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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 118

EU says Samsung abused standard-essential telecom patents

The European Commission has sent a "statement of objections" to Samsung saying that they don't believe the company is acting fairly. "Intellectual property rights are an important cornerstone of the single market. However, such rights should not be misused when they are essential to implement industry standards, which bring huge benefits to businesses and consumers alike," Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in statement.

 

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Samsung can now respond to the statement with objections or with a request for a hearing. Samsung faces a fine up to 10 percent of its annual turnover if the commission rules that they have violated the rules. The issue at hand is standard-essential patents for the EU's 3G UMTS standard.

 

Samsung agreed to fairly license the needed patents to competitors when the EU adopted the standard. Samsung denies the claims: "Samsung is confident that, in due course, the Commission will conclude that we have acted in compliance with European Union competition laws."

 

The commission opened the investigation after Samsung attempted to gain sales bans in 2011 across member EU states against its fierce competitor, Apple.

UK to require compulsory porn filters for any subscriber that has children

David Cameron is fighting for the children, or at least he claims to be. ISPs will now be required to implement a compulsory survey when setting up an internet connection. During the survey, they will be required to say whether there are kids in the house, and if the answer is 'yes,' they will be required to set up filters.

 

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Starting February 2013, ISPs will be required to show the government their plans for implementation. Cameron says that "a silent attack on innocence is underway in our country today, and I am determined that we fight it with all we've got." Others argue that it is the parent's responsibility to keep the children safe, an argument that seems to be stronger in the United States.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Think every country should require it from their ISPs?


Motorola hires on Samsung's marketing exec Brian Wallace

Google has pulled away one of Samsung's top people. Motorola has just hired Samsung's marketing executive for the same job at Motorola. Brian Wallace has been behind some of Samsung's marketing ploys that have paid off handsomely for the company. Take, for example, the advertisement embedded below:

 

 

Visible Measures says that the ad above was the most popular tech ad of the year. Motorola and Google are likely hoping he will do the same thing for the company, marketing Google's Nexus line of devices and their upcoming X Phone. Before joining Samsung a year ago, he worked at RIM for more than a decade.

Continue reading 'Motorola hires on Samsung's marketing exec Brian Wallace' (full post)

Senator looks to regulate data caps, introduces bill

Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, has introduced a bill that would regulate data caps imposed by ISPs and would only allow data caps to be instituted to alleviate network congestion. It would prevent ISPs from arbitrarily applying a data cap just because they can.

 

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"Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion," Wyden said in an e-mail statement.

 

Not only does he want to regulate data caps, he wants to provide more accurate and granular information to consumers. His bill authorizes the FCC to regulate ISPs' methods of measuring bandwidth usage so that they will be as accurate as possible.

 

Finally, the bill provides for net neutrality. If a data cap is enabled on a network, the provider can not "provide preferential treatment of data that is based on the source or content of the data."

 

"Future innovation will undoubtedly require consumers to use more and more data-data caps should not impede this innovation and the jobs it creates," Wyden said. "This bill is intended to help consumers manage their data more effectively and ensure that data caps are used only to serve the legitimate purpose of addressing congestion."

Apple fined 200,000 euros in Italian AppleCare Case

Apple has been fined 200,000 euros or about $246,000 by Italian Regulators over the company's handling of AppleCare warranties. The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato is reporting that Apple has since fixed its warranty policies, but between March 28 and November 10th, Apple was still pushing a 2 year Apple Care plan on Italian consumers even though Italian law guarantee that as a minimum.

 

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This fine comes on top of an initial 900,000 euro fine back in March when the Italian government first began cracking down on AppleCare. The 200,000 euros fine actually breaks down into six smaller fines. Apple Sales International was tagged for 120,000 euros; Apple Italia owes 40,000, and Apple Retail Italia is due for another 40,000.

 

With this final fine, the AGCM has closed the case on the isse and Apple has made 14 changes to its stores, terms, and website. Furthermore Apple has removed AppleCare from its retail stores, leaving it available only online to Italian consumers.

