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Global Tech News – Apples Tries to Use Decade-Old Patents to Ban Samsung Galaxy S IV

Given that the massive Galaxy S IV doesn’t look too much like the much smaller 4-inch iPhone 5, Apple Inc. (AAPL) is having to turn to new and creative routes to try to convince federal judges and juries to ban its competitor’s flagship product.

I. Apple Targets Samsung Again

Samsung is doing quite well with the Galaxy S IV, moving 10 million units in a mere four weeks.  Overall Samsung is outselling Apple 2-to-1 in unit sales.  In addition, Samsung is approaching Apple in profitability for the first time; while Apple has seen its own profit margins slide for the first time in years.

Thus it is perhaps expected that Apple would be return to its favorite tactic — looking to troll Samsung in court.

The Samsung Galaxy S IV
Its latest accusation is that Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android “Google Now” service violates five invention claims that Apple has patented, with respect to its Siri voice search/assistant that it co-designed with Nuance Communications Inc. (NUAN).

The patents asserted are:

  • U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 : “Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system” (filed in 2004)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,847,959 : (identically named … creative) (filed in 2000)
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,761,414 : “Asynchronous data synchronization amongst devices” (filed in 2007)
  • U.S. Patent No. 5,666,502 : “Graphical user interface using historical lists with field classes” (filed in 1995)
  • U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 : “System and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data”

13-05-21 Apple Motion to Amend Infringement Contentions

But wait, you say, what could patents filed at least four years before Siri was released (or ten or more years in most cases) have to do with Siri or Google Now?  And what in the world do graphical user interface patents (the latter two patents from the 90s) have to do with voice search?

II. Apple Looks to Use Ambiguous Decade-Old Patents Against Samsung

Apple contends that the trio of initial patents — which cover interaction with ambiguous data constructs — can be applied to Siri, Google Now, (or likely most other pieces of software).  And Apple says its equally ambiguous UI “inventions” are fair game, as Google Now is activated by an on-screen button at times, replacing the previous “Android Quick Search Box”.

According to a filing obtained by Florian Mueller, an anti-Google blogger paid by Google’s legal rivals, Apple writes, “The Galaxy S4 product practices many of the same claims already asserted by Apple… in the same way as the already-accused Samsung devices.”
 
Unable to compete, Apple is helping the courts lend it a helping hand in its war against Samsung. [Image Source: Cult of Mac]
  Judge Paul S. Grewal of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will rule on Apple’s request to tack on the patents at a June 25 hearing.  

As Samsung and Apple wind up to a second trial, in which Apple is targeting dozens of Samsung smartphones and tablets for bans, the Cupertino company is watching its first $1.05B USD court win over Samsung start to unravel with a pair of patent invalidations by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Apple also failed to secure any lasting bans on current Samsung products in that case.

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