Apple is back in U.S. court with Samsung this week, suing the Korean software maker for $US2 billion.
The last time the two companies met in the U.S. was in 2012. Apple won a $US1 billion judgment Samsung is currently appealing.
While the 2012 trial focused on design patents, this year’s infringement claims are related to specific software features within iOS.
The majority of these software features, however, are broad elements that can be found throughout the Android ecosystem — not just on Samsung’s products.
Via Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac, here’s a quick look at the five features that have Apple and Samsung locked in a $US2 billion lawsuit.
Addresses, dates, phone numbers and times appearing as links in text messages
Apple was granted a patent called “System and Method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data” back in 1999.
This is the feature that displays addresses and times as links within text messages. For example, if you send a text message to your friend asking her to meet at 8 p.m., tapping 8 p.m. will ask if you’d like to create an event or show that time slot in the calendar app.
Similarly, tapping an address will pull it up in Apple Maps. Although this is part of Apple’s infringements against Samsung, this feature is found on many other Android devices as well. LG’s G2, for example, comes with a feature called Text Link that does exactly the same thing.
Background data syncing
Apple’s patent for “Asynchronous data synchronisation among devices” describes a method that allows an app to sync information across various devices while in use — a feature that’s also available in Android. For example, you could open your smartphone’s calendar app and make edits, add new events or scroll through your schedule while the app syncs that data with your tablet or laptop.
Ever recall searching for something on your iPhone or iPad with the option to search the Web or Wikipedia? That’s the result of Apple’s patent titled “Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system,” which was granted in 2005. Universal search can be traced back to Android as far back as version 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb, which debuted in 2011. Again, this is a feature that isn’t Samsung-specific.
Slide to unlock
Apple is claiming that Samsung is infringing on its patent for “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.” In other words, Apple’s “slide-to-unlock animation on the lock screen. Most mobile devices, including Android smartphones, offer some type of mechanism for unlocking a device by swiping or dragging a specific item across the screen. It could just be that Apple finds Samsung’s unlock method to be too similar to that of its own. Last year a German court invalidated any claims related to Apple’s “slide-to-unlock patent, ruling that the patent lacked the necessary technical innovation to be granted a patent.
Apple’s patent titled “Method, system and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations, or auto-complete,” is also part of Apple’s claims against Samsung. The predictive text feature has existed on both Apple and Google-powered smartphones for quite some time, but Apple is claiming that Samsung’s auto-complete method is strikingly similar to its own. As you typing, iOS automatically completes a word once you hit the space bar. Other Android devices, however, offer a selection of words underneath your text that you can choose from.