Apple Targets Google’s Nexus Flagship Phone In Latest Legal Battle

Apple’s latest lawsuit against Samsung could see the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, currently Google’s flagship Android Ice Cream Sandwich device, banned from sale in the US.

The preliminary injunction, filed at a court in California, is based on four patents which are all allegedly violated in the Android 4.0 operating system, making Google potentially responsible for the breaches.

Apple on the offensive

Apple’s claims relate to a “data tapping” patent, which involves marking up phone numbers or email addresses, to be quickly used in conjunction with other programs, a unified method of Internet searching, a slide-to-unlock mechanism, and a word completion patent relating to speedy text entry on a touchscreen.

Foss Patents analyst Florian Mueller highlights that as the Nexus represents ‘stock’ Android (that is, without any manufacturers’ additions), Google will be directly culpable. The first “data tapping” patent will be especially problematic as Apple had previously succeeded at the US International Trade Commission, forcing HTC to remove the offending feature.

“This time around, Apple focuses completely on strong technical patents,” commented Mueller. “Last time, the emphasis was mostly on softer, design-related rights.”

Samsung has previously dealt with other claims from Apple in European courts, most recently by redesigning the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to comply with German rulings. If this new lawsuit is successful, it would require significant changes to Android rather than a quick cosmetic tweak.

“Samsung has systematically copied Apple’s innovative technology and products, features, and designs, and has deluged markets with infringing devices in an effort to usurp market share from Apple,” Apple’s complaint argues. “Apple is filing this suit to put an end to Samsung’s continued infringement.”

Apple will be hoping for greater success in the US than they have had recently in China and Europe. Aside from being forced to remove iPads and iPhone from their German sites, a ruling in China declared that Apple was denied rights to the iPad brand.

Jiten Karia

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  • When will Apple stop trying to prevent competition via this seemingly endless and groundless litigation and go back to competing on product?

    And for the "Apple can do no wrong" crowd:

    recognising a phone number or email address so it can be used as such - how long has former been available in SMS? The latter in email clients? Zimbra has had both for 6+ years.

    Unified Internet searching? Like a web search engine?

    slide to unlock is just a touch screen variant of the sliding phones - and the OpenMoko project had it before the iPhone was released.

    Word completion has prior art so far back it's almost lost in tech history. Had the ability to choose options from a list most if not all that time. Having it be selected using a touch screen is not a patentable variant, even if there hadn't been touch screens before Apple used them. Which, for reference, there were.

  • I think this is now falling into one of two categories. 'WTF', or 'oh, FFS'.

    Apple are maintaining an army of lawyers and a library of legislation. Is it any wonder that Apple products are more expensive than PC?

    Irrespective, I anticipate a more decisive split over whether to use Apple or not. Many of those wavering will see this kind of thing and react as I am - I won't be buying iAnything. (Have Apple trademarked the i- precursor to words?)

    • "When will Apple stop trying to prevent competition via this seemingly endless and groundless litigation and go back to competing on product?"

      Apple? Jeez! This is done by all the manufacturers now. The practice is disgusting, by everyone including Apple, since imho, most of those patents are flawed, being "obvious to engineers of normal skill in the arts"

      If you want to talk about the patents mess, go back to the Reagan era when the funding for the US PTO was reduced. There have not been nearly enough skilled examiners for decades now, so huge numbers of "flawed" patent claims are allowed, especially after big rich companies appeal and appeal until an exhausted PTO gives in.

      Read a newspaper once in a while, @Puttick

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