Apple and Samsung are locked in bitter legal battles around the globe, and two of the cases are playing out in California courts. The first reached a major decision last August when a jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on several Apple patents. It ordered Samsung to pay $1.05 billion in damages. The U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who is overseeing that case, later reduced the damages award by $400 million, saying that the jury didn't calculate the damages correctly. Samsung still owes Apple more than $600 million, but Apple likely won't see a penny until the two companies present final arguments on the damages in a hearing scheduled for November.
The new motion pertains to the second case, which is still in the early stages.
[ But who is winning among consumers? Read Apple Slips, Samsung Gains In Satisfaction Rankings. ]
Apple determined "that the Galaxy S4 product practices many of the same claims already asserted by Apple, and that the Galaxy S4 practices those claims in the same way as the already-accused Samsung devices." In other words, Apple wants to be sure Samsung's latest and most important device will be included in the lawsuit.
Two of the patents cover a "universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system." Put another way, Apple thinks the Google Now features of the Galaxy S 4 infringe on its patents linked to Siri, Apple's own voice-assisted search tool for the iPhone. Google followed Apple's lead with voice-assisted search on its Android devices, and has in many ways surpassed the capabilities of Apple's Siri. Google Search and Google Now offer powerful voice-to-text transcription and search functionality, including natural language queries.
The other three patents cover a "graphical user interface using historical lists with field classes," a "system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data" and "asynchronous data synchronization amongst devices." According to Apple, a number of Samsung's devices were found to infringe on these three patents during the first trial. It is now applying them to the GS4 in the second trial.
The judge overseeing the case has scheduled a hearing to discuss Apple's new motion on June 25, but the larger trial won't take place until March 2014. The legal process is, unfortunately for us all, a lengthy one to navigate.
Apple and Samsung have had mixed success pursuing their patent claims, with each seeing victories and defeats in courtrooms across Europe and Australia. The U.S. case in which Apple was initially awarded $1.05 billion is the most high-profile one; most of the other cases have sought sales bans and injunctions rather than damages.