Apple’s Irish tax woes deepen as European watchdog finds ‘illegal state aid’ unacceptable

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2014

The European Commission publicized its ruling that Apple benefited from a favorable Irish tax rate, arguing that Apple’s funneling of revenues and earnings to Ireland, where the Cupertino firm cut a favorable tax deal with the Irish government in the late 1980s and early 1990s, constitutes illegal state aid, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Responding to these accusations, Apple issued a written statement denying it’s received preferential treatment from the government of Ireland. Apple is urging the need for corporate tax reform, insisting its tax arrangements in Ireland are perfectly legal. Read More

 

California governor signs smartphone kill switch bill into law

By Cody Lee on Aug 25, 2014

A bill that requires all smartphones manufactured after July 1st of next year, and sold in California, to include a remote kill switch was signed into law this afternoon. Introduced in February of this year, the bill hopes to make mobile devices less attractive to criminals, as smartphone thefts have grown exponentially in recent years, in several major US cities.

Specifically, the new law requires that each handset prompt an authorized user during initial setup to enable a “technological solution” that, once initiated, can render the essential features of the device inoperable to an unauthorized user. The solution must be reversible, must be able to withstand a hard reset, and may consist of software, hardware, or both. Read More

 

California smartphone ‘kill switch’ bill passes state legislature

By Cody Lee on Aug 11, 2014

Earlier this year, California Senator Mark Leno introduced a new bill that would require cellphone makers to install ‘kill switches’ in all of their handsets, rendering them inoperable when stolen. The move comes as smartphone thefts continue to rise in major US cities.

Unsurprisingly, Leno’s bill won Senate approval by a vote of 27-8 today, meaning that it’s just one step away from becoming law in the state of California. All it needs now is Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, and device manufacturers will have essentially a year to comply… Read More

 

Bose sues Beats over noise-cancelling patents

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 25, 2014

As Apple is prepping to shell out $3 billion to buy Beats Music and Beats Electronics’ high-end headphone biz, reports are coming in that audio equipment specialist Bose has gone on the offense and is now taking Beats Electronics to court over its noise-cancelling headphone patents.

Bose alleges its patented tech is used in the Beats Pro noise-cancelling headphones and other products like the Beats Studio and Beats Studio Wireless.

Furthermore, Bose is now seeking financial damages and a sales ban on some Beats headphones, claiming patent infringement. Bose develops, markets and sells a vast range of loudspeakers, noise-cancelling headsets, automotive sound systems, amplifiers and headphones.

Needless to say, Bose holds a number of patents in this space. Its QuietComfort line of headphones has in particular proven itself popular with consumers who want to get away from outside noise. And just like Beats, Bose gets frequently criticized as some reviewers slam their high-end products for being overpriced and of average quality… Read More

 

EU officials upset as Apple remains mum on proposed IAP policy changes

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 18, 2014

In-App Purchase, a way overused feature which provides a way for supposedly free games and apps to ask users for cash in order to enable advanced features or unlock virtual items, is increasingly drawing ire of regulators across the globe.

In-App Purchases are notorious for fooling less-informed adults and kids into downloading so-called freemium apps so it’s no wonder the European Union officials have repeatedly warned that companies like Apple and Google should stop labeling free-to-download apps that contain In-App Purchases as “Free”.

Companies could soon be forced to make the “true cost of apps” unambiguously clear before purchase, according to a complaint the European Commission filed today… Read More

 

Apple agrees to pay $450 million to settle e-book price fixing case

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 16, 2014

Reuters is reporting today that Apple has agreed to pay $450 million to settle its long-standing e-book price fixing federal court case with class action lawyers and state district attorneys.

As a reminder, the government alleged that Apple conspired along with five major U.S. publishers to fix e-book prices to the detriment of consumers, denying them the choice of price, while stifling competition.

$400 million of the $450 million will cover damage to consumers, with the remaining $50 million earmarked for recovery if liability must be retried… Read More

 

Beijing ruling spells trouble for Apple’s Siri in China

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 9, 2014

Apple’s ability to use Siri as a competitive weapon in the 1.33 billion people market of China – its second-largest market by revenue – could be compromised. A Beijing court has now ruled against Apple by upholding the validity of a patent related to the personal assistant feature held by a Chinese company called Zhizhen Network Technology.

