Almost every time a company is dragged into court, the process becomes a drain on its resources and isn’t great for PR (no matter how ridiculous the claims). It’s perhaps understandable, then, that Facebook has acquired all of Friendster’s social networking patents and patent applications for a reported $40 million.
Microsoft announced that it has settled the patent infringement cases it brought against Salesforce.com, and that the two companies have reached a patent agreement in which Salesforce will receive broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for tis products and services. This will also apply to Salesforce’s back-end server infrastructure.
In addition, Microsoft gets coverage under Salesforce’s patent portfolio for Microsoft’s products and services.
A few days ago, a Texas-based company called InNova Patent Licensing filed an infringement lawsuit against 36 well-known companies. The company claims to hold the patent on spam filtering, and appears to be resting on the notion that any company using spam filtering owes them.
Among the companies being sued are Google, Apple, AOL, Dell, HP, RIM, Yahoo, McAfee, Symantec, and Siemens. The list doesn’t stop at tech companies though. It also contains names like Frito Lay, Cinemark, J.C. Penney, Rent-A-Center, and Dr. Pepper.
Google was granted an interesting patent today. The title is "System and method for modulating search relevancy using pointer activity monitoring". Here is how the abstract for the patent describes it:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has entered an agreement with Google, which will see Google hosting unmodified patent and trademark public data.
The USPTO says it doesn’t have the technical capability to provide the information in a bulk machine readable format, and that the arrangement is to serve as a bridge as the USPTO develops an acquisition strategy for this.
Back in 2008, Google filed a patent, which was recently published for public viewing. The patent is called "Segmenting Printed Media Pages Into Articles," and appears to imply that the company wants to take individual articles from print publications and turn them into individual articles on the web. The abstract says:
IMVironments – the little background themes for Yahoo Messenger – have gotten Yahoo in a lot of trouble. The company’s lost a patent infringement case that concerns them, and as a result, is supposed to pay a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation $12.4 million.
Google has been granted a quite interesting patent for "Claiming Real Estate in Panoramic or 3D Mapping Environments for Advertising". The company filed the patent back in the summer of 2008. The abstract reads: