Google Buys Wavii For $30 Million

Google has closed the deal on Wavii, a natural language processing startup, for more than $30 million, the recent Techcrunch article “Google Buys Wavii For North Of $30 Million” says.

Apple and Google were competing for the startup, and Google eventually won.

The companies were in acquisition talks, a definitive agreement has now been signed after the Apple and Google bidding war.

Apple looked for the company which developed its own aggregation technology and natural summarization algorithms for its Siri division.

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Is smartwatch ‘smarter’ than a smartphone?

Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft are working on some kind of nifty newness that is called Smartwatch. It has not arrived on the market yet but it arouses curiosity whether it will become a multibillion dollar market or not. How much money will it cost and will it be worth this money? How will it be used? And, what is it so cool and new about smartwatch?

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Are You Concerned About “Patent Trolls”?

According to Wikipedia, definitions for a “patent troll” include one or more of the following:

  • Purchases a patent, often from a bankrupt firm, and then sues another company by claiming that one of its products infringes on the purchased patent;
  • Enforces patents against purported infringers without itself intending to manufacture the patented product or supply the patented service;
  • Enforces patents but has no manufacturing or research base;
  • Focuses its efforts solely on enforcing patent rights;
  • Asserts patent infringement claims against non-copiers or against a large industry that is composed of non-copier.

Patent trolls are to patent law what ambulance chasing lawyers are to personal injury law. While patent enforcement has always been a big business, the recent wars between Apple and Samsung have brought a great deal of attention to this part of the law.

In a recent Forbes article written by Cheryl Milone, the founder and chief executive of Article One Partners, entitled A Powerful New Weapon Against Patent Trolls, relief may finally be on the way.  The America Invents Act patent reform law, which passed last year, contains a little-known feature that will soon give companies a lot more ammunition for shooting down patent troll lawsuits.

A critical determinant for patents is what is known as “prior art”. Prior art means any previous patent, technical paper, or public knowledge or use of an invention that makes it ineligible for a patent. Under the law, a patent may be issued only if an invention is useful, novel (i.e., not previously known or described), and nonobvious—meaning, not an obvious outgrowth of an existing technology. An examination of prior art determines whether an invention is novel and nonobvious.

As a result of the America Invents Act, after March 16, 2013, the following changes become affective which will redefine the application of prior art and have a dramatic impact on existing patents:

  • Unpublished patent applications: For the first time, unpublished patent applications, i.e., applications pending in the USPTO system for less than 18 months, can invalidate a later patent if these contain prior art that anticipates the invention.
  • Foreign patents and applications: For the first time, foreign applications and patents can also invalidate a later U.S. patent, if they contain prior art that anticipates the invention. According to Gene Quinn, of the influential IP Watchdog blog, “Foreign patents and  applications will now make it much easier to challenge issued U.S patents.
  • Public use anywhere in the world: The biggest new source of invalidating prior art involves “on sale” or “public use”—i.e., has an invention been previously used, offered for sale, or publicly disclosed?—which is being expanded from the U.S. to cover the entire globe. This means that even a seminar discussion about some interesting new technology at an engineering conference in Korea or China, presented in the Korean or Mandarin language, will be able to kill a U.S. patent on that technology acquired later.

Cheryl’s article provided some great insight into some of the most significant changes to hit the patent landscape in almost a century.  We will report further on the topic next year after the changes go into affect.  We anticipate a great  deal of creativity from the legal community in this area.

What Does Licensing Patents on a “FRAND” Basis Mean?

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In a recent CNET article written by Don Reisinger entitled:Apple: DOJ has Samsung’s standard-essential patents in its sights,   Apple has revealed that Samsung is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for the manner in which Samsung has used (or misused) its declared essential patents.

Standard-essential patents are handled differently than regular patents. When a company’s patents are deemed standard and essential, it must offer them on a fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) basis. Apple has argued time and again that some of Samsung’s wireless patents, which have been deemed standard-essential, are being offered on unfair terms, stifling competition.


The World is Embracing Linux

Did you ever think that big business and more specifically Apple Computer would be readily embracing the Linux Operating System?  Alex Williams of TechCrunch reported in an article entitled The State Of Linux — How Even Apple Is Going Open Source that the advent of the cloud is driving businesses towards the adoption of Linux.  Since much of the cloud has been built on open source technologies, companies such as Google, Intel and IBM have made commitments to adopting open source technologies.

Apple Computer, a company that has always been known for being one of the most closed and proprietary companies in the world, is using quite a bit of open source technology.  If you have any doubts that this is true, simply go to the legal section on the iPhone and you will learn that Linux Kernel developer Ted Ts’o has been credited for his code.

Even more surprising is the fact that even Microsoft has gotten on board.  Microsoft has shifted from a company that at one time equated open source with communism to being a major contributor to the Linux Kernal Project.

Legal Bistro has been developed using all open source technologies and applaud the movement of major corporations in this direction.