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Patents

  1. Amazon Patented Taking Pictures In Front of a White Background

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    The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an easy punchline for jokes about bureaucratic inanity, but a recently-granted patent proves that reputation is deserved. Turns out Amazon has patented taking pictures in front of a white background, so I guess Shutterstock is doomed.

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  2. Obama’s Office Killed Impending iPad/iPhone Sales Ban

    If you kids don't stop fighting, Obama will turn this car right around.

    As a result of the lawsuits between Apple and Samsung, Apple was facing a sales ban on some of its older products. The ban was overturned by the Executive Office of the President, so you won't have to worry about being able to still snag some older Apple gear.

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  3. Big Brother is Charging: Proposed Phone Battery Tracks Your Every Movement to Save Power

    We're that much closer to HAL 9000 deciding not to do stuff for us.

    Apple has apparently decided to show up Asimov when it comes to self-aware technology that constantly tries to outdo itself in making our lives easier. Their newest attempt: A battery that learns your habits to decide how much power is needed at any given time, and to keep your phone charged while away from a charger.

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  4. Supreme Court Declares Victory for Common Sense, Denies Patents for Naturally Occurring Human Genes

    Identifying a gene is not the same as inventing, says a Supreme Court that can barely keep from rolling its eyes.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down some truly weird and sometimes downright awful decisions recently -- the "corporations have civil rights just like people do" debacle springs to mind -- but it's good to know that they don't always go against the individual while reviewing important cases. In a unanimous decision today, the Supreme Court ruled that naturally occurring human genes may not be patented, ending a dispute over intellectual property of genes that are used to detect early signs of certain cancers. So now we can all find out our cancer risk without having to pay exorbitant fees! You know, other than the ones we'd have to pay to address those risks. Those fees are still pretty exorbitant.

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  5. Kind of a Big Deal: Google Offers Patents for Use by Open Source Developers

    I'm going to try to make patent law sound exciting here, because this is actually pretty big news. Google just announced that they won't sue developers or anyone else using open source software that uses their patents. There are some limitations, including a very limited number of patents to start with, and that Google reserves the right to sue if they're "first attacked," but it's still great news for tech innovation.

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  6. FTC Finds No Evidence to Suggest Bias in Google Search Results, Concludes Investigation

    The United States Federal Trade Commission today officially concluded their antitrust investigation of search engine giant Google with a series of decisions ranging from interesting to potentially fascinating. Perhaps most importantly, Google must stop attempting to exclude competitors from using patents important to key technologies. In other words, they can't use the patents they've acquired from their Motorola acquisition like a giant cudgel. We say most importantly because it's the only major change being made. When it comes to the actual allegations of search bias, though, that's a horse of a different color.

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  7. Apple and Google Join Forces to Purchase Kodak Patents, Hell in Process of Freezing Over

    Bankruptcies, and the patents that companies sell off during them, tend to cause the strangest of bedfellows. Depending on what's at stake, otherwise competing groups will band together in order to gobble up whatever patents are for sale in order to avoid potential lawsuits going forward. Generally speaking, it's better for everyone involved. Litigation can get quickly get expensive, as Apple is well aware. So the news that Apple and Google might be teaming up to purchase Kodak's patents -- for sale thanks to their bankruptcy -- makes perfect sense. Even so, it's still odd to see the two working together.

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  8. Microsoft Wants to Count Number of Folks Watching Television, Could Charge Per View Eventually

    When it comes to rentals and the like, most digital distribution avenues provide their content either for a limited period of time or only allow such things to be played a certain number of times. Neither of these options are exactly effective in the eyes of those businesses that make money off such ventures. Microsoft might finally be doing something about it, though. A patent application from the technology giant indicates that they're looking to count the number of folks viewing content using cameras and sensors in order to then charge based on the number of viewers.

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  9. Apple Issues Absurdly Snide U.K. Acknowledgement That Samsung Didn’t Infringe on Their Patents

    The sniping between Apple and Samsung over whether the latter's tablet infringes on the former's patents is getting worse. Samsung came off as somewhat bitter after the initial U.S. verdict when they ran ads poking fun at the Apple Genius Bar. Apple has just escalated this feud to an entirely new level, however. See, the U.K. courts didn't agree with Apple, and actually found that the Samsung Galaxy Tab didn't infringe on their patents. Part of the ruling required Apple to issue an acknowledgement on their website, and they have. It's probably not what the courts had in mind, though.

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  10. U.S. Patent Office Invalidates Apple Patent Used in Samsung Trial, Puts Jury Ruling at Risk

    These days, patents are used more in legal posturing than just about anything else. It goes to show just how ludicrous the system is, however, that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has filed an invalidation for Apple's U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381. All 20 claims of Apple's rubber-banding patent are now officially on their way to being thrown out. This includes the same claim 19 that was used against Samsung in the company's recent high-profile trial.

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