Microsoft to pay $200 million in patent dispute

Microsoft will pay VirnetX Holding $200 million to settle a patent dispute over VPN technology in Windows, the companies announced Monday.

As part of the settlement, Microsoft will also obtain a license to use VirnetX technology in Microsoft products.

VirnetX first sued Microsoft in 2007, claiming the software giant had violated two of its VPN (virtual private network) patents through the use of the technology in Windows XP and Vista. A U.S. District Court ruled in VirnetX's favor in March, determining that Microsoft had willfully infringed on the VPN patents in question and ordering the company to pay … Read more

Reporters' Roundtable: The patent mess (podcast)

This week our topic is: the patent mess. Are patents stifling innovation or helping it? Or put another way, do patents just take money out of the technology world and funnel it to lawyers, or is there a benefit to the system?

There's been a lot of patent news lately. In a typical story, Apple claimed infringement by HTC, HTC counter-claimed, and Microsoft said Google's Android phones (most of which are made by HTC) may be infringing. It's a tangled mess.

Guests are Molly Wood, the co-host of Buzz Out Loud here at CNET, with me, and Nilay Patel, managing editor at the gadget blog Engadget and a former lawyer.

Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) iTunes (320x180) iTunes (640x360) Podcast RSS (MP3) Podcast RSS (320x180) Podcast RSS (640x360)

Show notes and talking points… Read more

Appeals court to hear EchoStar, TiVo patent fight again

In yet another twist on the years-long patent dispute between TiVo and EchoStar, an appeals court has agreed to a fresh hearing of the case.

The U.S. Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit on Friday granted EchoStar's petition for a rehearing en banc, which means all the judges on a court will be present for a rehearing of the patent dispute between the two TV service providers. This is typically used when hearing an appeal on a decision made by a panel, or just a few of the judges on the court.

That means the March 4 victory for TiVo, … Read more

SoftView files patent suit against Apple, AT&T

Software developer SoftView launched a suit against Apple and iPhone carrier AT&T on Monday, claiming the two are infringing on its patent covering the display of Web pages on mobile devices.

SoftView makes a product of the same name, which provides graphic viewers and Web browsers for PDAs, cell phones, smartphones, and other small-screen devices. The SoftView Web site says the company has been developing its products since 1982 and prominently displays its three patent numbers on its home page.

The patent that seems to be SoftView's playing card is No. 7461353, which covers the scalable display … Read more

HTC fires back at Apple with patent complaint

Almost two months after Apple filed a patent complaint against HTC, the Taiwanese handset maker says it has a patent beef with Apple too.

On Wednesday, HTC accused Apple of infringing on five patents related to its mobile technology, and it has asked the International Trade Commission to stop the import and sale of Apple's iPad, iPod, and iPhone.

The complaint, which can be viewed below, states Apple that is infringing on five patents related to general hardware and software used to implement directories in mobile phones and power management in mobile devices. It's notable that at least … Read more

I4i: Patent office rules against Microsoft

Software company I4i said Tuesday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has validated the core of its claims against Microsoft in a dispute over the titan's Office suite.

The patent office, I4i said, has "confirmed the patentability of all claims" of I4i's patent No. 5,787,449, which was granted in 1998. The patent office had been re-examining that patent as Microsoft fought I4i's claims regarding XML features in Office.

"This is a very material step in our litigation against Microsoft. Put simply: i4i's patent is clearly and unequivocally valid. Even … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1223: We'll be watching you (podcast)

Our theme for today's show? Somebody's watching you, and it ain't just the Police. It's also Facebook and Google, and apparently some people think Net neutrality means the government will be watching you, too. Watch for the Net neutrality 101 rant at the end of the show plus a lot of singing of the "I'll be watching you" song. Because Brian Tong is on. We just hope Sting doesn't sue.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1223

Facebook rolling out location … Read more

Nokia hits Apple with new lawsuit over iPad

Nokia upped the ante in its patent dispute with Apple on Friday, filing a new suit in Wisconsin over the iPad.

Five Nokia patents are asserted in the new case against the iPad 3G and the iPhone, Nokia announced in a press release. "The patents in question relate to technologies for enhanced speech and data transmission, using positioning data in applications and innovations in antenna configurations that improve performance and save space, allowing smaller and more compact devices," Nokia said.

Nokia kicked off this legal dispute last year when it sued Apple for infringing on several of its … Read more

Patent fights could change Google's Android pitch

Microsoft has now joined Apple in a guerrilla war against Google's Android, and Google's next steps are far from certain.

The smartphone industry is still in its infancy, but its strategic importance to computer companies big and small can't be overstated. Recent moves from Apple and Microsoft show that the big guys are not going to be shy about deploying their array of patents as competition increases.

HTC's lawyers have had a busy couple of weeks, responding to a wide-ranging patent lawsuit filed by Apple and negotiating a patent licensing deal with Microsoft. The common thread? … Read more

Putting the mirrors back in Micro Four Thirds cameras

Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the Olympus E-PL1 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 pride themselves on being smaller in size than dSLRs, and that's due to the removal of the mirror components. However, this implementation means such shooters can utilize only contrast-detection autofocus (AF), which is slower than phase-detection AF found on dSLRs.

A recent patent by Panasonic revealed that the company appears to be working on an adapter that'll allow phase-detection AF in Micro Four Thirds cameras. This attachment fits between the snapper's body and the lens. It seems that within the attachment, there's a … Read more