Archive for May, 2010

Nortel Networks’ Patent Sales Could top $1B

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s a Nortel Networks fire sale! Well, maybe not quite, but the former Canadian telecommunications giant is selling its patents in an effort to raise funds to pay of its enormous debt. According to figures from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Toronto-based company has about 4,500 patents granted, and about 1,000 applications for patents pending. Nortel’s insolvency has some high technology companies smelling blood, including Canadian giant Research in Motion, which manufactures the BlackBerry.

According to Peter Conley of MDB, a Santa Monica based IP Group:

“Patent estates of this size don’t come along that often … this is the equivalent of acquiring the IP of a large technology company. If you could buy that for a billion dollars, it would be a bargain.”

Nortel’s valuable patents relate to technology used in smart-phones and mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and BlackBerry. Nortel has stated that it has started soliciting bids for the patents. Nortel was once a darling of the the telecommunications industry, and source of national pride for Canadian industry. It’s souffle-like collapse which started in the late 90s culminated when Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009 after posting a loss of $5.8 billion in 2008.

The corporations creditors claim they are owed as much as $16.3 billion – a number the company will challenge vigourously as part of its bankruptcy case. Nortel  disputes this finding and has stated in court documents that it owes about $5.9 billion.

Nortel’s patents are estimated to be worth between $750 million to $1.1 billion.

Waterloo, Ontario based RIM attempted to block Sweden Ericsson AB’s $1.13 billion purchase last year of Nortel’s code- division multiple access, or CDMA, technology. Most mobile phones in North America run on this technology and RIM purported the deal would deprive Canada of vital technology.

RIM co-Chief Executive Officer Mike Lazaridis has called Nortel’s LTE technology a “national treasure.”

Among the other telecommunications companies poised to compete to Nortel’s patents includes Sweden’s Ericsson, and California’s Cisco Systems. U.S. Patent Office data indicates that the San Jose, California-based company has cited Nortel 3,200 times in its patent applications.

Please find the full article here.

Categories: I.P. Freely

Second, Third Round Updates

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The Habs beat Pittsburgh, as predicted, but their Cinderella story came to an abrupt end against Philly. Vancouver fizzled and sputtered against Chicago, and the Sharks tanked yet another year in a humiliating sweep.

Chicago beat San Jose for two main reasons. Number one, Chicago is younger, faster and more disciplined. Number two, the Sharks team simply didn’t coalesce into the goal scoring machine it should have been. The big guns – Heatley and Thornton were notably absent. Only Patrick Marleau, the Aneroid, SK native produced. The Sharks second line of Setoguchi, Pavelski, Clowe et al. carried the weight of the team. Nabokov appeared to still be “shook” from the pummeling he received courtesy of Team Canada during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The Hawks were very good, production from all lines, including a suprising goal scoaring surge by Dustin Byfuglien. Niemi was also on fire.

The Habs just ran out of gas. It was beginning to feel a bit like ’93 again with the prospect of Montreal in the Cup Final. On another note, I’m regretting not taking Richards and Carter in my playoff pool. If I hadn’t changed those picks in the last-minute for first round disappointments Zajac and Langebrunner, I’m pretty sure I’d have won the pool.

Categories: Useless Dicta

What’s going on with Facebook’s privacy?

May 14, 2010 Leave a comment

There’s no doubt that the Facebook phenomenon is one of global proportions. Virtually everyone has an account, and most people have at least a few friends who seem to live their entire lives on the social networking site. Do we really care if you’re bored to tears at work? Do we want to see those pictures of that ugly scar? No. Good Lord people, no one gives a damn! I sometimes find myself in a cycle of adding and deleting information off my profile. But I suppose this is what Facebook is all about – sharing information!

I’ve noticed that lately Facebook isn’t making the news for it’s rapid growth around the world, but for privacy concerns that are causing users to significantly alter their usage of the site, and in some cases delete their profiles entirely. The main privacy issue surrounds Facebook’s agreement with third party developers to create applications, quizzes etc. that use the personal information of users without being subject to Facebook’s own privacy policy.

This is what Facebook says about third-party sharing of information:

When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you.  The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. 

A report was recently issued in Canada stating that Facebook’s privacy policy contravenes Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  The Canadian report, cites a number of concerns, including a lack of adequate safeguards to restrict outside software developers  i.e. games, quizzes and such – from gaining access to personal profiles of users and their online friends. The investigation by Canada’s privacy office started at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa.

