Qualcomm, Perfect 10, Sandy Hook : Intellectual Property

(Bloomberg) -- Qualcomm Inc., a chipmaker that gets most of its profit from licensing technology, said it won’t follow new rules that reduce the fees paid by companies such as Apple Inc. to use Wi-Fi technology in their devices.

The San Diego-based company is reconsidering its participation in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which sets the industry standard for Wi-Fi, after the group changed its patent policy Feb. 8, according to an e-mailed statement Wednesday.

The new policy, among other things, sets any royalties on the price of components such as a computer chip, rather than the value of a device that uses Wi-Fi.

“Qualcomm will not make licensing commitments under the new policy,” according to the statement. It said it would make “alternative licensing commitments” for future contributions to the standard. Qualcomm said it’s the biggest contributor to one of the newest versions of the Wi-Fi standard.

The policy has split the technology industry between companies that helped develop some of the fundamental ways mobile devices work and companies selling devices that incorporate the standards. Companies that license Wi-Fi features -- like Apple, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. -- supported the IEEE change because it lets them keep a larger share of profits from mobile devices they sell. Chipmakers Intel Corp. and Broadcom Corp., meanwhile, supported it because they see it as a way to undermine their chief competitor, Qualcomm.

All smartphone and tablet makers use essential technology agreed upon by the industry so devices can communicate with each other and send pictures or video. The inventors of technologies included in the standards pledge to license relevant patents on “reasonable” terms -- which standards groups never defined.

Under the new rules, companies contributing patents to industry standards agree to limit the types of demands that can be put on licensees, to not seek court orders to block sales by recalcitrant companies and to base fees on the price of the relevant component, not of the whole device.

Qualcomm will continue to submit information that could be considered for inclusion in the standard, but it won’t make any promises on what royalty rates it will charge.

For more patent news, click here.


Perfect 10 Sanctioned Over Discovery Issues in Copyright Case

Perfect 10 Inc., a California company that publishes nude photos of women, will have to pay legal fees for two companies it sued in a copyright dispute.

In a Feb. 4 order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen J. Hillman said Perfect 10’s discovery abuses and noncompliance with court orders, and “pervasive failures” by the company, its counsel and affiliated witnesses justified awarding attorney’s fees to Giganews Inc. and Livewire Services Inc.

He said the defendant companies presented “extensive evidence” of Perfect 10’s conduct during discovery that forced the defendants to incur costs, expenses and legal fees.

While he didn’t specify how much he would award, the judge said he will consider the number of hours expended on the litigation and a “reasonable hourly rate.”

Perfect 10 filed the suit in April 2011, claiming Giganews and Livewire operate websites that give subscribers access to content posted by users. Some of that content consists of Perfect 10’s copyrighted material, the company said.

The case is Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., 11-cv-07098, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Adult Website Operator Says Security Breach Revealed User Data

Empornium, operator of a website through which users of the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol can access adult content, told the TorrentFreak news service that it believes someone gained access to an account on its site without authorization and obtained user data.

TorrentFreak reported that in a “frank e-mail exchange” with Empornium, site operators said an unauthorized third party appeared to have been seeking the data in order to intimidate Empornium users into cash settlements through “legal scare tactics.”

The website operator told TorrentFreak that although it locked down the compromised account as soon as it discovered the security breach Feb. 9, some sensitive information did get out.

Empornium users have reported receiving cash demands related to material produced by a company called TaylorMadeClips, according to TorrentFreak.

For more copyright news, click here.


Sandy Hook Teacher’s Survivors See to Register Her Name

Survivors of a teacher who was killed at the Newtown, Connecticut, school where 20 children and six staff members were shot and killed in December 2012 say they are going to register her name as a U.S. trademark, the New York Post reported.

Victoria Soto, a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, died while attempting to shield students from the shooter. She is credited with saving 11 children in her classroom, according to the newspaper.

Her sister Jillian Soto told the Post that fake accounts using her sister’s name have been set up on social media sites, some of which promote conspiracy theories or harass Soto’s family, the Post reported.

The family said the purpose of the trademark application is to halt the misuse of her name by others, according to the newspaper.

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Google Gets Patent on Wearable Odor-Emitter Tied to Social Net

Google Inc., creator of the world’s most-used Internet search engine, received a patent on an invention that might be characterized as a smart deodorant alternative.

Patent 8,950,238, issued Tuesday, describes a wearable odor-remover. According to the patent, the invention is comprised of a portable device with a sensor that can detect the physical activity of the user and predict odor.

The device can then emit a fragrance or a smell-neutralizer. The user can override the fragrance by omission if, for example, her or she plans to take a shower immediately after the odor-generating activity.

To avoid offending friends with either body odor or the fragrance, the device can include the ability to connect to a network which can track the location of the user’s contacts. It can suggest alternative routes the user can take as a means of avoiding an unpleasant odorous meeting with those contacts.

Mountain View, California-based Google applied for the patent in August 2012, with the assistance of Troutman Sanders LLP of Atlanta.

For more patent news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net David Glovin

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