Music Companies Including Universal Threaten to Sue TikTok Over Copyright Infringement

A body representing a lot of music publishing companies, including Universal, has quite recently threatened to sue TikTok (a Chinese video-sharing app and social networking platform) over Copyright Infringement.

For quite a while now, TikTok has become immensely popular as millions of people across the globe upload their short video clips on the platform, often indulging in lip-syncing with the background music. However, various music rights-holders think that the Chinese-owned video-sharing app doesn’t own the adequate licenses for the music used in its videos. According to a few sources, such music right-holders are now willing to initiate legal proceedings against TikTok.

David Israelite, the chief executive at the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA – a trade association for the American music publishing industry), has stated that filing a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit against TikTok is most probably the future step as he could estimate that even more than 50% of the music publishing market remains unlicensed with the video-sharing app.

Since last year, the world’s largest music company, Universal Music, has been in licensing negotiations with TikTok as the company is looking forward to extracting more money from the video-sharing platform as its user base balloons. However, the publishing arm of Universal Music still doesn’t have any licensing agreement with TikTok in place. It implies that the songwriters at Universal Music, which include Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Elton John, and Billie Eilish, don’t get paid any royalties as and when their songs are inserted in the background music of TikTok videos. Many people believe that this level of blatant copyright infringement is rarely seen that too by a large multinational company.

A TikTok spokesperson, on the other hand, stated that the platform is proud to support the music industry with a plethora of licenses that it owns in place. He further said that the details of any discussions or agreements between TikTok and its partners remain private and confidential at all times and in all aspects.

The NMPA represents a lot of songwriters and music publishers in the United States and holds a previous track record of suing many widely-known companies such as YouTube, Spotify, and Peloton, and often ending up winning settlement money.  In 2016, Spotify had agreed to pay somewhere around $30m to the songwriters for unpaid royalties, and Peloton, earlier this year, settled for an undisclosed amount of money with the NMPA.

When it comes to the music industry, copyrights are generally dealt with separately on the publishing side, which covers songwriting, and the recorded music side, which covers the phase of representing the actual music tracks.

Without any second thoughts, online streaming services have indeed revived the music industry by funneling billions back to well-known music labels. Such companies fiercely safeguard their share of the streaming riches via high stake licensing agreements and negotiations with Google, Spotify, Apple, and many others. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Solaria Corp Sues Canadian Solar Inc Alleging Patent Infringement

A US-based solar technology company, Solaria Corporation, that specializes in designing, developing, and manufacturing crystalline solar modules has quite recently filed a Patent Infringement lawsuit against Canadian Solar Inc., (a publicly-traded company specializing in manufacturing solar PV modules and running large scale solar projects) in Federal District Court for the Northern District of California.

The lawsuit has claimed that with operations primarily in China and elsewhere in Asia, Canadian Solar has infringed upon Solaria’s US patent. The patent covers a process corresponding to separating the photovoltaic (PV) strips from the solar cells for use in tiled or the widely-known shingled solar modules, which are way more efficient than the conventional solar modules and have higher power as well. Solaria has further asserted in its lawsuit that it had first introduced its high-efficiency, high-density module technology to Canadian Solar in 2014. At that time, the representatives of Canadian Solar had analyzed Solaria’s next-generation shingling technology for a potential licensing contract. After the subsequent collaborations between both the companies over the ensuing year, in which Solaria has disclosed its business strategies and proprietary technology to Canadian Solar under a non-disclosure agreement, there wasn’t any licensing deal made in the end.

In a quite apparent reference to Solaria’s proprietary HDM technology, Canadian Solar came up with its “HiDM” shingled modules in 2019 and started marketing and selling them in the US. Solaria has stated in its complaint filed that Canadian Solar’s HiDM shingled modules infringe its patent, for which, it is now looking forward to seeking injunctive relief and damages.

Suvi Sharma, the CEO at Solaria Corporation, has said that the company has invested even more than $200 million over the last decade in developing its technology for creating the most advanced solar panels across the globe. He further mentioned that if foreign companies like Canadian Solar ignore the value of American patents and violate Solaria’s core Intellectual Property (IP), the company would always take action to enforce and protect the technology that required so much investment and effort to develop.

