CopyTele, a “patent enforcement entity” based in New York, has filed a patent infringement suit against Microsoft in connection with its Skype IP calling and messaging service, now used by 280 million people every month. The two patents in question come from Secure Web Conference Corporation, a subsidiary of publicly-traded CopyTele. They are 6,856,686 B2 (’686 Patent), and 6,856,687 B2 (’687 Patent), respectively covering “method and apparatus for securing e-mail attachments” and “portable telecommunication security device.” “The Patents-in-Suit, generally speaking, relate to secure web-based peer-to-peer communications,” CopyTele writes in its complaint.
If things go CopyTele’s way, this is just the beginning: Robert Berman, the CEO of CopyTele, tells TechCrunch that there are between 90 and 100 web conferencing companies that CopyTele believes are also violating the same patents. “This is a $4 billion industry,” he said. “This is the initiation of what will be a broader patent enforcement campaign.”
CopyTele will have to get in line for its Skype suit: as of last month, the Microsoft subsidiary is also being sued by VirnetX over patent infringement claims (for the second time; they’d already settled past claims). A case brought by a company called Via Vadis, both in Europe and the U.S. back in 2011, around the time that the deal between Microsoft and Skype was first announced, was thrown out in a German court in January.
Nor are these the first patent infringement suits that CopyTele has brought against the tech community. In January, it filed suits against E Ink and AU Optronics Corp, related to technology used in products like Amazon’s Kindle and the Nook from Barnes & Noble, among others.
CopyTele is also amassing other patent portfolios and plans suits against other entities. These include companies that offer loyalty programs. It’s also bought a Windows patent portfolio (for actual windows — not Microsoft Windows).
Companies like Google, BlackBerry and Earthlink have lobbied against patent trolls and what it calls “patent privateering,” when patent enforcement entities make deals with larger companies to take over their portfolios and bring cases against competitors. But Berman paints himself as something of a patent enforcement crusader and takes issue with the categorically negative picture painted around patent trolls.
“I think every patent case needs to be judged on their own merits,” he said. “Just as there are good and bad personal injury lawyers, there are good and bad patent assertion companies. I don’t think it’s fair to assess every company that doesn’t make products as a villain. We are not in the nuisance lawsuit business, particularly when large companies make money out of licensing. What gives large companies the right to do this and not small companies?”
As of today, Senator Charles Schumer is also wading into these waters with proposed legislation that will change how these kinds of cases are brought to court. He’s suggesting that each suit should be reviewed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before it can proceed through the court system, so that it can vet the cases and decide whether they have any merit on patent grounds. In Schumer’s estimation this should ferret out illegitimate claims while letting genuine patent violations proceed along the costly route to court appearance, or settlement. In theory, if this legislation passes, if CopyTele (or any other company) believes that it has a legit case, it should have nothing to worry about.
We are reaching out to Microsoft for comment on this and will update as we learn more. Update: Microsoft has responded with a “no comment.”
Full complaint below.
Microsoft has announced that it is launching a preview of Skype for Outlook.com starting in the UK. The service will be made available in the U.S. and Germany in the coming weeks before it is rolled out to the rest of the world.
With the rollout of Skype for Web, the VoIP service joins Microsoft’s suite of online tools, including SkyDrive. Since its launch six months ago, Outlook.com, meant to replace the Hotmail brand and design, has garnered 60 million users. Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion back in October 2011.
Skype for Outlook.com requires a one-time download of a plugin, which is available for the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. Users can connect to Outlook.com using their Microsoft account. People who already have existing Skype accounts can link it to Outlook.com, which will allow them to add their Skype contacts to the email service.
Go here to read the rest: Microsoft Launches Preview Of Skype For Outlook.com
Microsoft is putting Skype to work in your inbox after the Redmond-based company announced the rollout of a preview version of Skype for Outlook.com which brings the voice and messaging service to its email service.
