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OCTOBER 2 -Nest announces that the USPTO has rejected six of the seven patents forming the basis for Honeywell's infringement suit against the young company. Nest makes a user-friendly, wireless thermostat that learns its user's patterns and automatically adjusts the home climate to fit. The first Nest thermostat model was an instant hit with techies and design aficionados alike and quickly sold out. The second version was released in early October. Honeywell filed suit against the company in February, alleging that the Nest thermostat's round design and the learning algorithms it used infringed on seven key patents. Nest responded by referring the patents in question back to the USPTO for review, asserting they were invalid.

OCTOBER 25 -Consulting firm Booz & Company releases its annual Global Innovation 1000 study, which identifies the top innovators in the world. This year's top 10 list included three IRI members: General Electric came in fifth and Procter & Gamble and IBM were tied for eight. Like the EU Innovation Scorecard, released in December, Booz's report showed that R&D investment worldwide was again up significantly, following growth in 2011, as well. The top 100 companies in the study accounted for 50 percent of the growth and 62 percent of the total R&D spending last year.

NOVEMBER 10 -Apple and HTC settle, ending the longestrunning of Apple's suits against Android phone manufacturers. The settlement dismisses all current lawsuits and includes a 10-year licensing agreement. Apple originally filed suit against HTC in 2010, beginning the attack on phones using the Android operating system that would culminate in its victory against Samsung earlier in 2012.

NOVEMBER 26 -USPTO Director David Kappos announces he will step down from his post in January 2013, after four years as the president's chief advisor on intellectual property matters. Kappos has led the USPTO through a particularly eventful period; he was responsible for shepherding the America Invents Act through Congress, seeing in sweeping changes in the patent system, and for acting aggressively to clear the USPTO's daunting backlog. During his tenure, the number of examiners grew to over 8,000, an increase of over 30 percent. …