Apple’s decision to disable VPN on demand functionality on iOS due to the virnetX lawsuit isn’t the only patent related Apple news today. Head below for a roundup of Apple’s court woes and wins from earlier today:
Samsung infringes key text-selection patent: Reuters reports that the International Trade Commission has handed down a preliminary decision ruling Samsung infringed on an Apple patent related to a text-selection feature. However, the courts also ruled Samsung didn’t infringe another patent related to detecting when other devices are plugged into a microphone jack. If the text-selection decision is upheld, the result could be a U.S. import ban on Galaxy, Transform, and Nexus devices:
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If it is upheld, the ITC can order any infringing device to be barred from importation into the United States. Apple has alleged that Samsung’s Galaxy, Transform and Nexus devices, among others, were among those made with the infringing technology.
Apple wins ruling blocking class action in anti-poaching lawsuit: Back in January we heard U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh had ordered Apple CEO Tim Cook to provide a deposition in the case related to an ongoing private lawsuit that claims Apple, Google, and others entered “no-poach” agreements. At the time the judge didn’t rule on a request to make the suit a class-action case, but today Bloomberg reports that Koh has blocked the lawsuit as proceeding as a class action:
Apple Inc. (AAPL) and six other companies won a court order to block potentially thousands of employees, from engineers to sous chefs, from proceeding in a group lawsuit… The case can’t proceed now as a class action, partly because “plaintiffs examples, though compelling, may not be sufficient to show that all or nearly all class members were affected by the anti-solicitation agreements without additional documentary support or empirical analysis,” Koh wrote.
Slide to unlock: After delays in the ongoing “slide to unlock” patent lawsuit in Germany, paid blogger Florian Mueller (most recently funded by Microsoft and Oracle) reported today that Motorola and Samsung have won a ruling in Germany invalidating Apple’s patent that covers the process of “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.” Mueller reports Germany’s Federal Patent Court court ruled the patent “fails to meet the technicity requirement under European patent law,” which means it shouldn’t have a major impact on use of the patent in the US:
The court held that the only respect in which the claimed invention is new over the prior art — the fact that a swiping gesture for the purpose of unlocking a device — fails to meet the technicity requirement under European patent law. Software “as such” is not patentable in Europe unless it solves a technical problem with technical means. In this case, the mere fact that a sliding gesture has a visual representation was not deemed to constitute a technical innovation. The patent discloses elements that are undoubtedly technical, but the inventive step here (the delta between the claimed invention and the prior art) was not deemed technical — only “software as such”.