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Judge makes early rulings in Apple/Samsung case

Samsung has infringed on one Apple patent and has had one patent ruled invalid

Sometimes, the Apple/Samsung feud feels a little bit like a summer movie franchise that just keeps churning out sequels. Just when you thought you’d had your fill of the tech giants’ battle over patents, the marquee at your local multiplex announces the latest installment in the series. Call it “Electric Boogaloo.”

The latest news represents yet another setback for Samsung, as Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division, has handed down a pair of rulings that will not make the Korean tech giant happy.

First, Judge Koh has ruled that Samsung’s devices use technology that infringes on an Apple patent that covers word recommendations during text input. We might know this as “autocorrect,” but in technical terms, it is represented by U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172, “Method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations.” Samsung had claimed that the patent was tied to a physical keyboard, but Judge Koh ruled that a virtual keyboard falls into the same category. 

The second ruling against Samsung concerned a patent that covered “multimedia synchronization method and device.” Apple sought summary judgment on this matter, and the judge agreed. Both of these rulings came in advance of a scheduled March, 2014 trial.

If this was a blockbuster movie, however, this would only be the second act of the film, where the stars trade blows. It was not a complete defeat of Samsung, as Judge Joh denied two other motions for summary judgment proposed by Apple. 

The third act of this film begins when the CEOs of the two tech companies meet for mediation in February, though it’s unlikely their parley will lead to a compromise, and the film will get its much anticipated action climax.

So, grab your popcorn and gear up for the battle of the century (for now, at least).


For more on Samsung, check out these stories:

The future of software patents, part 1

Korean court sides with Apple over Samsung

Samsung close to EU antitrust suit settlement

Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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