Apple sues Motorola
Apple Inc sued Motorola Mobility Inc in a bid to block Motorola’s patent infringement claims against Apple in Germany. Apple, in a complaint filed on Friday in federal court in San Diego, said Motorola’s German suit is based on claims that Apple’s use of Qualcomm Inc components in the iPhone 4S violates Motorola’s European patent. The German suit, Apple says, is a breach of a patent-licensing agreement between Motorola and Qualcomm. “As a Qualcomm customer, Apple is a third-party beneficiary of that contract,” Apple said in the complaint. Apple asked the court to block Motorola’s suit in Germany. Motorola Mobility Holdings has won two rulings against Apple in Germany and on Friday failed to win a third in a patent case involving the use of mathematical sequences in mobile telecommunications.
BMW agrees to penalty
German carmaker BMW has agreed to pay US$3 million in civil penalties for failing to report safety defects soon enough, US safety regulators said on Friday. Federal safety regulators launched an investigation in 2010 after noting a “troubling trend” in which “BMW appears to maintain a practice, by design or habit, in which it provides little information in its initial filings.” The initial reports were missing critical information, such as plans to remedy the problem, and it took BMW more than 30 days on average to update the reports with required information, the safety regulator said. A review of 16 BMW recalls issued in 2010 found “a number of instances” in which the automaker did not comply with US federal law.
Netflix revises earnings
It turns out Netflix Inc’s fourth-quarter earnings weren’t quite as good as the video subscription service told investors a couple of weeks ago. The company lowered its net income by 14 percent to account for a US$9 million payment that will be made as part of a legal settlement reached after the Jan. 25 release of Netflix’s results for the final three months of last year. Accounting for the payment lowered Netflix’s fourth-quarter earnings from a previously reported US$40.7 million, or US$0.73 per share, to US$35.2 million, or US$0.64 per share. Netflix disclosed the change in a regulatory filing late on Friday. The settlement covers claims made under the Video Privacy Protection Act, a law that prohibits rental services from sharing information about what their customers have been watching.
ITC approves investigations
A US trade panel on Friday approved investigations that could lead to steep import duties on more than US$1 billion of washing machines from South Korea and Mexico and more than US$150 million of wind energy towers from China and Vietnam. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed there was reasonable evidence that imports from the four countries were harming domestic producers. That allowed the US Department of Commerce to continue investigations already underway. The trade panel also approved a third probe on steel wire garment hangers from Taiwan and Vietnam. In each case, the Department of Commerce will set preliminary duty levels in coming months. The ITC must vote its approval again for final duties to take force. The wind tower case adds to a raft of US-China trade frictions before a visit by China’s likely next leader, Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平), to Washington next week.