Apple did not harm consumers with iTunes’ FairPlay digital rights management, ruling finds

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 16, 2014

Apple’s proprietary digital rights management software, FairPlay, that prevented users from loading songs from rival music stores on early iPods, did not harm consumers nor did it violate the United States antitrust laws, an eight-person jury has determined.

As reported by The Verge, the jurors have sided with Apple in a decade-long suit and have not found Apple guilty of exploiting FairPlay DRM as a lock-in preventing rival music stores from syncing with iPods. Though the iPhone maker is off the hook now, an appeal will be filed with a higher court. Read More

 

Big media wants to make Steve Jobs deposition video public

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 9, 2014

A videotaped deposition of Steve Jobs, recorded in 2011 shortly before his passing and played during the iPod class-action lawsuit, could be made public if news organizations such as The Associated Press, CNN and Bloomberg succeed in proving that releasing the two-hour video is in public interest, CNET reported Tuesday.

And boy would it be interesting to watch Jobs make a series of snarky comments. Asked whether he had heard of Real Networks, Apple’s late co-founder asked “Do they still exist?” All told, he responded 74 times with “I don’t remember,” “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall.” Read More

 

Snarky comments revealed by Steve Jobs’ testimony in iPod class-action lawsuit

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 3, 2014

A decade-old class-action lawsuit over the iPod and Apple’s practice of locking the media player to its iTunes ecosystem is kicking off this week and with it comes a videotaped deposition of Steve Jobs, recorded in 2011 shortly before he died.

It’s full of snarky comments and as if that wasn’t enough, attorneys have unearthed emails between Apple executives and other evidence casting light on the company’s inner workings at the time.

The suit revolves around the iPod, iTunes and FairPlay, Apple’s digital-rights management (DRM) system for copy-protection of music sold through the iTunes Store. FairPlay was dropped in 2007 following the ‘Thoughts on Music’ open letter by Steve. Read More

 

Apple’s appeal to trademark ‘App Store’ in Australia tossed out of the window

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 3, 2014

It looks like Apple has been unsuccessfully in its appeal to trademark the term ‘App Store’ in Australia on basis that its application does not distinguish the applicant on its own, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported.

According to court documents, Justice Yates on Wednesday ruled that Apple’s appeal be dismissed and that the company pay the court costs of the Registrar of Trade Marks.

To get you up to speed, the Registrar of Trade Marks initially refused to greenlight Apple’s proposed ‘App Store’ trademark in March of last year because it was “too descriptive,” prompting the California firm to appeal the decision in the Federal Court. Read More

 

Chinese phone maker claims Apple’s iPhone 6 is a ripoff

By Jake Smith on Dec 2, 2014

Chinese phone maker Digione claims Apple’s iPhone 6 infringes on a patent for its own smartphone under the 100+ brand, and plans to take Apple to court if things aren’t resolved. In a letter sent to Apple in September, Digione says it wants to communicate further with Apple to prevent “potential legal risks for the sake of further understanding and communication.” Read More

 

Department of Justice compelling smartphone makers to bypass encryption

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 2, 2014

The United States Department of Justice is reportedly pursuing an unusual legal strategy to compel cellphone makers to assist investigations by removing device encryption on iPhones and other mobile devices, according to findings by technology website Ars Technica.

Tapping the All Writs Act, feds want Apple’s help to defeat encrypted phones, as revealed by newly discovered court documents from two federal criminal cases in New York and California. Read More

 

Court gives Apple final approval for e-book settlement with consumers

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 21, 2014

During a hearing Friday in Manhattan, a United States judge gave Apple final approval to pay $450 million to settle claims that it conspired with five publishers to raise e-book prices on the iBooks Store.

Reuters reports that Judge Cote approved what she called an “unusual” accord. The ruling came after Apple in July agreed to pay big bucks to settle price fixing allegations that the government and class action lawyers leveled against the Cupertino firm. Read More

 

GT Advanced creditors complain about getting ‘too little’ in proposed Apple settlement

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 19, 2014

As Apple moves to repurpose the Mesa, Arizona plant it sought to run with the now bankrupt GT Advanced Technology, Reuters is reporting Wednesday that GT’s creditors aren’t all too happy about the agreement.

Even though the iPhone maker is committed to keeping the Arizona facility alive despite the failed sapphire manufacturing agreement with GT, creditors in a bankruptcy court filing noted that GT “may have gotten too little” in the proposed settlement with Apple. Read More

 

iPhones found to infringe pager tech, Apple ordered to pay $23.6M in damages

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 18, 2014

Bloomberg is reporting this morning that Apple’s iPhone and other devices have been found to infringe half a dozen pager technology patents owned by a Texas company called Mobile Telecommunications Technologies LLC.

Six patents owned by Mobile Telecommunications Technologies are valid and infringed, a federal jury in Marshall, Texas, has found.

The iPhone maker was ordered to pay the Texas company $23.6 million in damages. Read More

 

U.S. Court says phone passcodes are protected under the law

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 31, 2014

Criminals should protect their iPhones with a passcode, not Touch ID, as a Virginia District Court has determined that passcodes are protected under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution while fingerprints are not, according to a report Friday by Hampton Roads.

The Fifth Amendment protects citizens from self-incrimination so a phone is protected under the law because otherwise it would require a defendant to divulge knowledge. Put simply, a Circuit Court judge has ruled that a criminal defendant can be compelled to reveal their fingerprint but not the passcode, so that police could search their mobile phone. Read More

 

FTC drags AT&T to court over ‘deceptive and unfair’ throttling of unlimited data users

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 28, 2014

It’s sad that we’ve grown accustomed to greedy carriers and their unlimited data deals. Not only does unlimited service typically come with lots of strings attached, carriers have dumb excuses ready once folks realize their data speeds are being throttled.

Having decided not to let it slide, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now taking AT&T to court over what it called “deceptive and unfair data throttling” policy.

As announced on Twitter and via a media release, the FTC’s federal court complaint alleges that the Dallas, Texas headquartered firm in some cases reduced data speeds for unlimited customers by up to 90 percent while failing to explain in clear and concise manner why and when throttling would take place.

“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data,” reads the complaint, “and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise”.

“The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. AT&T’s other sin: the company avoided mentioning throttling to customers who were about to renew their unlimited contracts. Read More

 

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

 
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