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legal dispute

Samsung has added iPhone 5 to a US patent lawsuit claiming the latest Apple’s handset infringes eight of its technologies.

The disputed innovations include a way to synchronize photos, music and video files across several devices, and a method to capture and send video over the internet.

Samsung had already filed claims against earlier iPhones and iPads.

It coincides with calls from a judge for “major reforms” to US patent law.

Judge Richard Posner, who previously oversaw a legal dispute involving Apple and Google’s Motorola unit, said that protection available to software patents was “excessive”.

Samsung’s legal move is the latest in a long running battle with Apple.

Apple has claimed that the Galaxy device maker copied the look and iOS system software found on its tablets and handsets.

Although several of Apple’s claims have been rejected, it recently scored a major victory when a California-based jury ruled Samsung should pay it over $1 billion in damages.

Samsung has had its own courtroom successes, including a ruling in August that Apple had infringed two of its wireless communication patents in South Korea. It resulted in an order for the iPhone maker to pay 40 million won ($35,000) in damages.

The US lawsuit involving the iPhone 5 dates back to April when a complaint about other devices was filed in the Northern District of California. The case is due to go to trial in March 2014.

It involves two so-called Frand patents – technologies Samsung has an obligation to licence on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms because they are recognized as being essential to data transmission standards. In other words, if Apple agrees to pay what is deemed to be a fair rate then Samsung will be obliged to let it use the technologies.

The other six disputed innovations are feature patents, and in theory Samsung could force Apple’s products off the shelves if it does not remove the functions from the devices.

Patent consultant Florian Mueller listed details of the disputed patents on his blog earlier this year, noting that Samsung owned about 30,000 US patents in total. Several of these include 4G LTE technologies which the Seoul-based company has hinted could be the basis of further lawsuits.

HTC, Motorola, Microsoft, RIM and other tech firms are also involved in ongoing US lawsuits.

Legal experts have expressed concern at some of the tactics being used, including Judge Richard Posner who threw out a case involving Motorola and Apple in June, rebuking both firms.

He has now followed this up with a blog post in which he calls for an overhaul of the law regarding software patents.

“Nowadays most software innovation is incremental, created by teams of software engineers at modest cost, and also ephemeral – most software innovations are quickly superseded,” he wrote.

“Software innovation tends to be piecemeal – not entire devices, but components, so that a software device (a cellphone, a tablet, a laptop, etc) may have tens of thousands of separate components (bits of software code or bits of hardware), each one arguably patentable.

“The result is huge patent thickets, creating rich opportunities for trying to hamstring competitors by suing for infringement – and also for infringing, and then challenging the validity of the patent when the patentee sues you.”

The judge said that 20-year-long patent protection made sense for pharmaceutical drugs which require development costs running to hundreds of millions of dollars, need extensive testing and subsequently remain on the market for decades.

He said such factors did not apply to software, adding that a firm that invented a new technology would benefit from being the first to use it and would also gain a reputation for innovation.

“My general sense… bolstered by an extensive academic literature, is that patent protection is on the whole excessive and that major reforms are necessary,” he wrote.

The tech news site Ars Technica, which was first to report the blog, noted that Judge Posner did not have the power to shape US patent policy, but added that his views were likely to be discussed by policymakers.



John Travolta has won the legal battle against Robert Randolph, the author of a book who claims the actor frequented gay bathhouses.

Robert Randolph, author of You’ll Never Spa in This Town Again, has unsuccessfully sued John Travolta for libel.

The author claimed John Travolta and his lawyer conspired to discredit him and his book by spreading lies about his mental health.

A letter fired off and allegedly leaked by John Travolta’s lawyer Marty Singer also stated Robert Randolph’s book was packed with lies.

Subsequently the judge overseeing the case dismissed it yesterday, agreeing with John Travolta and Marty Singer’s lawyer Lynda Goldman.

The judge ruled the letter was a legitimate part of the legal dispute over the book, and therefore protected by the First Amendment.

This means essentially that John Travolta and Marty Singer cannot be sued over the letter. Meanwhile, John Travolta has faced a barrage of gay claims.

John Travolta has won the legal battle against Robert Randolph

John Travolta has won the legal battle against Robert Randolph

Compounded with allegations by a slew of characters citing his inappropriate same sex advances.

In recent months, John Travolta’s sexuality became a hot topic again when he was accused by several men of sexually harassing them.

John Travolta has long remained mum about his sexuality and though he has denied the accusations.

The actor has also yet to speak openly about the allegations of sexual impropriety.

In May, three months after the aforementioned tell-all book was released, two masseurs filed lawsuits.

They claimed he had inappropriately touched them in incidents in Beverly Hills and Atlanta.

Both men whose identities were withheld in court documents dropped their lawsuits later that month.

Now, two more claims have surfaced.

One was from a man who filed an assault-and-battery claim against John Travolta in U.S. District Court on June 21 for an incident he alleges occurred on a cruise ship in 2009.

Fabian Zanzi, a cruise-ship employee, claims John Travolta made unwanted sexual advances toward him and is asking for a jury trial to determine compensation.

The next day, Robert Randolph filed his lawsuit against the actor and his lawyer for libel in Los Angeles Superior Court.