As reported by Florian Müller of Foss Patents, Apple has scored an significant (if somewhat redundant) victory against Samsung, as a US court ruling favoured the iPhone maker, ordering the South Korean manufacturer to stop using software in the US that infringes the Apple patents – covering the autocorrect, slide-to-unlock and data detection functions.
There is a tiny little problem though, highlighted by Müller: the sales ban is effectively useless.
It’s useless, because the ruling affects older, outdated Samsung devices, which are no longer sold. Moreover, the ‘647 (quick links) patent is set to expire on February 1, 2016, while the ‘721 slide-to-unlock patent is irrelevant, and anyway only covers certain graphical variants of the mechanism, not the slide-to-unlock functionality as a whole.
There seems to be an issue with the ‘172 autocorrect patent as well, says Müller: the USPTO’s Central Reexamination Division reckoned that it is probably invalid.
“We are very disappointed,” Samsung said in an e-mailed statement sent to Bloomberg. “While this will not impact American consumers, it is another example of Apple abusing the judicial system to create bad legal precedent, which can harm consumer choice for generations to come.”
Nonetheless, Apple has a sales injunction ruling, which is a major accomplishment for Apple’s in-house and outside counsel, and could also send a signal to anyone else considering infringing the company’s patents: do not mess with Apple, concludes Müller.