Oh boy, here we go. That didn’t take very long at all.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 isn’t even on store shelves yet, but already the patent trolls have come calling. According to a recent report over at the Yonhap News Agency, LG believes that Samsung violating select patents used in the Optimus G Pro. More specifically LG suspects Samsung has infringed on eye-tracking patents.
During the Samsung Unpacked event, we got a pretty good demo of how the eye-tracking features will work on the Galaxy S4. While the presentation was certainly a little questionable, the device itself was pretty top notch. Especially appealing is the Samsung Smart Pause feature, which essentially pauses media playback when you look away from the device screen. It’s not exactly something that we all need in our lives, but it’s a pretty cool feature nonetheless.
LG says the Smart Pause is remarkably similar to their Smart Video technology. To be fair, LG’s Smart Video Technology does exactly the same thing as Samsung’s Smart Pause. If Samsung did infringe on such patents, then we may actually see these two in court over the claim.
LG is leaning on a patent granted to them in 2009 related to their Smart Video technology, but the eye-tracking patents date back all the way to 2005.
So far, Samsung is saying they did nothing wrong, and that their own technology is different from LG’s. In addition, Samsung claims that the new eye-tracking features is based on proprietary technology, which means that Samsung developed it in-house.
Of course, the Galaxy S4 isn’t even out yet so LG will probably do an investigation on the problem before taking Samsung to court.
To add my personal touch here, I think this is one main reason that patents are useless. Not because I don’t believe in protecting one’s proprietary hardware and software, but because of how they are used. It seems to be common practice in the mobile industry that patents are used to slow down competition. It’s even worse when you see companies filing for ridiculous patents, like Apple’s ’rounded rectangle’ patent.
What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts below.