Samsung enlists Alice to help with Apple patent theft charges


Everyone knows that the Apple vs. Samsung patent war has been raging for what seems like forever, but would you be any the wiser to hear that Samsung is invoking “Alice” to try and beat two Apple patents?

The patents in question are Apple’s “slide-to-unlock” patent, which describes swiping your smartphone’s home screen to unlock it — and “universal search,” which refers to a universal interface for retrieving information in a computer system.

In May, a jury found Samsung to be guilty of infringing on the first patent, but let it off the hook for the second.

But while Apple was only awarded an underwhelming $119.6 million (compared to the $1 billion it was awarded from Samsung in 2012) Samsung lawyers think they’ve come up with a way to invalidate the whole lawsuit: by taking advantage of a recent legal precedent called Alice v. CLS Bank.

Taking place in June, the Supreme Court ruled that an abstract idea is not patentable on the grounds that it is simply tied to a computer system, and can only be patented if it contains a sufficiently “inventive concept.”

This is what Samsung lawyers argued on Thursday in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division. Arguing that Apple’s ownership claims regard “an abstract idea, implemented with generic computer functions that do not state any technical innovation.”

In the case of the important “slide-to-unlock” patent, Samsung says that Apple is “simply using a computer to implement the abstract idea of moving a lock from locked to unlocked position” and that the idea does not therefore conform to the demands of a patent, since there is no specific hardware or software involved.

An expert commenting on Apple’s universal search patent argued that it is “just basically, you know, a good idea,” and shouldn’t be patented either.

Apple hasn’t yet commented on Samsung’s filing, but if it’s upheld it could have potentially enormous implications for a number of tech computers. After all, there are a whole lot of “basically … good ideas” out there.

Source: IDG News Service

Via: PCWorld