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Apple's new Samsung lawsuit targets Siri-like search, more

updated 01:40 pm EST, Sat February 11, 2012

Apple lawsuit vs Samsung expanded

An expansion upon what few details have been available from Apple's new Samsung lawsuit has suggested that it reaches more at the core of Android and less at Samsung's specific actions. Along with accusing Samsung of violating a newer unlock gesture patent than what was covered in Germany, a second patent for a "universal interface" for retrieving data appeared to Florian Mueller to accuse Samsung of violating Siri-style searches, where stitching together keywords presents just the immediately needed results. While Android on a base level doesn't do this, it would prevent Google from providing a narrower search method in Android.

Third and fourth patents are more familiar and include a patent for performing actions on data that has been used with success against HTC at the ITC as well as the word suggestion mentioned at first. The full description appears to be as relevant to Google's own mobile search as to text correction.

If successful in getting preliminary and possibly permanent bans on Samsung's use of the patents, the lawsuit could have a ripple effect on Android as a whole. Apple's newly granted patents, three out of four of which were only granted within the past few months, could affect not just newer devices like the Galaxy Nexus but certain parts of stock Android 4.0 and later. Google has often kept Android sparing, partly to avoid patent issues, and may have changed the gesture unlocks in Android 3.0 and 4.0 precisely to avoid this kind of situation. Should the new lawsuit hold up, it could force early changes as well as a rethinking of any future efforts.

Among the possibly affected solutions is the rumored Majel voice engine for Android, which could do at least some of what Siri does through natural language search. Samsung, Motorola, and others may not have significant counters, since few if any have directly relevant patents and so far have been countersuing using standards-based patents that could see their claims tossed.

by MacNN Staff



  1. CarltonArmsBob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Now the rubber meets the road....

    This is where Apple and its user interface puts distance on Android's copy-cat intrusion on Apple's patented "stuff". More and more new patents in the works will force Android to fall further and further behind.... Microsoft, at the same time, is moving smartly and steady from the rear with their own tiled ideas/interface, knowing that to copy Apple would would be self defeating eventually. Google is a short here (already topping out on the charts. Moto Mobility acquisition will prove to be the biggest dud since Warner bought AOL. Buying technology that is very old (mostly already contributed to patent pool or FRAND licensing terms) and not geared to the touch user interface. Apple is not going to share its technology with Google..... ever, you can count on that Mr Schmidt...because Steve Jobs said it on his death bed. "We don't want your money, we just want you to stop stealing our technology".

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It will be interesting to see

    if Apple's patents actually hold up in the courts. I really can't trust these judges to understand how important IP is to Apple and I'm thinking they'll just let Android take a free pass and say there'll be too much harm done to Android users or some sort of thing. I've got a hunch that Apple is going to beat Android by taking higher amounts of mobile revenue and profits and that's what will weaken the Android smartphone competition as rival company drop out of the business or move to WP7 OS. I truly believe that if Apple could actually produce more iPhones, they would sell that many more. I believe that first-time Android users will eventually move to iPhones if they find the Android smartphones lacking in some way.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Siri = huge advantage for Apple

    Siri is even more important to Apple than the Mac was in the '80s. It's the first successful natural language computer interface, and it could theoretically be applied to most of Apple's products. Everything from Mac Pro to iPad to iPod shuffle.

    Natural language has been a huge problem for the artificial intelligence community to solve. It requires more than simple keyword recognition (which is all Google really needs for app launching, voice dialing, and integration with search.) It requires "world knowledge" which is vastly harder to program.

    And Apple has of course patented their Siri technology. It's a work that they completely own, it's proprietary to Apple alone, and therefore it is not FRAND-encumbered like so many of Motorola's and Nokia's low-level basic cell technology patents. (And if you want prior art, Apple introduced Speakable Items in System 7.1.2 in 1993.)

  1. facebook_Greg

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012


    Prior Patents?

    My big question is who holds all the original patents for the basics of natural computer language processing? Apple, Microsoft, and Google have only been integrating and improving existing ideas. Remember old Bell Labs... They were one of the big R&D companies pushing the envelope of natural language and synthesis. Who owns the core patents for all of these technologies now? Siri was a perfect buy for Apple; what threat does Nuance hold to Apple is they fall into the hands of Microsoft or Google?

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