Solaria Corp has indicated that it may bring some additional claims, including a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets and additional patent infringement claims, if warranted.

With a strong track record and a 20-year history in product development and solar power innovation, Solaria Corp has been efficiently delivering solutions that address a unique set of requirements for commercial and residential solar markets. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Effective Ways of Avoiding Copyright Issues in Music Production

Without any second thoughts, getting into the music industry can nowadays prove to be quite brutal. Initially, you don’t think much about it by enjoying the phase and experiencing your dream job. You spend your time recording, producing, selling music, and getting paid for the same as well. However, after some time, you get to see the ugly face and harsh reality of the music industry, which indeed has cutthroat competition and a lot of mean people looking forward to claiming that you stole their tunes. Copyright Infringement lawsuits, in the present fast-paced society, are something that most of the music producers are accustomed to dealing with, but that doesn’t make them any uncomplicated to handle. Therefore, it is always highly advisable to avoid such complications as much as possible and as soon as possible. Let us now make ourselves familiar with how you can do the same proactively.

  1. Get all the Necessary Permissions

While being in the music industry, if you are looking forward to using the creative work of another person, then the first and foremost thing you need to do is get all the necessary permissions. It is a matter of fact that yes – the music industry is vast with a lot of artists and producers. At times you may think that you will not get caught; however, there’s no way out, and you will eventually end up getting caught, mostly in cases if you sell your music recordings. You might wake up one morning and see yourself hit by a copyright infringement lawsuit only because you didn’t receive permission from the concerned parties in the matter. Furthermore, the same applies to dead artists too. A lot of people across the globe are of the view that if a music artist is no more, then his or her creative works are open for use, which is undoubtedly far away from the truth.

The reality is that the families of the music artists who are no more and other concerned parties can still make a lot of money from royalties. Also, just because the artists are dead doesn’t mean their works are available for free. Therefore, make sure you have yourself covered in all aspects corresponding to having all the necessary permissions.

  1. Don’t Swindle the Music Tunes

There are indeed some music producers and artists who swindle the tunes from others and claim it as their own, which is a clear cut way of getting hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit. Without any doubt, you can go ahead with getting ideas from other music artists; however, you can’t take their music straight away and use it directly. There are various platforms on the Internet today that offer royalty-free sounds, loops, and sample packs to music producers. You can effectively make the most out of such opportunities by acquiring everything from the rightful owners and consequently avoid all copyright-related issues in the long run.

  1. Get in touch with a Specialized Copyright Attorney

If you wish to use a specific part of another person’s music, then it is always a brilliant idea to seek legal advice and assistance first. Copyright Laws are comprehensive with plenty of intricate details that you will miss if you begin understanding them yourself. So, get in touch with a specialized Copyright Attorney and understand whether what you are doing is legal or not. Also, under copyright laws and regulations, using some part of a music tune or song for non-commercial purposes doesn’t necessarily make it ‘fair use.’ Fair use doesn’t hold the need to seek permission from the copyright owner. However, there is a need to ensure that your case is under fair use, which again takes us to the utmost importance of consulting with experienced attorneys first.

  1. Have an Understanding about Copyrights

The copyright laws may prove to be too technical and complicated for you to understand, but you can focus on understanding the term copyright in general. When we come to the music industry, there are various misconceptions and misunderstandings related to copyright and related terms. Hence, it is imperative to know about the right things and avoid all unexpected damages. For instance, in the music industry, copyright laws not only extend to music but also the lyrics, which is something not many people know. If you use a paragraph from a poem or a book, the descendants of the writer might sue you alleging copyright infringement and demand some money if you had neglected to ask for permission. Even uploading a track (not for commercial purposes) with copyright infringement on your social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram may bring in trouble. You need to keep in mind all such details for avoiding copyright-related issues. It is highly advisable to prepare yourself for every possibility, understand the term copyright thoroughly, and know what you are allowed to do. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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PayRange Sues KioSoft Alleging Patent Infringement

PayRange Inc., which is a network for day-to-day purchases, has quite recently filed a lawsuit against KioSoft Technologies LLC, a technology leader in the payments industry since 2002, alleging Patent Infringement. Consequently, PayRange is now looking forward to seeking damages estimated to be over $50 million, along with a permanent injunction barring further infringing sales.

