It's been an interesting week for both Apple and Samsung.
As reported on Apple Insider, Apple filed for a preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus in February citing four U.S. patents:
- U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 for a "system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data" which was validated in Apple's U.S. International Trade Commission case against HTC.
- U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172 for a "method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations" or predictive text.
- U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721 for a system describing "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image" or the "slide to unlock" function found on iOS devices which was successfully used against Motorola in Germany.
- U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 for a "universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system" that was the basis of Friday's ruling."
A source close to Samsung, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak for the organization, has said that for Samsung USA, it's business as usual. Though some word has come down through the ranks, the legal department has yet to provide formal guidance on either of the injunctions or the clearing of Apple on infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,362,867 for "Apparatus and method for generating scrambling code in UMTS mobile communication system" which details how a device handles scrambling codes for UMTS networks. (UMTS is a network technology used in 3G mobile data networks.) Until such guidance is issued, Samsung USA has told its employees that its business as usual.
The individual that I spoke with seems to think that Apple is just flexing its muscles and taking advantage of the situation that's presented itself. While I agree that Apple is definitely taking advantage of the situation, I think there's more to it, especially after the developments on Friday.
I think there's blood in the water; and I think Apple smells it.
Honestly, I was surprised with the granting of the first injunction and the speed with which Apple posted their bond. The granting of the second injunction floored me. I was totally flabbergasted when Apple was also cleared of infringement of the one Samsung patent.
The Galaxy Nexus is an older smartphone, as smartphones go. It was announced on 19-Oct-11 and then released on 15-Dec-12. It's since been followed by the Galaxy S2, the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note, which is more of a 5.75" tablet, here in the States.
However, going after the Galaxy Nexus, even at this late date, is purposeful. It's not only a shot at Samsung, but one at Google as well. The Galaxy Nexus is part of the Google Nexus branding line, a series of phones specifically picked by Google to be the current generation flagship Android phone. That favored device tends to be as vanilla as Android gets, and it's supposed to get frequent updates.
The granted injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 addresses the number one perceived challenger against the Apple iPad. The granted injunction against the Galaxy Nexus addresses not only Apple's desire to further remove what they perceive as a flagrant copy of their iOS mobile operating system; but the core of that infringement, the Android Operating System, which Steve Jobs vowed to destroy.
The stars seem to be aligning for Apple; and they seem to have the upper hand at this point. This summer is going to be very interesting for them, as well as Samsung and Google. The results of the trial, scheduled to kick off at the end of July 2012, will have long reaching effects in the mobile computing market. Depending on the results, we could see far reaching changes to the mobile landscape or we could see hefty settlement money funneled between the players.
This is one that I'm definitely going to be watching. What do you think will happen? Why not join us in the discussion below and tell us what you think?