Continue reading 'Apple fined 200,000 euros in Italian AppleCare Case' (full post)

RIM surprises everyone, beats expectations but is still bleeding users

Research in Motion posted their Q3 2013 earnings, which ended on December 1 and they're not as bad as analysts expected. Some analysts expected RIM to make money before the BlackBerry 10 launch, with others just waiting for the world to come crashing down around RIM before BB10.

 

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Wall Street had RIM pegged to post a loss of $0.35 per share on $2.65 billion in revenue, but RIM actually recorded a net loss of $114 million, or $0.22 per share over $2.7 billion in sales.

 

RIM shipped 6.9 million BlackBerry smartphones in the quarter, and just 250,000 BlackBerry Playbook tablets. Just how much have BB shipments dropped in the past year? 51% year-over-year from Q3 2011. RIM's subscriber base dropped by 1 million users in the three-month period, where the down-but-not-out company now has 79 million total subscribers.

Kim Dotcom's extradition trial won't take place until August 2013

A New Zealand court decided on Thursday to reschedule the extradition hearing for Kim Dotcom. The US want him back, and now the hearing has been pushed back until August 2013, it's second delay.

 

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Dotcom was originally set to appear in court in August, but the extradition hearing was pushed back to March 2013 due to issues concerning the disclosure of evidence. The New Zealand High Court at the time ruled that the FBI had to provide Dotcom's lawyers with more of the evidence they had against him before he could stand trial for extradition.

 

One of Kim Dotcom's lawyers' spokeswoman confirmed the change, but wouldn't elaborate on why the delay was put into action.

New York's attorney general has removed 2,100 sex offenders from online games

Your kids are bit safer online now thanks to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. His office has removed more than 2,100 registered sex offenders from popular online games, including those from Gaia Online, NCSoft, and THQ. The removal comes as part of Operation: Game Over, a fitting title for his project.

 

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"The Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century, and we must ensure that online video game platforms do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators," Schneiderman said today in a statement. "That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming systems as a vehicle to prey on underage victims."

 

Registered sex offenders in the state of New York are required by law to hang over all electronic identities to the state. New York authorities review the list and contact game developers asking them to remove accounts that are on the lists turned in by registered offenders.

 

"Operation: Game Over coincides with recent incidents of sexual predators using voice and text chat functions in online gaming services to lure underage victims across the country," the attorney general's office said today in a statement.

 

"I applaud the online gaming companies that have purged registered sex offenders from their networks in time for the holiday season," Schneiderman said today. "Together, we are making the online community a safer place for the children of New York."

Apple's 'pinch-to-zoom' patent ruled invalid in preliminary review, will face more scrutiny

Apple's famous "pinch-to-zoom" patent has been ruled invalid in a preliminary review by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent currently remains valid, though it will be reviewed with the possibility of it being thrown out as an invalid patent. This patent was one of six in the recent battle between Apple and Samsung.

 

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Apple is widely expected to appeal the preliminary ruling, though if the patent is found invalid, the $1bn+ verdict gained by Apple should be lowered by a judge. Back in October, the USPTO also placed the "rubber band" patent under review. The "rubber band" patent was another patent used in the case against Samsung.

 

The patent has been ruled invalid because the 21 specific methodologies claimed by Apple's filing had been granted to previous applicants, according to the USPTO. Samsung will likely try and use these reviews as a reason to lower the amount owed to Apple, while Apple is currently trying to get the amount increased.

Boost Mobile to throttle data beginning January 20, will throttle for users above 2.5GB

Boost Mobile, a pre-paid subsidiary of Sprint in the US, will begin throttling data speeds January 20 for users who have transferred more than 2.5GB in a billing period. Boost will send out a warning text message at 85 percent of 2.5GB, and then will throttle speeds to 256kbps after the threshold is passed.

 

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This isn't the first unlimited data plan provider to begin throttling connections. Boost says that the throttling will only affect a small portion of its customer base, though some vocal customers are upset with the change. Boost has tried to reassure people that 2.5GB is a lot of data, likening it to 90,000 e-mails, 91 hours of streamed music, or 20 hours of video clips.

 

If you're on Boost and use a lot of data, be ready to get throttled come January 20.

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