10 Tech Products Caught in the Middle of Patent-Infringement Cases
Apple iPhone 5
Apple's iPhone 5 might have only been launched a couple of months ago, but already it's finding its way into lawsuits with Samsung. So far, however, no courts have ruled on the possibility of it violating patents, so the device has stayed on store shelves over the long haul.
Apple iPhone 4S
Apple's iPhone 4S has been hit hard by Samsung, finding its way into a host of lawsuits over the last year. At times, those lawsuits have focused on hardware, while in others, they have centered on the device's handling of software interaction. Although Apple has lost a few lawsuits here and there, it has escaped any injunctions, allowing the iPhone 4S to become its top-selling handset so far.
Samsung Galaxy S III
Like the iPhone 5, Samsung's Galaxy S III hasn't been around for too long, but it's already getting caught up in bitter patent disputes. Unlike the iPhone 5, however, the Galaxy S III was included in a lawsuit Apple won against Samsung in a San Jose, Calif., court earlier this year. If Apple is allowed to enforce an injunction, the Galaxy S III could be removed from store shelves.
RIM BlackBerry Torch
Research In Motion's BlackBerry Torch has been cited in a lawsuit with a patent-licensing company known as WiLAN. That firm says that the Torch violates its Bluetooth patent, and wants it to be banned from sale unless RIM agrees to license its technology. It's not clear how that case might turn out.
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
The BlackBerry PlayBook was also caught up in the WiLAN Bluetooth spat. But once again, RIM hasn't had a chance to decide whether it will license the Bluetooth technology from WiLAN or battle it out in court. The PlayBook's sales are down, but that has nothing to do with patents and everything to do with its lack of consumer appeal.
The Motorola Xoom is an interesting case. The device was included in a wide range of lawsuits tossed back and forth between Apple and Motorola in Europe last year. In some of those cases, Apple won. In others, the company lost. Still, those cases did little to change the tablet space, as the Xoom was quickly ignored after customers found more value in the iPad.
Windows is in Motorola's cross hairs over the operating system's alleged use of the mobile firm's H.264 patent. In Germany, Microsoft was found to be infringing the patent in Germany and could have seen Windows banned from sale if not for a U.S. court denying that possibility. So far, Windows is still on store shelves, but it's unclear how Microsoft's Motorola battle might affect the OS.
Microsoft Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 is also caught in the middle of Motorola's H.264 patent. And as with Windows, a German court has ruled that the device does violate Motorola's technology. However, until the U.S. court can make its own decision on the matter, the Xbox will remain on store shelves.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has actually been hurt by patent-infringement suits. In fact, the device was previously banned from sale in Australia, and also ran into some trouble in Germany. Apple, which took aim at the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in several lawsuits, argued that violated its product designs. And at least some courts agreed.
Apple iPod Touch
Apple's iPod Touch, because of its similarity to the iPhone, has been embroiled in a host of lawsuits with Samsung. But like the iPhone, the iPod Touch has not been banned from sale in any country, despite claims that its design and software features violate patents Samsung holds. So far, at least, the courts have largely disagreed.