German court sets dates for Apple patent suits against Samsung, Motorola

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A German court on Friday set the dates for two Apple lawsuits being leveled against Samsung and Motorola for alleged infringement of a multitouch patent that could result in a sales stoppage of handsets running the latest versions of Google's Android operating system.

The Mannheim court scheduled the hearings to begin on Aug. 31 for Apple case against Samsung and Sept. 21 for the Motorola suit after hearing arguments from all involved parties, reports The Wall Street Journal.

While Apple has seen success with German cases in the past, the case in question is leveraging a multitouch heuristics patent against the two companies' handset that use current iterations of Google's Android and not the most recent 4.1 Jelly Bean which will be making its way to handsets soon.

At issue is Apple's European Patent EP2098948 for a "Touch event model" that covers multitouch heuristics or how a device detects and correctly handles users' input. More specifically the patent describes how, depending on screen configuration of UI elements, software determines what touch events to recognize and which to ignore.

From the patent abstract:
This relates to multi-point and multi-touch enabled devices in general, and more specifically to recognizing single and multiple point and touch events in multi-point and multi-touch enabled devices.


It is unclear what damage can be done as a result of the German case as Google announced on Wednesday it is already preparing software workarounds to skirt an injunction of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus after Apple successfully argued an identical U.S. patent against the handset. The situation is similar to the 2011 German sales ban against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which was resolved five months later when Samsung released a slightly modified version of the tablet dubbed the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, but is perhaps less difficult to sidestep as the issue is in regards to software rather than hardware design.

German Multitouch Patent
Illustration from Apple's "Touch event" European patent.
Source: European Patent Office


Android apps, however, could be affected by the changes to Google's OS as they are based on existing frameworks that would need to be rewritten to avoid conflicting with Apple's multitouch patent. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said an Apple win would portend a series of "far-reaching complications for many Android applications." The patent law analyst said the process of highlighting, copying and pasting text in an email is an example of functionality that could need tweaking. As Google would be forced to remove certain software assets, current Android owners could experience trouble with apps that take advantage of the redacted code.

The presiding judge at Friday's hearing said Apple's "patent has been granted and is binding" after noting that a patent can be ruled invalid if the invention is deemed to be common knowledge. While the statement appears favorable for the Cupertino-based company, the German court may find compelling evidence to rule the touch event patent invalid over the course of the lawsuit.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



     the German court may find compelling evidence to rule the touch event patent invalid over the course of the lawsuit.


     


     


    For the sake of German consumers, we can only hope that this will be the case.

  • Reply 2 of 11
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post


     


     


    For the sake of German consumers, we can only hope that this will be the case.



     


    Tell that to all the German Apple consumers without push notifications.


     


    Or do you have a difference stance in regards to them?

  • Reply 3 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,281member


    cross-licensing,,,, cross-licensing... cross-licensing...

  • Reply 4 of 11
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    cross-licensing,,,, cross-licensing... cross-licensing...



     


    Google the patent troll... Google the patent troll... Google the patent troll...


     


    antitrust... antitrust... antitrust... 

  • Reply 5 of 11
    aer0205aer0205 Posts: 2member
    Tell that to all the German Apple consumers without push notifications.
    g.gif
  • Reply 6 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,281member


    A blog post today by FOSSPatents claims Apple has little chance of winning on this one, with Samsung very unlikely to be infringing in the view of the court. 


     


    IMO, if Mueller has anything positive to say about any suit against an Android licensee it's a darn good sign that the licensee is probably coming out OK.


    "Even though the three Android device makers Apple is suing in Mannheim over this patent won't get as much mileage out of the UK ruling as they probably hoped to, Apple is still not very likely to prevail on this patent in Germany. After the first Samsung trial in April I thought that Apple had a chance of approximately 40% of prevailing. I now think it's closer to 20%." 

  • Reply 7 of 11
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    A blog post today by FOSSPatents claims Apple has little chance of winning on this one, with Samsung very unlikely to be infringing in the view of the court. 

