Elan isssues multi-touch patent infringement lawsuit against Apple


Apple, who’s lately been telling anyone that’ll listen about how many multi-touch patents it has, must be smarting a little today following the news that it’s on the receiving end of a lawsuit from Elan Microelectronics.

The company, who make the keypads used in Eee PCs, claims infringement on two patents and is seeking an injunction on the sales of the MacBook, iPhone, and iPod Touch. They’re unlikely to get it, but given that they’ve already won a similar injunction on Synaptics on one of the two patents, there’s every chance that Apple might be forced to settle.

(via Engadget)

Orange customer wins no phone signal lawsuit


An Orange customer named Tom Prescott is now £500 richer than a week ago, thanks to a court ruling in his favour.

He took out an 18-month contract with Orange, but found that he couldn’t get signal in either his home or his office. He then tried to cancel, but Orange told him it was his problem, not theirs. As you can imagine, he wasn’t too happy.

The court’s now ruled in his favour – saying that if you sell an 18-month contract to someone who doesn’t live or work in a place where you can provide coverage, then it damn well is your problem.

It could end up being a massive headache for the big phone networks as they suddenly become inundated with lawsuits. It also means that manufacturers of mini phone masts that exist in your home – called Femtocells – are suddenly rubbing their hands with glee.

(via News Wireless)

Half the charges against the Pirate Bay abruptly dropped


In a shock development this morning at the “Spectrial” of the Pirate Bay’s four administrators, half the charges against the site have been dropped. It’s a massive blow for the prosecutors, who will now only be able to try the defendants for “assisting making available”.

This happens on only the second day of the trial, and came about because the prosecutor has no way of proving that the .torrent files that he’s using as evidence were actually tracked by The Pirate Bay at any point. In fact, many of the screenshots submitted clearly state that there’s no connection to the tracker.

This is significant because, as I pointed out on Channel 4 News yesterday, the Pirate Bay only acts as a signpost for the files shared over it. It’s like a matchmaking service – uniting people who have content with the people who want it. It takes no part in the actual transaction. As a result, the Pirate Bay likens the trial to a car manufacturer being prosecuted for making cars that can exceed the speed limit.

In the meantime, the site itself has seen a surge in popularity thanks to the publicity from the trial. 150,000 more torrents are currently being shared than at the same time last week. Swedish web traffic is also up 10Gbs over previous weeks, and TPB claim that upto 80% of web traffic is bittorrent.

Of course, this won’t stop the prosecutors attempting to being the site to justice once more, with stronger evidence, but given that the trial’s been two years in the making already, it’s not going to be soon. Given the inevitable appeals the the four promise following any successful prosecution, by the time any action is taken on the site, there’ll almost certainly be a new king of the hill in the filesharing world.

Apple to be sued over iPhone web browser because it makes pages smaller


Hey look, it’s another lawsuit! This time, EMG Technology LLC (a company of one) is suing the iPhone manufacturer because it allegedly infringes a patent for the way that it displays web sites on the mobile’s screen.

It’s not entirely clear what Apple is supposed to have infringed, because the iPhone’s web browser is based on Safari (which has been available on the Mac for years), and effectively displays a scaled-down version of each web page (sans Flash and Java, of course) which can then be manipulated by the user using the multi-touch interface.

If anything, the mobile version of Safari appears to do very little to the original web page — that’s the whole point and it’s what Apple has been banging on about since the iPhone was launched. It’s other mobile phone manufacturers that are more likely to have browsers that manipulate the page in order to make it more readable on their tiny screens…

Psystar antitrust claim dismissed by judge


Mac cloning company Psystar has just had its antitrust case against Apple dismissed, meaning that its hopes of remaining in business are now miniscule. Psystar had argued that Apple was being anticompetitive to prevent other companies selling computers that run OS X.

Psystar claimed that Apple’s OS is so unique that it suffers no competitors, but the judge said that “the pleadings…fail to allege facts plausibly supporting (this) counterintuitive claim”. Psystar has 20 days to come up with a better argument, or its countersuit will be formally dismissed and they’ll be faced with Apple’s lawsuit claiming that it infringes on Apple’s copyright material and trademarks.

Psystar (via Cnet)

Related posts: PsyStar finally sees Apple lawsuit | Psystar: fact or fiction – the OpenMac traders have no premises

Another iPhone lawsuit: Apple knowingly selling cracked handsets?


Every so often someone decides to file a lawsuit against Apple because — well, because it’s Apple, it seems.

While normal people buying products from other manufacturers — heck, even normal people buying Apple gear — would simply check out a piece of kit before buying it, or at least return it for a replacement if damaged, it seems this isn’t good enough for one New York resident.

We’ll leave aside the “defective 3G” and “not twice as fast” parts of this lawsuit (yes, it comes in multiple parts, folks) because we’ve already been there and got the T-shirt. Instead, let’s look at the accusation that Apple knowingly and wantonly shipped defective iPhones with hairline cracks in the casing…

Sharp, LG and Chunghwa get fined $585 million for price-fixing


Wow. Wondered why your electronic devices cost so much? It’s because Sharp, LG and Chunghwa have been fixing the prices, but have no fear – they’ve just been hit with a $585 million fine for having done so. LG gets the biggest chunk – $400 million, Sharp are paying $120 for fixing the prices of iPod screens, RAZR screens and Dell laptop screens. Lastly, Chunghwa will pay a $65 million fine for participating with LG.

Only these three corporations have been charged, but Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust at the Justice Department in Washington, Thomas Barnett, has said that the investigation is still ongoing and they aren’t ruling out charges against individuals or against other companies. Tough talk. Still, hopefully it’ll see screen-based device prices go down over the next few years.

(via CNN Money)

Related posts: Microsoft hammered by EU anti-trust body again – handed record £680m fine | TorrentSpy tortured even after death – US court fines closed bittorrent site $110m

EA gets more DRM lawsuits over its use of SecuROM


Electronic Arts, the company responsible for the Spore DRM fiasco earlier this year, has been hit by two new lawsuits over the hated SecuROM ‘copy protection’ system that installs itself if you so much as look at an EA product, and can only be uninstalled by chucking your PC into a black hole.

Both suits have been filed in Northern California, one references the free ‘Spore Creature Creator’ demo/software toy, and the other names The Sims 2: Bon Voyage as the culprit. These follow another class-action suit earlier this year. In the suits EA are branded as “immoral, unethical, oppressive [and] unscrupulous”. Crikey.

Microsoft sued over Red Ring of Death defects


A bloke in California isn’t happy about Microsoft’s handling of the “Red Ring of Death” issues that plague the Xbox360. Reshelle Cable of Folsom, California, is alleging that an excessive number of Xbox 360 consoles have failed and that Microsoft concealed the excessive failure rate of its Xbox 360 consoles so that it could get into the market ahead of Sony and Nintendo…

Muxtape postmortem: what really happened


There were a lot of questions around the shutdown of Muxtape back in August. The cryptic message left on the site seemed to suggest that it would be back in a matter of days, but as the days passed, it seemed increasingly likely that it was gone forever. As users shifted to other sites, it was clear that the RIAA’s big clunking fist had shut down the popular music sharing service for good…