Data Sheet—Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014, 1:28 PM UTC

Welcome to Monday, Data Sheet readers! Cisco’s intellectual property lawyers just got really busy—as litigators and defendants. Plus, with the Concur acquisition complete, SAP is planning a massive online marketplace for orchestrating business-to-business services. Forward this newsletter to colleagues and business partners, and tell them to sign up! Did you miss one? Here’s an archive of past editions.


Cisco heads to court against competitor. The networking giant filed patent and copyright infringement suits against Arista Networks, helmed by its former employee Jayshree Ullal. Cisco's complaint alleges that not only has the much smaller company blatantly copied Cisco technologies, it is encouraging other competitors to do the same. "Arista's copying was a strategy, not an accident," Cisco's General Counsel Mark Chandler writes in his blog, explaining the company's rather rare decision to take this course. (Cisco has filed less than five similar suits in his 13 years in that role.) Fortune

Ironically, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed late last week to hear a patent infringement appeal involving Cisco as a defendant. The original case was brought by wireless technology company Commil USA, which was awarded $63.8 million in damages (plus interest). But a retrial was ordered in June 2013, based on Cisco's "good faith" argument that it unknowingly infringed on the patent. If that defense holds, it could have widespread ramifications for future intellectual property cases. Reuters

China's top Internet censor visits local Facebook campus. Lu Wei (officially minister of the country's Cyberspace Administration) also dropped by Apple's and Amazon's facilities (at least that's what they're telling us). Reuters

BlackBerry's new prescription for cancer treatment. A cloud service and Internet browser for the Passport smartphone—boasting medical-grade security and launching in early 2015—will let doctors access biopsy results and other diagnostics data far more quickly. Wall Street Journal

SAP's not-so-secretive master plan. Wondering why SAP really bought corporate travel management service Concur? It's finalizing the blueprint for a business-to-business services marketplace—one positioned to orchestrate up to $10 trillion in global spending annually. It's like what Alibaba does, but for much bigger companies. New York Times

Tim Draper's bitcoin booty. The venture capitalist continues to invest in the alternative currency. Last week, he successfully bid on part of the 50,000-bitcoin lot seized by U.S. marshals when they raided and shut down the Silk Raid black market website. Re/code


Soon, half of us will be mobile-first. Gartner forecasts that by 2018, at least 50% of all communications and content "consumption" will originate on smartphones or tablets. Anticipated usage time is one of the biggest factors driving which sort of gadget you'll grab.

Social twist on identity theft. SpoofedMe is a new vulnerability on certain websites that allows an imposter to log in under an alias—and then masquerade as someone else when they leave comments. Disconcerting for all of us. Downright scary, if you're an executive at a public company. Fortune


British court approves of snooping. Mirroring similar rulings in the United States, the decision sanctions electronic surveillance mobile phones and online communications by intelligence agencies. It's all in the name of national security. Meanwhile, lawmakers across Europe continue to look askance at collecting data for commercial reasons. France is the latest to vocalize strong support for better privacy. NYT


Brainy upstart. Infused with $8 million from Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and Khosla Ventures, MetaMind is the latest semi-stealthy company using artificial intelligence to analyze images, text and other data. Its most direct rival is AlchemyAPI (used by high-profile media companies including Shutterstock and Hearst). Gigaom


Over lunch, reshaping the future of America's drone industry By Clay Dillow

Want a self-driving car? Look on the driveway By Michael Casey

Happy hour, at home and with just a few taps on your phone By John Kell

Sony employees get threatening email from alleged hacker By Tom Huddleson, Jr.

Millennial women flunking financial duties By Patricia Sellers

A clever way to collect residential energy data By Kirsten Korosec

On its 20th anniversary, Sony soaks up its PlayStation successes By John Gaudiosi


Could intelligent barcode readers save the U.S. Postal Service? Better mail tracking, analytics and mobile tracking will help retailers and catalog companies deliver sophisticated personalized marketing campaigns. That's just one way that its postal-clerk-turned-CIO hopes to return the agency to relevance—and profits. Computerworld

Here's one way to reincarnate an old laptop battery. IBM is researching ways to turn them into power sources for places and people who aren't near an electric grid. It has tested the concept in Bangalore, India. BBC


If you think your corporate social media policy is onerous, put yourself in Mitt Romney's shoes. His campaign-trail tweets were often approved by more than 20 people. Want a more practical approach for the New Year? Imitate these "7 Attributes of CEOs Who Get Social Media." The Verge, Harvard Business Review



IBM Interconnect 2015: Cloud and mobile strategy. (Feb. 22 – 26, 2015; Las Vegas)

Microsoft Convergence 2015: Dynamics solutions. (March 16 – 19, 2015; Atlanta)

Knowledge15: Automate enterprise IT services. (April 19-24, 2015; Las Vegas)

MicrosoftIgnite: Enterprise tech extravaganza. (May 4 – 8, 2015; Chicago)

NetSuite SuiteWorld: Cloud ERP strategy. (May 4 – 7, 2015; San Jose, Calif.)

SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7, 2015; Orlando, Fla.)