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Older News Picks  
  • Ambry hits back at Myriad’s “bad faith enforcement” of breast cancer gene patents
  • Thursday, August 08 2013 @ 04:02 AM EDT
  • In its counterclaims, Ambry says that not only are Myriad's patents invalid, but that the Utah company's "bad faith enforcement" of its patents amounts to an antitrust violation. Now, Myriad is suing Ambry over "patent claims that it knows are invalid under two Supreme Court decisions and Federal Circuit authority," write Ambry's lawyers. The company used publicly funded research to get patents that never should have been granted, then used those patents to "intimidate and chill competition" in the genetic testing markets and deprive patients of access to their own data, according to the counterclaims.

    Ambry has committed to depositing the information it gets from testing into public databases, which it says will enable further competition in the testing market. Myriad, by contrast, "is using its invalid patents to maintain as secret patients' gene sequences (which do not belong to Myriad) in an attempt to limit competition." - Joe Mullin, ars technica

  • Apple Turns Tables Seeking U.S. Samsung Phone Sales Ban
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 10:55 PM EDT
  • Apple Inc. is trying to force Samsung Electronics Co.’s mobile devices off U.S. store shelves a week after dodging an iPhone 4 ban by a rare White House veto.

    The company will ask a U.S. appeals court on Aug. 9 to block sales of Samsung models a California jury found violated patents for the iPhone’s look and features. Later, a U.S. trade agency is expected to say if it will halt some Samsung imports based on other Apple patent-infringement claims. ...

    “Sometimes, the money’s not enough,” said Ray Van Dyke, a technology-patent lawyer with the Van Dyke Firm in Washington. “Between Apple and Samsung, it’s about who’s going to be the top dog. You want to shut them down. This is the club. You can beat them into submission with a club and maintain your top dog status.” - Susan Decker & Jungah Lee, Bloomberg News

  • Publishers object to Department of Justice’s punishment for Apple in eBooks case
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 09:52 PM EDT
  • The publishers objecting to the proposed punishment say that rather than punishing Apple, the decision actually hurts the settling parties by disallowing them to enter into new agreements with Apple using the agency model while doing nothing to prevent Apple from enganging in anti-competitve e-book pricing behavior. - Mike Beasley, 9to5Mac

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux gets cozy with MongoDB
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 08:07 PM EDT
  • Easing the path for organizations to launch big data-styled services, Red Hat has coupled the 10gen MongoDB data store to its new identity management package for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution.

    "The beauty of Identity Management is that it has a central infrastructure that companies can use to manage identities across many different types of applications," said Kelly Stirman, 10gen director of product marketing. With MongoDB linked to Identity Management, those shops already using RHEL will find it much easier to set up and run applications that run on MongoDB data. - Joab Jackson, ComputerWorld

  • China has a massive Windows XP problem
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 08:05 PM EDT
  • The deadline for the retirement of Microsoft's most successful operating system ever is eight months from tomorrow: April 8, 2014. That's the day when the Redmond, Wash. company is to deliver the last XP security update.

    The problem is that a significant chunk of the world's PCs continue to run the aged OS, and with just months to go, a seemingly impossible task faces those users: Getting off the 12-year-old XP and onto something newer. - Gregg Keizer, ComputerWorld

  • Ubuntu Edge Gets Its First Major Corporate Backer In Bloomberg, But Funding Still Off Needed Pac
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 08:03 PM EDT
  • The Ubuntu Edge is an audacious attempt to crowdsource the next smartphone advancement. Canonical, the company behind the Edge and Ubuntu itself is seeking an exorbitant $32 million to make it happen, and gave itself only a month to raise those funds. Now, Bloomberg LP has come forward as its first major corporate backer, with a lump $80,000 contribution in exchange for 100 Ubuntu Edge devices and enterprise workshops and technical support. - Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

  • Well, I see that people have figured out why I'm quitting AOSP.
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 08:01 PM EDT
  • Jean-Baptiste: Well, I see that people have figured out why I'm quitting AOSP.

    There's no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can't boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support, especially when I'm getting the blame for something that I don't have authority to fix myself and that I had anticipated and escalated more than 6 months ahead....

    Jan Wildeboer:
    +Jean-Baptiste Quéru - Respect for being honest and clear about this. When you want to do something truly open, Red Hat might be an option ;-) Thanks for all your hard work....

