Supreme Court to mull Google bid to end Oracle copyright suit

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By Jan Wolfe



a close up of a toy: A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration


© Reuters/DADO RUVIC
A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to consider whether to protect Alphabet Inc’s Google from a long-running lawsuit by Oracle Corp accusing it of infringing Oracle copyrights to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world’s smartphones.

The shorthanded court, down one justice following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Google’s appeal of a lower court ruling reviving the lawsuit in which Oracle has sought at least $8 billion in damages. The arguments will be held by teleconference because of the coronavirus pandemic.



a large tall tower with a clock at the top of a building: FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court is seen through the U.S. Capitol columns in Washington


© Reuters/ERIN SCOTT
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court is seen through the U.S. Capitol columns in Washington

A jury cleared Google in 2016, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that decision in 2018, finding that Google’s inclusion of Oracle’s software code in Android was not permissible under U.S. copyright law.

Oracle and Google, two California-based technology giants with combined annual revenues of more than $190 billion, have been feuding since Oracle sued for copyright infringement in 2010 in federal court in San Francisco. The case’s outcome will help determine the level of copyright protection for software, according to intellectual property lawyers.



a close up of a sign: FILE PHOTO - An exterior view of the Oracle Field Office


© Reuters/Tom Brenner
FILE PHOTO – An exterior view of the Oracle Field Office

Oracle accused Google of copying thousands of lines of computer code from its popular Java programming language without a license in order to make Android, a competing platform that has harmed Oracle’s business.

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Google has said the shortcut commands it copied into Android do not warrant copyright protection because they help developers write programs

New class action suit resurrects iPhone throttling controversy

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A new class action lawsuit filed in California takes aim at an erstwhile iOS battery management tool that allegedly hindered the performance of certain iPhone 6, iPhone 7 and iPhone SE series devices.

Filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the complaint is the latest in a series of lawsuits targeting the so-called “batterygate” fiasco from 2017. The complaint arrives on the same day as a submission deadline for iPhone owners to file claims in a $500 million settlement that was reached earlier this year to rectify identical grievances.

Discovered shortly after the release of iOS 10.2.1, the iPhone throttling issue was traced back to a hardware management tool that was included in iOS to mitigate negative effects of aging iPhone batteries. In particular, the software was designed to thwart unexpected shutdowns suffered by certain iPhone 6 and 6s devices, but was maintained well into the lifecycle of iPhone 7.

Release notes accompanying the 10.2.1 release state the update “improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.” No mention of CPU throttling is made, nor is the management feature detailed in full.

Third-party tests confirmed the presence of an undisclosed throttling process, prompting Apple to issue an apology to iPhone owners for a lack of transparency. To make up for the alleged indiscretion, prices on out-of-warranty battery replacements were cut and the company later introduced a battery health tool that allows users to disable the throttling feature manually.

Still, the lawsuits flowed in. A total of 61 class action complaints were consolidated in April 2018 by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, with Apple ultimately agreeing to settle in March of this year.

Terms of the settlement grant members about $25 each for their troubles. The actual payout

Researchers developed a smart suit that is wirelessly powered by a smartphone

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Researchers from NUS have developed a smartphone-powered suit that is capable of providing athletes with physiological data, including information on their posture, running gait, and body temperature while they are performing. The team says athletes are always looking for new ways to push human performance and to be able to improve the need to know their current limits objectively so they can overcome them. Current ways that athletes can track performance include wearables, such as the Apple Watch or Fitbit.

Better performing systems are available, but typically include tangles of wire and are too bulky to be used outdoors. The researchers sat about developing a system optimized for collecting data on athletes in the outdoor environment during performance using multiple sensors at different points on the body. One major goal was to reduce the system’s bulk, weight, and wires to an absolute minimum.

The researchers came up with a wearable suit with patterns of web-like threads that relay electromagnetic signals from a nearby smartphone to sensors on the body as far away as a meter. The smartphone provides power and data connectivity to the suit wirelessly. Developing the technology took about two years.

The team says that the smart suit works with most modern smartphones, which act as the power source and the display to view sensor data. The suit is powered by integrated smartphone wireless technology. The web of circuitry inside the wearable suit has inductive patterns that act as hubs at strategic locations.

Custom-made sensors are placed at those hubs and can transmit data back to the smartphone and are powered by the smartphone’s NFC chip. Eliminating the need for the wearable suit to have batteries reduces bulk and weight. Up to six sensors are supported per smartphone. Sensors can do things such as measure spinal posture, running