Today’s Links: March 20, 2012


TIMOTHY B. LEE: “Samsung and RIM Sued For Infringing LOL-Worthy Emoticon Patent
“In an apparent quest to make the patent system look even more ridiculous, a firm on Thursday sued Samsung and Research in Motion for allegedly infringing a patent titled ’emoticon input method and apparatus.’ […] Varia claims that a long list of Samsung phones, including the Acclaim, Nexus S, Captivate, Epic, Galaxy Nexus, and Transform, infringe the patent by allowing users to select emoticons from a pop-up menu. Blackberry phones alleged to infringe the patent include the Bold, Curve, Pearl, and Storm.”

ALICE PARK: “Inside America’s Drug Shortage
“The FDA says 54% of the shortages in 2010 were due to manufacturing problems that led to temporary or permanent plant shutdowns. Drug makers, while acknowledging that quality control issues contribute to the supply interruptions, point the finger back at the FDA. The agency is responsible for overseeing drug manufacturing safety and quality, but it lacks adequate funding to hire reviewers to look at companies’ applications for new manufacturing facilities and processes or to send inspectors to existing plants in a timely way. Its bureaucracy adds to delays in approvals for new facilities or manufacturing processes, which can run a year long; meanwhile, lags in new drug approvals also continue, leaving the drug supply in jeopardy.”

RICH LOWRY: “The Car of the Future That Never Came
“President Obama says he wants to buy a Chevy Volt when he’s out of office in five years. If getting into a General Motors electric automobile means so much to him, he’d better hope he loses in November. What the president dubbed the ‘car of the future’ in a visit to a Volt plant may not make it to January 2017. The partially government-owned General Motors has suspended production of its government-approved miracle car and temporarily laid off 1,300 workers at a Detroit plant.”


TAXES – Australia Passes Controversial Mining Tax Into Law
“The Australian Senate has pushed through into law a 30% tax on iron ore and coal mining companies. The tax will raise A$10.6bn ($11.2bn, £7bn) over three years from major companies including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xtrata. Strong demand for raw materials from China and India has lead to a resource boom in Australia. The mining tax is aimed at distributing the benefits of that revenue to other segments of the economy.”

INTERNET – Judge Lifts Twitter Ban on “Anonymous” 14
“Over objections from the Department of Justice, a judge has lifted a Twitter ban on 14 accused members of ‘Anonymous’ now under indictment for their alleged roles in a coordinated online assault against PayPal, an attack prosecutors contend was carried out via the social networking site.”

DRUGS – Kansas Man Gets 7 Plus Years For Bath Salts
“A Kansas man has been sent to federal prison for nearly eight years for possessing bath salts in Nebraska before they specifically were made illegal by state and federal law. ‘This is not your run of the mill drug case,’ Steven Miles Sullivan’s attorney, Glenn Shapiro, said at sentencing last week. ‘He thought he was complying with the law.'”