Apple recently filed yet another lawsuit, this time in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking a temporary sales ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus over its alleged violation of several patents.
The Galaxy Nexus uses Google’s newest version of the Android mobile operating system, the “Ice Cream Sandwich”. The Galaxy Nexus is the first phone running on the latest Android version. The platform has not been widely adopted yet by hardware manufacturers such as HTC Corp and Motorola Mobility. HTC and Motorola are involved in separate patent disputes with Apple. Samsung is currently the largest producer of Android handsets.
The patents in question include: (1) the ability to unlock the phone by sliding an image; (2) the ability to search for information via voice commands; (3) making use of data as hyperlinks; and (4) searching across multiple sources to find information. Apple argues that all of these features are ones that customers expect from Apple products. In other words, they are unique to Apple products.
Analysts believe that Apple picked on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus because it is a new device that will likely pose strong competition for Apple’s iPhone. This is hardly Apple’s and Samsung’s first legal tussle, though. The two technology heavyweights are currently litigating twenty lawsuits in at least ten countries.
In fact, Apple has already dragged Samsung into the same court in Northern California last year, alleging that Samsung illegally copied iPhone and iPad design features as well as the look of its screen icons. The case is still in litigation, but the court recently rejected Apple’s request for a preliminary bar against Samsung to prevent it from selling Galaxy phones and tablets. Apple claims that this latest lawsuit against Samsung is for different products and different patents.
Not surprisingly, Samsung vowed to fight this latest legal assault by Apple and to assert vigorously its intellectual property rights to ensure continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business.
This latest lawsuit might affect other Android phone makers as well who will, I’m sure, be following the developments in this case very closely. Also, it is rather apparent that Apple is suing Samsung to ‘get at’ its chief rival, Google, the creator of the Android operating system. Google will bear ultimate responsibility if the court finds that the Galaxy Nexus, which runs on its platform, infringes on Apple’s patents.