A busy week in the world of technology and IP, here are the top stories:
Patent Wars: The plot thickens
Early this week, the top tech companies involved in the 3G patent wars that went to court back in 2010 started to see results in the form of an initial determination from ITC judge Thomas B. Pender. The judge found that Apple infringed on a Motorola patent for a frequency synthesizer used in wireless communication in these devices. The ITC, not intended enforcers of patent law, does have the power to impose import restriction on Apple products, though it has not yet exercised this power. This ruling comes in the wake of an EU statement earlier this month announcing proceedings against Motorola for violating fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms placed on standard-essential patents. The complaints were brought by Apple and Microsoft, with Google-owned completing the trifecta of original powers in a flurry of patent litigation that only threatens to get worse as we move into the next generation of smartphone and tablet wireless technology.
Samsung steals the spotlight
Samsung made the news when technology research firm iRunway revealed in a press release that Samsung and Qualcomm are likely to become players in this next generation of patent wars. According to Animesh Kumar of iRunway, “Companies that were at the forefront of previous patent battles may find themselves outmaneuvered by those that have already invested heavily in the 4G arena.” First quarter results were also released earlier this week, and Reuters reported that Samsung has surpassed Nokia (who received another rating downgrade from the S&P late in the week) as the world's top handset maker. iRunway research also shows that many patents that will become important in the 4G smartphone patent war are owned by smaller companies, and on Friday the first move was made on one of these companies. Aware Inc. sold $75 million in patents to Intel and benefited from a 70 percent surge in share price. Samsung also revealed this week its new Exynos 4 Quad processor, providing unparalleled processing capabilities and power efficiency. The processor will be included in their new line of Galaxy tablets and smartphones that will be released in the next two weeks.
This was also big for nanotech, as a number of important breakthroughs promise new uses for our increasing ability to manipulate the world at nanoscopic scales. A group of researchers at the Center for Graphene Science at the University of Exeter have sandwiched a thin layer of ferric chloride between two sheets of graphene to created a high conductivity material that doesn't sacrifice the optical and material properties of graphene by itself. Chemists at the University of Pennsylvania have custom assembled a complex honeycomb crystal from a small protein sequence, and experiments with nano-sized drug delivery capsules revealed exciting results in treating cerebral palsy in rabbits.