Samsung Fights Apple Patent Claims with “Alice”
Just when we thought some truce was reached, the typhoon giants are at it… again. Samsung has requested for a California court to hold invalid claims of two Apple patents. This comes as a results of the US Supreme Court’s decision to tighten the standard for company’s requesting for patents.
Back in May, a jury had ordered the Korean electronics company to pay the American tech giant damages worth $119 million for infringing Apple’s patent. These are the exact same patents Samsung has now decided to challeging.
The patent that Samsung was found to have infringed was the “slide-to-unlock” patent or the ‘721 patent’. It revolved around the motion on an unlock image on the mobile’s home screens as to unlock the device. Although found guilty for this infringement, the Korean typhoon was found innocent with regards to another infringement. This one was regarding Apple’s “universal search patent”, also known as the ‘959 patent’. This particular patent refers to a universal interface that Apple uses for retrieval of information in a computer system. These are the two patents Samsung is looking to claim that are invalid in a court of law.
Apple on the other hand, has filed for a higher sum of damages for the patents Samsung was found to have infringed and along with that, a judgement that Samsung did in fact infringed other patents.
So what exactly is the “Alice”? Last month in case called Alice v .CLS Banking, the US Supreme Court ruled that an abstract idea is not patentable. This is so because it is tied to a computer system. Abstract ideas according to the judgement, is not patentable unless the claim contains an “inventive concept” enough to transform that abstract idea into patent-eligible application. It is all a little technical but basically it’s to put an end to company applying for patents for ideas that exist in thought but do not have a physical existence just as yet.
Two of the relevant claims Apple’s patents do exactly just this. Samsung has filed and claimed that “the [Apple] patents attempt to claim an abstract idea, implemented with generic computer functions that do not state any technical innovation.” This application was filed on the 3rd of July at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division.
Apple has yet to comment on all this chaos. Samsung however, has argued that the ‘721 patent’ is a patent “simply using a computed to implement the abstract idea of moving a lock from locked to unlocked position does not render the idea patentable.” Claim 8 of the ‘721 patent describes conventional computer operations such as the display of an image and moving that image on the screen to implement the abstract idea of unlocking a lock on any generic computer, without any special or specific hardware or software involved, according to Samsung.
With regards to the ‘959 patent’, the Korean company has claimed that the Apple’s expert had explained during the trial that the patent basically claims the use of a “heuristic” to search and find data through a computer. The expert further claimed that a heuristic is “just basically, you know, a good idea,” according to Samsung’s filing, which added that the description was similar to that used by the Supreme Court to describe unpatentable abstract ideas.
It seems that this battle is just another small one in a huge war between these two tech giants. Once we hear anything from Apple’s reps on this matter, we’ll be sure to let you know with all the latest updates!
Source: PC World