Apple and Qualcomm have refused to budge in their fight over iPhone patent royalties, so they’re headed to court. A federal judge in San Diego has scheduled the companies’ trial for April 15th, 2019. Qualcomm had wanted a trial in February, but the judge determined that a delay was necessary due both to the court’s schedule as well as the complexity of the case. There had been rumors of a settlement, but Apple has repeatedly stressed that there are no ongoing talks and that the two sides haven’t met for “months.”
Apple has accused Qualcomm of double-dipping on patent royalties, charging both when Apple licensed the patent portfolio and again when it sold cellular chipsets. Qualcomm, meanwhile, has maintained that its patents venture beyond chipsets and that its licensing approach has been valid. It has gone so far as to threaten to block iPhone X sales, although that’s purely symbolic now that the phone has been discontinued.
The timing raises the potential for another lengthy patent battle similar to the seven-year conflict between Apple and Samsung. However, Apple may have an ally on its side. The FTC is set to go to trial against Qualcomm over antitrust issues on January 4th, and the eventual outcome of that case might influence the chip designer’s chances against Apple. If the FTC prevails, Qualcomm might have trouble convincing the San Diego court that its royalty practices are fair.
Earlier this week, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf made headlines when he said his company was “on the doorstep of a resolution” with Apple, implying a settlement was possible. Now, an Apple attorney is refuting that notion, saying the two companies “are going to need a trial.”
As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Apple attorney William Isaacson told U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel this week that a trial will be necessary. This echoes a Reuters report from last month which claimed Apple had “no plans” to reach a settlement with Qualcomm.
Further, Judge Curiel has officially set a trial date for the case between Apple and Qualcomm. The trial will begin on April 15th in San Diego federal court. Qualcomm had originally pushed for a February trial, but Cruiel said an April date is needed to “accommodate the court’s schedule.”
It’s possible that Mollenkopf’s interview with CNBC earlier this week was just misconstrued, but now it’s seemingly clear that a settlement between Qualcomm and Apple is out of the question.
Throughout this legal battle, Mollenkopf has remained optimistic about the potential for a business relationship between Qualcomm and Apple – likely due to the disastrous effect losing Apple as a customer is having on Qualcomm’s financials. In the same CNBC interview this week, Mollenkopf said Qualcomm “would love to work with Apple” on 5G technologies, though other reports have indicated Apple is instead working with Intel.
The case centers around Apple’s accusation that Qualcomm is illegally taking a cut of each iPhone sold with Qualcomm’s modem technology inside. Further, Qualcomm alleges that Apple stole trade secrets and gave them to Intel. We should be in for quite the trial come April.
Earbuds: you want them but the choices are endless. If you go to Amazon and search earbuds, there are more than 20,000 results. So if you have the time to read about each one, go for it. Otherwise, here are a few options.
V-MODA just launched the BassFit, their first fitness-focused Bluetooth in-ear headphone, which they properly refer to as “The Ultimate Sport Headphone Companion” in a recent press release.
Just about everyone shops for earbuds with sound being the main feature. In the BassFit, your ears will hear sound tuned with perfection in the bass and pristine clarity.
V-Moda went all out to ensure great sound along with features to keep the earbuds in place during any workout or just listening along at 32,000 feet in the air.
The BassFit also features V-Moda’s patent-pending TriFit design to give users comfort and the perfect fit. They can be worn as traditional earbuds, with the choice of eight different sized sets of ear tips to get the right fit. In addition, you can add ear fins (3 sets), ear hooks or a combination of both.
Battery life will last over 11 hours of playing until a charge is needed. A 15-minute fast charge will give you about 2.5-hours of playback.
With two-layer nanocoating technology, V-Moda calls it competition-crushing sweat and weather resistance from in-house testing.
An inline three-button controls music, volume, hands-free calls and accessing voice assistants.
Each earbud has a magnetic closure for securing the earbuds together around your neck when they aren’t playing your tunes. Or just store them in the included soft pouch. Available in black or white.
Creative’s AURVANA TRIO wired earbuds with Hybrid Triple-Driver System deliver detailed highs, natural vocals, and accurate bass, which pump pristine, accurate sound in your ears.
With all this technology, what’s import is how it sounds and it was impressive at any volume level on every song from my eclectic playlist.
You get four sets of different sized silicone ear tips and when you get the right fit you will take advantage of the earbuds AuraSeal Design. This gives you up to 98-percent of noise isolation out of the stylish looking and well- built earbuds with a gunmetal finish.
A great feature is the thin detachable braided MMCX connector 3.9-foot cable, making it easy to replace in the event of damage or you want to use a specialized aftermarket cable.
If you have never used a detachable cable on earbuds, you’ll love this one. It connects easily, stays intact and swivels as needed. The braided design also keeps you pretty much tangle free. On the cable is a 1-button control for music, power, volume and, calls.
A hard travel case and airplane travel adapter are included.
