Saturday, December 22, 2012
Samsung and Apple Continue to Slug It Out
The mobile wars continue and there is now a clear two horse race today between Apple and Samsung. How long the battle will last and whether another player will come to join them is as uncertain and unpredictable as much of the future.
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the latest to deliver bad news to Apple, in that it has now rejected Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent because it claims prior patents covered the invention.
A total of 21 specific pinch to zoom methodologies are claimed by Apple's filing. All were rejected by the patent office on the basis that they had already been granted to previous applicants - something the USPTO had not discovered before approving the document in November 2010.
However, it’s not a final ruling and the process involves a number of further steps and even after that, the decision can be appealed in court. But it does give Apple a wake up call and brings further doubt over the £1bn damage win that Apple secures in their home court as the patent was one of the six cited in the case.
Meanwhile Samsung continue to try to overturn the jury’s verdict and this new ruling could drag the case on for years with appeals. Also Apple are likely to appeal the USPTO decision and in the judge has to decide on the final damage figure.
USPTO has now twice revoked Apple patents, as it took the same action in October against its so called 'rubber band" user-interface effect', which makes lists appear to bounce and snap back in place after a user has scrolled beyond their end.
Elsewhere the battles continue in 10 countries and news is not good for Apple. It has been asked to disclose the details of its patent-sharing deal with HTC to Samsung. It has also lost a UK appeal against a ruling that Samsung had not infringed its design rights and was also asked by the UK court to publish a statement on its website admitting that Samsung had not infringed its designs.
US sales bans from claims by Apple against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer were also lifted in October.
Apple are clearly not having it their way in the courts since their August victory.