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Nokia sues Apple for infringing patents, industry back on war footing

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Headquarters of Finnish telecommunication network company Nokia are pictured in Espoo, Finland August 4, 2016. Lehtikuva/Irene Stachon/via REUTERS

Nokia Corp. said on Wednesday it had filed a number of lawsuits against Apple Inc. for violating 32 technology patents, striking back at the iPhone maker’s legal action targeting the one-time cellphone industry leader a day earlier.

Nokia’s lawsuits, filed in courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, Germany, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, cover patents for displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding.

“Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products,” Nokia said in a statement.

Apple on Tuesday had taken legal action against Acacia Research Corp. and Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc., accusing them of colluding with Nokia to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly from Apple.

“We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “Unfortunately, Nokia has refused to license their patents on a fair basis and is now using the tactics of a patent troll to attempt to extort money from Apple by applying a royalty rate to Apple’s own inventions they had nothing to do with.”

Acacia and Conversant did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and Nokia was not immediately available to comment on the Apple lawsuit.

The legal action by Nokia and Apple appear to mark a revival of the “smartphone patent wars” that began five years ago, when Apple filed a series of patent infringement cases against Samsung Electronics around the world, with wins and losses on both sides.

Apple’s lawsuit against Acacia, Conversant and Nokia was filed only one day after Ottawa-based Conversant named Boris Teksler as its new chief executive. He had worked as Apple’s director of patent licensing and strategy from 2009 to 2013, the latter half of his tenure overlapping with the lawsuits against Samsung.

Acacia is a publicly traded patent licensing firm based in Newport Beach, California. One of its subsidiaries sued Apple for patent infringement and was awarded $22 million by a Texas jury in September.

Similarly, Conversant, which claims to own thousands of patents, announced last week that a Silicon Valley jury had awarded one of its units a $7.3 million settlement in an infringement case against Apple involving two smartphone patents.

Nokia, once the world’s dominant cellphone maker, missed out on the transition to smartphones triggered by Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007.

The Finnish company sold its handset business to Microsoft Corp. two years ago, leaving it with its telecom network equipment business and a bulging portfolio of mobile equipment patents.

But this year, Microsoft sold its Nokia-feature phone business to a new company called HMD Global.

Nokia agreed to a 10-year licensing deal with HMD, which continues to market low-cost Nokia phones and plans to introduce new Nokia smartphone models next year. — Reuters

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Apple apologizes after outcry over slowed iPhones

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 29th, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a screen displaying the IPhone 6 during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California October 16, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo

(Reuters) – Facing lawsuits and consumer outrage after it said it slowed older iPhones with flagging batteries, Apple Inc is slashing prices for battery replacements and will change its software to show users whether their phone battery is good.

“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down,” Apple said in its posting. “We apologize.”

On Dec. 20, Apple acknowledged that iPhone software has the effect of slowing down some phones with battery problems. Apple said the problem was that aging lithium batteries delivered power unevenly, which could cause iPhones to shutdown unexpectedly to protect the delicate circuits inside.

That disclosure played on a common belief among consumers that Apple purposely slows down older phones to encourage customers to buy newer iPhone models. While no credible evidence has ever emerged that Apple engaged in such conduct, the battery disclosure struck a nerve on social media and elsewhere.

Apple on Thursday denied that it has ever done anything to intentionally shorten the life of a product.

At least eight lawsuits have been filed in California, New York and Illinois alleging that the company defrauded users by slowing devices down without warning them. The company also faces a legal complaint in France, where so-called “planned obsolesce” is against the law.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Andrew Hay

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Apple faces lawsuits after saying it slows down aging iPhones

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

FILE PHOTO – A salesman checks a customer’s iPhone at a mobile phone store in New Delhi, India, July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) defrauded iPhone users by slowing devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance, according to eight lawsuits filed in various federal courts in the week since the company opened up about the year-old software change.

The tweak may have led iPhone owners to misguided attempts to resolve issues over the last year, the lawsuits contend.

All the lawsuits – filed in U.S. District Courts in California, New York and Illinois – seek class-action to represent potentially millions of iPhone owners nationwide.

A similar case was lodged in an Israeli court on Monday, the newspaper Haaretz reported.

Apple did not respond to an email seeking comment on the filings.

The company acknowledged last week for the first time in detail that operating system updates released since “last year” for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge.

Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, Apple said.

The disclosure followed a Dec. 18 analysis by Primate Labs, which develops an iPhone performance measuring app, that identified blips in processing speed and concluded that a software change had to be behind them.

One of the lawsuits, filed Thursday in San Francisco, said that “the batteries’ inability to handle the demand created by processor speeds” without the software patch was a defect.

“Rather than curing the battery defect by providing a free battery replacement for all affected iPhones, Apple sought to mask the battery defect,” according to the complaint.

The plaintiff in that case is represented by attorney Jeffrey Fazio, who represented plaintiffs in a $53-million settlement with Apple in 2013 over its handling of iPhone warranty claims.

The problem now seen is that users over the last year could have blamed an aging computer processor for app crashes and sluggish performance – and chose to buy a new phone – when the true cause may have been a weak battery that could have been replaced for a fraction of the cost, some of the lawsuits state.

“If it turns out that consumers would have replaced their battery instead of buying new iPhones had they known the true nature of Apple’s upgrades, you might start to have a better case for some sort of misrepresentation or fraud,” said Rory Van Loo, a Boston University professor specializing in consumer technology law.

But Chris Hoofnagle, faculty director for the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, said in an email that Apple may not have done wrong.

“We still haven’t come to consumer protection norms” around aging products, Hoofnagle said. Pointing to a device with a security flaw as an example, he said, “the ethical approach could include degrading or even disabling functionality.”

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages in addition to, in some cases, reimbursement. A couple of the complaints seek court orders barring Apple from throttling iPhone computer speeds or requiring notification in future instances.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Leslie Adler

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Samsung unveils Galaxy S8 smartphone

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, March 30th, 2017

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics lost to its rival Apple in the smartphone scene after the embarrassing withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7S.

Now, it is back with a bang.

Boasting some of the largest wrap-around screens ever made, Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy S8 is finally unveiled.

“This is a big one, and Ithink that Samsung had a lot to prove — and I think they did. I mean I haven’t used the phone for extended period of time but what I’ve seen so far is very positive,” said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy.

Two versions of the Galaxy S8, code-named ‘Dream’, internally, were launched at a media event here in New York on Wednesday: 6.2-inch and 5.8-inch curved screens – the largest to date for Samsung’s premium smartphones.

“We spent a little bit of time about the new battery suit safety program they had, which I think was a good thing, but I think to consumers, if it’s a great phone, that’s going to just fade into the background,” Moorhead said.

The phones, which will go on sale on April 21, are slightly longer but comparable in width to their predecessors as Samsung has eliminated nearly all of the bezel borders around the face to maximize the screen surface area.

The S8 features Samsung’s new artificial intelligence service, Bixby, with functions including a voice-commanded assistant system similar to Apple’s Siri. — UNTV News and Rescue

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