I’ll give a shout out to FUNCL, a new company comprised of experienced sound professionals who have introduced two models of true wireless sound solutions on Indiegogo.
They gave me a sneak peek at both, and I was very impressed with the sound, features and affordable prices.
Funcl AI ($54.99) is powered by Bluetooth 5.0 touch control and has Hi-Fi sound quality. The 6.5-hour battery life and a quick glance it has the looks similar to AirPods. Charging and storage are done in the included hard battery case, which will give up to three extra charges.
The smaller profile Funcl W1 has the look of a traditional earbud, without the wire. It’s starting out priced at $19.99 and features Bluetooth 5.0 and touch control. They have a 4.5-hour battery life and up to 18 hours with the charging/storage case.
To find out more and to get in at the start of Funcl, go to indiegogo.com and search for Funcl.
JOHANNESBURG — The World Health Organization says Congo’s deadly Ebola outbreak is now the second largest in history, behind the devastating West Africa outbreak that killed thousands a few years ago.
WHO emergencies chief Dr. Peter Salama late Thursday called it “a sad toll” as Congo’s health ministry announced the number of cases has reached 426. That includes 379 confirmed and 47 probable cases, with 242 deaths.
Attacks by rebel groups and open hostility by some wary locals have posed serious challenges that Ebola workers say they have never faced before. Many venture out on critical virus containment work only with the accompaniment of U.N. peacekeepers while gunfire echoes daily.
Salama predicted this month that the outbreak in northeastern Congo will last at least another six months before it can be contained.
The West Africa Ebola outbreak killed more than 11,000 people from 2014 to 2016. An outbreak in 2000 in Uganda sickened 425 people and killed 224 of them and it was, until now, the second-worst outbreak.
Day by day, reports by health organizations note one new difficulty after another for the Ebola outbreak in Congo, even as their work sets milestones that have given new hope in the fight against one of the world’s most notorious diseases.
More than 37,000 people have received Ebola vaccinations, and Congo has begun the first-ever trial to test the effectiveness and safety of four experimental Ebola drugs. And yet the risk of Ebola spreading in so-called “red zones” — areas that are virtually inaccessible because of the threat of rebel groups — is a major concern in containing this outbreak.
“This tragic milestone clearly demonstrates the complexity and severity of the outbreak. While the numbers are far from those from West Africa in 2014, we’re witnessing how the dynamics of conflict pose a different kind of threat,” said Michelle Gayer, senior director of emergency health at the International Rescue Committee.
The alarmingly high number of infected newborns in Congo is another concern, and so far a mystery. In a separate statement on Thursday, WHO said so far in this outbreak, 36 Ebola cases have been reported among newborn babies and children under 2.
This is the first time this turbulent part of northeastern Congo has had an Ebola outbreak. Congo’s health ministry has carried vivid accounts of residents, spurred by rumors, who have been trying to stop safe burial practices that halt the spread of Ebola from victims to relatives and friends.
On Thursday, the ministry said a group of youths broke into a morgue, stole the body of an Ebola victim and returned it to their family.
Shenzhen, China – China has suspended He Jiankui – the scientist who claims to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies. He now looks set to face punishment after publicly revealing research many in the scientific community condemned as irresponsible.
His work was “extremely abominable in nature”, Xi Nanping, vice minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, told state news agency Xinhua late on Thursday.
Xi said genetically engineering the DNA of twin girls so they would not develop HIV, breached scientific ethics, adding that gene-editing of human embryos for reproduction purposes was “explicitly banned” in China.
He admitted at a gene-editing conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday that he had already initiated another pregnancy, although it was too soon to tell if it would go to full term.
An embryo receives a small dose of Cas9 protein and PCSK9 sgRNA in a sperm injection microscope in a laboratory in Shenzhen [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]
A source confirmed to Al Jazeera that He had returned to Shenzhen, although repeated calls to his mobile went unanswered and several messages sent to the phone were read with no response.
David Cyranoski of the journal Nature posted on social media that He was in the southern city and ready to “cooperate fully with all inquiries” about his work.
‘Resolutely dealt with’
The scientist is likely to face a barrage of questions from institutions in Shenzhen, as well as from the Ministry of Science and Technology. China’s National Health Commission said He’s activities would be investigated and any wrongdoing “resolutely dealt with”, according to Xinhua.
It is uncertain what punishment He may face since the law in China is vague on enforcement, according to Qiu Renzong, professor emeritus of the Institute of Philosophy and director of the Centre for Applied Ethics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
His research has sent shockwaves through the international scientific community, with many raising concerns over the lack of verified data and the risks of exposing healthy embryos to gene-editing. Scientists have long worried about the implications for humanity of such genetic engineering.
R Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, said if He had done the trial in the United States it “would have been in violation of public law” and involve “penalties [that] are both civil and criminal”. Approvals are needed through the Food and Drug Administration for human cells and therapy studies where cells are brought to gestation.
