Despite the best attempts of Apple’s lawyers, Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal decided not to include Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) in the list of new technologies added to the patent battles between Apple and Samsung.
Apple and Samsung, still in the aftermath of this summer’s billion-dollar ruling, are working through the preliminary phases of the next trial, currently scheduled to go before the courts in 2014. (These guys just can’t wait to go at it again, right?) Both technology companies added to the list of devices that should be brought before the courts, including the iPhone 5, Galaxy Note 10.1, and the Galaxy S III. Judge Grewal has ruled that devices that are “no more than colorably different” from one another – meaning that devices that follow the same pattern of potential infringement could be added.
The tricky part about Apple’s request was that it specifically targeted Android 4.1 as an infringing technology. Had the judge allowed the inclusion and had Apple won the case, then Google/Android could have faced severe penalties across a full range of devices and brands supporting the Android system. The decision would have affected not only items on the market today but also any phone or tablet that used the Jelly Bean system.
In his response to Apple’s request, Judge Grewal said that “such an amendment would be overbroad and may sweep any number of Samsung devices using the Jelly Bean operating system into this suit.” Also, “Samsung also does not have any design control over the content of Jelly Bean as it is a Google Android product that Samsung itself did not develop”. In summary, “[t]he court will not permit a sweeping amendment that might apply to devices other than those properly tied to Samsung”.
Foss Patents, a blog that covers high-profile patent cases, summarized the situation perfectly by saying, “A blanket attack on Jelly Bean would also have created a situation in which Google would have made itself totally ridiculous if it had not done everything in its power to join the case as a co-defendant (or at the very least as a formal intervenor).”
Still, Apple has a chance to put Google in a tough position in regards to Jelly Bean, “but only as to the Jelly Bean product Apple has specified: the Galaxy Nexus”. With one of Android’s flagship devices in the mix, Apple has the opportunity to demonstrate that the device is somehow infringing specifically because of Jelly Bean. While Google would not necessarily be in trouble during this case, the ruling would certainly affect later patent battles between Google and Apple.
Google may still have yet another appearance in court, after all.
Source: Foss Patents