One of the funny things about tech is the extent to which competitors often co- operate with each other. Microsoft sells versions of its Office software that work on Apple's Mac computers, even though this under- mines the exclusive value of its Windows operating system. Amazon.com sells Netflix the infrastructure to stream videos to consumers even as it tries to compete with a video ser- vice of its own. Maximizing the profitability of these frenemy relationships is tricky. Re- cent commentary about the surprising suc- cess of Apple's mobile mapping software il- lustrates how easy it is to look at individual pieces and miss the bigger picture.
In an effort to encourage iPhone users to switch to devices powered by Google Inc.'s Android software, Google deliberately re- leased inferior versions of its mobile apps to Apple customers. That version of Google Maps didn't have turn-by- turn navigation. Apple responded by developing its own mapping software and including it with every new device.
Apple Inc., faces a trial over claims by a California inventor that a patent he holds covers key features of the iPhone.
Apple maintains the NetAirus Technologies patent is invalid because the technology was known long before the company filed its patent. Apple has won pretrial rulings that cap any recovery NetAirus may win.
The company owned by inventor Richard L Ditzik filed the patent application in 1997 for a handheld device that combines computer and wireless-communications functions over both a local-area network and a wide-area network. Jury selection has started in a federal court in the law- suit, filed more than three years ago by NetAirus. Apple said in court filings that its Newton message pad, with add-on hard- ware, could perform the same functions as those claimed by NetAirus's patent as early as 1994. A US court last year allowed NetAirus to proceed on its claim that the iPhone infringes its patent for a mobile phone configured as a personal digital assistant that switches between a Wi-Fi and a cellular network connection.
Pandora's new avatar
Twenty-First Century Fox's bid to register "Pandorapedia" as a trademark for clothing was rejected by an appeal board at the US Patent and Trademark Office. The studio applied to register the mark - related to James Cameron's "Avatar" film - in 2009. A trademark examiner rejected the application, finding it to be too much like an existing mark - "Pandora" - also used with clothing. An appeal was filed, and the board said that even though the studio specified the mark would be used for clothing "related to motion picture films," it is the identification of the goods that controls how the mark is used, rather than whatever extrinsic evidence may show about their specific nature. The possibility of confusion would be too great, the board said, and consumers would be confused. BB
I DON'T KNOW BOSS
- Has the mortgage law come into effect?
- Yes. The broader limits are 75% for expats and 80% for nationals.
- Can't the banks go beyond that?
- No... especially after UAE Banks' Federation issued a code of conduct for banks.
- But a leading bank has advertised offering mort-gage loans up to 85%!
- I don't know boss!