Qiu noted in Hunan province in 2012, three researchers were arrested and then sacked along with three officials who approved trials of vitamin A-enriched genetically modified rice on schoolchildren without their consent.
“Three scientists were disciplined, they were dismissed from their positions, and they could not apply for grants over a certain period of time, so [He’s case] may be similar to this,” Qiu told Al Jazeera. “I don’t think the police will be involved, but the ministries will discipline him.”
He said in a video released on Sunday – the same day the world learned of the births – that he used the CRISPR-cas9 tool for editing the embryos in order to remove the possibility that the babies would get HIV from their father, who is infected with the virus.
Anthropologist Eben Kirksey remarked that CRISPR has become a magic word related to HIV because of the promise that “you only need to take the treatment once”. But, he added, there were many other promising therapies for treating HIV, and he didn’t think many in the HIV research community were “putting a lot of hope” in genetic editing.
He gave a partial apology in front of a packed auditorium at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong. The contrition, however, seemed to be more for the information about the births coming out before his research had been vetted by the scientific community, rather than for having carried it out.
The scientist told delegates he was “proud of” his work, adding that if the same situation occurred and it was his child he would “try it first”.
Most other researchers believed it was far too early to progress to that point given the vast ethical questions that arise from having “edited” – like Lulu and Nana, the names He gave the twin baby girls – and “non-edited” humans living side by side.
“Wouldn’t it be useful to try to define a global ethical code of conduct, at least a minimum of consent and what is research is and what is the standard?” asked Barbel Friedrich, director of the Alfried Krupp Institute for Advanced Studies in Greifswald. “What we heard this morning was a violation of law, which he admitted to, but what we need is a global rule.”
Institutions deny knowledge
Across the border in Shenzhen, institutions are distancing themselves from He.
Shenzhen’s Health and Family Planning Commission has directed the city’s medical expert committee to investigate He’s activities.
Southern University of Science and Technology, where He is an associate professor and is said to have conducted the research without the full knowledge of the university, has sealed off his lab and suspended him pending an investigation. The website on genome research related to He’s work now appears to be inaccessible.
When Al Jazeera visited the researcher’s lab, situated on a sprawling campus in a hub of universities in the northern part of Shenzhen, security officers refused entry, complaining about media trying to visit the site. Communications department officials at the school did not respond to requests to discuss the investigation into He’s research activities.
At the main gate, a police van was parked across the road, its blue and red lights flashing.
Shenzhen Harmonicare Women and Children’s Hospital, where the fertilisation allegedly took place, now denies involvement in He’s work and has said it believes a signature on papers approving the experiment were falsified. Attempts to reach officials at the hospital for further explanation were not successful.
“We don’t know yet whether that was fabricated,” Qiu said of the papers. “Some scientists, out of other motivations, these young scientists, they want to make a lot of money.”
A project claiming to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies has been stopped by the Chinese government, which is declaring the work of scientist He Jiankui as being both unlawful and unethical, according to the Associated Press.
The world learned of He’s experiment earlier this week, though we’re still waiting to see outside scientific confirmation of his assertions. In Hong Kong yesterday, the scientist claimed that he used the CRISPR/cas9 gene-editing tool to modify human embryos, but he made no apologies, saying he was “proud” of the work. The resulting twins, born earlier this month to an unknown couple, are now supposedly immune to HIV.
On Tuesday, China ordered a “thorough investigation” into the project, but as the Associated Press is reporting today, the government has now taken the added step of shutting down the work until further notice. Speaking to CCTV state television, China’s vice minister of science and technology, Xu Nanping, said the government is strongly opposed to the project. Xu said the experiment “crossed the line of morality and ethics adhered to by the academic community and was shocking and unacceptable,” as reported by AP.
No further details were given, nor did the minister explain what might happen to He and his associates in the days and weeks ahead.
China’s response to this incident could set an important precedent for a country accused of being the Wild West of biomedical research. No doubt, China has been at the forefront of gene-editing research for a few years now. Scientists there created the world’s first gene-edited human embryo and the first cloned monkeys, as two examples. Critics have complained that these achievements are the product of China’s lax regulatory structure, as compared to the situation in the U.S. or Europe.
Those accusations aside, He’s project appears to be the work of an unsupervised lab that took great pains to avoid proper channels, such as failing to file the clinical trial to the country’s registry until early November, which was around the same time the twin girls were born. Furthermore, Chinese scientists have rushed to condemn He’s work. In a joint statement published earlier this week, the Genetics Society of China and the Chinese Society for Stem Cell Research said they “strongly condemn” the project for its “extreme irresponsibility, both scientifically and ethically.” And as VOA reports, over 300 scientists, both from China and abroad, have signed a petition questioning the necessity of the work.
This incident is certainly a teachable moment—though hopefully not at the expense of these twin girls, whose future health remains unknown.