Blog Post

Apple Files New Patent Lawsuit Against Samsung In California

Apple’s global campaign to stop its Korean rival from selling smartphones and tablets has faltered in recent months, but the iPhone-maker appears undeterred.

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is using two new patents for touchscreen technology, obtained in December, as the basis for yet another lawsuit.

In documents filed Tuesday in San Jose federal court, Apple revealed it is using newly-granted US Patents 8,074,172 and 8,086,604 to seek a temporary injunction against Samsung.

The first of the patents appears to cover the spelling and auto-correct feature, used in iPhones and iPads, that results in a proposed word hovering over letters that a user is typing. Here is what the patent says:

One aspect of the invention involves a method that includes: in a first area of the touch screen, displaying a current character string being input by a user with the keyboard; in a second area of the touch screen, displaying the current character string or a portion thereof and a suggested replacement for the current character string […]

It is harder to discern what exactly the second patent covers as its description is in the form of lawyer-language gobbledygook (perhaps one of our engineer readers can offer a plain-English translation?) :

The present invention provides convenient access to items of information that are related to various descriptors input by a user, by means of a unitary interface which is capable of accessing information in a variety of locations, through a number of different techniques. Using a plurality of heuristic algorithms to operate upon information descriptors input by the user, the present invention locates and displays candidate items of information for selection and/or retrieval. Thus, the advantages of a search engine can be exploited, while listing only relevant object candidate items of information.

The new lawsuit comes after Apple suffered a setback in the same court in December when U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh refused to grant a preliminary injunction that would have barred the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy tablet. Apple is appealing that initial ruling and continuing to seek a permanent injunction to bar the tablet which it says Samsung “slavishly” copied. That lawsuit also concerns three Samsung smartphones.

The new lawsuit differs from the earlier one in that it turns on utility patents not design patents which protect only the ornamental aspects of an invention. Apple has so far been using design patents to protect the iPad but its efforts are unlikely to succeed; Judge Koh appears to have agreed with Samsung that the iPad’s design was preempted by an earlier proto-type from 1994.

The new suit, based on the utility patents, gives Apple a fresh kick at the can.

Apple has been engaged in a worldwide effort to use its intellectual property to keep Samsung out of the market but has so far come up short. Its most recent setback came yesterday in Germany where a court said Samsung can sell a reworked tablet that Apple had briefly banned.

It is not clear whether the new California lawsuit is aimed at Samsung’s tablet, its phones or both. The complaint has been filed under seal so, for now, the only public information available includes references to the new patent numbers in the docket and a filing (embedded below) that says the new case is connected to the prior one. The docket also shows that Apple is once again seeking a preliminary injunction.

The complaint and other documents are likely to be unsealed in coming weeks or months. The news agency Reuters (NYSE: TRI) has recently called attention to federal courts’ questionable practice of reflexively sealing documents, which are normally public, on a corporation’s request. In response to the story, Judge Koh herself issued new guidelines to make the practice less pervasive.

Apple’s feud with Samsung has reportedly cost it more than $100 million in legal fees and may be driven in part by a personal vendetta of its late founder, Steve Jobs.

Apple Samsung
var docstoc_docid=”112710717″;var docstoc_title=”Apple Samsung”;var docstoc_urltitle=”Apple Samsung”;

28 Responses to “Apple Files New Patent Lawsuit Against Samsung In California”

  1. contentnext

    Posting the same comments from different accounts while pretending to be different people isn’t cool.  Closing the thread as I think everyone has said what they are going to say regardless of which side you are on.

  2. Staci D. Kramer

    @dc86d3061cf9ee6faa659c018283c449:disqus speaking of reality distortion fields, we’re a news site staffed by professional journalists, owned until last week by Guardian News & Media and now by GigaOM. 

  3. This site (paidContent) is s shill for companies like google.
    And anyone who thinks it has factual stories is delusional.

    This site has articles that companies like google pay them to host. And this article shows up ONLY on a google search… I wonder why.

    I guess Google is desperate to create their own version of reality — does this mean they liked Steve’s invention of a Reality Distortion Field, and now they want to copy more than just his ideas?