A word of warning to those who are tempted to complete the next Facebook quiz or take part in the next Farmville challenge that comes your way:

 As mentioned above, we do not own or operate the applications or websites that use Facebook Platform. That means that when you use those applications and websites you are making your Facebook information available to someone other than Facebook.

Facebook seems to be embracing the idea of third pary sharing of information and allowing other applications and websites to draw upon the information of users. Recently, Facebook announced the implementation of a new feature called “open graph.” This feature brings Facebook like functionality to a number of websites, allowing you to comment, and “like” things. I was browsing CNN the other day and noticed one of my friends name under a little Facebook box on the article. It was a little creepy so I then took a good look at my privacy settings and made a few changes. It isn’t clear how many users are deleting this profiles, but since April, Facebook has apparently added more than 10 million users.

Categories: Useless Dicta

Microsoft looses Patent Fight to Toronto-based Firm

May 13, 2010 Leave a comment

According to Bloomberg Business Week, Microsoft Corp. has lost a challenge to a patent which led the software giant to make changes to its popular Word program. Microsoft had requested a review of Toronto‘s i4i patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

“Even though Microsoft attacked i4i’s patent claims with its full arsenal, the Patent Office agreed with i4i and confirmed the validity” of the patent.

The Toronto firm’s invention relates to customizing extensible markup language, otherwise known as XML. It is a format encoding data to exchange information among programs.


Toronto, ON


It appears that Microsoft will be considering appealing this decision to the Supreme Court, according to a Microsoft spokeman in Redmond, WA.  The disputed feature of the XML encoding is one used bymany large companies to add special data to Word files. 

“We are disappointed, but there still remain important matters of patent law at stake, and we are considering our options to get them addressed, including a petition to the Supreme Court” 

Last year, Microsoft lost a lowe court trial over the patent. The court issued an injunction to Microsoft to alter its Word program or cease sales. A U.S. appeals court upheld both the verdict and the injunction. 

Here are the case names: 

  • Appeals Court Decision: i4i LP v. Microsoft Corp., 2009-1504, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).
  • Lower Court Decision: i4i LP v. Microsoft Corp., 07-cv-113, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).


Categories: I.P. Freely

Nokia Files Patent Suits Against Apple in Wisconsin and Delaware

May 12, 2010 Leave a comment

The U.S. division of Nokia OYJ  is suing Apple Inc. in the Federal District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin for patent infringement. According to the National Post (May 11, 2010) Nokia purports that Apple’s new iPad and iPhone 3GS infringe on five of their patents.

These patents relate to:

  • enchanced speech and data transmission
  • antenna designs/configurations that are more compact and thus able to fit into increasingly smaller and thinner devices

Nokia has also initiated legal proceedings against Apple in the District of Delaware and the International Trade Commission citing 17 different purported patent infringements. In the lawsuits, Nokia has added the new iPad to a list of devices that it claims infringe its patents.

The case is expected to take between eight and 12 months before trial. Nokia seeks preliminary injunctive relief. However this remedy is unlikely because since the iPad has been on the market for such a short period of time, it will be difficulty for Nokia to demonstrate “irreparable harm.”

[Wisconsin] is an emerging “rocket docket” that specializes in biotech and technology intellectual property litigation cases. 

iPhone Patch Antenna

Categories: I.P. Freely

Lawsuits Surge – Gulf of Mexico Spill

May 2, 2010 Leave a comment

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a terrible disaster. It’s also going to be an engineering nightmare to install a relief valve and stop the leak. Who’s responsible for this? According to BusinessWeek, both BP plc and Transocean Ltd. are facing numerous law suits. Good. These companies ought to shoulder the burden of cleaning up this disaster, and compensating the individuals who have now lost income as a result of the damage to the local fishing industries in Lousiana, Texas and parts of Florida. But what really grinds my gears is the irreparable damage that may be sustained to the fragile wetland ecosystems along the gulf shore.

The article describes numerous class action law suits that have been filed on behalf of fishermen, boat operators, beach front property owners. “The litigation is spreading faster than the slick” … that says it all!

Under the Oil Pollution Act, the fact that it was BP’s oil is enough,” said Hall, of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC. Plaintiffs “don’t have to show they were negligent or grossly negligent,”

Cathy Mann, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Halliburton, the second-largest oilfield contractor behind Schlumberger Ltd., said the company is cooperating with investigations into the accident. She said “it is premature and irresponsible to speculate on any specific causal issues.”

Categories: Useless Dicta

Super Mario

May 1, 2010 Leave a comment

This sends shivers down my spine… Wow.

Categories: Hockey