Briefly: No Apple products in Gates household; iPad in Hollywood; lawsuit update

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Rumors that Bill Gates secretly uses a MacBook are not true, as Apple products never breach his doorstep, according to his wife. Meanwhile, the iPad is emerging as a staple in Hollywood. And Apple has joined Google and others in attempting to have a lawsuit by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen thrown out of court.

Apple products in Gates household

Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has acknowledged that's she's a bit envious of her iPhone-wielding friends. But as she told Vogue in an interview last year, Apple's handheld devices are a forbidden fruit in her household.

"There are very few things that are on the banned list in our household," she said. "But iPods and iPhones are two things we don't get for our kids."

You can now add the rest of Apple's product line to the list. The philanthropist and former Microsoft unit manager told the New York Times Magazine this week that rumors that her husband Bill uses an Apple notebook behind closed doors are "False," adding that "nothing [from Apple] "crosses the threshold of our doorstep."

iPads are similarly off limits and when one of her three children recently argued, “Mom, I have to have an iPod" she responded with "You may have a Zune.”

iPads in Hollywood

Meanwhile, the Times also recently ran a profile of the iPad's growing popularity in Hollywood, noting that it's "the must-carry accessory on sound stages this season, visible behind the scenes of television and film shoots and in business meetings."

For example, Bob Orci, one of the writers working on the sequel to last year's blockbuster "Star Trek," kicked off a recent meeting with his co-writer and three producers by whipping out his iPad to show off movie stills, potential scene locations, and a photo of a prospective actress that he had edited on the tablet to sport a Vulcan ear.

“When you’re carrying a little TV around, you bring the power of imagery to places that you don’t normally have it,” Orci said.

The report also notes that Apple products have turned up about 2,438 times on television programs through this September, amounting to a wealth of free advertising for the Cupertino-based company, including recent iPad stints on "The Office," “Modern Family,” “Fast Money," and “Fox & Friends.

At the same time, the Apple tablet is being put to work backstage, where actors and actresses using specially designed apps, like Rehearsal, are using it to help them learn their lines ahead of each shoot.

Lawsuit update

In other news, Apple last week joined Google, Facebook, Yahoo and 7 other tech heavyweights in attempting to persuade a judge to dismiss infringement charges lodged back in August by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen over four patents he controls from his now-defunct Silicon Valley laboratory Interval Research Corp.

"Interval has sued eleven major corporations and made the same bald assertions that each defendant infringes 197 claims in four patents," Apple wrote in an October 21st motion. "As the U.S. Supreme Court noted in Twombly, it is in this type of situation in which courts should use their 'power to insist upon some specificity in pleading before allowing a potentially massive factual controversy to proceed.'"

Allen's suit specifically references the following four patents:

  • United States Patent No. 6,263,507 issued for an invention entitled "Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data."
  • United States Patent No. 6,034,652 issued for an invention entitled "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."
  • United States Patent No. 6,788,314 issued for an invention entitled "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."
  • United States Patent No. 6,757,682 issued for an invention entitled "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest."

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