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Is Microsoft Aging?

Recently, U.S. state of Mississippi settled an antitrust suit with Microsoft Corp for $100 million on Thursday and said businesses, individuals, schools and local government were eligible for a share of the money. Apart from antitrust suit Microsoft was also ordered to pay $521 million to Eolas Technologies, $200 million to a Canadian software firm i4i Ltd and much more to many more companies for patent infringment and offcourse these are all lost battles by Microsoft. Here is the current list of all patent under litigation.

  • US5369702 – TECSEC Incorporated – Distributed cryptographic object method
  • US6374289 – Backweb Technologies, Ltd. – Distributed client-based data caching system
  • US6542814 – Horizon Navigation, Inc. – Methods and apparatus for dynamic point of interest display
  • US6195662 – Juxtacomm Technologies Inc. – System for transforming and exchanging data between distributed heterogeneous computer systems
  • US6405368 – Method for separate compilation of templates
  • US7496854 – Arendi Holding Limited – Method, system and computer readable medium for addressing handling from a computer program
  • US6405368 – Method for separate compilation of templates
  • US7363592 – Tool group manipulations

First Indian Sound Mark Granted

Wonder how many of us have missed this peace of delightful information like me, though the news is not new but worth knowing about…

Yahoo! Inc. has been  granted the Indian Trademark Office’s first ever sound mark registration.

INTA’s Indian representative, Simran Daryanani, has supported the move, saying: “We are extremely excited to learn that the Indian Trademark Office has recognized an audible iteration of intellectual property and granted it protected status as a sound mark.” He went on to comment:: “India has a thriving economy, and its resourceful and hardworking people are developing new products and services everyday, and we hope that this is only the first in a long list of new protections for Indian brand owners.”

In a statement, INTA acknowledged the commitment and leadership in intellectual property protection of the Indian Trademark Office, and said that the decision indicated that sound marks are now being considered as meaningful as word marks.

Source: WIPR

Sand Fountain in Saudi Arabia

A fountain of sand erupted in the desert of saudi arabia and until today geologists don’t have a clue or an explanation to what is going on. Scientists say that this will bring out some minerals and metals that we have never seen or encountered before..

Suddently, a 9-meter fountain (geyser) apparead, in the Al-Ahsae City, Eastern Saudi Arabia.
Immediately, Armaco geological teams and scientists hurry to deal with this strange phenomenon,
but they did not succeed in explaining what happened ! But they agreed on a theory (…)
that these are -what so called- burdens of the Earth.

Some scientists said this phenomenon will lead to apparency of new materials, which will change the humanity way of life …

Lawsuit Claim: Students’ Lecture Notes Infringe on Professor’s Copyright

University of Florida professor Michael Moulton thinks copyright law protects the lectures he gives to his students, and he’s headed to court to prove it.

Moulton and his e-textbook publisher are suing Thomas Bean, who runs a company that repackages and sells student notes, arguing that the business is illegal since notes taken during college lectures violate the professor’s copyright.

Faulkner Press filed suit in a Florida court Tuesday against the the owner of Einstein’s Notes, which sells “study kits” for classes, including Professor Michael Moulton’s course on “Wildlife Issues in the New Millennium.”

Those notes are illegal, Faulkner and Moulton contend, since they are derivative works of the professor’s copyrighted lectures.

If successful, the suit (.pdf) could put an end to a lucrative, but ethically murky businesses that have grown up around large universities to profit from students who don’t always want to go to the classes they are paying for.

The suit could also have ramifications for more longstanding businesses such as Cliffs Notes, which summarize copyrighted novels.

Faulkner Press publishes two e-textbooks that Moulton wrote and uses in his classes, and sells its own set of class notes for the course.

But James Sullivan, Faulkner Press’ attorney, says the suit isn’t about money for the professors, it’s about protecting its intellectual property.

Patentability of computer programs – recent High Court judgment

A judgment in the case of Symbian’s Patent Application has been issued by the High Court overturning an earlier decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) to refuse the application because it relates to nothing more than a computer program.

Symbian’s patent application describes how in a computer a library of functions (DLL), which can be called on by multiple application programs running on the computer, is accessed. In particular, it provides a way of indexing these library functions to ensure the computer will continue to operate reliably after changes are made to the library.

In his judgment Mr Justice Patten observes that the UK-IPO’s decision in this case illustrates the divide which exists between the UK-IPO and the European Patent Office (EPO) about how the patentability of inventions involving computer programs is assessed. This is because although the UK-IPO refused Symbian’s patent application, the EPO has granted Symbian a patent for its invention.

The UK-IPO believes that when deciding whether this computer implemented invention is patentable, Mr Justice Patten did not apply the so-called “Aerotel/Macrossan test”, which was established by the Court of Appeal in an earlier case, in the way intended by the Court of Appeal. This in UK-IPO’s view has created uncertainty about how the Aerotel/Macrossan test should be applied for inventions of this type.

The UK-IPO will therefore appeal this judgment with a view to seeking clarification from the Court of Appeal. Pending a decision by the Court of Appeal, the UK-IPO will be continuing to follow the practice, set out in its Practice Notices issued in November 2006 and February 2008, which are founded on the established Aerotel /Macrossan test. When applying this test, the UK-IPO will take account of the Symbian judgment in appropriate cases.

What is patentable in the UK is determined by the Patents Act 1977 which is aligned with the European Patent Convention (EPC). Among other things, this states that patents are not available for computer programs as such. Thus, whilst it is possible to get patents in the UK for some inventions involving computer programs, it is not possible to get patents for innovations which are solely computer programs, such as an improved word processing program.

The way that the UK-IPO decides if an invention is patentable is different from that used by the EPO. The two approaches should generally give the same answer.

As with all High Court decisions the Symbian judgment is binding on the UK-IPO until such time as it is overtaken by the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

Lobbying by IBM & Norfolk Southern

IBM Corp. spent $7.8 million in 2007 to lobby on numerous issues, including data privacy and security, identity theft and patent and immigration reforms.

IBM which lobbied Congress, the White House, the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and numerous other agencies, spent about $3.9 million in the first six months of 2007 to lobby on largely the same issues.

IBM recently filed a protest of a $1 billion biometrics database contract the FBI awarded to Lockheed Martin Corp.  which built and maintains the agency’s current fingerprint database. The Government Accountability Office has until June 4 to rule on the protest.

Railroad operator Norfolk Southern Corp. spent $3.1 million to lobby the federal government in 2007, according to a disclosure form.

The company lobbied on various appropriations bills and on legislation dealing with climate change, energy issues, terrorism risk insurance and more. Norfolk Southern also opposed legislation that would subject railroads to stiffer antitrust standards. The antitrust bill has the support of a coalition of more than 3,500 electric, utility, chemical and manufacturing companies.

The Norfolk, Va.-based company spent nearly $1.6 million in the second half of 2007 to lobby on those issues, according to the form posted online Feb. 13 by the Senate’s public records office.

Besides Congress, Norfolk Southern lobbied the Federal Railroad Administration and the Transportation Department.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based company spent $3.9 million in the second half of 2007 to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form posted online Feb. 13 by the Senate’s public records office. It also lobbied on electronic personal health records, international tax treaties, defense spending, math and science educational standards, energy issues and other matters.

Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches, under a federal law enacted in 1995.

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