RIM, Apple, Location-Based Programs: Intellectual Property
Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), the maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, should consider selling itself or spinning off its patents to boost investor returns after a slump in its stock price, shareholder Jaguar Financial Corp. (JFC) said.
RIM should create a committee of four or five independent directors to study those options, Jaguar Chief Executive Officer Vic Alboini said yesterday in an interview. Alboini, who declined to disclose the size of Jaguar’s RIM stake, said his proposal has the support of several large shareholders who collectively hold less than 5 percent of the Waterloo, Ontario- based company.
RIM has come under pressure from investors to make strategic changes after its stock lost almost half its value this year amid market-share losses to Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Northwest & Ethical Investments LP in June called for a split of the roles of chairman and CEO, shared by Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, to shake up leadership.
Toronto-based Jaguar, which describes itself as a merchant bank that invests in undervalued small-cap companies, has been active in the past to pursue its goals. Hudbay Minerals Inc. (HBM) agreed in 2009 to cancel its C$672 million ($534 million) takeover of Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN) after Jaguar’s Alboini rallied shareholders to oppose the bid.
Marisa Conway, a spokeswoman for RIM, declined to comment.
Senate Votes to End Debate on Patent Overhaul Legislation
The Senate yesterday agreed 93-5 to limit debate on a motion that would send patent reform legislation for a full vote. Yesterday’s action moves the Senate closer to passing H.R. 1249, which would overhaul present law by granting patents to the first to file, rather than the first to invent. The legislation would also allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to control its funding.
For more on the legislation, click here.
Samsung Puts New Tablet on Hold as Apple Wins Court Order
Samsung Electronics Co. lost a chance to showcase its latest tablet computer at one of the world’s largest electronics shows after Apple Inc. (AAPL) won a second injunction blocking Galaxy Tab sales in Germany.
Samsung, Apple’s closest rival in tablet computers, pulled the just-unveiled Galaxy Tab 7.7 out of the IFA consumer- electronics show in Berlin after a Dusseldorf court on Sept. 2 granted Apple’s request to ban sales and marketing of the product, James Chung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, said by telephone.
Samsung and Apple, maker of the iPad, are involved in legal disputes across three continents, as Apple -- also one of the biggest customers for the South Korean company’s chips and displays -- claims the Galaxy devices copied its iPhone and iPad. Last month, the Dusseldorf Regional Court granted Apple a temporary sales ban on the earlier Galaxy Tab 10.1 model in 26 of the 27 European Union member countries.
“Samsung respects the court’s decision,” Chung said yesterday, adding that the company believes it “severely limits consumer choice in Germany.” Samsung will pursue all available options, including legal action, to defend its intellectual- property rights, he said.
Apple May Have to Show IPad Sales to Bar Samsung in Australia
Apple Inc. may have to reveal iPad and iPad 2 sales figures in the U.K. and U.S. to improve its chances of barring Samsung Electronics Co. from selling the Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer in Australia, a judge said.
Apple’s claim that the Samsung tablet’s release in Australia will hurt iPad sales may carry little weight if it doesn’t provide the numbers, Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett said in Sydney Federal Court yesterday.
Bennett said she wouldn’t force Apple to release the sales numbers and denied Samsung’s request for them. Apple aims to block Samsung sales of the Galaxy 10.1 in Australia, claiming the tablet computer infringes its patents.
Apple is seeking an injunction on Samsung sales in Australia until the patent suit is resolved. Samsung wanted the sales figures to show that the U.K. and U.S. release of the Galaxy 10.1, which runs Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system, had little effect on iPad sales.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., NSD1243/2011, Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).
Apple-S3 Graphics Patent Case Findings to Be Reviewed By ITC
A finding that Apple Inc.’s Mac OS X computer system violates patents held by S3 Graphics Co. will be reviewed by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
The commission said in a notice on Sept. 2 that it will review “in its entirety” ITC Judge James Gildea’s July 1 determination that some Apple Macs infringed two S3 patents related to graphics chips, while the mobile platform for the iPhone didn’t infringe. The Washington-based trade agency laid out 13 questions it wants answered, including some related to patent validity and licenses S3 has with Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp.
Phonemaker HTC Corp. (2498), which agreed to buy closely held S3 for $300 million less than a week after the ruling, is counting on a victory to bolster its patent battles with Apple. HTC and Apple are part of a struggle among smartphone makers, including Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., looking to fight copycats and thwart competition in a market projected by researcher IHS Inc. to be $206.6 billion this year.
HTC lost a case in July in which a commission judge determined that some of the company’s devices running on Google Inc.’s Android operating system infringed two Apple patents. Cupertino, California-based Apple has an additional complaint filed in July that also targets HTC’s Flyer tablets. HTC has two cases it brought against Apple at the Washington-based trade agency, one submitted last year and another last month.
Amy Bessette, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC, Asia’s second-biggest maker of smartphones, had no immediate comment.
The case In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices with Image Processing Systems, 337-724, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).
Location-Based Programs Used by 28 Percent of Adults, Pew Says
Location-based programs for computers and mobile phones, such as navigation and social-networking applications, are used by 28 percent of all U.S. adults, according to a national survey.
About 55 percent of smartphone owners use location-based services to obtain driving directions or recommendations on nearby businesses, while 12 percent use a “geosocial” service such as Foursquare or Gowalla to “check in” to locations and share that information with friends, according to the survey released yesterday by the Pew Research Center, an independent, nonpartisan public opinion research group based in Washington.
The survey represents Pew’s most expansive look at how people access location-based services, Kathryn Zickuhr, the report’s lead author, said in an interview. The results, published through the Pew Internet & American Life Project, were based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults between April 26 and May 22.
The report coincides with increased scrutiny by lawmakers in Washington on the protection of consumer information online, including location data gathered from smartphones and other mobile devices.
Apple Inc. and Google Inc., makers of software used in millions of smartphones, defended their handling of user location data at a series of congressional hearings earlier this year, saying they don’t track individuals.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com.
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