So it has been an interesting couple of weeks in the patent wars between Apple and Samsung.
The first being the court ordered injunction against sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. This hasn’t done so much as hurt Samsung, but has helped it get overwhelming publicity for its expected release in early September.
Then there was Apple’s case against Samsung in the Netherlands which has now seen Apple win against the Smartphone manufacturer with the Courts coming close to banning the Galaxy S, Galaxy SII & Galaxy Ace from being sold within the European Union.
But what did Apple really win?
The only patent upheld by the courts is patent 868, which addresses the scrolling between photo’s on a touchscreen (and how it bounces back after a short swipe). All other claims by Apple such as Samsung copying look & feel and duplicating swipe to unlock were deemed to not infringe. The LG Prada has the iPhone look & feel beat as it was released in 2007 before the iPhone. The lockscreen claims were covered with the relatively unknown Neonode N1m, which had the same lockscreen implementation back in 2005. The operating system likeness was defended citing the Nokia 7710, which had a grid style layout.
Samsung said at the end of the case it plans to remedy the gallery similarities through a Software update sent out over the air and it won’t affect any Samsung Galaxy sales in Europe.
So this could have been a bad move by Apple at the end of the day. It now means there is precedence set with their claims of others stealing likeness and could help to overturn other court cases between Apple and Android manufacturers in other countries. The judge also mentions that by having such a minimalist design, the iPad basically makes itself less viable for design protection.
It’s a miniscule victory for Apple, but could be a much larger victory for Android partners around the world, especially with recent news of Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO of Apple.