It’s patent season again. Two of the mobile industry’s biggest giants are back in court, and Apple has had a bumper day. Judge Lucy Koh has ruled that Apple’s patent covering auto correct was indeed infringed by Samsung, despite their pleas that the application could only be applied to physical keyboards. The infringing devices include the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy Note and a host of other old devices which are not necessarily desired at the moment.
The patent in question seems to be a bit dubious. The infringement refers to devices displaying what is being typed by the user, and also the word that the device thinks was meant to be typed. This function has been deemed as normal by mobile device users, but it turns out that Apple has a hold on it. The bigger issue at hand is that, if successful, Apple will have enough ammunition to go after the entire Android landscape, as most devices function in quite the same way. Even when Samsung cited the new Jelly Bean keyboard as a work around, Koh still found it to be in err.
As if the first ruling weren’t bad enough, Koh sided with Apple in deciding that Samsung’s patent, which covered the syncing of media between devices, depended too heavily on previous work without meaningful updates. Samsung is now facing an uphill task, and must hope for a miracle for some sort of meaningful success. Koh has hardly been lenient with them in the past, and the same seems to hold true.
Apple, meanwhile, seems to be at the heart of most patent battles these days, and, barring some change in the nature of software patents, there may be years of this to come. Hopefully change comes soon, and OEMs can return to making mind blowing devices without the fear of having to pay millions in fees because of their keyboards, or their devices that are shaped like rectangles.