#patents

Mikey Campbell of AppleInsider looks at a newly-unveiled patent filed by Apple:

Instead of sourcing power from a stationary dock, Apple’s invention calls for a tablet case, or more specifically an iPad Smart Cover, to hold the inductive power transmitter. In some embodiments, an internal battery is disposed within the case, basically creating an “on-the-go” wireless charger.

That’s a good idea. Hope it happens.

gq
gq:

Fun Read: The History of the Beer Koozie
From Birchbox:

Koozies appear to have originated in the late 70’s in that playground of evolution, Australia. There the koozie is known—and it brings me unspeakable joy to tell you this—as the “stubby holder.” Does “Stubby Holder” sound like the name of either a terrible Prohibition-era gin drink or an unstaged David Mamet play? Yes, it does. It is also one heck of a name for a beer insulator.
Using the word “cozy” to describe a form-fitting cover for something you want to keepwarm has a pedigree stretching back more than 100 years, into mid-19th century Great Britain. So when in 1981 Bonnie McGough of Caldwell, Idaho filed a groundbreaking US patent for her “insulated 12 oz. beverage cozy,” naming it a “cozy” was likely a matter of course. Her design—segmented inner and outer foam walls with space left between for an insulating material (the patent suggests goose down) and an elastic band at the top—is quaint, hopelessly archaic, and upsettingly larva-like.


Important, advanced knowledge.

gq:

Fun Read: The History of the Beer Koozie

From Birchbox:

Koozies appear to have originated in the late 70’s in that playground of evolution, Australia. There the koozie is known—and it brings me unspeakable joy to tell you this—as the “stubby holder.” Does “Stubby Holder” sound like the name of either a terrible Prohibition-era gin drink or an unstaged David Mamet play? Yes, it does. It is also one heck of a name for a beer insulator.

Using the word “cozy” to describe a form-fitting cover for something you want to keepwarm has a pedigree stretching back more than 100 years, into mid-19th century Great Britain. So when in 1981 Bonnie McGough of Caldwell, Idaho filed a groundbreaking US patent for her “insulated 12 oz. beverage cozy,” naming it a “cozy” was likely a matter of course. Her design—segmented inner and outer foam walls with space left between for an insulating material (the patent suggests goose down) and an elastic band at the top—is quaint, hopelessly archaic, and upsettingly larva-like.

Important, advanced knowledge.

Steve Lohr for The New York Times:

Google’s stepped-up patent activity, Mr. Brown said, combines elements of playing corporate defense and offense, as well as being a byproduct of the industries where it is investing aggressively, especially in the smartphone market.

In the early days of Microsoft, it’s said they didn’t care much about patents — until they got burned as a result. Now they’re one of the patent leaders each and every year. It appears that Google, having also learned this lesson the hard way, is now following that same trajectory.

Joe Mullin on a Seattle federal judge ruling against Motorola’s use of its patents for injunctions:

Robart’s ruling is bad news for all Google and all Android makers who want to use standards-based patents to defend themselves from patent attacks by competitors. In both the bench trial and this order, Robart has shown he believes sharp limits should be placed on the use of these patents, which have been the weapon of choice for Android phone makers.

Twelve. Point. Five. Billion.

Unleash the “Android peace" stories but remember that HTC was and is in a very vulnerable position right now. Profit is falling like a rock as a result of selling Android devices so they appear to be shifting more towards Windows Phone (and remember that Microsoft and Apple already have an agreement in place).

Also not explicitly stated in the release, but clear: HTC is paying Apple as a part of this agreement. It may not have an “adverse material impact" on their financials, but maybe that’s only because they’re simply not selling very many Android devices…

One other nugget from Charles Duhigg and Steve Lohr’s piece on technology patents is worth another link:

Another sign of fatigue is the frequency with which executives and lawyers from Apple and Google speak to one another about patent disputes. Earlier this year, Google proposed a cease-fire, according to people familiar with the conversations. And when Google withdrew its Motorola suit last week, it was widely seen as a peace gesture.

But Apple has been hard to pin down, said one person from Google who was not authorized to speak publicly. “Sometimes they’re asking for money. Then they say we have to promise to not copy aspects of the iPhone. And whenever we get close to an agreement, it all changes again.

“Our feeling is they don’t really want this to end. As long as everyone is distracted by these trials, the iPhone continues to sell.”

Everyone (myself included) had been wondering why Google withdrew the Motorola suit against Apple. This article suggest it was a straight-up peace gesture, but it reads just as much like a well-timed maneuver to spur talks. Perhaps that’s just me being far too cynical. But I doubt it.

The last quote is just humorous. Is the Google employee really suggesting that Apple enjoys the litigation? Or that the iPhone wouldn’t sell if everyone wasn’t so busy in court? It’s hard to know which is more ridiculous.

Charles Duhigg and Steve Lohr in their in-depth look at the tech patent fiasco for The New York Times:

The number of patent applications, computer-related and otherwise, filed each year at the United States patent office has increased by more than 50 percent over the last decade to more than 540,000 in 2011. Google has received 2,700 patents since 2000, according to the patent analysis firm M-CAM. Microsoft has received 21,000.

In the last decade, the number of patent applications submitted by Apple each year has risen almost tenfold. The company has won ownership of pinching a screen to zoom in, of using magnets to affix a cover to a tablet computer and of the glass staircases in Apple stores. It has received more than 4,100 patents since 2000, according to M-CAM.

So, Google has received 2,700 patents since 2000, Apple 4,100, and Microsoft 21,000. In other words, Microsoft has been granted three times the number of patents in the past 12 years as Google and Apple combined.

This is interesting because it’s pretty well known that Microsoft used to take a lackadaisical approach to patents — until they started getting burned. The same was apparently true of Apple (as you can tell from this story) until they started getting burned. This past year has been all about Google (directly or indirectly) getting burned. Now they’re stockpiling patents as a result too.

By the way, while it may seem like Microsoft has been granted an insane number of patents, they’re not even close to the top of the list. That would be IBM, which has been at the top for 19 straight years. In 2011, they actually set a new record with 6,180 patents awarded. In other words, the total number of patents that Google and Apple were awarded together over the past 12 years was almost matched by IBM last year alone.

It’s probably not a coincidence that IBM dominates here — it sure looks like a trend. Again, companies start out not worrying about patents, get burned, then go into patent beast mode. IBM has just been around longer than the others.

Remember when Google-owned Motorola went on the offensive against Apple a month and a half ago? Well, now they’re backing down. Though it’s not clear why.

Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch:

We have asked Google for a comment about why it withdrew the complaint, but the company isn’t talking about the reasoning behind this move. Here is the brief statement we received from Google: “As we have said many times before, we will continue to vigorously defend our partners.”

Not only is that not an answer to the question, it seems to be an answer to a question not asked. Very strange.

1) So I guess Larry Page can talk again?

2) I find it hard to believe that Tim Cook would go against one of the last wishes of Steve Jobs and settle with Google on Android. BUT, maybe he feels the Samsung victory was big enough and powerful enough to send the message Apple intended to send. It was a huge win, no question.

Still, I imagine any settlement would be more likely to include provisions (in writing) that Google will no longer copy Apple’s IP rather than any sort of licensing agreement. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe both sides are tired of fighting and are willing to simply give peace a chance.