IPNews® – Walmart has recently filed a patent application which details a system that would include audio surveillance in stores.

The system is meant to improve employee performance and customer experience by recording details such as how long customers stand in line, beeps of the scanners, the rustle of bags, and even conversations. In response to privacy concerns, Walmart has stated that the system is only in the planning stages and may not become a reality. To continue reading, click: New Walmart Patent will Monitor and Record Customers and Employees

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IPNews® – Facebook Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are the targets of new patent infringement lawsuits the Regents of the University of California filed on Wednesday over interactive hypermedia technology.

All three companies are allegedly using patented university technology for displaying interactive information through web pages or software, the university claims in three new lawsuits filed in the Eastern District of Texas. Two of the patents asserted in the new cases were found invalid by a Texas jury in another university infringement case against Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and others earlier this year. The university has accordingly asked the Texas court to stay all deadlines in the new cases until the Federal Circuit can rule on the university’s appeal of the invalidity finding. To continue reading, click: University Of California Sues Facebook, Wal-Mart, Disney For Patent Infringement

troll.jpgSan Diego – As the patent war surrounding the technology for smartphones continues, it appears to be spreading to the semiconductor industry as well.  U.S.-based Intellectual Ventures (IV), considered by some to be the world’s most notorious patent troll, has filed a patent infringement suit against Hynix Semiconductor and Elpida Memory.

Intellectual Ventures is a private company that is known as being one of the top-five owners of U.S. patents.  It’s focus has been on developing an extensive patent portfolio, and then licensing these patents to companies that infringe on them.  Many times, IV takes the more controversial angle and litigates against those companies that refuse a license agreement.  Critics refer to this business model as “patent trolling”, however IV defends its methodology with claims that it is building a liquid market for invention and innovation and aiding the small inventors who might otherwise be at the mercy of large corporations.

The complaint, filed in Seattle federal court, alleges that Hynix and Elpida infringed on patented technology in manufacturing DRAM and memory chips.  Hynix denied the claims and vowed to counter-sue IV, who is seeking royalties for the DRAM and memory chip products since 2009 because Hynix and Elpida refused the license agreements.

Intellectual Ventures is suing other companies, including Dell, HP, and Acer, which buy their PC chips from Hynix and Elpida, and retail vendors such as Best Buy and Walmart.  In December 2010, IV sued nine companies including Hynix and Elpida in a Delaware federal court for not paying royalties for patented technologies that they did not take a license on.  In November, IV settled with Samsung Electronics for an undisclosed amount in royalties.

Intellectual Ventures was established in 2000 by Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft.  To date, the Bellevue, Washington-based company has acquired 35,000 patents in the IT and biotechnology fields that have reportedly generated over $2 billion in royalty payments.