Legal Tech Week: Spansion, Samsung, LG, Kodak, Google, Microsoft, More

Last Updated Nov 22, 2008 8:08 AM EST

I thought that adding an occasional round-up of high tech legal machinations might be interesting to readers. If you think it's worthwhile, or not, email or comment and let me know.

Spansion sues Samsung -- Memory chip maker Spansion, a Fujitsu and AMD joint venture, has decided to ramp up its legal actions, and the first target is Samsung. Not only is it going to sue in Delaware for alleged patent infringement, including triple damages and an injunction, but it has also asked the International Trade Commission to ban the import to the U.S. of about a hundred million pieces of consumer electronics. If the ITC decided to allow an injunction, it could take action within 12 to 16 months. Given that Spansion has 3,000 patents in its portfolio, there is a chance that it could make a case stick, and the triple damages are on what the company estimates are annual sales of $7 billion in allegedly infringing chips. [Source: Financial Times Tech Blog, New York Times]

Kodak sues Samsung and LG -- Apparently, Samsung lawyers will be busy. Kodak is suing both Samsung and LG over cell phones that include digital cameras. Kodak claims that both companies are infringing on two of its digital imaging patents, which cover using image compression in a still camera and storing a thumbnail along with a full-resolution image. [Source: Ars Technica]

Microsoft sues to cover customers -- Earlier this year, WebXchange filed a patent infringement suit against FedEx, Dell, and Allstate for allegedly infringing against an e-commerce routing patent. Because the issue seems to be a combination of SOAP, web services, and Microsoft'sVisual Studio, the three defendants turned to Microsoft for indemnification. Microsoft claims that it tried to negotiation with WebXchange, but that the company would not reply. So now Microsoft is heading to court in an attempt to get the patent invalidated. [Source: InfoWorld, AjaxWorld Magazine]

French recording industry pursues P2P vendors-- The recording industry in France -- Société civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SPPF) â€" has just received the official go-ahead to use P2P software vendors Vuze, Morpheus, Limewire, and Shareaza. French law makes it easier to pursue the vendor rather than the individuals swapping files, as happens in the U.S. [Source: Ars Technica]

EU privacy laws ogle Google -- Google is having difficulties in its planned expansion in Europe. The complex and extensive privacy laws there are raising legal concerns over both Street View and the amount of time the company retains user data. [Source: New York Times]

FTC gets temporary injunction against CyberSpy-- The Federal Trade Commission was successful in getting a court to issue a temporary injunction, preventing spyware vendor CyberSpy from selling its software. [Source: Ars Technica]

IRS investigates Mozilla non-profit status -- The IRS is apparently investigating the Mozilla Foundationand its tax exempt status. At the heart of the problem is that Mozilla gets 88 percent of its revenue from Google search royalties, and non-profits don't tend to get so much money from one commercial agreement. [Source: TechCrunch]

Leader Technologies sues Facebook -- Leader Technologies, which sells web-based enterprise group software, is suing Facebook for allegedly infringing on its 2002 patent relating to "a method and system for the management and storage of electronic information." [Source: VentureBeat]

Sony loses patent suit, ordered to pay $18.5 million -- A couple of years ago, Agere Systems sued Sonyfor allegedly infringing eight patents. Sony actually had the rights to seven, but not the eighth. The jury agreed with Agere, finding willful infringement and levying an $18.5 million judgment. [Source: Engadget]

Vizio to continue fight against Funai-- The ITC handed down a favorable preliminary ruling for Funai in its patent dispute with 14 companies. One of the defendants, Vizio, says it will continue to oppose the action. In a final action, the ITC could prohibit the losers from importing their products into the U.S. [Source: TWICE]

Court records show HP was concerned about Vista -- The unsealing of the court records in the Windows Vista Capable lawsuit have turned up some interesting items, including an email from HP's Mark Hurd to Steve Ballmer about being "over run" with calls from customers who couldn't upgrade. [Source: ZDNet's Between the Lines]

Apple, AT&T still being sued over iPhone problems -- A class action suit over iPhone problems will continue. A judge tossed two claims but allowed a third. [Source: Internetnews.com]

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.