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Judge's ruling on patent interpretation could lead to a ban on Android tethering

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Judge's ruling on patent interpretation could lead to a ban on Android tethering
A ruling by Judge Thomas Pender on how to interpret a Nokia patent was decided in favor of the Finnish manufacturer and could result in the banning of the tethering feature on Android phones. The patent involved is U.S. Patent No 5,884,190 on a "method for making a data transmission connection from a computer to a mobile communication network for transmission of analog and/or digital signals." With the ruling, it becomes more difficult for HTC to deny that it infringed on the patent during the ITC trial, which is set to start in two months.

Diagram from Nokia's patent

Diagram from Nokia's patent

Google tried to get the judge to agree to a narrower "scope" of the patent, but failed. The Mountain View tech giant had hoped to be a co-defendant with HTC in the case and protect Android, but is only a third party intervenor. HTC can escape the charge if it can prove that they did not use even just one element of the patent. For example, Google was hoping to get the judge to accept its view that the patent required the connection involved to be connected to both analog and digital equipment at the same time, something that is not done with Android tethering. Instead, the judge said that "the device tests which network is available and transmits on that mode, whether the mode is analog or digital". 

Remember, the only thing that has been decided at this point, is how to interpret the patent involved. As we said earlier, the trial starts in two months and HTC and Google can try to claim prior art, which might be difficult since it would require finding some reference to thethering from the early 1990's. Or HTC could simply deny the infringement and if that fails, it can ask the 6 member ITC commission to overrule the judge. And if that fails, a ban on Android tethering could ensue. Or, as is most likely, Nokia will be receiving royalty checks from HTC. In case you're wondering, Apple and BlackBerry have already settled their legal difficulties with Nokia.

source: FOSSPatents

86 Comments
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posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:23 30

1. dragonite99 (unregistered)


burn in hell nokia

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:34 21

3. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


Dieing struggling company is now becoming like Apple!
Start to Litigate!

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 18:26 16

44. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)


Nokia will never be able to use Android OS, if Nokia win the case. Nokia will go bankrupt with Windows Phones.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 03:57 4

70. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


hope so.....Apple + Nokia + Microsoft + Intel all of them led by pure devil :)

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 21:28 10

52. lovenyc8 (Posts: 164; Member since: 13 Mar 2013)


f**k nokia thats why there company is dying like blackberry keep suing and you and apple heading to hell and soon you both will be dead. nokia needs 100 years to get one step to Android.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 21:39 13

54. -box- (Posts: 3728; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Nokia's defending its 16K patents which defined the industry, whereas apple uses its late-to-the-game patents to bully others for baloney disputes

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 21:49 6

56. johnnh (Posts: 37; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)


You mean attacking the idea of FRAND in crossplatform features. These idiots saw htc's weakness when they reached a settlement with apple so they went all-in to try to get something too. Why they do not sue apple for tethering? or samsung? Nokia didn't make any stand out stuff rather than consumer friendly phones since the late 90s. They didn't created mobile phones, nor gsm, nor cdma nor any breakthrough technology that defined the industry. Just user friendly phones and leaded symbian development. What would had hapened if palm sued nokia for coping features from palm os to symbian? This patent war has turned so childish

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 01:49 6

66. sbw44 (Posts: 380; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)


Whats wrong? as soon as google gets sued Nokia is suddenly the bad guy? Lmao! Go Nokia!

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 05:31 2

72. jsdechavez (Posts: 701; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


Agree. Some of these people just don't get why research companies defend their hard-earned patents. You work on an idea, invent and discover something. If someone steals that idea or discovery won't you feel sad? You'd want it back right? Or at least you benefit from it. Nothing wrong with Nokia suing others. Apple, Blackberry and others have already agreed to pay to use some Nokia patents. Nothing wrong suing the competition.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 04:27 1

71. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)


this patent is sh*t...like to forward any message through middle participant, mediator ;)

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 13:20

81. mousesports (Posts: 243; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)


maybe your brain will burn in hell of your ass

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:25 7

2. Ninetysix (Posts: 1437; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Ha ha!

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:35 15

4. darkvadervip (Posts: 292; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)


