Snap shells out $7.7 million for a patent just to keep it away from Facebook

Remember Mobli? It’s sort of an Instagram competitor that launched back in 2011, but didn’t really make it that far. The Android version of the app is now officially dead, while the iOS version is not among the highest-rated apps on the App Store. The fact that it works on a subscription scheme doesn’t do it any favors, too, we suppose. Well, the app’s maker — Mobli Media — still just made a bucketload of cash by selling a specific patent to Snap for $7.7 million.

The patent in question details the idea of placing geofilters (location-based filters) on your photos. You may have noticed that …


Court of Appeals ruling means Apple gets another shot at a valid patent for pinch-to-zoom

Back on January 9th 2007, during the introduction of the Apple iPhone, Steve Jobs also unveiled muli-touch. “We have invented a new technology called multi-touch that is phenomenal,” Jobs said. “It works like magic. You don’t need a stylus. It’s far more accurate than any touch display that’s ever been shipped. It ignores unintended touches. It’s super smart. You can do multi-finger gestures on it, and boy have we patented it.”

But that didn’t seem to matter in December 2012 after the USPTO invalidated the ‘915 patent associated with multi-touch and its features such as pinch-to-zoom. …

Google debuts PAX program to avoid patent wars and bring peace among Android OEMs

Patent lawsuits in the smartphone industry have become something of a pattern in the last couple of years, as companies like Google, Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, Nokia and other major players have been fighting each other for supremacy.

Believe it or not, Google wasn’t to stop all this non-sense with a cross-license agreement that will have to be signed by all its Android partners. The initiative is called PAX (“peace” in Latin), and it’s been created with the help with Android OEMs.

Under PAX, companies that sign will grant each other royalty-free patent licenses …

LG is suing budget phone maker Blu over alleged patent infringement

At this point, most people should be aware of the existence of Blu, makers of a number of budget but quality smartphones, which has been steadily gaining popularity in the United States for the past few years. But it appears making it big among consumers also makes you a fresh target for patent lawsuits, one of the smartphone industry’s oldest and most cherished traditions: today, LG Electronics has announced it is suing the company for infringing upon five LTE-related patents.

The Korean giant has also requested a ban on sales of all of Blu’s smartphones …

Samsung's latest smartwatch patent puts a screen on the rotary dial

One of Samsung smartwatches’ defining features for a while has been their rotary dial (or at least it has for the circle-shaped models, anyway). So it’s no surprise the company would be looking into ways to upgrade that feature in new ways, as evidenced by a new patent application for a screen-equipped dial which is to be possibly used in a future smartwatch.

While, as usual, we advise against getting overly excited for a patent, as there’s very little guarantee such a product is anything more than a Samsung engineer’s fever dream at the moment. First …

Apple patent shows iPhone docking into a MacBook shell

Apple has made it very clear that the MacOS and iOS software will not be converging, but apparently that doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple can’t at least dream about ways to make the hardware mingle a little more. As you should know by now, Apple has a habit of patenting all the things regardless of if those things will ever see the light of day, and we’re kind of assuming at least one of these options will be left in the bin.
Not to be outdone by previous versions of the same idea, Apple has received patents for two hybrid designs that we’ve seen in various forms …

Did Microsoft receive another patent for the Surface Phone?

Back in January, Microsoft was granted a patent for a 2-in-1-device that folded from a phone into a tablet and vice versa. Since the patent was awarded to Microsoft, some people jumped to conclusions and determined that this was the mythical Surface Phone. This past week, Microsoft received a new patent for a foldable handset, and once again there are rumors that it is related to the long awaited, mythical Surface Phone.

A foldable Surface Phone would face some stiff competition from Samsung and LG. The latest rumor has Samsung ready to release thousands of prototypes to carriers and retailers …

Patent application shows Apple Pencil holder for iPads, again references use with iPhone

Back in December, we saw an Apple patent-filing over a new Apple Pencil model — one that may or may not be compatible with iPhones! The implication being that at least the big iPhone Plus models could get their own stylus and compete with the Galaxy Note series in the realm of phablets for professionals or people who just love their handwriting.

Now, a new patent shows us that Apple is also thinking about ways to easily store and transport the Pencil with your iPad, and it loosely touches upon the whole iPhone compatibility thing again. Let’s talk about the latter case first — the patent …

Patent application reveals how Apple might use flexible OLED displays in future devices

A recently published Apple patent application might have just given us an idea of how Cupertino will employ the flexible OLED display technology in the future. This application is named “Electronic devices with retractable displays”, and it describes a scroll-like portable device hosting such a screen which retracts into two cylindrical casings.

Before you start looking for a high-tech toga to match, it is worth noting that we probably won’t see Apple pushing this type of gadgets on the market soon due to the current high production costs and limited availability …

Apple Watch patent application sticks a battery powered strap on a round body

Apple may have a solution for short battery life on the Apple Watch. Put the battery in the band.

apple-watch-app-battery-body

An Apple patent application dated today illustrates a battery on the strap of a wearable device, presumably the Apple Watch. The proposed patent also shows that watch’s circular face, which is a different shape than the Apple Watch’s usual rectangular display.

Battery life has been a struggle for the Apple Watch, which is a top contender in the wearables market and broke the product’s sales records during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Apple says the watch has an 18-hour battery life, but that still means you’ll have to charge it every night if you don’t want a dead watch the next day. Extending battery life could help the watch compete against rivals with more stamina.

It isn’t clear if including the battery in the band would add significant bulk to the watch’s strap. It also isn’t clear how many batteries the watch would have and if the battery would be embedded into the band itself.

As for that round face, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Apple want to patent a watch design with a circular display. Other smartwatches, like the Samsung Gear S2 and the Huawei Watch, are made with circular displays, so if Apple ever gives the Apple Watch a round face-lift, it would join rivals in looking more like a traditional wristwatch.

Although the patent was published today, it was filed in July 2015 (around the same time the other Apple Watch patent was filed). Apple has a track record for filing patents of all sorts (like one for this paper bag), and this application here is no guarantee that we’ll see the final product.

That being said, an Apple Watch or any smartwatch with better battery life is something I think we can all get behind.