‘Sorry, Nexus': Apple Launches New Legal Attack on Samsung Phones

NEW YORK | Monday, February 13th, 2012 11:00am EDT

Apple Inc asked California federal court to ban Samsung Electronics Co Ltd from selling its Galaxy Nexus smartphones, stating patent violations.

Apple Launches New Legal Attack on Samsung Phones 01

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

Apple Inc. raised the stake in an intensifying world patent war with Samsung by targeting the latest model using Google’s fast growing Android software, a move which may affect other Android-based phone makers.

Galaxy Nexus, using Google’s latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, is the first phone based on the newest Android version before the platform become widely adopted by HTC Corp and Motorola Mobility. HTC and Motorola are also in separate patent disputes with Apple, says Reuters.

Apple filed a lawsuit in San Jose, which states that the Galaxy Nexus infringes on patents features which were expected from Apple products. Among the features is the ability to unlock phones by sliding an image and service allowing to search information by voice.

According to an independent patent expert Florian Meuller, “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.”

“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,” Mueller wrote.

The expert added: “I am absolutely certain that…for the preliminary injunction motion the Galaxy Nexus was singled out because it’s so new, and important.”

In its statement released on Monday, Samsung noted that it is aware of the filing by Apple in the California court.

So, it means the opening of another legal assault Samsung after the same court in April of last year. Earlier last year Apple insisted that Samsung had illegally copied iPhone and iPad design features and the look of its screen icons.

That case is still not over, although in December Apple lost a bid for a preliminary bar against Samsung for selling Galaxy phones and tablets.

“It is not clear that an injunction on Samsung’s accused devices would prevent Apple from being irreparably harmed,” California district Judge Lucy Koh explained.

“Indeed, given the evidence Samsung presented, it seems likely that a major beneficiary of an injunction would be other smartphone manufacturers.”

The court decided “that a size that can be handheld, a screen that encompasses a large portion of the front face of the smartphone, and a speaker on the upper portion of the front face of the product are non-ornamental.”

In other words, Apple is not necessarily the only company that can release a device with those characteristics, says PC Mag.

Of course, Samsung was absolutely satisfied with the December’s ruling. “This ruling confirms our long-held view that Apple’s arguments lack merit,” a Samsung spokesman said.

“In particular, the court has recognized that Samsung has raised substantial questions about the validity of certain Apple design patents.”

“We are confident that we can demonstrate the distinctiveness of Samsung’s mobile devices when the case goes to trial next year.”

“We will continue to assert our intellectual property rights and defend against Apple’s claims to ensure our continued ability to provide innovative mobile products to consumers,” the spokesman added.

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