It has been ruled by a US judge that that Apple’s word recommendation technology, which is patent-protected was infringed by Samsung. This invention refers to the technology used by touchscreen devices of predicting completed words when users have part-typed them for speeding up the text input. According to experts, this ruling could have impact on other Android devices as well who are offering the same facility to their users. This judgment came to light just before the trial where both firms are planning to claim that one copied the others features and vice versa. Judge Lucy Koh, who had also overseen another dispute between the two companies back in 2012, also did not provide Samsung the opportunity to claim that one of its synchronization technologies had been infringed by Apple.
This claim was denied on the basis that Samsung had not been the first company to register this particular idea. This means that on March 21st, when the case comes to court, Apple will be able to allege about five cases of patent infringement against the South Korean firm while Samsung will only be able to claim four of them. It was Florian Mueller, the patent consultant, who first reported the news of this decision and later published the summary of the entire judgment in full.
It was in January 2007 when Apple filed its auto-complete patent for the first time. It was only days before the first iPhone had been unveiled by Steve Jobs. The patent had noted that typing was made difficult because of the size of existing mobile phones and a solution had been offered in the form of auto-complete function via a graphical user interface. It was later claimed by Samsung that the patent was only applicable to tablets and handsets that had physical keyboards. However, this argument was rejected by Judge Lucy Koh.
She noted that Apple’s invention had specifically mentioned that the feature would be accessed by touchscreen keyboards. Samsung’s spokesman stated that they were disappointed by the decision and were looking forward to the trial when the claims would be considered again. No decision was made by the iPhone-maker regarding the court’s decision. Apple has constantly stated that its technology has been infringed by several products of the South Korean firm, which includes the early version of Galaxy Note phablet and the Galaxy Nexus handset. According to the ruling, Apple can now block the sale of these devices.
However, it was said by one expert that there could be wider ramifications of this ruling. It is said that any mobile company that uses this auto-complete functionality will be affected by this decision. It could also include the recent devices that were launched by Samsung, provided that they include this methodology. Nevertheless, according to another patent lawyer, this ruling wasn’t as serious as it seems. According to him, other versions of auto-complete cannot be used. They might be less elegant, but work all the same. However, the negotiating stance of the two electronic giants might be affected when they meet on February 19th for discussing settlement opportunities.