    IMO, if Mueller has anything positive to say about any suit against an Android licensee it's a darn good sign that the licensee is probably coming out OK.
    <span style="color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:Georgia, serif;line-height:20px;">"Even though the three Android device makers Apple is suing in Mannheim over this patent won't get as much mileage out of the UK ruling as they probably hoped to, Apple is still not very likely to prevail on this patent in Germany. After the first Samsung trial in April I thought that Apple had a chance of approximately 40% of prevailing. I now think it's closer to 20%." </span>

    Nice job of selective reading. Let's look at the other statements that Mueller makes:
    http://www.fosspatents.com/2012/07/german-court-doubts-that-android.html
    It became clear that four key elements of the UK decision on the touch event model patent may not be adopted by the Mannheim court in its rulings on these Apple v. Motorola Mobility and Apple v. Samsung cases:

    Neither Google (Motorola Mobility) nor Samsung argued at these trials that the patent should be deemed invalid for lack of a technical contribution.

    Judge Voss stressed his court's reluctance to base an assumption of invalidity on the concept of obviousness over common general knowledge. No one I asked knows of any example in which the Mannheim court did so. Judge Voss said that the patent has been granted and it is binding on the court unless the judges are quite convinced that it's invalid. They want to see prior art. Some prior art was referenced, but based on the discussion, I didn't get the impression that the court doubts the validity of this patent on that basis.

    The first reason for which the UK court believed that Android doesn't infringe this patent is that there isn't a separate touch flag associated with each user interface object. The purpose of an exclusive touch flag is to suppress touches on other items. Judge Voss mentioned as an example that a user shouldn't simultaneously touch a Play and a Rewind button in a music player app. The London ruling concluded from the wording of the patent claims that there must be a "per-view granularity" (a "view" is a user interface element, or UI control, in the context of this patent), while Android has such a flag only at the window level (but it then relates to each view contained within that window). The Mannheim court is not going to interpret the claim language as rigidly as its counterpart in London did. Nevertheless, a more functionally-oriented analysis may very well result in a finding of non-infringement, as I'll explain further below

    The second non-infringement argument concerns the selective sending of touch events to the program code associated with a given view. This one succeeded in London but has much less traction in Mannheim.

    When you look at the technical analysis, his comments overall seem to favor Apple's chances here. It's only when he gets to his personal opinion that the view changes. That seems to be the case with him on software patents. Like Posner, Mueller doesn't like software patents and has a very strong bias against them. But all the technical analysis that he has provided suggests that Apple's in pretty good shape.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,281member


    He clearly explains the reasons Apple won't be successful based on what he knows, and it's not based on just a personal opinion that software patents are not good for the industry. Finish reading all the article to see his explanation. After doing so perhaps you can chime in why you disagree with his reasoning and instead think "Apple is in pretty good shape" with that patent claim. I'm truly curious.


     


    I'm not on-board with all of Mr Mueller's opinions either, but I can almost always explain why I disagree when asked. Go ahead and give it a shot yourself. 

  • Reply 9 of 11
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    He clearly explains the reasons Apple won't be successful based on what he knows, and it's not based on just a personal opinion that software patents are not good for the industry. Finish reading all the article to see his explanation. After doing so perhaps you can chime in why you disagree with his reasoning and instead think "Apple is in pretty good shape" with that patent claim. I'm truly curious.

    I'm not on-board with all of Mr Mueller's opinions either, but I can almost always explain why I disagree when asked. Go ahead and give it a shot yourself. 

    And, yet, when he analyzes each claim, it comes out in Apple's favor. So when he's dealing with facts, his opinion is that Apple has a good case and may well prevail.

    When he gets into opinions, he says that Apple will probably lose.

    So, which do you think is more important? The facts of the case or Mueller's opinions?

    And keep in mind that Mueller has expressed on a number of occasions his disdain for IP patents and doesn't think that ANY of them should be enforced.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,281member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    And, yet, when he analyzes each claim, it comes out in Apple's favor. So when he's dealing with facts, his opinion is that Apple has a good case and may well prevail.

    When he gets into opinions, he says that Apple will probably lose.

    So, which do you think is more important? The facts of the case or Mueller's opinions?

    And keep in mind that Mueller has expressed on a number of occasions his disdain for IP patents and doesn't think that ANY of them should be enforced.


    You're repeating the same thing you already said in post 7. Something you read there on his blog has apparently convinced you that Mr. Mueller's opinion is wrong. Specifically which of his facts are evidence to you that Apple is likely to win this one contrary to what he thinks? 

  • Reply 11 of 11

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post







    So, which do you think is more important? The facts of the case or Mueller's opinions?


     


     


    When confronted with Meuller who's opinion predicts one outcome, and a self-claimed Doctor of "Science" who claims Meuller is contradicting himself, I'll take Meuller, thanks.

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