Oh it's funny blackberry and apple can settle but google can't. Time to pay up google. Just imagine just a $1 for every android tablet and phone ever sold is a win win.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:41 17

6. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


Nokia are in desperate need for resources

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:10 9

24. faisal8708 (Posts: 104; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


Maybe on the other hand it seems like Google wants to live on charity

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:09 6

23. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


Google shouldn't have to settle. Google doesn't make the phones, therefore it isn't in control of whether or not tethering is in your device. (This is an educated guess, not a fact, but) Most people probably don't even use the tethering feature on their phones because it requires a higher monthly bill.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:32 1

36. faisal8708 (Posts: 104; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


Actually thts carriers bolckin a feature to make money otherwise tethering is available on unlocked phones I first used it on E71 and its a quite a valueable feature for many

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:34

37. faisal8708 (Posts: 104; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


Nokia didnt sued Google they got involved on their own and wanted to be co-defendant but the court only allowed them to intervene

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 06:53

75. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


That's besides the point. I was replying to comment four.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 18:01 2

43. Taters (Posts: 2640; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


You are correct, they can't sue Google. Only the manufacturers.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 22:16

62. haroonazeem638 (Posts: 127; Member since: 29 Mar 2011)


You do realize even if google loses this one, It's not google who has to pay? It's the manufacturers and who make and sell the phones.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 05:36 1

73. jsdechavez (Posts: 701; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


Agree. But Google may not have to pay since it doesn't make phones and profit from it (also pointed out by quesoesgrande#23). However when Nokia starts suing the Android OEMS and starts winning, Android will definitely lose market share and revenues that's why Google acted as co-defendant. They ought to lose big that's why they're helping HTC.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 08:06

77. PAPINYC (Posts: 2224; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


That's cuz' when you interpret in lai-man's terms you are talking TRILLIONS! Time to root and titha' for FREEE......!

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:39 14

5. Tele7 (Posts: 47; Member since: 12 Dec 2012)


Android been out since when? And they want to ban tethering now?

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:53 3

11. Hemlocke (unregistered)


Nokia is just getting around to them, it seems. I imagine Microsoft goaded them into it, such Android is such an easy target, given that very few features weren't developed elsewhere. I truly expect to see Nokia go for the jugular, especially since their mobile IP treasure trove is probably one of the most diverse and deep in the industry.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:12 8

25. faisal8708 (Posts: 104; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


They sued HTC after they settled with Apple which was i think 2010 or so no MS involvement at time so cheak ur facts

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:24 6

34. Hemlocke (unregistered)


It's not 2010, now, and Nokia is starting to ramp up their litigation and go after Android proper. Reading comprehension and spelling are your friends.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:37 4

40. faisal8708 (Posts: 104; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


I doubt Nokia is the one which sets court dates and this would not be a problem if HTC just pay royalities to Nokia like everyone else

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 22:00 1

60. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5576; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Who uses tethering? Presumably 'tethering' is when there is a hardwire connection between the computer and the mobile device. Every 'connection' I have recently seen between a computer and a mobile device operates by wireless link, as in WiFi. All HTC would need to do is disable the tethering function and they would seem to be good to go.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 01:47 1

65. faisal8708 (Posts: 104; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


Thts still tethering

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 05:41 2

74. jsdechavez (Posts: 701; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


HTC (and other device manufactures) would have to totally remove the capability to be truly free of this obligation to pay Nokia. Or simply pay the fee to use it. In this case, who'd buy a phone that doesn't have tethering? Imagine a world with only Nokia having data tethering...hehe

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:47 9

7. Zero0 (Posts: 582; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Imagine if Nikola Tesla took this approach a few decades ago. He wouldn't have been broke, and modern technology would probably be a shell of what it is today. After all, wireless only came to be after Marconi infringed on over a dozen of Tesla's patents, and Tesla let him go. The best part is that Tesla had patents that were, you know, actual innovations.

