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Patent News Roundup: Google, RIM, Nokia, InterDigital, Apple

Here is a group of very recent articles that cover issues of relevance -- however remote it might be -- to this Web site.



An appeals court has reinstated a patent lawsuit filed against Google over a toolbar feature called AutoLink that provides links to online maps or books on Amazon.com, according to a Bloomberg News report.




Just when you've gotten to the point where you can type on your BlackBerry upside down in the dark, they're thinking about changing the keyboard.


Many ergonomic keyboards would invalidate this, based on the criterion of "prior art"?



A court in China has dismissed a trademark lawsuit filed against Google, according to a report on ChinaCourt.org that was translated into English and posted on Pacific Epoch.




Nokia's pre-emptive strike against InterDigital's 3G-covering patent portfolio has reached a ruling by the English High Court, reducing an initial pile of 31 patents down to four: one of which has been ruled essential for 3G technology, and three which could, but might not be infringed by a 3G handset.




In an application with the U.S. Patent Office filed on Dec. 20, the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer and gadget company described a wireless system that would allow customers to place an order at a store using a wireless device such as a media player, a wireless personal digital assistant or a cellphone.

[...]

Most cover relatively mundane technologies. Others, however, have stirred interest. Patent application #20070288886, unhelpfully titled "Run-Time Code Injection To Perform Checks," describes a system that would restrict the use of some software to "specific hardware platforms."


This sounds similar to Tivoization, but quite the opposite ('modification' of hardware is not permitted, as opposed to code).



Until very recently, the scope of patentable subject matter under the Patent Act encompassed four categories Рprocess, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. These were broadly construed to encompass just about anything manmade. However, with the In re Nuijten and In re Comiskey opinions, explained and compared in this article, the Federal Circuit substantially narrowed what was previously thought to be within the purview of 35 U.S. C. ۤ 101. The Federal Circuit held that a business method, if not combined with a machine, is not patentable, and that a signal, on its own, is similarly not patentable. These decisions create three new conditions for patentability not previously recognized by case law: a "technological arts" requirement, a "non-transience requirement, and a "tangibility" requirement.


This was pointed out many times before, e.g. here.

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