Apple launches new legal attack on Samsung phones

Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:51am EST

The company's logo is seen on the Apple store in Washington October 6, 2011. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The company's logo is seen on the Apple store in Washington October 6, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Related Topics

(Reuters) - Apple Inc raised the stake in an intensifying global patent battle with Samsung Electronics by targeting the latest model using Google's fast growing Android software, a move which may affect other Android phone makers.

Apple has asked a federal court in California to block Samsung from selling its new Galaxy Nexus smartphones, which use Google's newest version of Android, called Ice Cream Sandwich, alleging four patent violations including new features such as a voice-command search function.

Galaxy Nexus, the official debut of which was delayed by Samsung in October to pay respect to Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs, is the first phone running on the newest Android version before the platform is widely adopted by hardware manufacturers such as HTC Corp and Motorola Mobility. HTC and Motorola are also in separate patent disputes with Apple.

In a lawsuit filed last week in San Jose, Apple said the Galaxy Nexus infringes on patents underlying features customers expect from Apple products. Those include the ability to unlock phones by sliding an image and to search for information by voice.

"Google cannot deny its undivided responsibility for any infringement findings. A preliminary injunction would not prohibit the sale of a Galaxy nexus just because it's called Galaxy Nexus or looks like one: it's all about which patents it infringes on," said independent patent expert Florian Meuller.

"I am absolutely certain that...for the preliminary injunction motion the Galaxy Nexus was singled out because it's so new, and important."

Samsung said in a statement on Monday that it is aware of the filing by Apple in the California court.

"We continue to assert our intellectual property rights and defend against Apple's claims to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business," Samsung said in a statement.

With the new lawsuit, Apple is opening up another legal assault on the South Korea-based company after taking Samsung to the same court in April of last year. In the earlier case, Apple alleged that Samsung illegally copied iPhone and iPad design features and the look of its screen icons. That case is still going on, although in December Apple lost a bid for a preliminary bar against Samsung for selling Galaxy phones and tablets.

Apple acknowledged the setback in the new action and said now it is suing over new products and different patents.

In addition to the California cases, Apple and Samsung are waging more than 20 legal fights in at least 10 countries in their war for global leadership of smartphone and tablet markets.

The new case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, et a 12-00630.

(Reporting by David Henry in NEW YORK and Miyoung Kim in SEOUL; Editing by Matt Driskill)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (10)
FoxxDrake wrote:
First…I personally won’t buy apple products as they are made with Chinese slave labor.

But on topic…Lawyers suck. This is just law firms on the corporate teat trying to justify their continued existence. These lawsuits won’t fly.

You can’t patent a phone that talks. Just like you can’t patent computers that express output. Multiple developments of similar technologies that are developed in-house. Did Samsung just take apple’s software and label it nexus? I suspect no. And as long as they don’t pass themselves off as apple, no copyright infringement.

These lawsuits are just attempts to cost the competition money and usually cost both sides equally, providing no real advantage.

Economic advantage is fleeting. Want to stay on top? Innovate.

Feb 13, 2012 2:34am EST  --  Report as abuse
Ethical wrote:
The statement regarding Chinese slave labor is made out of ignorance. Apple is in fact through their CSR efforts improving the lot of workers both through safety and through working conditions. The fact that their audits show non compliance in some areas causes them to work closer with suppliers to improve even more. The fact that apple transparently publishes the audit results is great. Does Samsung do the same?

Feb 13, 2012 4:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
Ethical wrote:
The statement regarding Chinese slave labor is made out of ignorance. Apple is in fact through their CSR efforts improving the lot of workers both through safety and through working conditions. The fact that their audits show non compliance in some areas causes them to work closer with suppliers to improve even more. The fact that apple transparently publishes the audit results is great. Does Samsung do the same?

Feb 13, 2012 4:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.