Apple, Samsung continue patent battles


An employee of South Korean mobile carrier KT holds a Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S smartphone (L) and an Apple Inc's iPhone 4 smartphone as he poses for photographs at a registration desk at KT's headquarters in Seoul, in this picture illustration taken April 22, 2011. (Truth Lee M/Reuters)
April 5, 2013

The ongoing battle between Samsung and Apple over intellectual property continues, with the news that a U.S. trade agency judge has sided with Apple on a dispute over a text-selection patent.

The preliminary ruling was made on March 26, but publicly released late Thursday. Reuters reported that the decision must be reviewed by the full ITC commission and that a final ruling is expected in August. If the judgement is upheld, the ITC could order infringing devices be blocked from being imported into the United States.

According to the court document, ITC judge Thomas J. Pender found that Samsung devices infringed on parts of an Apple patent that deals with the display of text selection on mobile devices, as well as a section on translucent buttons. Pender also found that Samsung did not infringe on a patent related to how devices recognize microphone inputs.

Details from the U.S. ruling come soon after news that a German court handed Samsung and Google’s Motorola Mobility a victory over a patent dealing with the slide-to-unlock feature.

As patent blogger Florian Mueller wrote, the patent for “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image” was found invalid. According to Mueller’s FOSS Patents blog, the patent did not cover all slide-to-unlock gestures, and Apple competitors have managed to find workarounds to avoid infringing on the patent.

Mueller wrote that the German decision can be appealed.

The courtroom battle continues as Samsung and Apple fight it out in the consumer market as well. Figures from comScore this week indicated that Apple had extended its lead over Samsung in the United States, and that Android had lost some of its lead to iOS in the United States as of February 2013.

Samsung, however, retains its lead worldwide and released profit guidance Friday that exceeded analyst expectations. The company estimated that its profit would rise 53 percent to around $7.7 billion (8.7 trillion won) in the quarter between January and March 2013.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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