Established and founded in 2013, PayRange proactively developed the original mobile payment system for use in non-networked unattended retail machines, including amusement, laundry, and vending. The company efficiently protects its innovative technology, creative works, and Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio with 18 patents and even more than 35 pending Patent Applications.

At present, PayRange is the market share leader having millions of users and hundreds of thousands of deployed machines. On the other hand, KioSoft Technologies sells mobile payment solutions unlawfully by infringing upon PayRange’s patented technology. PayRange’s patents cover a wide variety of innovations, including the foundational approach of authorizing payment to unconnected machines leveraging the user’s smartphone, firmware updating of offline machines, viewing machine status on smartphones, and retrofitting existing machines along with payment acceptance devices.

Paresh Patel – the founder and CEO of PayRange, has stated in the lawsuit that his company has invested tens of millions of dollars in both research and development for bringing to market the solutions that have revolutionized the industry. He further said that his company shall always vigorously protect its investment to prevent the competitors from selling infringing products.

PayRange’s counsel on this matter, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, filed the Patent Infringement Lawsuit against KioSoft by stating that the company disregarded PayRange’s Patent Rights blatantly by attempting to encroach upon PayRange’s customers with a solicit new business and copycat product. Now, PayRange is looking forward to seeking recovery of damages, which may even exceed $50 million as per the lost profits, royalties, or price erosion, along with a permanent injunction for preventing KioSoft from continuing future infringement by selling, maintaining, and supporting copycat products, for instance, mobile apps.

Founded by Paresh Patel, a veteran of the automated retail industry, PayRange provides operators and customers with convenient and secure mobile payment and loyalty solutions for amusement, laundry, and vending. With even more than 3 million users and a network of machines throughout 350 cities and towns in the US and Canada, PayRange is currently the North American leader in mobile payments for unattended retail. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Navarik Wins Patent for Managing Loss Reconciliation Data in Shipping Industry

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently issued US Patent No. 10,410,162 to Navarik Corp., a software platform provider to the petroleum supply and trading industry. The patent covers mechanisms for grouping parcels and enabling calculation of losses at the time of shipping.

It is a matter of fact that yes – some loss of cargo is expected in the oil industry during shipping; however, even these small amounts of loss product can lead to a significant loss of revenue. In this scenario, the traditional mechanisms depend on human inspection for tracking these losses and are usually prone to error. Navarik’s patented technology holds immense potential for replacing this unreliable human inspection with validated and automated software tracking. The patent efficiently describes how a company or organization can feed shipping logs into Navarik’s software, and further how that software can both validate and process those logs. Additionally, the patent also describes how the software is capable of grouping parcels for multiple different points of a long journey together to verify that they reflect the same cargo itself at different times of a voyage. Based on the parcel data, the software can then further calculate a loss between those different points for effectively increasing the accuracy of the calculation and removing the need for human intervention.

Based on their initial Patent Application in 2009, the ‘162 Patent is the second patent issued to Navarik. The first patent with US Patent No. 8, 301,517, also corresponds to the mechanisms for grouping parcels. All in all, the ‘517 and ‘162 Patents give Navarik the exclusive rights to its patented technology.

Navarik’s objective is to emerge as the leading provider of technology products for the inspection industries and commodity shipping by leveraging its industry expertise and on-demand software platform. Most of the widely-known oil companies across the globe heavily depend on Navarik’s flagship product, known as Navarik Inspection™, for data intelligence and business process automation. The product helps them significantly in optimizing trade with their counterparties and achieving better performance from their inspection firms, terminals, and vessels. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Court Rules against ‘GTA V’ Cheat Makers over Copyright Infringement

England and Wales Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has recently ruled against a pair of cheat developers in association with Epsilon (a former outfit related to GTA games) for infringing on the copyright by coding and selling the software.

