By Jacob L. Rogers
Intel Acquires 1,700 Patents From Interdigital for $375 Million.
Intel has publicly announced its purchase of Interdigital’s patent portfolio, which is primarily composed of wireless patents. In the wake of the deal, Reuters voiced some concerns about the relative value of the deal, noting that the patents in this case were acquired at $220,000 per patent, compared to the $750,000 per patent and $735,000 per patent in the Nortel and Motorola deals, respectively. The acquisition of wireless patents could indicate a desire from Intel to push its chip manufacturing more towards mobile devices, where equipment and software updates are increasingly being applied over a wireless connection. Interdigital stock rose over 25 percent following the news of the Intel acquisition.
Motorola Continues Lawsuits over FRAND Patents
According to a report from Ars Technica, Motorola is continuing to sue companies over patents that it has agreed to license under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) terms. Although MPEG-LA (an organization that specializes in licensing standards patents) has said that the price of one of Motorola’s patents should be 10-20 cents per unit, Motorola’s standard terms are to ask companies for 2.25 percent of revenues from products that make use of the patented standards. Many companies have already accepted Motorola’s terms, although both Apple and Microsoft continue to fight Motorola’s prices. Last week, Richard Posner referred to the whole patent system as “chaos” and told Motorola that he did not believe they could obtain an injunction for a standards essential patent.
Judge Rules that Netflix May be Required to Provide Subtitles Under the American Disabilities Act
Judge Michael Ponsor ruled against dismissal of a case requiring Netflix to provide closed captioning for its programming pursuant to the American Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Netflix had attempted to claim that the ADA did not apply to services provided over the Internet. Boston.com reports that Judge Ponsor rejected the Netflix interpretation, holding that Congress intended the ADA to apply to evolving forms of technology and keep current with the times. Judge Ponsor extended this to web-based businesses, even though the act, passed in 1990, did not contemplate business conducted over the Internet at the time of its passage. Under Judge Ponsor’s reading, nearly all websites could be required to provide features for improved access by people with disabilities.
Google Reveals Censorship Request Information
Google has revealed that between July and December in 2011 it received more than 1,000 requests from governments around the world asking for the removal of content from its servers. The New York Times reports that some requests included an American police department asking for removal of a video showing police brutality, Canadian authorities asking for removal of a video showing a citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down a toilet, and 14 requests asking for removal of videos that showed information about Spanish authorities such as mayors and public prosecutors. Google has refused to remove these videos, although it has complied with almost 50 percent of requests overall and 93 percent of requests coming from the U.S. government. These statistics do not include removal of Google content from Iran or China, both of which regularly censor Google content without informing the company.