February 13, 2012
Apple Seeking Preliminary Injunction Against New Samsung Smartphone
Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Thursday, using four recently granted patents in pursuit of a preliminary injunction against sales of the company's Galaxy Nexus smartphone, various media outlets reported over the weekend.
According to Daniel Eran Dilger of AppleInsider, the iPhone manufacturer is asking a federal judge to halt sales of what Dilger describes as "Google's Android 4.0 flagship device" in a lawsuit that is "parallel to a separate complaint last fall, but differing in several key respects."
The suit, Dilger wrote, refers to four specific patents: "the Data Detectors patent Apple successfully used to win an ITC injunction against HTC: U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 'System and Method for Performing an Action on a Structure in Computer-Generated Data' “¦ U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 'Universal Interface for Retrieval of Information in a Computer System' “¦ U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721 'Unlocking a Device by Performing Gestures on an Unlock Image' “¦ [and] U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172 "Method, System, and Graphical User Interface for Providing Word Recommendations.'"
In other words, wrote Nancy Weil of IDG News, Apple is suing over patents it holds for technology which allows users to dial a phone number on a website simply by touching it, Siri voice recognition software and unified search, sliding an image in order to unlock the device, and a word completion patent that makes touchscreen text entry faster and easier for smartphone users.
"Sales of the Galaxy Nexus during this litigation will cause irreparable harm to Apple," the company said in the lawsuit, according to Weil's report. "The smartphone market is at a critical juncture, as the overwhelming majority of consumers move to smartphones, and the consumers' long-term preferences and purchases may be determined to a great extent by the operating system on their first smartphone."
The vital role that the familiarity of a first smartphone's operating system plays in regards to future purchases "is precisely why Samsung copies Apple's products and incorporates Apple's patented features, i.e., in order to lure crucial first-time purchasers away from Apple," the iPhone maker added, according to IDG News.
Patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents told Forbes contributor E.D. Kain that the suit was stronger than previous ones filed by Apple against Samsung because ”this time around, Apple focuses completely on strong technical patents“¦ Last time, the emphasis was mostly on softer, design-related rights."
"That Apple is taking direct aim at the Galaxy Nexus is interesting in that the model represents the latest version of Android 4.0 software, as well as being the latest official Google-led design using a stock install of Android, as opposed to devices marketed by Motorola, Samsung or HTC with layers of vendor-specific, differentiating software on them," Dilger said in his Saturday article. "This takes Apple's infringement case directly to Google's Android, while focusing the damages upon the most successful Android licensee with the deepest pockets: Samsung."
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