  4. Lookit… Apple needs to “appopriate” the SWYPE keyboard, or their own similar version, or they will continue to get stomped by Android.  Nobody wants Apple’s crap non-swype keyboard.   What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  Maybe google stole some of their IP arguably.  So Apple should fight fire with fire – then when they get sued (inevitably), courts will see the big picture and take the approach of fairness by saying “both win” (both stole each others’ ideas), or “both lose” — either way, it’s more or less a wash, not a lose-only proposition for Apple (if they had a slam dunk case in the courts they would have sued 2 years ago,  not now, so even if they “win”, it will likely be a marginal/mixed bag of success.  Go on the offensive now, Apple – don’t wait to find out which/whether this or that court will protect you, and to what extent.

  5. I’ve had Macs, and a couple of iPods, and I like the quality and innovation of Apple products.  However, their predatory legal behavior has totally turned me off to them.  I recently bought a new laptop, and a new tablet, and largely because of their behavior, Apple was not even a consideration. I recognize that this bothers them not at all, but one does what one can.

  6. ShlomoFish

    It’s undeniable that shamsung blatantly ripped off the designs, subtle details, packaging, and trade dress  from the iPhones. No doubt about it. They only made a lame attempt to tweak this-that to make the Galaxy look different. It’s unfortunate that this activity does not stand in court just because it is not something that can be patented (copyrighted maybe?). I find it frustrating that Apple couldn’t really fight this successfully as shamsung have been copying for a long time. From a business strategy point of view, such behavior is something that works great for samsung. So is their market over-saturation of a plethora of models that are pretty much the same cheaply made galaxy. But it is not just shamsung that does this, this is a chronic problem with korean companies, who try to pass off as having their own uniqueness and imagination, when it fact many are rip off products that are thinly “accented”. 

  7. In 1984, I think it was, Apple can out with a commercial for their PCs wherein it criticized IBM and IBM compatibles as being the same drab thing.  The commercial was in black and white and featured an individual throwing a large hammer at a screen (as if it were a dictator). How ironic that several years later, the iPhone is the ONLY product cellphone Apple produces.  It’s just one size fits all.  All iPhone users matching to the same style same design; no difference.  In the Android world, there are many, many styles to choose from.

    How hypocritical of Apple.  Also, note that if you Google the facts about Android vs. iOS (Apple’s iPhone OS), you’ll find that in every country on the planet people are preferring Android to iOS, including the United States.  So there is where the Apple sauce is made; Android is crushing Apple and Apple’s only response is to threaten to sue, sue and lose to try to keep Samsung (the leader in worldwide iPhone production) out of markets.  Apple’s as well as Blackberry’s market share is shrinking!

    Besides, with a feature like Siri (Steve Jobs was Syrian; Wikipedia) it is almost laughable that that was supposed to be the draw taking Apple iPhone users from version 4 to 4S.  Siri is useless and as worthless as teets on a boar hog.


    • Uplift Humanity

      You’re OBVIOUSLY intelligent.
      Ha ha ha ha ha!!!

      Go eat some applesauce, and leave the real thinking to people who have a clue.

      You think the Siri name was used to commemorate his Syrian biology? You’re not only clueless, you’re wrong. Steve Jobs HATED his biological Syrian father because he (in his mind) abandoned Steve (gave him up for adoption). His mother wasn’t Syrian. So for Steve to make his father’s heritage a centerpiece would be the same as a Jewish parent naming their new child Adolf.

      Steve would not name his new “child” (Siri) after someone/something he absolutely hated.

      The reason companies choose non-sensical names such as this is:
      1) They are legally safe (not copyrighted) everywhere in the worldwide – since wants to use the name in every country it sells in.

      2) The name shouldn’t have a negative meaning/connotation in any language (remember the “Nova”?).

      3) It has to be easy to remember, pronounce, and have good “mouthfeel” & “ear-sound” in every language

      SO NEXT TIME YOUR BRAIN ITCHES, PLEASE PUNCH IT. I’m POSITIVE you’ll stop feeling the itch.

  8. I’m opposed to the opinion that Apple has not come up with anything. 
    They did put together the great hardware that makes today’s phones first
    rate.  Look at the IPad!!!  Another great technology.  They are great
    at producing first hand gadgets. 

    I think Apple has the right to take Samsung to court since even though they did not invent the technology, they bought the rights to it.  Samsung did not fork out the money; they just decided to use the ideas behind the patent without paying for it. 

