Apple Beats Samsung but Loses Patent Claim to Motorola
Apple, Samsung and Motorola are among the device makers who seem to spend as much time building lawsuits as smartphones. A day after winning a victory over Samsung, Apple lost a legal fight with Motorola.
Apple won a small victory over Samsung April 23 in a court in San Jose, Calif., Bloomberg has reported. Samsung reportedly failed to comply with court orders to produce documents relevant to its current battles with Apple over patent-infringement accusations related to Samsungs Galaxy smartphones and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets, among other devices.
Given Samsungs trespass, Apple was granted some monetary sanctions but not its request that Samsung be prevented from selling its devices in this country.
So it goes with the mobile phone industry, and particularly the worlds top two smartphone producers. The two companies account for nearly 50 percent of global mobile phone sales.
Since April 2011, by Bloombergs count, Apple and Samsung have filed at least 30 lawsuits against each other on four continents. Both companies are planning to announce their most recent quarterly earnings, with analysts anticipating that, based largely on the success of their smartphones, each will report record earnings.
Intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, in an April 24 blog post, scrutinized several aspects of Apples current case against Samsung. The latter earlier fended off the formers attempts for a U.S.-wide ban on its products, and now, Muller explains, Samsung is trying to replicate its past success.
Nonetheless, Mueller wrote, I continue to believe that Apple may very well achieve at least a partial success with its appeal that would shift the goalposts in favor of its new motion.
Mueller makes a number of interesting assertions, including one regarding whether Samsungs products, whether or not they do borrow from Apple too heavily, cause any real harm to Apple. Samsung has argued they dont, pointing to Apples financial success and market-share growth.
I felt that Judge [Lucy] Koh partly applied an incorrect market definition, wrote Mueller, and the idea that a company that is doing fantastically well despite infringement of its intellectual property has to tolerate it until its going down the tubes struck me as a problematic approach that the Federal Circuit might disagree with.
Mueller also considers the argument regarding whether Samsung too closely copied Apples slide-to-unlock feature. Samsung argues that its image doesnt slide continuously, as Apples does, but that its lock image is replaced by a second image, and only the second image moves with the users physical contact.
If I were the judge, having looked in more detail now at how the slide-to-unlock circle of the Galaxy Nexus works, wrote Mueller, I would probably come down on Samsungs side on this one. I think the new slide-to-unlock patent is useful to Apple in order to ensure differentiation ¦ but after some further analysis I have serious doubt that the slide-to-lock circle infringes it.
In summary, Mueller offers, I think its unlikely that Apples motion will fail entirely as its predecessor did.
On April 24, in still another patent dispute, a judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled against Apple, saying that it violated one of four Motorola Mobility patents being contestedone related to 3G technology, according to Bloomberg.
An Apple spokesperson told Bloomberg that since a German court already ruled that Apple didnt infringe on the patent, we believe we will have a very strong case on appeal.
Motorola said in a circulated statement that it is pleased the initial determination finds Apple to be in violation of Motorola Mobilitys intellectual property, and look forward to the full commissions ruling in August.
Highlighting the litigious nature of this highly competitive industry, Motorola also issued a second, nearly identical statement, swapping Apple for Microsoft. Motorola is about to be absorbed by Google and the company patents are expected to work as a way to defends its Android operating systems against claims by Apple and other companies.
According to Bloomberg, an ITC judge ruled yesterday that Microsoft was infringing on four Motorola patents related to WiFi and video-decoding standards. If the commission agrees, the report continued, it could block exports of Microsofts Xbox gaming system.