Just six days after Apple was granted a preliminary injunction against U.S. sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, news comes that the American company has delivered another decisive blow to the Korean Giant’s popular mobile family. This time, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh decided that Samsung’s popular(ish) Galaxy Nexus handset is in direct violation of Apple’s U.S. patent 8,086,694.
MacNewsWorld explains of the so-called “604 patent”:
It covers search and voice capabilities via a single interface and predetermined algorithms, which is largely how Apple’s voice assistant Siri operates. Since the patent is core to how Siri functions, Koh ruled, Samsung’s infringement of that patent could cause irreparable harm to Apple.
While I agree with the premise of Apple’s trade dress suit against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (and the rationale of the suit based on improprieties exercised by Samsung as an OEM partner with access to privileged Apple information — it’s a principle thing!), this case is a lot more involved. Certainly, any perceived violation here is sure to be less overtly identifiable (particularly to the layman) than the previously-cited Galaxy Tab affair, but the ramifications are worlds more far-reaching.
That said, I disagree with the notion that “Samsung’s infringement could cause irreparable harm to Apple” in this specific case, as — like the Galaxy Tab — the Galaxy Nexus is old tech and on its way out. Yes, it’s still promoted by Google alongside the just-announced (and likely legal target) Google Nexus 7, but there’s simply no way the Samsung smartphone in question can do any real future damage to Apple and its iPhone family. Rather, this latest injunction seems more like a preemptive strike by which Apple hopes to set the stage for upcoming litigation against Siri’s competitors.
In that sense, this case is less a means to an end than a means to a long, drawn-out beginning.
And I’m not sure that’s such a good thing.