2. Oracle vs. Google
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2. Oracle vs. Google
Federal courts finally ruled on a two-year legal fight between Oracle and search giant Google. It’s seen as a particularly important case because it touches on whether companies can claim copyright infringement over a programming language.
The story: “Google scored a legal victory today, as a federal jury has decided that the search giant wasn’t guilty of patent infringement claims made by Oracle. The two companies have been wrapped up in a legal battle since August 2010, when Oracle accused Google’s mobile operating system Android of violating patents and copyrights related to Java that Oracle owns. The trial is seen as very important because it’d one of the most prominent battles over intellectual property in the software industry. In addition, it could set a precedent for whether or not a programming language can be copyrighted.”
1. Apple v. Samsung (The patent wars)
I’d like to say that this particular legal fight over patent infringement by two major companies gave us some clarity on how to deal with future patent-related policy. Yet what the Apple v. Samsung case really did was expose how truly broken and inadequate our current patent system is. Sure, this is something most people already knew, but the Apple/Samsung case highlighted the ridiculousness of trying to apply our current policy. (Seriously, it even spawned its own meme based on the mom-like reprimands of the case’s federal judge, Lucy Koh.)
The story: “After just 21 hours of deliberation, the jury has reached a verdict in the Apple-Samsung patent trial, a landmark case that is set to change the way we look at competition in the mobile market. It’s a decisive win for Apple, with the jury awarding damages of $1,049,343,540 to Apple. … The jury found Samsung infringed many of Apple’s utility and design patents, particularly with regard to the nearly 20 phones that Apple had called into question. In addition, the jury found that in most cases, Samsung’s patent infringements were knowing and willful.”
Honorable mention: The Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the health care reform law (Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare) did not violate the Constitution. And while this particular law didn’t originate in 2012, it certainly made an impact on the tech sector of the health care industry in the form of electronic medical records, new regulations, and more. A vibrant crop of health care tech startups are already out there, and these will continue thriving now that the threat of a Obamacare repeal is gone. Bottom line: Health care tech will be huge in 2013.
The story: “For cloud technology companies that are brave enough to tackle the healthcare industry, it’s a perfect storm — there are major challenges and opportunities. … By 2014, Obamacare mandates that hospitals and practitioners who have been maintaining paper records to switch to electronic medical records.”
Copyright 2012, VentureBeat