High marks awarded to Cass jail

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Sheriff Tom Burch reported Tuesday Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) biennial inspection of the countys jail at Walker showed 100 percent compliance with mandatory operating guidelines and 96.7 percent compliance with essential (building) guidelines.

Jail Administrator Joel Norenberg said the deductions cited are because the building now is 26 years old. It is just wear and tear, he explained.

He said flooring should be replaced in some areas. Tables and chairs are worn out. The interior needs repainting.

Norenberg reported the DOC inspector told him that any remodeling in the jail would trigger a rule that requires a county to meet some stricter standards than when the Cass jail was built. It could mean adding more bathrooms in the dormitory area, he said citing one requirement.

It was unclear during Tuesdays discussion where the point would be that making improvements would trigger DOCs definition of a remodel, thus requiring more major work.

The board asked that the potential repairs be added to the capital improvement plan update the commissioners will consider by a May 6 public hearing.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will provide a $58,849 grant to Cass Countys boat and water safety program in 2014.

Wilkinson Township donated $250 to the Lakes Area Dive Team, which provides search and rescue services for the countys lakes.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety provided a $53,000 grant through Northeast Regional Walkie Talkie Board to Cass County to pay for radio equipment which enables the new ARMER communications system to connect with cell phones and also provides training for sheriffs employees.

St. Louis County administers the radio board funds and distributes money to 15 northeastern Minnesota counties including Cass and Crow Wing.

Burch reported he has declined at this time a proposal from Motorola to upgrade dispatch center consoles.

He said at the time Cass began converting to the ARMER radio system, Motorola had told him they did not plan to update equipment or programs for the consoles until at least 2018.

However, now Motorola has announced plans to introduce new consoles and software by 2016 at a cost of over $400,000.

What we have is not worn out, he said. In his reply by email to Motorolas emailed announcement, Burch wrote: …Motorola should not be able to hold us hostage every time they feel an upgrade is necessary.

Jamie Richter, public health director, reported county nurses provided an average of 5.5 hours per week to see inmates at the jail in Walker.

Care for inmates at the Walker jail from doctors and hospitals cost the county $32,915 in 2013. Public health nurse services cost $14,814. Medications cost $12,111. Medical supplies cost $1,877.

These costs do not reflect medical costs for inmates Cass housed at facilities in Crow Wing, Hubbard or any other county jail.

Richter said county nurses try to determine whether inmates are eligible for Minnesota Care or medical assistance, so insurances can cover some of the inmate health costs.

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Motorola wins Apple wireless patent fight in Germany

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walkie talkie usb chargerA German court has ruled in Motorola Mobility’s favour in a patents dispute with Apple.

The Android smartphone maker had complained that Apple failed to license one of its wireless intellectual properties.
Apple uses the technology in its iPhones and 3G iPads.
Motorola could now try to force Apple to remove the feature from its devices or halt sales in Germany. However, Apple said it intended to appeal.
Motorola said the ruling validated its “efforts to enforce its patents against Apple’s infringement”.

Apple responded: “We’re going to appeal the court’s ruling right away. Holiday shoppers in Germany should have no problem finding the iPad or iPhone they want.”
If Motorola does decide to pursue an injunction blocking sales of Apple’s products the case could result in a clash between the iPad maker and Google – Motorola’s shareholders have approved the search giant’s takeover of their company and the deal is due to be completed in 2012.

Fighting times The case relates to Motorola’s patent for a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet two Way Radio system”.
Motorola licenses this patent to others on Frand (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.
The owner of a Frand-type patent is obligated to license out its technology to third-parties because the invention has been declared to be essential to an industry standard.
Apple had offered to pay a Frand-set fee in the future and was willing to pay a similar rate for past infringements. But it lost the case because it tried to retain the right to contest the validity of the patent with a view to past damages.

It tried to do this because Motorola had defended its right to charge an above-Frand rate for Apple’s use of its technology over the past four years. This could have been many times higher than the rate Apple was willing to pay and potentially very expensive.
Motorola will have to post a 100m euro (85m; $133m) bond if it wishes to enforce a sales injunction against Apple. The cash would cover compensation to Apple if the ruling was later overturned.

Motorola welcomed the ruling.
“We will continue to take all necessary steps to protect our intellectual property, as the company’s patent portfolio and licensing agreements with companies both in the US and around the world are critical to our business,” said Scott Offer, senior vice-president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility.

“We have been negotiating with Apple and offering them reasonable licensing terms and conditions since 2007, and will continue our efforts to resolve our global patent dispute as soon as practicable.”

Appeal details Patent watchers say it could be years before the case is resolved.
“This is really a given between such large players in high stakes disputes,” said Florian Mueller, a patent consultant who revealed the court’s verdict on his blog.
“In Germany you get a first ruling by a regional court rather quickly – this litigation started in April this year. Usually between companies of this stature the disputes go to the higher regional court and that could take a couple of years,” Mr Mueller told the BBC.

Mr Mueller advises Microsoft and others and has campaigned for patent reform in Europe.
He said Apple could try to revise its products, but noted that Frand-type patents were, by their nature, hard to work around. He added that doing so could run the risk of causing communication problems with the mobile networks’ equipment.
Samsung tablet ban Although Apple is on the receiving end of this lawsuit it has also been very active in the courts suing HTC, Samsung and Motorola among others for claimed patent infringements.

It temporarily managed to have Samsung’s tablets banned from sale in Australia, although the restriction was overturned earlier today.
The US International Trade Commission is expected to rule on its dispute with Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC on 14 December. The judgement could lead to shipments of HTC’s products being blocked in the US.
Although the targets of Apple’s lawsuits are often firms which use Google’s Android software, the two firms have avoided suing each other. That is set to change when Google’s takeover of Motorola Mobility is completed early next year.

“Google with its pending acquisition will be watching this case with great interest as any victory is an endorsement of Motorola’s patent portfolio that it is seeking to acquire,” said Ben Wood, director of research at the telecoms consultancy CCS Insight.