Ericsson seeks US iPad, iPhone ban as it sues Apple over patents

Last month Apple and Ericsson went to war over the fees Ericsson is trying to charge Apple for the use of its mobile broadband patents. Apple sued Ericsson in an attempt to have the patents declared non-standard-essential (meaning they don’t automatically command royalties) or, if they are found standard-essential, to have Ericsson’s fees declared unreasonably high.

At the time, Ericsson merely went to the Eastern District of Texas district court in search of a judgement saying the patents are indeed essential to 4G standards. Now, however, it’s stepped up its campaign in a big way.

On Thursday Ericsson filed two complaints with the International Trade Commission, asking the ITC to hit Apple’s iPhone and iPads with an exclusion order for “infringing Ericsson patents that are essential to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards.” It also filed multiple complaints with the Eastern District of Texas court, looking for damages and injunctions over the infringement of 41 patents.

These patents cover many things, according to an Ericsson statement:

The patents include standard essential patents related to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards as well as other patents that are critical to features and functionality of Apple devices such as the design of semiconductor components, user interface software, location services and applications, as well as the iOS operating system.

According to Ericsson intellectual property chief Kasim Alfahali, the networking technology firm has “acted in good faith to find a fair solution [but] Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the ITC.”

Apple has previously said it had “always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights to standards essential patents covering technology in our products [but had] not been able to agree with Ericsson on a fair rate for their patents” and was therefore asking the courts for help. I’ve sought fresh Apple comment on Ericsson’s suits and will add it in as and when I receive it.

Judge: Facebook has to face lawsuit over scanning user messages

Facebook will have to deal with a class-action lawsuit that alleges that the company violated privacy laws by scanning the private messages of users for better advertising, according to a Tuesday ruling by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton.

In January, two men filed a complaint against [company]Facebook[/company] that claimed the social network looks at private messages to discover what websites its users are sharing with each other. After learning of the websites, the complaint alleges that Facebook bumps up those sites’ “Likes,” making Facebook more attractive to advertisers.

As Gigaom’s Jeff John Roberts reported, “the process is similar to Google’s automated practice of scanning Gmail messages in order to serve relevant ads — a practice that a federal judge appeared to consider a violation of the Wiretap Act ([company]Google[/company] is appealing).”

While Reuters reported that Facebook argued that the message-scanning allegation “was covered by an exception under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act,” Judge Hamilton apparently wasn’t swayed and “denied Facebook’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit.”

Check out the original complaint here, via CNET’s Jennifer Van Grove.

Facebook Class Action Re Message Scanning

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Here’s why Sidecar wasn’t named in the DAs’ ridesharing lawsuit

If you missed the news, the Los Angeles and San Francisco District Attorneys’ Offices are jointly suing Uber for misleading the public about its background checks, among other reasons. San Francisco DA George Gascón explained that they settled with Lyft for $500,000.

But missing from all the hubbub was one prominent name: Sidecar. The DAs didn’t mention the third company in the ridesharing trifecta, which left people wondering why. When the DAs threatened legal action back in September, Sidecar was one of the companies they named.

It turns out Sidecar wasn’t overlooked. The DAs didn’t name it because they’re still in legal negotiations. A Sidecar spokesperson told me, “We applaud the prosecutors for deciding to let the CPUC define regulations for this innovative new category of Shared Rides and we will continue to operate Sidecar Shared Rides in California. However, we disagree with The San Francisco and Los Angeles County District Attorneys’ Office on other issues and will continue to work with them until there is a resolution.”

In other words, Uber wouldn’t comply with the DAs’ requirements, Lyft agreed to, and Sidecar is still haggling. Gascón told Reuters Sidecar could still be sued if it doesn’t reach a peaceful settlement.

Retailers can look to healthcare for lessons in security

With retailers destined to stumble from their tightrope walk between privacy and security requirements and the use of new customer information, it is instructive to look at the implications and consequences of HIPAA privacy and EHR mandates and incentives in healthcare.

Healthcareitnews.com is a veritable legal blog documenting various costs for transgressions by healthcare IT buyers and vendors alike:

Breaches such as one revealed this week can tap both medical and credit card data. A four-year HIPAA breach was also reported in December. As HITN reports:

“HIPAA covered entities and, more recently, business associates can be slapped with up to $50,000 fines per HIPAA violation due to willful neglect that goes uncorrected. Entities could face $10,000 per violation due to willful neglect when the violation is properly addressed.”

Further, the costs of meeting the regulations and requirements can be steep when an implementation simply goes awry, rather than sparking fines or a liability suit. The Maine Medical Center slipped into the red when its Epic EHR implementation went over budget, with nearly $55 million in its latest additional spending required for staff training alone.

Retailers are forced to traffic in sensitive customer data by dictate of the market; healthcare organizations, by the government. But it is likely that laws will be passed to enforce greater penalties for retail transgressions than are paid presently. Both industries will need to further ruggedize systems handling new levels of private customer data.

FCC Chairman intends to fight network neutrality defeat, but how?

In a speech today the FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said he “intends to fight” the court ruling that on Tuesday gutted most of the FCC’s Open Internet Order governing network neutrality. Speaking at a Washington DC event he said, “Using our authority we will re-address the concepts in the open Internet order, as the court invited, to encourage growth and innovation and enforce against abuse.” So now the question is will he reclassify broadband as a Title II service or rely on the 706 clause in the Telecommunications Act? And will he do this via a formal proceeding or on a case by case basis that he had formerly preached?