Apple takes aim at Google with patent claim against Samsung

by Kenny Hemphill on February 13, 2012

Apple has filed for an injunction in the US against Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, the flagship handset for Google’s Android 4 (also known as ice-cream sandwich) operating system.

The suit, filed in California, asserts that the Galaxy Nexus infringes upon four Apple patents. One of those, which relates to data tapping (a feature which allows, for example, a phone number to be marked as a data type in an email so that it can be dialled by clicking on it), is the same patent it claimed was infringed by HTC when it won an import ban from the International Trade Commission on HTC handsets.

The other three patents in the suit were granted in the last few months and relate to swiping an image to unlock a handset, voice search, and word completion in apps that involve typing.

The claim against the Galaxy Nexus is significant due to its potential impact on Google. Every time Google releases a new major version of Android, it works with a handset partner to develop a lead device. That device has Nexus in its name. It also has a ‘vanilla’ version of Android – one that is not modified or added to by the handset manufacturer.

According to patent expert, Florian Mueller, ‘In this case, stock Android itself is at issue. This means that Google cannot deny its undivided responsibility for any infringement findings.’

Apple simultaneously filed a separate federal infringement suit against Samsung and Mueller explains: ‘It is possible, and even reasonably probable, that these four patents were selected out of a larger group of patents asserted in the main proceeding.’

‘I am absolutely certain that Apple’s new complaint in California accuses a long list of Samsung products of infringement, but for the preliminary injunction motion, the Galaxy Nexus was singled out because it’s so new, and important,’ added Mueller.

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