Google Inc failed to comply with a court order to disclose the bloggers and other commentators on a patent and copyright case who might have been influenced by payments from the Web company, a judge said on Monday.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup gave Google until noon on Friday, August 24, to provide an amended list of public commentators on the high-profile case between Google and Oracle Corp who have received payments as consultants, contractors, vendors or employees.
“Just as a treatise on the law may influence the courts, public commentary that purports to be independent may have an influence on the courts and/or their staff if only in subtle ways,” wrote Alsup.
Earlier this month, Alsup issued a highly unusual order, riveting technology and legal circles, that Google and Oracle identify all writers who commented on the companies’ intellectual property lawsuit and who received money from the technology giants.
The lists, submitted by the companies on Friday, contained no huge surprises. Oracle acknowledged it hired blogger Florian Mueller, who often comments on patent issues, as a consultant — a relationship that was already known.
A report says that the tech giant just registered a company called Apple Rus, prompting renewed speculation that direct sales and a retail store could be coming to Russia soon.
Russians are some of the world’s biggest consumers of Apple goods. However, one of the main places they buy iPads, iPhones, and Macs is on eBay. That’s because Apple doesn’t directly sell its devices to Russia or have any retail stores there.
This may all change in the near future, however.
According to the Moscow News, Apple recently registered a company called Apple Rus and assigned it to the tech giant’s local legal adviser — Vitaly Morozko. Apparently, direct sales could begin as soon as 2013, yet it’s still unclear when an Apple Store may open.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Apple’s campus as part of a tour of Silicon Valley in 2010, where he met with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The purpose of the trip was to boost high-tech businesses in Russia, as well as to invite U.S.-based companies to plant roots there.
Google’s public policy director says at an Aspen conference that “these patent wars are not helpful to consumers.”
Google suggested today that it might be time for the U.S. to ditch software patents.
“One thing that we are very seriously taking a look at is the question of software patents, and whether in fact the patent system as it currently exists is the right system to incent innovation and really promote consumer-friendly policies,” said Pablo Chavez, Google’s public policy director.
Chavez’s remarks at the Technology Policy Institute’s conference here this morning come as the Mountain View, Calif. company is enmeshed in a series of legal actions involving software patents, including Oracle (which Google won at trial) and Apple (which is still pending).
Software patents have become increasingly controversial in technology circles, in part because of the rise of what are derisively called “patent trolls,” and in part because of the mixed quality of the patents that the U.S. government has granted. In April, Twitter announced a kind of Hippocratic Oath for tech companies, saying its patents would only be used for defensive purposes — not to block rivals from innovating.
“We think that these patent wars are not helpful to consumers,” Chavez said in response to a question from Rick Lane, News Corp.’s senior vice president of government affairs. “They’re not helpful to the marketplace. They’re not helpful to innovation.”
Back in the early 1930s, a magician by the name of Horace Goldin went to court to defend his signature illusion: sawing a woman in half.
Goldin filed a lawsuit against the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co for using this magic trick in an advertisement and explaining how it worked. According to an article in The New York Times from March 1933, Goldin, who had won a patent for the illusion a decade earlier, asserted that the ad had adversely affected his ability to get people to see his shows. He asked for $50,000 in damages. (That’s about $865,000 in today’s dollars.)
I thought about Goldin last week as I sat in a federal courtroom here in the capital city of Silicon Valley. I listened to evidence presented in a patent lawsuit that Apple has brought against Samsung Electronics. Apple claims that Samsung copied its designs for the iPhone and the iPad.
You see, even just by filing his patent, and then using it to litigate, Goldin publicly drew attention to the secrets of his profession. Apple, by going to a jury trial to defend the patents of its most prized products, is also allowing competitors and the public to see inside one of the most secretive companies in the world.
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was very much in the mould of a magician. People often spoke of being sucked into a “reality distortion field” as he pitched his new products. Anyone who closely watched those dramatic announcements may recall how he repeatedly used the word “magical” to describe his latest devices.
The way the audience oohed and aahed during his performance was as if Jobs was saying: “Step right up! Ladies and gentlemen. Boys and girls of all ages! See the latest magical Apple device. You can stretch your fingers on the flat screen and zoom into a photo or map!”
Apple SVP Phil Schiller took to the stand today for just a few minutes to talk about the company’s product strategy in Apple’s trial against Samsung.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Testimony from Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, was cut short today, but not before the executive made claims that the company did not rely on market research.