Justice may be sweet, but when it comes to patents, it's not usually swift. In the case of Apple's multiple, far-reaching patent disputes with Samsung, it took them a few weeks to get an injunction on the Galaxy Nexus based on the controversial results of the billion-dollar patent infringement suit. After Samsung took its case to the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals, the higher judiciary power has sided with the Korean manufacturer.
Following up on last year's slide-to-unlock patent grab (which itself built on a patent granted in 2010), Apple has been granted another, yet more expansive slide-to-unlock patent, one which ditches the previous patents' emphasis on "predefined paths" in favor of more ambiguous language covering the movement of an unlock image to "an unlock region" on a device's display.
While US Patent 8,286,103 is largely similar to Apple's previous two slide-to-unlock, its language is considerably broader.
Update: AllThingsD, reaching out to Motorola, and received the following response:
“As we have previously stated Motorola Mobility is focusing on fewer mobile devices ... As a result we have phased out some of our lower tier devices in Europe/Germany.”
Sounds like we won't be seeing any of those devices return.
-- Original Story --
I haven't been following Motorola's ongoing patent spats in Germany particularly closely in the last year, but I do know the company hasn't been doing well there.
If you hate to read these stories, imagine how much we hate to write them: yet another volley has been tossed in the patent battle between Samsung and Apple. This time it's the Korean manufacturer taking its intellectual property guns out against Apple, claiming that the shiny new iPhone 5 violates eight of its software patents.
Samsung claims six utility patents and two standard essential patents. The later (USPTO filings 7,551,596 and 7,756,087) have to do with data transfers on mobile networks, while the former (USPTO 7,672,470, 7,577,757, 7,232,058, 6,292,179, 6,226,449, and 5,579,239) are more varied, ranging from audio streaming and control to keyboard and voice inputs.
Let's face it. The patent system is a mess. Applying for a patent can be a process that takes years. Then there's the issue of prior art. Is this patent valid? Was it obvious? Should it have been granted in the first place? And that's without getting into whether or not other devices infringe. It can be a huge cluster of ugly. Enter AskPatents. This new Stack Exchange site has been set up to crowd source the finding of prior art and researching whether or not patents are valid.
Today it was learned, through a US Patent and Trademark Office filing, that Google has been granted a patent concerning the logging in of multiple users by facial recognition.
Typically, the granting of yet another tech patent wouldn't be extraordinarily interesting news. But given the fact that Google's latest patent relates to multiple user support, and the fact that code meant for multiple user support has been sitting right under our noses in AOSP for some time now, patent number 8,261,090 is definitely worth discussing.
Have you heard?! Apple now says the Galaxy S III is infringing on its patents. Woe is us!
Except, this is a.) completely unsurprising, and b.) not really important in the grand scheme of things. Yesterday, Reuters reported that Apple had tacked on the Galaxy S III (including the Verizon version specifically, for whatever reason), the Note 10.1, and the original Galaxy Note to its upcoming California lawsuit against Samsung. And yes, they'll probably add the Galaxy Note II just as soon as Samsung gets around to releasing it here in the US.
A court in Tokyo returned a favorable ruling for Samsung Friday, finding that Samsung's mobile devices were not in violation of an Apple patent related to inter-device media transfer.
This news comes one week after Samsung lost in what was (and continues to be) one of the most compelling trials tech has seen in a long time, with a San Jose jury ruling that Sammy owed Apple over $1 billion in damages over various trade dress and patent claims levied by Apple.
The reading of Friday's verdict was no doubt an intense moment for just about everyone interested in the mobile tech world. Apple swept up decisions for $1.049 Billion in damages, Samsung was denied its claims against Apple across the board by the nine-person California jury, and both sides immediately released impassioned responses to the decision, calling on the feelings of spectators and case-long mantras that kept onlookers from both sides in rapt attention.
There's no question – today's verdict dealt Samsung a heavy blow. The massive $1.04 billion sum Samsung will now be responsible for paying Apple in damages aside, the trial will undoubtedly have an effect on the rest of the industry.
Being all too aware of this fact, Samsung has already issued an official response to the verdict, stating that the verdict is not a win for Apple, but a loss for consumers and a blow to innovation.