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Apple claims Google's unified search, word suggestions, slide unlocking, and data tapping features are illegal

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) may have fared pretty badly of late, in terms of its lawsuit performance, scoring nothing but Pyrrhic victories and outright rejections [1][2][3][4] [5][6].  But the electronics maker is determined to kill its arch-nemesis Google Inc. (GOOG).  It has now filed a new major suit which looks to cripple Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

I. Apple Latest Attack Hits Ice Cream Sandwich

The core panzer in this patent blitzkrieg -- brought against Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930), and by proxy Google, in United States District Court for the Northern District of California -- is U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604.  Filed in 2011, and granted just after Christmas (Dec. 27), it describes a "universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system." Apple is using the patent to attack the search features found within Android Ice Cream Sandwich

The suit specifically calls out Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone, which was the first smartphone to carry the new version of Android.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.

II. The Return of the Touch Unlocking Patent

In the suit Apple also brings some familiar weapons to the table.  The four-patent suit is rounded out by U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721, which describes a method of "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image"; U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647, which covers turnings phone numbers/addresses in actionable hyperlinks; and U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172, which covers voice search word suggestions.

We've discussed at length how a wealth of prior art with regard to slide unlock existed (and was seemingly ignored by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office).  It may be that the USPTO intended to only grant the patent on a narrow scope, but if that was the case, it will be crucial that the federal court recognize that and avoid giving Apple credit for a technology it clearly did not invent.

The data tapping patent was file in 1996 and granted in 1999.  It was not originally targeted at the mobile space.  Here, Google may again be able to defend itself via prior art.  Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Word 1997 used a similar method to recognize and generate hyperlinks, though it remains to be seen whether this would be similar enough to invalidate the patent.

Double tapping
Apple has already succeeded in banning some of HTC's handsets using its double-tapping patent.  Now it looks to do the same to Samsung. [Image Source: Droid-Life]

Both slide-to-unlock and the data tapping are relatively crucial, as they're features users have come to expect from smartphones.  Apple's hope is clearly to drive these features out of Android, and thus drive users to the iPhone, slowly bleeding the life from Android.

Recall, also, that HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) was forced to gimp its Android smartphones, removing data tapping after Apple won a preliminary injunction against it, on the basis of that feature.

The third patent -- word suggestion -- was filed in 2007.  Again, this was a feature that appeared as early as 2006 in Ford Motor Comp.'s (FSYNC platform.  That said, this patent is less crucial.  While the quality voice search app, Siri, is a major selling point of the iPhone 4S, it's not as big a deal in Android Ice Cream Sandwich.  Still, being forced to remove the voice search app would be another setback for Android.

voice search
Apple hopes to force Google to remove voice search from Android.
[Image Source: Gadget Pdamu]

III. What's Next

Apple has already brought a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, looking to ban it from sale in the U.S. Apple's new case appears very aggressive, but it remains to be seen if Apple will be able to achieve its fantasy of a Google-free world in court, when it has thus far struggled to scrape together many wins.

Google has a powerful second line of defense, via Motorola.  Motorola has won key decisions abroad [1][2], thus far and may succeed in banning the iPhone, iPad, and iCloud in some regions.  If it can do that, it may force Apple into an uneasy armistice, out of self-preservation.

Source: Apple v. Samsung [PDF]



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Well it was only a matter of time...
By Shadowself on 2/13/2012 1:23:35 PM , Rating: -1
until Jason equated Apple with the Nazis.

Equating Apple with the Axis powers of WWII. I would have hoped that was beneath you, Jason. Clearly I was wrong, and it was just a matter of time.




RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By The Raven on 2/13/2012 1:34:10 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah this is very underhanded...Apple is much worse than the Nazis!


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By Ramtech on 2/13/2012 1:45:14 PM , Rating: 4
He also did equated AT&T symbol to Death Star why weren't you complaining then? hmm?


By The Raven on 2/13/2012 1:52:51 PM , Rating: 1
lol because that is too cool. The Nazi are the only real evil in the world. Let's just all focus on hating them and ignore anyone else of a lesser evil.


By Basilisk on 2/13/2012 2:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
The "Death Star" nickname for the AT&T icon predates Anandtech and Jason, and was often used within AT&T -- though not with corporate sanction!

The only time "blitz" should be paired with lawsuits is the commonly held, refreshing image of lawyers being lightning-struck. Any high-speed metaphor for legal actions is nonsensical and, from a lawyer's perspective, contra-productive as there'd be fewer billable hours.


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By Shadowself on 2/13/2012 8:04:33 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Apple is much worse than the Nazis!


Clearly you have no idea who the Nazis were then. Absolutely no idea.


By B3an on 2/14/2012 7:13:42 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't you know?? Jobs WAS a Nazi!

http://fotos.rynelan.nl/Steve-JobsNazi.jpg

Recent evidence also shows that Steve Jobs was infact grown in a iTube - A Nazi biological experiment used to create near identical offspring, using Hitlers DNA.


By AmbroseAthan on 2/13/2012 2:29:21 PM , Rating: 3
This article brought to you by Godwin's Law; it was bound to happen!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/13/2012 2:45:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
until Jason equated Apple with the Nazis.


I agree...

-wait for it-

he should have gone there sooner!


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By Shadowself on 2/13/2012 8:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
This site has truly gone off the deep end.

Instead of the truly asinine concept of equating Apple to the Nazis and the support shown here, people on this site should be hammering Jason for doing it.

