On June 29th Apple stuck quite a blow to Samsung when they won an injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Apple also recently won an injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The injunction places a ban on all sales of the Galaxy Nexus in the United States.
Apple had claimed that the Galaxy Nexus infringed on US Patent Number 8,086,604 which covers searching multiple areas for information on the device and elsewhere through a single search interface using predetermined heuristic algorithms corresponding to each search area. The patent covers technologies like Apple’s Siri which is a big deal for Android because this is directed at core voice and search functionality incorporated within Android.
Now the Galaxy Tab 10.1 as stated by Judge Koh was a more obsolete device and would be a small blow to Samsung, however the Galaxy Nexus is a more prominent product and much more recent. Samsung will have to play carefully.
Apple originally stated that the Nexus had infringed three separate patents on top of the 8,086,604 patent already stated. The patents are 5,946,647 (actionable linking), 8,046,721 (slide-to-unlock) and 8,074,172 (touch screen word suggestion).
The Verge obtained statements from Google and Apple which are below:
We’re disappointed with this decision, but we believe the correct result will be reached as more evidence comes to light.
It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.
Here is the text from the ruling:
The Court is persuaded by the evidence in the record that the ‘604 unified search functionality drives consumer demand in a way that affects substantial market share. Even accepting Samsung’s argument that the intelligent voice-recognition aspect of Siri, as advertised, also contributes to consumer interest in the iPhone 4S, Apple has shown that the ‘604 Patented feature is core to Siri’s functionality and is thus a but-for driver of demand for Siri. Accordingly, the Court finds that Apple has adequately established the requisite causal nexus between Samsung’s alleged infringement of the ‘604 Patent and Apple’s risk of suffering irreparable harm.
Well, honestly I do not think that this injunction is going to help Apple. I mean do you think that their sales will increase because of the ban? Probably not. I am not sure what Apple is trying to achieve, technology will become more similar the more we reduce the size and form factors. So all I can see in the future is lawsuits if we continue to follow this path.