From the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany, we get the latest in the Apple and Samsung lawsuit; the court had earlier in the day announced its verdict on one of Samsung's infringement claims against Apple. In the latest twist to have come in the lawsuit, Cupertino-based, Apple alleged that Samsung has used one of Apple's patented technologies on their Galaxy Nexus smartphone, called slide-to unlock feature, thereby infringing it. Apple had won itself this patent in October, last year. Slide to unlock, by itself is a very popular feature, which users can use to unlock the iOS operating system on a mobile device. However, there is more to this case than what meets the eye. Although Apple used the slide to lock in feature first on their iPhone in 2007, reports state that, back in 2006, Apple had gone in for a utility model registration for “slide to unlock”.
Caught in the patent tangle!
According to a post on Foss Patents, an utility model registration works differently in practice from a usual patent registration. The post states, “Since utility models are registered without an examination process comparable to the examination of patent applications, there is no presumption of validity. It's a prerequisite for an infringement ruling that the court concludes that the claimed invention was novel and non-obvious at the time of registration. In this case, the court believes a potential decision on validity or invalidity is too close to call, at least before today's oral argument took place.” Now, considering that there are doubts on the validity of such a claim, the court may just issue a stay, and postpone a definite verdict till a later date. However, that being said, it doesn't mean that success for Apple is impossible. Validity of such registrations is upto 10 years, some even for 20 years; Apple had won its registrations in 2006, which means there's still some more time.
Even as you're reading this, a Reuters report confirms that Apple failed to get the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned in Netherlands, yet again. A part of the much larger, Apple vs Samsung lawsuit; this one pertains to Apple's claims that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet infringed on their iPad. An earlier ruling in a lower court had cleared that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet did not infringe on Apple's iPad; unsatisfied, Apple made an appeal the second time, this time in a Dutch appeals court.
Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in a bitter legal battle since a while now. Accusing the other one of infringing patents, these friends turned foes now have legal proceedings on in several key countries (markets) round the world.
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