Then they should be pushing him to do some real investigation work (if he even understands the concept or could do it) into the recent allegations that Apple is pressuring one of their manufacturers that assembles the Mac Book Air into not producing the Asus equivalent. That is a horrible thing and IF true it should be illegal. If it is not illegal it should be the basis for people to rally against Apple. Jason -- and the tech community in general -- should find out if Apple is really doing this -- and if true crucify Apple for it.

People on this site need to find the real battles and fight them against Apple -- not hailing Jason for truly asinine equivalences!


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/13/12, Rating: 0
RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By TakinYourPoints on 2/14/2012 7:06:29 AM , Rating: 2
Anti-semitism nor defending Hank Williams Jr should not surprise me coming from you.


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/14/2012 7:43:03 AM , Rating: 1
Anti-Semitic? Bullcrap! He just seems very offended at Nazi references here. Even though they're a long standing thing that goes on daily. I thought maybe he's super sensitive to it because he's Jewish or comes from a Jewish family. How is that racist?

People here know I'm Italian. If I flipped out over a gangster reference you guys would probably say "well, you know, he IS Italian". But that's not racist.

And I'm not defending anything. But that song was a nifty tradition eh?

I guess Takin is turning into Yash. Where he just makes drive by comments about my character. Spineless.


By TakinYourPoints on 2/16/2012 12:21:29 AM , Rating: 2
Your posts say enough about your character. What I say is just gravy.


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By Shadowself on 2/14/2012 8:02:54 AM , Rating: 2
No, I am not Jewish -- even remotely. However, I am old enough to know about Nazis first hand (and not the "Neo Nazis" of the past few decades).

No, not "everyone pulls the Nazi card at one point or another"! Saying that lessens the true horror that was the core Nazi movement of 70+ years ago.

I'm making it an issue because it was Jason who made the connection in his imagery and image editing. Authors on sites such at this should have at least a tiny bit of decorum -- something about which Jason seems to know nothing.

While it would appear that Jason does not hate all Apple products, Jason truly hates Apple and Apple's senior management no matter what they do or their motives -- and has done so for years. Jason has been inching toward true, blind fanaticism for a long time. He finally crossed the line for what should be acceptable versus not acceptable for everyone who reads Daily Tech.


By Reclaimer77 on 2/14/2012 10:48:00 AM , Rating: 1
Well you have to understand that most people using the Internet aren't 80+ years old. You have a sensitivity to Nazi references and unfairly projected that onto the author. He wasn't making a Holocaust comparison or anything of the like. He was likening Apple's decisions to fascism.

quote:
No, not "everyone pulls the Nazi card at one point or another"!


Sorry but, they kind of do. Nazi references have permeated the subculture and appear on almost every issue and topic. It's just NOT taboo anymore, sorry.


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By TakinYourPoints on 2/14/2012 7:04:09 AM , Rating: 2
Hammering won't happen because this site is a tabloid circlejerk. The style generates flamewars and page hits.

Why DT is on the Anandtech sidebar is beyond me. With Anadtech you have probably the best, most thorough, most balanced tech site out there, and it has this garbage sitting alongside it. It is like The Economist having side columns from the National Enquirer.


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By testerguy on 2/14/2012 9:07:56 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, lets all email Anandtech and tell them to take the garbage out.


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/14/2012 10:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
I love how the two biggest Apple tards are the ones saying this lol. Sooooo butthurt.

Don't go away mad guys, just go away.


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By testerguy on 2/15/2012 6:36:55 AM , Rating: 2
Coming from the two biggest Apple haters and Android apologists?

Lets be clear - you openly admit to 'hating' Apple. I have a rational brain so I am completely indifferent to all companies, I just tell it like it is.

Lets be clear again - whether this site was biased towards Apple or against Apple - it would still get the same criticism from me, particularly as it influences how stories are portrayed and leads undereducated guys like you two to false conclusions based on misleading statements. Even you, as a self-confessed Apple hater, you should still want non-biased journalism - and I don't believe there can be any doubt that that isn't what we find here.

For example, you probably still believe the Galaxy Tab was banned due to being rectangular and having round corners. That kind of awareness fail is probably caused by this site and it's failed journalism.

Oh and by the way, the majority of the reasonable and balanced Anandtech fans don't bother posting on here because of it's ridiculous phandroidism.


By Cheesew1z69 on 2/15/2012 11:00:53 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I have a rational brain so I am completely indifferent to all companies, I just tell it like it is.
No, no you don't, that's a load of bullshit and it's getting DEEP now...

quote:
Oh and by the way, the majority of the reasonable and balanced Anandtech fans don't bother posting on here because of it's ridiculous phandroidism.
Most don't post here because of idiots like you spouting your bullshit all the time...


By Cheesew1z69 on 2/14/2012 8:34:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, we should, we should ask them to remove you from posting...


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By luseferous on 2/14/2012 2:46:14 PM , Rating: 1
Just to be pedantic.

The word replaced by Apple in the pic is Axis not Nazi.


By luseferous on 2/14/2012 2:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
And to be even more pedantic the main character shown in the pic is Erwin Rommel who was not a Nazi.


RE: Well it was only a matter of time...
By foolsgambit11 on 2/14/2012 7:39:40 PM , Rating: 1
I'm sorry? He equated Apple's strategy with a military strategy. It was named by the Nazis, but that doesn't mean that using "blitzkrieg" as a metaphor equates Apple with the Nazi philosophy. If I called a string of defensive patents a "Maginot Line", would you say I was comparing the company to the French? Or a "shock and awe" campaign equating a company to the Bush Administration?


By luseferous on 2/15/2012 6:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't disagree about the conclusions people would jump to. I was pointing out that is not what is portraid.

As for Blitzkrieg it came from the British who first developed the tactic but didn't put it to use.


"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins














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