The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) games are all about bad behavior for making money. Nevertheless, in the real world, their developer and publisher – Rockstar Games, Inc. and parent Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. – go hard on getting any hint about rules being broken, and thus, all the way to suing cheat app makers for Copyright Infringement.

The recent ruling is in relation to one such legal action that has gone well for the UK Company. It is a summary judgment meaning that the case would not go to trial.

Rockstar’s original Copyright Infringement Application for a summary judgment named five defendants, three of which have settled the case in the meantime. Rest two who chose to try their luck in court though affirmed their involvement with Epsilon, yet made efforts to invalidate the violation argument. They did so by saying that their team provided a disclaimer of liability to users of their cheat for the online gameplay GTA V. Nonetheless, the court said that this was a mere window-dressing.

In general, these cheats are known as the ‘mod menu’ and allow gamers to enjoy several advantages while playing. These sometimes unlock virtual in-game items and currency for which they would otherwise need to pay the real money.

Another thing the defendants said in their defense was that the Epsilon developed its software by forking the already existing code, which is available online. It means they downloaded the source code from a popular and well-known public cheating website. But, the court rejected this argument also and ruled in favor of Rockstar’s claim of violation of the contract against one defendant, dropping the charge against the other because he was a minor when the offense took place.

Although the case won’t go to the trial in association with the copyright charges, the issue related to legal cost may still require a trial. But Justice Falk, who signed the order, said that she hoped the parties would try to settle this matter. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Philippines Marks Higher Score in International Intellectual Property Index

With the implementation of new anti-counterfeiting and piracy measures, the Philippines has improved its score by around 4 percent in the United States Chamber of Commerce’s (USCC) 2020 International Intellectual Property Index.

Ranking 37th out of total 53 economies, the Philippines scored 39.94% in 2020 index in comparison to its 36% score in 2019. Reports showed that the key strength of the Philippines is in the IP framework that includes:

  • Amendments to the IP code to strengthen criminal sanctions
  • The fast-tracking procedure for Trademark Registration
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) given in legislation
  • Incentives for research and development (R&D)
  • Growing specialization
  • Capacity Building.

On the other side, gaps in life sciences and content-related IPRs, online and software piracy, and barriers for licensing technology are reported as some of the weaknesses of the Philippines.

Abbreviated as IPOPHL, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines said that considering three additional economies in the index, Philippine standing reached 70% to the top, from 74% in the previous year.

IPOPHL officer-in-charge, Director General Teodoro Pascua, said that they welcome the verdicts of USCC-GIPC (Global Innovation Policy Center). They are happy and thankful for its positive and careful observation of the progress of their nation’s IPRs environment, especially on enforcement entrenched in IPOPHL’s effort to protect creativity and innovation.

Considering the Philippine Online Infringing Act, the USCC-GIPC is expecting that the Philippines would score higher in the 2021’s report. Under this Act, IPOPHL will be allowed to order the cancellation of an internet service provider’s operating license if it fails to remove the infringing content within ten days of notification.

IPOPHL added that these kinds of positive steps would lead to an increase in scores on relevant indicators, which will then make the index to monitor the developments in 2020 and upcoming years.

Mr. Pascua then added that 2020 would be an interesting year for IPRs Enforcement Office (IEO) and IPOPHL’s enforcement team who will be ironing out enforcement suggestions and guidelines to keep up with modern business models. He also said that IEO had identified some critical players in the supply chain of false trade with whom they believe they should engage. They desire to motivate them to set up their mechanisms to prevent counterfeiters, including those who are contributing to counterfeit trade by utilizing their channels for criminal operations, Pascua ended.  For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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SaskTel Sent 30,000 Copyright Infringement Notices to Internet Customers

As it turns out that a lot of SaskTel customers are allegedly involved in internet piracy, the company, since January 2019, has sent out around 30,000 Copyright Infringement notifications to customers, who are accused of engaging in downloading or uploading copyrighted materials.

