Back in 2010, Emblaze, an Israeli company, sued Apple for patent infringement on several popular iPhone applications, including the Major League Baseball app. A jury ruled this week after a two-week trial that Apple did not actually infringe upon those patents and will not have to pay the $511 million that Emblaze demanded.
The patent in question is
US Patent Number 6,389,473 B1, called "Network Media Streaming" and Emblaze claimed that it was being infringed in Apple's use of HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). Basically, any time that a customer would've watched live content on an iPhone and iPad since 2009, Emblaze said Apple was in violation.
Emblaze claimed the above-mentioned MLB app and also apps from ABC News, PGA, NFL and ESPN were infringing on the patent. The Apple Keynotes and iTunes festival were also accused but the jury said that none of these actually infringed on the patent. In the end, Emblaze wanted $511 million in damages from 2009 up until June of 2013 but all of that was dismissed by the court. It should be noted that Emblaze tried to sue Microsoft in 2012 for infringing on the same patent.
How did all of this come about? Well, according to Apple, Emblaze actually developed several audio products that they intended to license and sell to wireless companies. However each and every product was pretty much a total failure and Apple's lawyers said that Emblaze was "trying to make up for that lack of success in the courtroom." And, citing the Microsoft lawsuit, the attorney team also said Emblaze is merely a "company that just sues companies." This, according to Gary Shapiro and many others, is the classic "patent troll" case. And, to put things into perspective, Emblaze was demanding over $500 million when its annual revenue for 2013 was only $1.9 million. If that isn't just a courtroom company, I don't know what is.
It only took the jury a little more than a day to reach a unanimous verdict. With this victory, Apple is currently 2-0 in patent troll cases this year, and has a third suit coming up in a few months.
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court
essentially killed Aereo, at least in its current business state. CEO Chet Kanojia said that the company was going to find a way to continue to operate and it appears Aereo has found that way. Now, Aereo is going to try to become a cable operator.
It started with a letter sent to US District Judge Alison Nathan on Wednesday, which explained Aereo's new path and focus.
Under the Second Circuit's precedents, Aereo was a provider of technology and equipment with respect to the near-live transmissions at issue in the preliminary injunction appeal. After the Supreme Court's decision, Aereo is a cable system with respect to those transmissions. If Aereo is a 'cable system' as that term is defined in the Copyright Act, it is eligible for a statutory license, and its transmissions may not be enjoined (preliminarily or otherwise).
So, Aereo now looks to become a cable company and is going to try and pay the necessary fees and licenses to do so. The entire letter basically outlined that new plan and that it would operate in "accordance with the terms of the Supreme Court's decision," which makes all of this very interesting. Obviously the broadcasters have already spoken up and said that this is only happening because of the ruling. CBS wrote on Wednesday that, upon hearing the news about Aereo's major business model shift, the Aereo case that's made its way back to a Manhattan federal court should be dismissed.
Aereo's refusal to clearly specify whether, when and in what fashion it intends to continue operating. Aereo never before pled (much less litigated) Section 111 as an affirmative defense. Whatever Aereo may say about its rationale for raising it now, it is astonishing for Aereo to contend the Supreme Court's decision automatically transformed Aereo into a 'cable system' under Section 111 given its prior statements to this Court and the Supreme Court.
Many analysts predicted this case was far from over, and they were completely right. Several people, including myself, predicted that Aereo would try and claim a different stance and go the cable operator route, and it appears all of that has come to fruition. Now, whether or not that actually happens is a whole other thing to deal with. Naturally, we'll have the updates as they occur but for now, you can read the joint letter that was filed to the courts in the source link below.
following a $2 billion acquisition by Facebook, made a handful of announcements this week about the progression of the company. The company proudly said it has acquired a game-network company and will also be launching a developer conference in September.
On September 19th and 20th, Oculus will be hosting
Oculus Connect at the Loew's Hotel in Hollywood, California. The developer conference will be geared towards devs in the VR, gaming, entertainment and cinematic spaces. Oculus said the conference will also feature sessions for people that surround the development community. Not much else was disclosed about the event but that information will be coming in the next couple of weeks. The event will include keynotes from Brendan Iribe, Palmer Luckey, John Carmack and Michael Abrash.
Oculus also announced that it has acquired RakNet, which some may recognize as being the platform Oculus has been using for some time now.
RakNet is a middleware tech company which essentially provides Internet support and transport for video games. From the statement,
For those unfamiliar with RakNet, it is a comprehensive C++ game networking engine designed for ease of use and performance. The tech is tuned for cross-platform, high-performance applications that operate across a wide variety of network types. Key features include object replication, remote procedure calls, patching, secure connections, voice chat, and real-time SQL logging. The technology has been licensed by thousands of indie developers, as well as companies like Unity, Havok, Mojang, Maxis and Sony Online Entertainment.
As you can see, some pretty big names use the technology already. In the past, games that made under $100,000 gross revenue were able to access the C++ libraries for free, but after the acquisition, Oculus has decided to
open-source the entire project. The feeling of a service for UDP and TCP being open-source is a scary one, but perhaps some really cool tools can be built for the Oculus and VR platforms moving forward.
Last but not least, in case you missed it, the Oculus Rift won Best Hardware at E3 2014 for the second year in a row. Obviously the company was excited about that as well. But are you excited about any of the other two announcements? Will you be going to Oculus Connect? Let us know in the comments.