Saturday, August 25, 2012

Apple v. Samsung - Which Patents Infringed

You probably read about Apple's US$1 billion win against Samsung in a US Court. Trying to figures our was was infringe is difficult based on the press coverage. I did find a good article on CNET which breaks it all down. The CNET article has a comprehensive list of which Samsung devices infringe and I suggest you take a look at that article. In brief this is a list of the Apple patents upheld:

Patents -
  • '381 patent - This patent covers "the 'rubber band' effect where a page 'bounces' when a user scrolls to the bottom" and "includes touch-screen actions like dragging documents and multi-touch capabilities like pinch to zoom and twist to rotate."
  • '915 patent - This patent "relates to a device capable of distinguishing between a single-touch scroll operation and a mult-itouch pinch-to-zoom operation."
  • '163 patent - This patent covers behavior like "how you can double-tap a touch screen to enlarge and center portions of Web page, photo, or document." 
  • '305 patent - This one is more ornamental in natures and "centers on a grid of rounded square icons against a black background."
  • Two other hardware patents are covered, the '677 patent and the '087 patent, which covers the appearance of a device. 
Looking at the list in the CNET article on earlier Samsung designs were found to violate the '305, '677 and '087 patents. So on these patents, it looks more like an issue of paying damages more than anything else.

The '381. '915 and '163 patents being upheld are more problematic. While Apple did not invent the touchscreen, it owns a lot of patents covering how they are used which could be problematic for all touchscreen devices to work around.

Update: Apparently, pinch to zoom is not covered in the case.


  1. When I went to law school in the early '90s, software was just not patent protection worthy, in and of itself. The world has gone to hell in a hand basket.

    1. Many Countries do not recognize software patents.

  2. The USA is in self destruct with the software patents, leaving other countries ( with potentially much bigger markets ) in a free for all. Imagine a situation, which will come to pass, that the new innovation comes from Korea, China, India and elsewhere, and where they are allowed own the patents in the US. These patents will be able to block any American company from the new concepts unless they pay big time, with the US courts blessing.

    1. I think you might see a schism in the mobile world, with one set of US built smartphones and another set for the rest of the world.


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