A spokesperson for SaskTel said that the number of notices the Crown tends to issue has remained steady in recent years. The spokesperson explained that receiving one of such notices doesn’t mean that the user is being sued by Hollywood studio. However, it can lead to a suit if the user continues with the activity causing infringement.

Although SaskTel doesn’t monitor the customers’ online activities, it is obligated under the Copyright Act of Canada to issue notices related to infringement on receiving communications from copyright owners.

Halifax-based lawyer David Fraser, who specializes in internet privacy and technology law, warned SaskTel customers by saying that they shouldn’t take the notices lightly. Mr. Fraser, during a recent telephonic interview, said that he would neither ignore it and nor laugh it off; rather, he would take it seriously. The lawyer continued and provided an example saying that if he were to receive a notice in his house or to discover that one of his kids was doing something like a violation, he would have a conversation with the kid as he wouldn’t want the thing to go further.

According to Mr. Fraser, copyright owners can track SaskTel users with the help of companies that possess the technology to detect the IP addresses that access copyrighted materials, like movies through peer-to-peer file-sharing software. Nonetheless, the copyright holders don’t get aware of the users’ names, and SaskTel wouldn’t provide that information to anyone unless a court orders it to do so.

Fraser then said that Hollywood studios have sued around thousands of individuals in Canada for piracy. While representing Canadian residents against whom the lawsuits for copyright infringement have been filed by the studios, Mr. Fraser revealed that these lawsuits often fall within the range of $5,000.

Companies usually provide individuals with several notices before deciding to sue them for copyright infringement. If you receive one or two notices, then there’re possibilities that you could be sued in case you continue doing the same thing as you were doing it before. Moreover, once you get sued, you will be sued again and again. You cannot ignore it, as if you do so, then the studio gets a default judgment against you, said Fraser.

A default judgment takes place when a defendant fails to respond to summons or unable to appear in court. SaskTel said it received one court application asking for information about copyright infringement, but the data wasn’t available because the Crown stores the information only for six months. Pirating copyrighted material is in infringement of the Crown agency’s Internet use policy.

According to this policy, customers should not upload, transmit, publish, or reproduce literary work, software, or other material, which is protected by any Intellectual Property (IP) right without obtaining the prior written permission of the copyright holder.

SaskTel, at last, said getting a copyright infringement notice doesn’t affect the customers’ internet access, but the continuation in piracy-related activities can result in the suspension of service. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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What Should You Know About A Trademark Search?

Intellectual Property (IP) alertness and the number of trademark applications are rising gradually. Therefore, it is significant for existing businesses as well as the new businesses who want to register their marks to be aware of the appropriate procedure to do so. It will help them in preventing the rejection of their Trademark Applications, and thus, save their hard-earned money and precious time from being wasted. One of the main reasons why most applications related to trademark registration get rejected is that the mark mentioned within them is either identical or confusingly similar to an already existing trademark in the market. So a trademark search, which lets you have an idea if a trademark similar to your mark is available in the market, is the best way to know whether your mark is eligible to get registered or not. It, in this way, can prevent your application’s refusal.

What is a Trademark search?

It refers to an action taken for determining whether or not a trademark is already being used in commerce. Although often appears narrow in scope, trademark searches can include results from almost all avenue for Trademark Protection for every mark, which is remotely similar to the mark that’s the subject of the search.

An appropriate Trademark Searching Technique or strategy will consider determining the nature of the mark, the nature of the products or services the mark covers, the timeline for bringing the mark to commerce, and the applicant’s allocation of all resources. A Trademark Search Report, in general, is based on:

  • Deep analysis of the elements included in the trademark
  • An intense search of prior trademarks that may impede registration
  • Opinions of an experienced Trademark Attorney on several aspects related to trademark application or registration
  • Suggestions for enhancement of registration probabilities when needed.

Most of the time, the relevant trademark registration office refuses to register any mark because of finding the applied mark either the same or similar to an already existing trademark. However, the office could refuse the registration based on many other factors, such as:

  • Merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive
  • Scandalous or immoral trademarks, like racial slurs
  • Trademarks that wrongly suggest a relationship with persons or entities
  • Geographically descriptive or deceptively geographically misdescriptive
  • Prohibited signs like flags, Olympic symbols, etc.