    Michael Hall:
    +Jean-Baptiste Quéru any chance you're going to the XDA:DevCon this weekend? If so, I'd love to chat with you about Ubuntu Touch :)

    [PJ: Qualcomm, you are messing things up badly.] - Jean-Baptiste Queru, Google+

  • Legal Issues With Qualcomm May Prevent Factory Images For New Nexus 7 From Ever Being Published
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 07:58 PM EDT
  • What's the legal issue? Who knows. Qualcomm is notoriously protective of its technology, having gone so far as to form a separate company devoted to R&D and the guarding of its intellectual property. It really could be anything. Maybe, eventually, things will work out like they did on the Nexus 4 and the images / binaries will be published, but JBQ isn't exactly sounding optimistic. We'll update this piece as we learn more. - David Ruddock, Android Police

  • How Much Will PRISM Cost the U.S. Cloud Computing Industry?
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 07:51 PM EDT
  • The United States has been the leader in providing cloud computing services not just domestically, but also abroad where it dominates every segment of the market. Recent revelations about the extent to which the NSA obtains electronic data from third-parties will likely have an immediate and lasting impact on the competitiveness of the U.S. cloud computing industry if foreign customers decide the risks of storing data with a U.S. company outweigh the benefits. Unless the White House or Congress acts soon, the U.S. cloud computing industry stands to lose $22 to $35 billion over the next three years. - ITIF

  • Senators ponder if bloggers deserve First Amendment protection
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 03:07 PM EDT
  • In 1972, Justice White was also asking the same questions that Congress is debating today about the process of defining the word “journalist.”

    “The administration of a constitutional newsman’s privilege would present practical and conceptual difficulties of a high order. Sooner or later, it would be necessary to define those categories of newsmen who qualified for the privilege, a questionable procedure in light of the traditional doctrine that liberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer who uses carbon paper or a mimeograph just as much as of the large metropolitan publisher who utilizes the latest photocomposition methods,” White said in his opinion.

    White then referred to an older Supreme Court decision, Lovell v. City of Griffin, from 1938, when Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said that, “The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our own history abundantly attest. The press, in its historic connotation, comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.”

    [PJ: Whatever one thinks of Wikileaks, by that definition, it certainly would qualify as a member of the press.] - Constitution Daily

  • Is the Chief Justice’s power to pick FISC judgesa bad idea?
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 03:02 PM EDT
  • Efforts are now being made, in Congress and in a few federal court lawsuits, to bring out into the open the FIS Court’s legal justification for its more recent orders. And there is also a parallel campaign, in and out of Congress, to impose new layers of public accountability on that court. And it is this second effort that has now brought to the fore the question of how judges get named to the FIS Court.

    Congress, in creating that tribunal, assigned the task to the Chief Justice alone. Unlike most appointments to significant government offices, these appointments are not subject to Senate confirmation. And, indeed, no one has the authority to review them.

    Scholars and policymakers, pondering whether to bring that process out into the open — and also to make it a shared responsibility — are returning to the Constitution. - Lyle Denniston, Constitution Daily

  • Slashdot founder Rob Malda on why there won’t be another Hacker News
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 02:51 PM EDT
  • Lee: How did you come to the Washington Post and what are you working on here?

    Malda: Somebody posted my resume to Hacker News and I spent the following month doing about 50-odd interviews with 40-odd companies. It was really cool because I got to see what a lot of interesting startups were into and talked to some big companies that I’d been writing about for a long, long time.

    But the Post had a number of things that I was very interested in being able to play with. The Labs team that I work for is a small group of engineers that has relative autonomy in the company, relative to the newspaper. We’re not owned by the newspaper, we’re owned by the parent company. Our charter is different. Our charter is interesting: take a big swing at the future of news. To that end, we have built interesting technology. - Timothy B. Lee, Washington Post

  • If Bruce Schneier ran the NSA, he’d ask a basic question: “Does it do any good?”
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 02:35 PM EDT
  • Similarly, the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee (PDF) on July 31, 2013:

    "But the Fourth Amendment is triggered by the collection of information, not simply by the querying of it. The NSA cannot insulate this program from Fourth Amendment scrutiny simply by promising that Americans’ private information will be safe in its hands. The Fourth Amendment exists to prevent the government from acquiring Americans’ private papers and communications in the first place.

    "Because the metadata program vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity, it is also unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has recognized that the government’s surveillance and investigatory activities have an acute potential to stifle association and expression protected by the First Amendment." - Cyrus Farivar, ars technica

  • How Windows is slowly killing Microsoft's mojo
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 02:13 PM EDT
  • Oh, for goodness sake, Microsoft isn't going to die. It will continue to be a giant in the tech industry, but like the rich geezer on [redacted] hanging on to a 20 something gold digger, the company isn't going to have much mojo.

    What do you do when your business relies on your charging a hefty premium for something that no one is willing to pay for? That's the essential problem facing Microsoft with Windows. - Emory Kale, TG Daily

  • Of Smart Phone Wars and Software Patents
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 08:31 AM EDT
  • Abstract: This article discusses the competing values of the U.S. patent system by placing the recent smart phone litigations in context with similar historical periods of patent dispute. Recognizing that software has characteristics of a general purpose technology, we provide a systematic list of U.S. patent classes and subclasses likely to contain inventions with software elements. Through this definitional lens, we compare USPTO data on the examination outcomes, administrative and judicial appeals, and quality assurance on so-called "software" patents to better understand the role of such patents in the smart phone litigations. We find that "software" patent applications are treated largely the same as those in other technologies, and that the USPTO both allows and rejects these applications at a high rate of compliance with applicable laws. We also take note of significant improvements to the patent system from the America Invents Act as well as ongoing USPTO efforts to ensure that the scope of patent rights is commensurate with the disclosure of new and useful technologies. These improvements and efforts reflect an appropriately systemic approach to encouraging innovation and the diffusion of knowledge.

