Archive for January 21st, 2012

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Apple’s lawsuit against the Galaxy Nexus

introductionApple appears to be up to their same shenanigans, and this time it is something that has been speculated would eventually happen. Apple just filed a lawsuit in the Mannheim Regional Court, claiming that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus violates a utility model by copying their slide-to-unlock motion. Here’s a quote from Electronista with specifics,

The iPhone designer alleged on Friday that the Android 4.0 leader violated a slide-to-unlock motion from iOS that was given the utility model status in Germany in 2006. Apple argued that it couldn’t use the model until now as other phones, even ones years old, were too new for the claim.

What is more interesting is that if you look deeper and "read between the lines" this is a new tactic for Apple. In the past most of their lawsuits have been aimed at minor customizations rather than directly at Android functions. This time, by going directly after a primary feature of Android 4.0, Apple is making a statement against Google themselves. This is further reinforced by the fact that the Galaxy Nexus uses a completely stock version of Android rather than one "tweaked" by the OEMs. It’s important not to dismiss this claims outright, because the potential is significant for Android if the court rules in favour of Apple.
Interestingly, this is the exact same court where one of Samsung’s counter-claims against Apple was recently lost. There is a hearing scheduled for March 16. Speculation is that Samsung will likely base their defence around claims of "prior art" from a company called Neonode, which dealt with phones briefly in the past. This is the same strategy that Samsung used against Apple in the Netherlands in 2011.
What really makes a person scratch their head on this one is that the way the Galaxy Nexus’ slide-to-unlock works is very "loose" compared to other phones in the past. Certainly, someone could swipe their fingers in a manner that is similar to what Apple is claiming, but that doesn’t mean they will do it all the time.

Posted by: Gareth

Posted in: News