The ruling clears the way for Zhizhen to continue its own case patent infringement case against Apple. Specifically, the Shanghai-based firm is now asking the court to block Apple from selling devices with Siri installed. The iPhone maker is of course expected to appeal the verdict… Read More

 

Apple reaches settlement in $840 million e-books antitrust lawsuit

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 17, 2014

Apple has settled with U.S. states and consumers that were seeking damages for alleged price fixing on e-books, protecting itself from a trial where it could have faced up to $840 million in claims. Bloomberg was first to report on the news, claiming that a trial had been set for July after Apple was found to be conspiring with book publishers to raise e-book prices as part of an illegal scheme…  Read More

 

Patent troll VirnetX could win 1% of iPhone and iPad revenues

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 7, 2014

In March, U.S. District Judge for Eastern Texas Leonard Davis awarded patent holding firm VirnetX with an ongoing 0.98% royalty on iPhone and iPad revenues. Apple has been fighting vigorously to avoid that outcome, but its last-ditch efforts have been unsuccessful. On Friday, the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied a creative strategy that Apple used to challenge the patents…  Read More

 

Mexican carriers can no longer use ‘iPhone’ name in ads

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 5, 2014

As reported by the Mexican publication El Universal, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) has ruled that Mexican carriers are no longer allowed to make use of the “iPhone” name, since it violates the phonetically identical sounding “iFone” trademark owned by a small call center in Mexico. The trademark is filed under Class 38, which covers telecommunications services.

To be clear, Apple will still be able to sell the iPhone in Mexico and use its own trademark as it sees fit, but carriers won’t be able to. The basis behind the ruling is that, since Apple is not considered to be a telecommunication services provider, it is acquitted of being at fault. Instead, the IMPI has placed the blame directly on Mexican carriers, which do provide telecommunications services…  Read More

 

Italian watchdog to Apple: respond to In-App Purchase allegations or else…

By Christian Zibreg on May 21, 2014

Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority is probing Apple, Google, Amazon and Gameloft over accusations that these companies are intentionally misleading consumers who download freemium smartphone and tablets apps without realizing In-App Purchases are needed to unlock more features.

According to a new report, Italian investigators have asked Apple and others to submit their defense within the next twenty days or face a fine of up to €5 million each (about $6.84 million), although the punishment would be proportional to each company’s size… Read More

 

Settlement talks stall as Samsung calls Apple a ‘jihadist’ and the trial ‘Apple’s Vietnam’

By Christian Zibreg on May 20, 2014

The Korea Times reported yesterday that Apple and Samsung were negotiating an out of court settlement that would potentially put an end to the long standing legal drama. Less than 24 hours later, lawyers for both companies have told a California court that they’ve been unable to resolve their differences and reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

And as settlement talks dissolve without an agreement in sight, a court-mandated update on these discussions has revealed how mistrustful the two parties have grown of each other. According to Samsung’s top lawyer who referred to Apple as a “jihadist,” the trial will go down in history as “Apple’s Vietnam”Read More

 

Apple and Samsung could settle patent disputes out of court by the summer

By Christian Zibreg on May 19, 2014

Apple and its frenemy Samsung have been embroiled in a complex web of lawsuits spanning continents but now a resolution to the long standing patent dispute that has fascinated watchers around the globe could be within reach as the two technology giants are reportedly engaged in settlement talks, according to a Korean newspaper.

The unexpected development arrives hot on the heels of a surprising Reuters report last week confirming that Apple and Google put an end to a dispute with Motorola Mobility which Google inherited after snapping up Motorola 2011.

That agreement even has the two sides banding together on a patent reform, though it excludes cross-licensing of their respective mobile patent portfolio and Apple’s lawsuits with other Android makers like Samsung… Read More

 

Apple litigation won’t cripple Android, Samsung lawyer insists

By Christian Zibreg on May 8, 2014

The Great Apple-Samsung Legal War has been raging on for years now, and on a scale almost unprecedented in business history. The latest in the saga involves a California court awarding Apple $119.6 million in damages over Samsung patent infringement, a far cry from the $2 billion the iPhone maker was shooting for.

The ruling has prompted many watchers to question the wisdom of Apple’s thermonuclear war on Android. Adding the latest damages award on top of the $900+ million awarded to Apple from the first patent megatrial barely results in $1 billion. I’m certain this is the price Samsung is happy to pay for profiting from willfully lifting Apple’s patented iPhone technology.

But no amount of litigation will ever stop Android dead in its tracks, argues an attorney for Samsung who represents the South Korean conglomerate in the courtroom… Read More

 
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