    [PJ: They've missed the problem with software patents. The question isn't whether they are treated like all other patents. The question is whether they should be patentable subject matter in the first place, since software is algorithms, which are mathematics, which is not patentable subject matter.] - Stuart J. H. Graham, Georgia Institute, and Saurabh Vishnubhakat, USPTO, SSRN

  • Introducing SOL, The World's First Truly Sun-Powered Laptop
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 08:28 AM EDT
  • When you need to share your adventure, just "plug" into the sun....Free Power, Free Software

    SOL comes loaded with all the productivity and creativity tools you need. You don't need to purchase any more software to get started. There are thousands of free apps available online.

    With UBUNTU, the world's popular and most powerful and increasingly popular operating system, you'll be able to get ahead of the curve in no time.

    [PJ: The website indicates this is a project in the works, but it looks intriguing. Estimated price will be $350, and the laptop is also submersible. I love the idea.] - SOL, The Solar Laptop Company

  • Former NSA chief warns of cyber-terror attacks if Snowden apprehended
  • Wednesday, August 07 2013 @ 07:31 AM EDT
  • The former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA speculated on Tuesday that hackers and transparency groups were likely to respond with cyber-terror attacks if the United States government apprehends whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    "If and when our government grabs Edward Snowden, and brings him back here to the United States for trial, what does this group do?" said retired air force general Michael Hayden, who from 1999 to 2009 ran the NSA and then the CIA, referring to "nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven't talked to the opposite sex in five or six years".

    "They may want to come after the US government, but frankly, you know, the dot-mil stuff is about the hardest target in the United States," Hayden said, using a shorthand for US military networks. "So if they can't create great harm to dot-mil, who are they going after? Who for them are the World Trade Centers? The World Trade Centers, as they were for al-Qaida."

    Hayden provided his speculation during a speech on cybersecurity to a Washington group, the Bipartisan Policy Center, in which he confessed to being deliberately provocative. - Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian

  • DAA Full Page Ad in Ad Age: Keep Mozilla From Hijacking the Internet
  • Tuesday, August 06 2013 @ 10:24 PM EDT
  • DAA Full Page Ad in Ad Age: Keep Mozilla from Hijacking the Internet #constantcontact

    [PJ: Believe it or not, the Digital Advertising Alliance, or DAA, want us all to write to Mozilla and tell them to stop blocking cookies. With all the advertising members following us around and slicing and dicing our habits and preferences, don't they know we very much support Mozilla and commend them for making it a real choice *we* can make ourselves?] - DAAUSA, Twitter

  • Open Source Voting Machine Reborn After 6-Year War With IRS
  • Tuesday, August 06 2013 @ 10:16 PM EDT
  • Many are reluctant to publicly discuss their troubles, but numerous open source projects contacted by WIRED said the IRS has put a freeze on their nonprofit applications with Be On the Look Out letters, or BOLOs. Last month, documents released by Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee showed the Cincinnati-based IRS division that processes requests for tax-exempt status had been flagging open source software groups since at least 2010.

    You see, the IRS is concerned that these open source groups are merely commercial operations in disguise. As one BOLO from the IRS reads: “The members of these organizations are usually the for-profit businesses or for-profit support technicians of the software.” As the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation found out, the agency is even scrutinizing the open source licenses used by these organizations, hoping to ensure code is licensed in a way that ensures it doesn’t make anyone any money....

    Villa says he knows of “at least three projects” that have been asked to put non-commercial restrictions on their software licenses. That may seem like a small hurdle, but in reality, it’s a big problem because open source licenses by definition cannot include these kinds of limitations. - Robert McMillan, Wired

  • What does the USTR's disapproval of the Samsung-Apple exclusion order mean for SEP cases at ITC?
  • Tuesday, August 06 2013 @ 10:04 PM EDT
  • The USTR notes that the Commission should endeavor to “make explicit findings on these issues to the maximum extent possible,” and that he will look for these elements in future policy reviews of decisions made in FRAND-encumbered SEP cases. And it seems that the USTR is placing the burden squarely on the ITC itself to bring up these issues sua sponte, even if the parties haven’t fully addressed them for whatever reason. In the future, we may see more public interest fact-finding in FRAND-related Section 337 proceedings delegated to the ALJs, so that a more robust record can be developed. ...

    This in and of itself raises an interesting question — could Samsung now ask the Commission to make further, more detailed findings of fact relating to the FRAND issues in the -794 case, in an attempt to satisfy the standards set forth in Ambassador Froman’s disapproval letter? It may not be out of the question — the disapproval only relates to the exclusionary relief already issued by the ITC, and doesn’t categorically bar any future potential relief. In prior cases involving Presidential disapproval of ITC exclusion orders, the ITC has in fact issued modified exclusion orders after the inital exclusionary relief was vetoed. - Matt Rizzolo, Essential Patent Blog

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