As for Nokia, it isn't easy to make good phones when you're blowing money on lawyers. Why not hire people to actually make things happen? You're a technology company, not a legal company. Act like one.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 16:22 9

14. 14545 (Posts: 1091; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Well said. I wish all of these tech companies would stop worrying about infringement and worry about bringing, us, THE CUSTOMER, a better product. Resources are always better used to innovate instead of litigate. To me, this is just the sign of a desperate company.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:15 3

27. therealestmc (Posts: 129; Member since: 23 Jul 2012)


So, you are saying that for companies to let other companies infringe on their patents without consequences? I am not sure if you are being sarcastic or in willful idiot.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:47 4

41. 14545 (Posts: 1091; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Really, so you're saying that google should have patented all the things that have been ripped off from them? You are the idiot. I guess you think that google should sue apple for the "notification" center? Not to mention, this is as broad a patent as their is. Patents are stupid and they harm innovation. THEY ARE A GOVERNMENT CREATED MONOPOLY. They are not natural, therefore they shouldn't exist.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 19:07 8

46. Zero0 (Posts: 582; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Let's pull out our trusty copy of the United States Constitution...

Article I, Section 8 sounds nice. Let's see. Anything about intellectual property? Congress is evidently given the authority "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

Let me emphasize "to promote the progress of science." Not "to give patent trolls infinite power using broad or ridiculous patents." To promote progress. THAT is why patents exist. And if patents are hurting innovation, something needs to be done.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:34 4

38. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


I agree. And I think everyone agreed that apple has gone too far with its patents attacks. I don't meant to to turn the comments into a hate apple section by saying this.

When was the last time apple had a great feature that everyone wanted to have? There hasn't been one since Siri, which was quickly put in its place by Google Now. Look at Apple Maps. What happened with that lock screen bypass bug?

Next, why doesn't Apple share the specs of they're phones and tablets with us? They don't beat that of of manufactures, that's why.

This is just a single example of how I think Apple could spend its money better. Others will have different opinions, I know.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:35 2

39. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


My point is that Nokia could do the same.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 21:56 1

59. 9thWonderful (Posts: 230; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)


"Put in its place" is a little extra. Siri took voice command beyond simple dictation & search functions into an interpretation-based feature. Lets not pretend like Google Now didn't take cues from Siri.

It's sad that you have to use examples of bashing Apple to illustrate a point that isn't even clear, first of all, and then you tie it up by saying "My point is that Nokia could do the same". What? You started off about talking about Apple's patents-happy ways (which is kinda related to the article) & went off on a tangent that was totally left field. Just a prime example if how ridiculous people can be.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 23:58 1

63. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 618; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


Oh and Google Now was quickly cobbled together to combat Siri? Don't be ridiculous, Google Now was always something Google was working on in case you never noticed that Google had Google Voice working on desktop long before Apple bought Siri from Nuance. You think that the Neural network that Google has was pulled out of their ass just to top Apple? If Google can pull that out of their asses last minute then we can only sit back and wait to see what they roll out with when they work hard at it.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 13:19

80. 9thWonderful (Posts: 230; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)


and voice command in its basic state existed on basic phones long before Google Voice/Now was an option even on desktop. so what's your point? MY point is that everything that we experience now as technology and what we consider "new" is just an improved-upon/revamped version of something that was already there. people view Google as an innovator when they borrow technology like the next company but fans of Google accuse others of copying what they do. that's a little hypocritical. in this case, voice-dictated functions didn't start w/Google. the way i see it is a good idea is a good idea and someone can take that idea, tweak it and make it better everybody wins. now i don't support blatant copying (*ahem* LG following anything that Samsung does) sharing ideas is healthy for the industry.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:21 2

30. Sarajevo (Posts: 37; Member since: 30 Nov 2012)


Yeah, but Tesla did not try to protect his patents and he died like pure man. In the same time, people and companies that infringed his patents has became reach. All these technologies would come to us even they had to pay to Tesla for his patents, but in that case, they would be less reach, and Tesla would be more reach. In this way, they have became so reach and he died pure, and it was not honest.

