It's certainly been a busy year for Samsung, no more so than when it comes the Korean company's appearances in court hearings and disputes with Apple. It seems like Apple and Samsung have been fighting over patents for years and years now, with no end in sight it looks like Samsung are going to have to come up with a way to avoid these disputes in the future. Now, there's word that Samsung have created workarounds for the 3 Apple patents that Samsung were deemed to be infringing upon. Let's breakdown the 3 patents and what they're for below:
- The '381 Patent – This patent is the infamous "rubber-band" patent in that it details touch screen usage like dragging around documents and pinch-to-zoom
- The '915 Patent – Again, this is more touch screen related stuff here, with this patent relating to the manner in which the phone can distinguish between one finger or multiple finger inputs. This relates heavily to how devices execute pinch-to-zoom.
- The '163 Patent – When you're browsing the web on a mobile device it's become commonplace for you to double-tap on a portion of text to enlarge it, right? Well, with this patent of Apple's relates firmly to this behavior.
In the extremely high-profile court case earlier in the year which had a verdict passed on August 25th deemed that Samsung had infringed on the above three patents of Apple's on a large number of Samsung devices running Android. The '381 patent has recently been ruled as invalid by the US Patent and Trademark Office due to examples of prior art but, of course, Apple will be appealing the decision and it might not stick. What might come of this could be very good for Samsung indeed, the '381 patent was a big part of Apple's case against Samsung as it's doubtful that there was any use of the same prior art that led the USPTO to deem the patent invalid which could well raise questions about how the case was handled by Apple's legal team. The assertion of prior art surround the '381 patent was submitted around 23 May and testimony surrounding the patent conducted in court on August 10th so, Apple's legal team must have known of examples of prior art and any judge worth their salt should have known as much however, it's highly doubtful that the jury were shown any of it.
Samsung claim to have workarounds for all three of these patents that were deemed infringed upon:
- The '381 Patent has been worked around by scrapping the blue glow almost entirely, there's very little of it compared to how it was before and it's barely noticeable. It's said that Samsung's tweaks provide little than 5% of that the '381 patent.
- The '163 Patent is a little trickier to explain. Essentially, Samsung have changed the behavior of their browser on the Galaxy S line, when the user double-taps on a block of text or rectangle on a web page it enlarges it just the same however, it does not navigate to that rectangle. The '915 patent from Apple is not a tap-to-zoom patent but rather, a tap-to-zoom and navigate patent. If the user were to navigate to the block of text and then double-tap to zoom they would never noticed the difference.
- The '915 Patent sees Samsung applying little to no changes. The behavior is essentially the same and if you were to browse the web on the Galaxy S III with one finger you can still zoom using two. It seems that this patent relates more to the implementation of the gesture and not the gesture itself, leaving Samsung open to change how it's used on their devices.
Whether or not Samsung will have the verdict overturned as a result of these workarounds or indeed the recently invalid '381 patent is something we'll have to wait and see but, I doubt Samsung will be given the rosy outcome that they so crave. This is going to go on for quite some time still and it's certainly going to make for some headlines if the verdict does change but, at the very least, I can see Samsung taking out a loan for less than $1 Billion soon.