The service is being introduced to users in the UK, with the US and Germany following “in the coming weeks”, with Microsoft promising that it will be available to all Outlook.com users worldwide “in the coming months”. Skype for Outlook.com will provide the full range of Skype services: voice calls, video calls and messaging.
Once a user links their Outlook.com account with Skype, they will be prompted to install a plug-in for Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox which enables the integration.
Announcing the tie-in, Microsoft explains that — as the old BT adverts used to say — ‘it’s good to talk’, and the new service is designed because a call is very often preferable to an email:
“Even with the best email service, sometimes text isn’t enough. We all face those situations where it’s just easier to jump on a call to talk something through. Sometimes that quick call can accomplish more than a long email reply. That’s why we are bringing Skype audio and video calling to your Outlook.com inbox.”
The company has provided a sneak peak at what users can expect in this video:
Headline image via Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
9″ Android 4.0, Google Play Store, Skype, YouTube, Wifi, Flash, Capacitive Touchscreen Tablet
Date first available at Amazon.com: February 12, 2013
Buy new: $99.99
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Framebench is a newly launched platform for creative collaboration, specifically aimed at those working in digital agencies and other creative design firms. There are a number of tools already available serving this industry (here’s a big list, for example), but Framebench’s focus on real-time communication, collaboration and sync gives it an edge.
CEO Rohit Agarwal likens the product to something of a Google Docs for the creative design industry. “Before Google Docs came into existence, you would probably email a document, and [a collaborator] would review it and send it back. Then came Google Docs, where in real-time you could communicate with the other person and edit a document together,” Agarwal explains. “The key innovation there was the real-time component using technologies that were very, very new. That’s where the web is moving now,” he says. And that’s where Framebench aims to go, too.
Agarwal says that many of the tools for sharing creative designs are still stuck in the asynchronous era. You can mark up files and email them to other people, but multiple people can’t collaborate on those files in realtime, or communicate with each other directly via voice or text.
To address that problem, Framebench is combining some of the same tools found in online document creation software programs, with editing functions designed for creatives, as well as communication tools similar to things like Google Talk or Skype.
From an online dashboard, users can delve into collections related to their project, and upload files or even the videos that they want to work on. The system supports simple editing tools, annotations, freestyle markup, and more, as well as file versioning. The team is currently working on a tool that will also allow users to quickly compare file versions, too.
On the right side of this collaboration screen is the IM-like feature which right now supports text-based chat, but next week will include a WebRTC-based web conferencing solution as well. That way, users won’t have to run a secondary program like Skype or get on the phone – they can voice chat directly in the main interface.
Agarwal also acknowledges that getting Framework to take off means incorporating the product into users’ current workflow. That’s why the company is actively integrating with other platforms, including Basecamp and Dropbox, as well as Clear from Prime Focus Technologies. It also recently just closed on a partnership with another early stage startup, the recently seed-funded DIY animation platform PowToon. Going forward, everyone who creates a video on PowToon will be able to collaborate on that video using Framebench.
Based in New Delhi, the team of now seven full-time employees is planning to hire UI experts and a sales team, the latter to help it grow through channel sales and partnerships. These additions will be funded through its own recent seed investment ($150,000) from local VC firm Blume Ventures, plus angel investors Maneesh Bhandari (SENA Systems founder), Anuj Pulstya, and Jai Natarajan. Natarajan will be especially helpful to Framebench, given his industry connections as CEO of CG animation shop Xentrix Studios (“Care Bears” on The Hub; BBC’s “Everything’s Rosie”; and “Winx Club” on Nickelodeon).
Having just exited from private beta a week or so ago, Framebench currently has 1,250 users, including three larger advertising companies who are already on the platform. These users are just now reaching the end of their 30-day trials and are being asked to convert to paid plans. A basic free plan will remain, but those who need to store more files and videos can upgrade starting at $19 per month.
Interested users can also sign up here to start their own trials.
Originally posted here: Framebench Is A Google Docs For Creative Collaboration