So, why should Nokia let others to earn money on Nokia's patents? Ok they use it and they will use it, but it is honest to pay to Nokia for that. Because, Nokia spent a lot of money on R&D.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 19:10 1

47. Zero0 (Posts: 582; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Because this is a ridiculous patent.

If Nokia invented something like a new battery, cool. But they "invented" sharing a wireless connection. That's not really that far off from actually using a wireless connection. Heck, the antenna has to be wired up to the motherboard of the phone anyway. How is that much different from routing the antenna to another computer's motherboard?

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 21:46 2

55. -box- (Posts: 3728; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Nokia's been Tesla-ish been for a long while. Now they're defending their property like a mother defends its cubs

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:48 4

8. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


PhoneArena
Alan F

What are you're thoughts and who do you think is on the negative....?

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:51 2

10. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1619; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


Haha want to know there thoughts! Troll

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 16:13 2

13. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7619; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Their*

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 15:50 4

9. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1619; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


Outrage! Nokia I'm dissapointed I expected this from apple but not from you...so go on how much are you paying the judge??

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:15 6

26. jlp34876 (Posts: 79; Member since: 02 Dec 2012)


they are totally different, apple will sue you for infringing curves and squares, while this involves technicality on software or hardware.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 16:07 3

12. Bernoulli (Posts: 1436; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


Dang, but Apple's royalties to nokia aren't from their tethering, they're from something else

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 16:28 9

15. UrbanPhantom (Posts: 949; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)


Nokia's patent Deathstar strikes a blow: pay up HTC, and every other Android OEM ;o)

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 21:55 1

58. johnnh (Posts: 37; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)


The patent diagram states pcmcia card, to my knowledge that is not current motherboards with integrated usb cables...

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:01 5

16. jlp34876 (Posts: 79; Member since: 02 Dec 2012)


at least this involeves technology and not some square and curve s**t. why are so many bitter here if Nokia wants to settle this types of issue

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:02 1

17. lyndon420 (Posts: 1706; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Next comes the patent that Nokia/ms/apple owns that details interpreting electronic signals from a mobile device screen to the owners brain. I call it opening your eyes, but I'm guessing that would be too vaguely worded for even a patent filing.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:03 7

18. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)


Hell yeah android fanboys always get mad when android loses. If you designed something spent your hard earn time and sweat into something new just to have another company use what you spent Rd in developing in and not pay you, you be mad. So stop the bs your not a law firm bs. If Google sued somebody for there intellectual property you be happy. Android fan boys have the biggest sick in their mouth.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:19 5

29. 14545 (Posts: 1091; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Well, when you get down to it, they didn't infringe. Since this obscure patent covers an analog-digital conversion it is no longer relevant. We no longer use analog signals. Add to that, it appears from the drawing that it needs a tether too, then this is a very narrow patent that was just blown up to suit the needs of a specific party. Nokia, instead of giving us what we ask for with an android model, they would rather just do MS's dirty work.I mean cleary WP isn't going to be a real success every. And we all know elop is just a MS shill.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 02:00 2

68. sbw44 (Posts: 380; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)


So you Nokia to lose their Mapping services, seeing that Google would not allow them to use HERE Maps because its threat to Google Maps. This is something they spent billions on just for you to be happy?

Plus there is already millions of Android OEM's out there, why do you F**king people want more? Nokia is giving people choice and competition!

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:03 1

19. MartianMe (unregistered)


Apple and BlackBerry have already settled their legal difficulties with Nokia." I don't think htc has any chance to win but i 'm hoping forn the best...on the other hand is nice to see google trying to help htc.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:06 1

20. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


I hate patents. I hate them. I hate them. For the common person who invents something, they are a wonderful way to protect your ideas. But this is stifling innovation and possibly the features of my next handset (the HTC One).

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 17:21 1

31. 14545 (Posts: 1091; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Thanks to first to file laws, a common person will never be protected by patents ever again. Just more corporate welfare. We just need to do away with all patents and then we might get somewhere.

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