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WhatsApp, Blackberry and Fitbit

Privacy, Patents and Trade Secrets

EU to crack down on online services such as WhatsApp over privacy

WhatsApp, Skype and other online messaging services face an EU crackdown aimed at safeguarding users’ privacy, in a move that highlights the gulf between Europe and the US in regulating the internet.
The European commission will publish a draft law on data privacy that aims to ensure instant message and internet-voice-call services face similar security and privacy rules to those governing SMS text messages, mobile calls and landline calls.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green MEP and prominent campaigner on data privacy, said: “It was obvious that there needs to be an adjustment to the reality of today. We see telecoms providers being replaced and those companies who seek to replace them need to be treated in the same way,” he said.

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BlackBerry launches patent assault on Android phone maker BLU

Canadian phone maker BlackBerry has launched its second (and third) patent-related lawsuit this month, this time against Android smartphone maker BLU.
BlackBerry owns more than 40,000 patents, and has started to put them to good use. Just weeks after targeting telephony outfit Avaya, the company has filed two lawsuits against budget phone maker BLU alleging that the firm infringes a whopping 15 patents.

These patents include 7,969,924 (Method and apparatus for state/mode transitioning), 8,489,868 (Software code signing system and method) and 8,402,384 (Dynamic bar-oriented user interface).
It wouldn't be surprising to see BlackBerry gunning after other Android smartphone makers given the generic description of these patents, in particular for a 'dynamic bar-oriented user interface'.

Right now, though, BlackBerry's sights are set firmly on BLU.

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Fitbit Wins Latest Round in ITC, Jawbone to Appeal

Shares of fitness tracking pioneer Fitbit (FIT) are up 18 cents, or 1.2%, at $15.06, after the U.S. International Trade Commission this evening issued an initial determination from an administrative law judge finding that the company did not misappropriate any trade secrets from competitor Jawbone, which is privately held.

Jawbone had brought suit against Fitbit starting in May of 2015, and three separate actions have ensued, including an ITC trial over the summer. Today’s ruling by judge Dee Lord is a recommendation to the commission following that trial. Jawbone had alleged patent infringement by Fitbit, and theft of trade secrets. The patent claims were thrown out earlier this year, and what remained was for Lord to rule on the theft of secrets claims.

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