    I oppose those who target Android.  First of all, Android is based on Unix and Unix has been around since the early 70s.  Some might argue even before then. That’s what most people fail to realize.  It’s old technology.  Android is just another evolution of Unix (by the way, Mac notebooks are
    based on Unix too).  It’s ironic that Apple wants to destroy Android.

    What is new is the touch screen technology (and even that can be argued) and the algorithms that make the touch screen technology work so successful today as opposed to 10-15 years ago.  Add to that the advances in miniaturization of circuits that makes today’s small phone and tablet capabilities in such a small size, incredible.  No one can lay claim to all these technologies; not even Apple.  Apple was just smart enough to put all these things together in a great way when no one still lay claim to this sector of the consumer market.  And they did it by paying for many of the patents that lead to these advances.  They did their fare share. They took the risks and forked out the money when no one was willing to do it or had the foresight to see it coming.

  9. Dino Monte

    One should start thinking about amending the copyright laws.  They should either be scrapped altogether or allowed for a short period of time of not more than one to two years.

  10. I think the second patent describes the integrated search feature that allows users to access records from different categories like contacts, text messages, emails, installed applications or even web pages.

  11. wow.. Apple BUYS a patent in Dec and the iSheep are defending apple for suing them with a patent they BOUGHT?? 

    BTW i own many apple products and HAD an iphone but i prefer android and the Galaxy Nexus is one of the best phones on the market.. Its funny how apples latest iOS version takes a ton of things from Android yet some how apple is innovating.. give me a break

  12. Personal vendetta?  Samsung has brazenly copied everything Apple has done in the last 3 years.  They’ve ignored patent laws and when challenged have puffed up their chests and unashamedly spewed trash talk, then countersued on flimsy pretexts.  SJ said Apple would go “thermonuclear” over patent infringements and as a stockholder I applaud that attitude.  Apple pocketed $13B profit last quarter, and has $100B in the bank.  Expending $100M to defend themselves is the equivalent of an individual with $100 in his pocket spending 10 cents.  Get a grip.

    • Apple hasn’t innovated in years! You can tell when a company has become stagnent. They litigate instead of innovate. I happen to own an IPhone and a MacBook Pro. I just dont drink the apple-aid.

    • Jobs said he “would spend all of Apples cash to destroy Android” because it is a “copied” product.

      This hypocrisy mindset will implode on Apple and they will eventually loose the “cash pile”

      as a stockholder I would worry more about that… 

    • So you have done well as a stockholder and you don’t care what they do as long as the stock goes up and make you piles of dough. I understand that. But accusing Samsung of brazenly copying everything Apple did is like accusing BMW of copying Mercedes. It does not hold water. Apple is mainly arguing the looks of the iPad vs the Galaxy Tab and some software related similarities in their respective phones.
      What SJ said was that he would go thermonuclear against Android which he claims is a stolen product.
      A very outrageous claim.. And they did not spend $100M to defend against a lawsuit. They launched the lawsuit against HTC. They are the aggressors and instigators to knock out the competition or slow them down in any way possible. If one patent doesn’t work then get another one and try again. They have $100B to spend as you said. You got the figures right. But you did not get the Apple’s motives and brazen outrageous claims.

  13. As MDN (Mac Daily News) put it, ‘Appel does not have a global campaign to stop Samsung “from selling smartphones and tablets.” It only wants Samsung to stop slavishly copying Apple’s products and stealing Apple’s patented IP’

    There is a big difference between protecting one’s IP and trying to force some one else out of the market. I doubt Apple would care one way or the other if Samsung came up with original designs for it’s phones. 

    • Slavish copying? That’s the line Apple is using and you just slavishly ape that term without finding out more. Obviously another iSheep follower of the iCult led by  iGuru, SJ.
      Yes IP is what Apple is claiming. But this is nothing new. Have you not seen type ahead and predictive word suggestions. Get a grip. You must have seen this before. So now Apple is cunning enough to patent and lock up every little old idea that has been floating around for years but nobody thought of patenting it. Is that really original design. They have been using Motorola’s 3G patents without paying a dime.

    • What are you kidding me?? News flash: Apple did NOT invent the touchscreen!! ”
       In 1993,  IBM released the first smart phone called Simon, which featured a calendar, note pad, and fax function, and a touch screen interface that allowed users to dial phone numbers” There are MANY other examples than this….. get over it!! Apple does not OWN touchscreens!