who operates in similar technologies certainly is on notice that OpenTV is watching.  However, OpenTV did offer to negotiate licenses with the companies it sued.  Apple, Netflix, and Cisco...

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USPTO Proposes Rule Change for Patent Ownership

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Patent

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a public hearing at Hastings College of Law in San Francisco on its proposed change to disclosure of patent ownership.  The proposed rule would require that all attributable owners of a patent be disclosed.  Currently this disclosure is voluntary.  These additional owners could be title owners or anyone who can enforce patent rights in court. This disclosure would be made when a patent application is submitted.  Any subsequent ownership transfer or grant of an exclusive license would also have to be reported with 90 days.  Otherwise the patent would be abandoned.  A patent would also be abandoned if an exclusive licensee refuses to disclose its individual owners. This proposed rule change comes as the Executive branch is looking to crack down on patent trolls, companies which do not manufacture products but instead exist to enforce licenses.  This goal was been stressed by President Obama and by many intellectual property legal experts.  In fact, many parties at the hearing where support of the rule change. However, some patent attorneys fear mandating the publicity of an exclusive license will discourage the practice.  They are also reluctant to support a rule change that can result in patent abandonment. ...

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Patent Enablement: Patenting Tropical Storms

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Enablement, Patent

On Tuesday, February 25 2014, the Federal Circuit upheld a decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to deny a method patent for a tropical hurricane control system.  The invention was created by two inventors and involves shooting supercool liquid nitrogen from a storm plane into a hurricane to break up the storm.  Specifically, super coolant would cause the wall of the eye of a storm to implode, diminishing the storm’s intensity.  Unfortunately for them, the USPTO felt the patent application did not have enough information to enable others to use the invention. The inventors feel they did present enough information and the USPTO simply did not pay enough attention.  However the Federal Circuit concluded not only was the information insufficient, but the inventors’ calculations were wrong.  Additionally, those calculations were never tested.  The USPTO examiner specifically took issue with unexplained assumptions in the patent application.  Patents must be enabling to others skilled in the art.  Therefore the patent application has been rejected for requiring undue experimentation by others to achieve the results claimed in the patent application. The inventors claimed the government had already implemented their method in secret.  However, the court said the inventors had no evidence to back their claim.  All they had...

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Patent Fee Shifting: Kilopass Technology Inc. v. Sidense Corp.

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Fee Shifting, Litigation, Patent

In a typical litigation, each party in a legal dispute is responsible for paying their own legal fees.  However, there are some instances where a losing party must pay for the legal fees of the prevailing party.  In patent law, this occurs in so called “frivolous” litigation. Until recently, judges would approve fee-shifting in patent cases if one party acted in bad faith.  This is a difficult standard to prove as the prevailing party must prove the intent of the losing party.  Congress has been debating whether to change this standard.  In December of 2013, the House of Representatives passed a bill which would require judges to consider a “reasonably justified” standard.  Thus a losing party would have to pay the legal fees of a prevailing party unless the legal position of the losers was reasonably justified.  This bill has not yet been taken up by the Senate and the Senate has not drafted its own bill on the subject. However current patent litigants may not need to wait for Congressional action.  On December 26, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit provided an opinion for Kilopass Technology Inc. v. Sidense Corp.  The main issue in this case was whether Sidense’s request for fee shifting was properly...

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