Apple has won yet another court ruling over Samsung in a hearing in the Northern District of California. Judge Lucy Koh, who has overseen much of the U.S.-based patent suits from both sides, has just dished out a ruling against the Korean company, declaring that Samsung has infringed upon patents pertaining to Apple’s AutoComplete keyboard functionality.
AutoComplete is something that all iOS users will be familiar with. Although some iPhone and iPad owners curse AutoComplete for changing words erroneously and turning legitimate sentences into nonsense, there’s no doubt that variations of this very Apple invention have been emulated by other companies.
Although it may sound ridiculous to some, Apple owns the rights to the feature, particularly its ability to show both the typed word and suggestions to AutoComplete said word if it hasn’t been typed correctly. Thus, Samsung’s devices, which run on Android, are in infringement of Apple’s patents, and unless Samsung can counter with an argument that refutes this patent in the trial in the spring, yet another heavy fine could ensue.
Judge Koh also pointed out to Samsung that one of its multimedia synchronization patents is in fact not valid, to add insult to injury, and although these cases between two of tech’s biggest names has grown somewhat cumbersome, neither party shows any sign of letting things lie.
It’s worth noting that these rulings are all a part of the pre-trial process. Both Apple and Samsung’s CEOs have done the customary sit-down-and-try-and-work-things-out charade to no effect, and with Samsung having already had one of its patents thrown out and declared to have infringed upon one of Apple’s, things aren’t looking good for the Galaxy maker.
The trial kicks off on March 31st, but already, Apple is sitting in a rather favorable position. Both sides had five patents each heading into the trial, but already, Samsung is looking like the underdog.
Since most software on Samsung devices is created by Android maker Google, the search giant will no doubt be dragged into this dogfight at some point. But as we’ve learned from past litigation, Apple will go for Samsung first, and if it can have a pop at Google for dessert, it will do so.
With Apple’s big win back in 2012, it’s interesting to see where this ruling will take the battle. It’s also worth noting that both Apple and Samsung CEOs have agreed to meet outside of court to calm things down, but keeping today’s decision in mind, it doesn’t seem as though things are going to slow down that easy.