Thursday Grok: Patently obvious—Apple and Samsung agree to mediation through gritted teeth

Crime doesn’t pay, nor does it cost much either. Plus, Top 10 Silicon Valley gatekeepers

It is a little reported side effect of the Apple and Samsung patent stoush that it has engorged the bank balance of technology publishers the world over due to its appeal to those fat, hungry Google spiders. But while it has consistently proven a huge driver of those tasty, tasty page impressions, alas it may all be coming to an end, and bloggers may have to go back to working for a living.

“Apple and Samsung Electronics have agreed that their chief executives will participate in settlement talks to try to resolve a patent lawsuit over smartphone and tablet technology, according to a court filing...In a court filing late on Monday, both companies agreed to the settlement conference. US District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday then referred the companies to a San Francisco-based magistrate judge who will lead the talks.”

That particular flavour of the Reuters reportage was sourced from the Australian Financial Review which has helpfully turned off its utterly appalling digital right regime after many years of frustrating copyright bandits the world over.

For its part, Bloomberg noted that while both sides are talking about jaw-jaw they are still preparing for war-war at a scheduled August 25 hearing.“Both companies said they intend to challenge expert testimony, with Samsung arguing that Apple’s experts submitted testimony falling short of evidentiary standards.”

For its part, Siliconvalley.com made an interesting point, saying the action is seen as a proxy war against Google's Android operating system by Apple, even though Google is not "an over focus" of the action.“With Google already enmeshed in a battle with Oracle(ORCL) in federal court in San Francisco over the intellectual property rights to Android, the Apple-Samsung battle represents a kind of second battle front against Android. Apple has also filed patent-infringement suits against Android-phone makers HTC and Motorola Mobility, which is being acquired by Google.”

Of course the Google/Oracle Imbroglio also brought us news that Oracle CEO Leisure Suit Larry Ellison ran the ruler over Research in Motion as he considered ways to buy his way into the main game — mobility.

Reporter James Niccolai reported that in the end Ellison considered RIM too expensive and Palm too crappy to be worth the treasure and quoted the Oracle CEO saying, “We explored the idea and decided it would be a bad idea.”

Crime pays, sort of

Here’s a story that’s getting a little rusty — it was first published on the 14 April when Grok was otherwise distracted by 56 pages of User Acceptance Testing documents for an upcoming project — but is an important story that goes to the heart IP ownership for the software created in the enterprise: Former Goldman Sachs staffer, Sergey Aleynikov, had himself banged up after transferring “500,000 lines of encrypted source code from the ... firm’s proprietary HFT system to a server located in Germany” on his way out the door to join another company and Goldman competitor, Teza Technologies, according to Techcrunch.

After jamming his blood funnel in the Great Vampire Squid's dark heart and downloading the software to his home computer, the predictable sequence unfolded: Aleynikov was nicked by the Feds at the airport, tried, convicted, imprisoned, and — this being the United States of America — acquitted and released on a technicality.

Land of the Free indeed.

It’s a relatively legalistic piece, but worth reading for the significance (and limitations) of the judgment.

Get in line... behind me

Finally, for all those wannabe internet gazillionaire startups out there (yup, me too), here’s a neat little multimedia story from Business Insider called, "The 10 People You Need to Know to Open Doors in Silicon Valley". We won’t spoil it for you by giving away the names, or steal BI’s thunder, but go and take a look. It even includes helpful suggestions about how to contact them, which makes us think they must really have yanked someone’s chain at BI because right now their mobile phones, emails and twitter feeds must be melting down.

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments. Follow him on Twitter @ag_birmingham. He is the former associate publisher of the Australian Financial Review. He loves DRM.

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More about: Andrew, Apple, Australian Financial Review, Australian Financial Review, Bloomberg, Goldman, Google, HTC, Motion, Motorola, Oracle, Palm, Reuters, RIM, Samsung, Samsung Electronics
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