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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 61

Ex-Google exec becomes new deputy director of USPTO

Michelle Lee, was an executive with Google, but is now the new Deputy Director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Lee was previously in charge of patents and patent strategy at the search giant, so this new job isn't too far from her previous position.

 

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Lee will be in the position at the USPTO in an interim position, with the former director of the USPTO, David Kappos, stepping down in February to pursue interests in the private sector, with Teresa Stanek Rea as the acting director since. Lee will now be the Deputy Director until the USPTO finds a permanent replacement, but there's no word on when this might happen.

Apple lands patent for curved touch displays, upcoming curved iPhone?

Apple has just landed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, under US Patent No. 8,603,574, which is for a "Curved touch sensor' that details a manufacturing technique that would make an accurate, curved touch surface, without deficiencies caused by substrate warping or deformation.

 

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The iPhone maker notes that current touch panel technologies are hard to work with, due to "desired thinness of the substrate and thin film". In order to escape these issues, Apple's newly awarded patent allows for a technique that deposits a conductive thin film over a flexible substrate, while it's in a flat state. AppleInsider reports: "Once the electrodes are in place, the substrate package is joined to a curved "forming substrate" and subsequently heated. The process results in a non-deformed curved touch sensor stackup with a thin film that benefits from the high-temperature anneal."

 

This should mean that we'll see a curved iOS-based device in the future, but how much longer will it be before we see it? Will it be the iWatch? Maybe a curved iPad? Most will expect a curved iPhone, to keep up with the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex smartphones.

Apple's iPad dominates the Japanese tablet market

It looks like Apple is taking control of Japan's tablet market, where its iPad and iPad mini slates make up six out of every ten tablets sold in the country, according to BCN, which measures electronic sales across the country.

 

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The top of BCN's list was the iPad Air, which was followed closely by the iPad mini. On BCN's charts, one variant of Apple's iPad was listed as first, second, fifth, eighth, ninth, and tenth place - total domination by the Cupertino-based giant. The slates on the top ten list that weren't built by Apple, were Google's Nexus 7 tablets (both the 2012 and 2013 editions).

Samsung to 'lower its dependence' on smartphones, will move elsewhere

Something that shouldn't be stated, but has been, is that Samsung is looking to "lower its dependence" on its smartphone business. The news is coming from Korea's ETNews, who says that Samsung wants to not rely on its smartphones business as a revenue generator.

 

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Instead, it will look at other areas to beef up its massive profits, instead of just smartphones. ETNews' sources say that Samsung's "focus will be placed on smartphone derivatives in the short term, such as peripherals and accessories" while it works on wearable devices, like its Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

Bitcoin price stumbles down nearly 30% over the weekend

Just 10 days ago we reported that Bitcoins reached over $1000 in value each, which at the time was a meteoroic 4000% increase, year-over-year. Now? The digital currency has dropped to around $800 each, from their peak at $1200 just days ago.

 

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Few thought that Bitcoins would reach parity with gold, some thought there was no end in sight, but you can't dispute the fact that the digital currency has stumbled, with no exact science or past on how it will react. Will it go down to $100 each? Will we see another country completely embrace it and see it skyrocket past $2000?

 

With China's central bank refusing to consider Bitcoins as legal tender, the drop in price quickly happened. But, the Chinese government didn't put an all-out ban on the digital currency, with all citizens still able to use Bitcoins legally. The central bank's refusal to use them is what hurts the most, as it could spread quickly throughout the world.

Continue reading 'Bitcoin price stumbles down nearly 30% over the weekend' (full post)

Bitcoins can now be used to buy Ouya consoles

If you want to support independent games, and didn't want to use that pesky fiat-based, central bank currency - well, this is music to your anti-mainstream ears!

 

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Bitcoins can now be used to purchase Ouya consoles, which is great because it means you don't need to use a credit card. Unfortunately, if you want to purchase games on the Ouya console, you'll still need your credit card - which I don't get. If you're going to support Bitcoin, do it all the way, or not at all. Ouya does state that PayPal support is coming soon.

China Mobile denies iPhone deal with Apple, no deal reached, yet

Yesterday we reported that Apple had inked a deal with China Mobile for the iPhone, but now China Mobile itself has denied the report. This is strange, especially given that it was The Wall Street Journal's sources who were talking about the deal.

 

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China Mobile spokeswoman, Rainie Lei said: "Talks between China Mobile and Apple on cooperation are still going on and we currently do not have anything to announce." I'm sure we'll hear something in the coming days, but for now there is no deal reached between the two giants.

US House of Representatives pass anti-patent troll bill

As I first reported yesterday, the US House of Representatives has been hearing arguments on a new bill that could put an end to many of the frivolous patent lawsuits filled each year by so-called patent trolls. As expected, the bill has passed in the House with support from both sides of the isle.

 

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Known as the Innovation Act 325-91, the bill will now make its way to the senate where it is expected to pass with a bipartisan majority as well. Once it is finished in congress, the bill will make its way to President Obama's desk and he also is expected to sign it into law. If this does happen, we could see an end to the era of east Texas shell corporations that exist only to file and buy low-quality, low-detail patents that are so vague that they can be claimed as part of many technologies.

 

This is the first step into patent reform, and hopefully the next step will be a complete overhaul of the United States Patent and Trade office. With companies now patenting seeds, human, animal and plant genes, and even specific code, we need to work hard to prevent these sort of things from happening. If not, then I am afraid that we may see an immense slowdown in technological and scientific innovation and breakthroughs for decades to come.

Microsoft stock falls after news that Mulally will not be next CEO

The saga over who will become Microsoft's next CEO has taken yet another step forward today after a board member at Ford told press that Alan Mulally will not be leaving the car maker for Redmond, Washington. Since this news began to spread earlier this week, Microsoft's stock has fallen about 3.5-percent, equating in a $12 billion fall in market cap for the company.

 

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The news came from Ford board member, Edsel Ford II who stated that "Alan is staying through the end of 2014," a time frame far past Steve Ballmer's departing date. This is good news for Nokia's Stephen Elop, who is also in the running to take the CEO seat. Today's news does not surprise me at all though, as I have expected Elop to be the "Chosen One" since Microsoft announced its acquisition plans for Nokia. Other reports suggest that Microsoft's head of Cloud Services Satya Nadella could head up the company, but I see that as a far stretch at this point.

Bill designed to stifle patent trolls likely to pass in the House

Another step to ending the endless stream of patent lawsuits filled by patent trolls is almost complete. Today AllThingsD is reporting that supporters are confident that a bill designed to stifle abusive patent lawsuits will pass in the House of Representatives later this week.

 

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"The Innovation Act from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) is aimed at discouraging patent holders from filing frivolous lawsuits in hopes of extracting a settlement. The bill would give judges more discretion to limit discovery or award legal fees when a lawsuit fails to prove infringement," the report read.

 

With major corporations such as Newegg.com losing frivolous patent lawsuits to known patent trolls such as TQP Development something must be done, or innovation could be suppressed for decades while inventors, developers, and designers wait for existing patents to expire. Personally, I feel that the entire US and UK patent systems need a complete overhaul. They worked well during the industrial revolution and even somewhat well since them, but in today's world of 0's and 1's, we need to pay very close attention to what we allow to be patented, or we may miss out on the next big breakthrough in science.

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