Through its official global blog, Samsung today announced a new patent licensing deal reached with Google, whereby both companies will have access to each other's existing patents and those filed over the next ten years, covering "a broad range of technologies and business areas."
The cross-licensing agreement is described by Google's Deputy General Counsel for Patents, Allen Lo, as one that will help the two giants "reduce the potential for litigation, and focus instead on innovation." Indeed that has been a popular refrain as both Google and Samsung have historically faced (and continue to face) patent challenges from various other companies on various grounds. Read More
With Samsung and Apple's California trial scheduled for Monday, more and more information is being unearthed about the parties' respective claims. Yesterday, though, AllThingsD parsed out a few pieces of evidence from an unedited version of Apple's filing (not publicly available) that look quite bad for Samsung. I'll just quote them as they appear, because they really don't need much context:
- In February 2010, Google told Samsung that Samsung’s “P1” and “P3” tablets (Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1) were “too similar” to the iPad and demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.”
- In 2011, Samsung’s own Product Design Group noted that it is “regrettable” that the Galaxy S “looks similar” to older iPhone models.
Update: It appears Samsung sent out the update removing universal search from international Galaxy S III's mistakenly. I'd say the point still stands for the United States, though.
On December 1, 2004, a patent was filed in the United States naming Apple as asignee (owner). Its title is "Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system." This patent, which you can find here, has become Apple's most effective weapon in its fight to see Android dubbed an iOS "ripoff" by courts and consumers.
And effective it has been - Samsung just removed the local search feature from the international version of the Galaxy S III, having already removed it from the US versions on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. Read More
According to a header from a sealed document unearthed by FOSSPatents, Google has requested to intervene in an ITC patent lawsuit between HTC and Nokia as co-defendant to the Taiwanese smartphone-maker. This is the first time Google has ever filed as an intervening 3rd-party in a patent lawsuit between one of its hardware partners and a competitor, so it may be the sign of a shift in strategy for the company.
There's also the fact that Google has requested an antitrust investigation against Nokia in the EU, so maybe Google is just piling on the Finnish firm to makes its stance even more clear. Read More
Samsung swiftly appealed the preliminary injunctions slapped on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus issued by a California district court, and the presiding circuit court has issued its response.
First, the court declined to even consider lifting the sales ban (preliminary injunction) on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 - meaning that ban will stay in effect unless Samsung wins out at trial. Second, it decided that Samsung had made a plausible case for denying the preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, and has lifted that ban temporarily, awaiting Apple's response, which is due by next week. This doesn't mean much for the moment, and might not mean much overall - Samsung probably stopped making Tab 10.1s months ago, and the Galaxy Nexus will be receiving an OTA update soon enough to avoid Apple's patent infringement allegations. Read More
According to AllThingsD, Google is working quickly to release a software patch to its Galaxy Nexus handset in order to avoid a preliminary injunction sales ban in the US. Google says the patch will be coming very soon (eg, tonight). The news came hot on the heels of Judge Koh's denial of Samsung motion to stay the ban while it appealed the injunction to the circuit court.
Google will also be assisting Samsung in its appeal of the ban, and to challenge the legitimacy of one of Apple's patents on universal search. Google is seeking to have the patent invalidated at the USPTO, as well. Read More
After an injunction hearing earlier this week, Judge Posner has issued his final decision on whether to throw out the Motorola v. Apple case. The result? You're (both) outta here.
Judge Posner dismissed both parties' cases with prejudice earlier this evening (meaning Apple and Moto cannot refile against one another on these issues in any other federal court). Apple will, of course, appeal.
Posner's feeling on Apple's insistent demand for an injunction against Motorola's smartphone products was summed up best by the following excerpt from the decision:
And while the patents themselves (or some of them at least) may well have considerable value, after the claims constructions by Judge Crabb and myself and after my grants of partial summary judgment only a handful of the original patent claims remain in the case; infringement of that handful may not be a source of significant injury past, present, or future.
The presiding judge in the Motorola v. Apple case in Illionois, Richard Posner, has just handed down an order dismissing all claims of both parties in the case, just as it was set to go to trial on Monday. Posner's preliminary order (he'll be writing a full decision soon, which I can't wait to read) basically says neither party was able to show that the infringement of patents by the other resulted in the production of evidence that said infringement actually caused them any harm.
Posner goes even further, in fact, and declares that Apple (and Motorola's) requests for injunctive relief are simply not tenable in a case where the patents in question are such small parts of much larger products:
Because the parties believe that damages are an adequate remedy for the alleged infringements (though they failed to present evidence on damages strong enough to withstand summary judgment), and because injunctive relief would impose costs disproportionate to the harm to the patentee and the benefit of the alleged infringement to the alleged infringer and would be contrary to the public interest, I cannot find a basis for an award of injunctive relief.
Update: It should come as no surprise, but Samsung has responded to Apple's attack on the Galaxy S III, saying it will "demonstrate to the court that the Galaxy S III is innovative and distinctive."
Apple and Samsung's ongoing litigation in California federal court has become something of a three-ring circus. Back in December, the presiding judge denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction against a wide variety of Samsung products. Apple has since filed for more such injunctions on newer products, and the newest is the Galaxy S III.
Apple claims the devices infringes the same "data tapping" patent it has accused HTC (again today) and Motorola of infringing - which it is now extending to the core Android long-press action dialogue menu for URLs (eg, links in Gmail, browser, etc). Read More