Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Google, Samung plan software patch to address U.S. Galaxy Nexus ban

Samsung has lost again, with U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh denying the Korean giant's appeal against the preliminary injunction she imposed last week against U.S. sales of the Galaxy Nexus. However, as the Galaxy Nexus is the current Android developer phone - and a pure Android device - Google is ready to push out a software patch that they believe avoids infringing on the Apple patent that led to the injunction.

That patch is expected to be pushed out as quickly as possible, Google said. It is unclear how the patch would prevent infringement; Koh's original decision to halt Galaxy Nexus sales centered around U.S. Patent 8,086,604, which covers “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system” (or unified search functionality).

Meanwhile, Koh denied Samsung's request to put the ban on hold while Samsung lodges an appeal. In her ruling, Koh wrote, “Although some consumers may be disappointed that they cannot purchase the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy Nexus, as Samsung itself has repeatedly insisted, is not Samsung’s only smartphone product on the market.”

Indeed, that is true, and in fact, Samsung's current superphone is not the Galaxy Nexus, but the Galaxy S III. The Galaxy Nexus is many months old, having been released late in 2011, but it still holds sway as Google's developer phone and sells for the very inexpensive price of $349 (inexpensive for a device sold sans contract).

Before the preliminary injunction can go into effect, Apple must post a $96 million bond, to protect Samsung from damages in case the injunction is later found to be invalid.

In addition to the software update, Google plans to support Samsung in its appeal of the preliminary injunction as well as to challenge the validity of the universal search patent at issue in the case.

It has been reported that a likely argument in the case will be the idea that universal search predates the Apple patent. It will be a tough row to hoe, however, attempting to convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that an error has been made.

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