Apple and Samsung are two of the mobile industry’s biggest names, and as such, are the fiercest of rivals. But whereas competition is healthy in the ongoing battle for supremacy, the story of this particular pairing is marred by ill feeling and bad taste. If you’ve been following the goings-on of the digital world over the past couple of years, you’ll know that these two have had their fair share of court battles and patent disputes, and in the latest, Apple is seeking damages over five specific iOS-related infringements. Thanks to a neat compilation, here’s a concise look at what exactly has got the Cupertino’s back up.
The Samsung rap-sheet spans five particular patents – which have been nicely curated by the folks over at 9to5Mac - and as ever, the case is being overseen by Judge Lucy Koh in the California. Earlier on in March, it was revealed that Apple was seeking around $40 per infringing device, amounting to a potential settlement well into the billions, and with Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents – usually one to take Apple’s side in these matters – even suggesting that the demand was a step too far, this particular case has caught the media’s attention even more than usual.
But what precisely is all the fuss about? What has Samsung flagrantly stolen from Apple’s expansive patent repertoire that warrants another dance through the courts?
Well, for starters, patent 5,946,647, which relates to “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data.” In a nutshell, this pertains to the feature within iOS that adds links to certain text strings, which can then be used to perform specific actions. For example, if your dentist sends a message saying “remember appointment tomorrow,” the “tomorrow” element is turned into a link, which in turn jumps to your Calendar app if you happen to tap on it.
Patent 6,847,959, meanwhile, is detailed as the ”universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system,” which is the Spotlight search offering Web-based info as well as local search. This all-in-one approach has, apparently, been ripped off by Samsung.
Patent 7,761,414 refers to “asynchronous data synchronization among devices” and how they sync data in the background as users add new data, while patent 8,046,721 relates to Slide to Unlock – “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.”
Finally, patent 8,074,172 outlines “method, system and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations,” which is basically AutoCorrect, and although we continue to curse it, Apple is seeking damages due to the way Samsung devices throw up suggestion pop-ups next to a word.
So, there you have it – a definitive run-down of what Apple feels has been infringed upon, and the driving force behind the company’s decision to take its Korean rival to court. Whether these filings will result in Samsung being made to pay out significant damages is anybody’s guess, but if history is anything to go by, the Galaxy maker is in for a bumpy ride.