Since rules for registration for trademark vary from country to country, you may obtain different search reports for different countries. For instance, if your mark complies with all the factors essential for Trademark Registration in Maldives, it doesn’t mean that the same satisfies the requirements to get registered in India as well. In the same way, the trademark search report obtained in one nation could be different from that obtained in another nation. Besides, the trademark attorney’s recommendations, along with registration possibilities, can also vary according to the country. Some common reasons responsible for these variations in trademark search reports and trademark registrations in different countries are:

Differences in Interpretation: Trademark Offices interpret what can be and cannot be registered in a different manner. For example, countries like Switzerland will never accept any design that eventually resembles a red cross, no matter how small, big, or deconstructed it appears. However, other nations are more relaxed about what constitutes a red cross and often accept similar designs.

Differences in National Trademark Law: A mark with an image of a crown is not at all an issue in most countries. Nevertheless, in some countries like the United Kingdom, representation of the Royal Crown or similar would be refused.

Wrapping Up

With lakhs of trademarks and thousands of companies in the world, conducting a precise trademark search is essential. The trademark search process, in general, includes all the classes that are registered within that country. One can check the availability of his slogan, logo, brand, or name easily in just one trademark search. Dexterous Intellectual Property Law Firms are available with services that can make things easier for you. With years of experience, these firms can help you choose the right class, etc., by using the free but excellent Trademark Search Tool. The experts within these can also assist you through the entire Trademark Registration Process. In other words, these organizations can make you enjoy robust trademark protection for your mark without facing issues and wasting time or money. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Google Files Trademark Application for Pigweed – A new Operating System

Over the years, Google has been developing its fair share of operating systems, including Android, Chrome OS, and Fuchsia. And now, according to a new Trademark Application filed by Google, it appears that the search giant may be working on increasing the share by adding another operating system (OS) codenamed Pigweed.

Although the search giant has filed the trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the Pigweed OS recently, this isn’t the first time when the world heard of Pigweed with Google.

Pigweed was first found in a code from Google while developing Fuchsia OS. It happened due to a code change for Fuchsia, where the developers mentioned ‘pigweed,’ but that was changed to ‘Fuchsia.’ From this, it can be estimated that Google’s Pigweed and Fuchsia are possibly related. However, as nothing much has been revealed about Pigweed, the two operating systems could be different as well.

Pigweed’s appearance was also spotted in the Google Chromium code repository, where ‘pigweed’ was mentioned in a code associated with ‘Monorail,’ an issue tracker used by the search giant for Chrome and other projects.

These are the two known incidents showing the appearance of Google’s Pigweed in the past. Nevertheless, as per the latest trademark application, Pigweed is a ‘computer operating system.’ For now, this’s what the world knows about Google’s Pigweed. In other words, there isn’t anything else other than this information regarding Pigweed for now. Moreover, there’s no word on ‘will Google make Pigweed official.’ It is also not clear if Pigweed would be a new OS for smartphones in addition to computers. Hence, until Google decides to reveal more regarding Pigweed, no one can figure out what purpose the OS will actually serve.

Another big question is, ‘when can the public expect Google to take the wraps off of Pigweed?’ Well, there’s no easy way to guess the answer to this question also. For instance, the term ‘Android’ was trademarked just five days prior to the OS was first exposed in 2007. Conversely, the name ‘Chromebook’ wasn’t trademarked for months even after the first Chromebook began shipping in 2011. Furthermore, the word ‘Fuchsia’ has been trademarked for around two years now without being officially unveiled. Fuchsia OS, on which the search giant has been working for over twenty-four months now, is expected to replace Android, the most famous and widely used OS for smartphones. Although Google hasn’t confirmed if Fuchsia would be the next Android or Chrome OS, it already started testing Fuchsia OS on smartphones. Nonetheless, the search giant is expected to provide more concrete information with respect to Fuchsia OS and the new Pigweed OS altogether later this year. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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