Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 24th Aug 2011 13:58 UTC
Legal Breaking news from my swamp home country The Netherlands: the Dutch court has just banned the sales of all Galaxy S, SII and Ace smartphones in the entire European Union. The judge has ruled that Android 2.x violates Apple's 868 patent which covers scrolling through photos on a touchscreen. Only this one patent is violated - the complaints about two other patents as well as the design patents has been thrown out. In other words, the judge did not agree with Apple that Samsung is copying Apple's design. The injunction only covers the Galaxy smartphones, since they run Android 2.x; Android 3.0 does not violate the patent in question, and hence, sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can continue. In fact, only the Gallery application violates the patent in question, and Samsung has already stated it is going to replace this application on all new Galaxy smartphones from now on - sales won't even be interrupted. In other words - two patents thrown out, design stuff rejected, and only one patent complaint upheld which will cause no harm to Samsung. Apple just scored a meaningless victory. The Dutch court order is here. The pictures speak thousands of words.
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RE[4]: I Am Confused
by cfgr on Thu 25th Aug 2011 16:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I Am Confused"
cfgr
Member since:
2009-07-18

So, if you have a patent on a device function by software all iOS apps will infringe, while Android apps will not. iOS is a device specific OS, Android is a generic OS. (My interpretation)


I doubt that all of iOS's code and modules depend on a specific device. If that were the case it would be a horrible, unmaintainable software architecture. The point was that there's only a very small layer that directly depends on the hardware (the firmware). Everything else is just built upon (several) abstraction layer(s). In that respect, I fail to see how any software patent is still valid.

From quickly reading through the specific patent, it appears to be a software problem disguised as "device specific" because it states that it needs I/O interaction. Every application does, that doesn't mean it's linked directly to the hardware and hence should not be patentable.

So yeah, I agree with you that firmware is (or should be) the only patentable software, but anything above that no longer communicates with the hardware directly, which in turn makes it device independent - all you need is the same API. The very fact that Samsung implemented it on Android without violating touchscreen firmware patents pretty much proves its independence.

A software patent is just maths obfuscated in lawyerspeak.

Edited 2011-08-25 17:00 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: I Am Confused
by JAlexoid on Thu 25th Aug 2011 23:52 in reply to "RE[4]: I Am Confused"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

My statement does not rationalize the software patents.

However, in the current interpretation - whenever the device is known at the time of writing the code the device and the code can be considered as "one physical device with certain functions implemented in software"(in EU).

All iOS applications are written with a very restricted number of devices in mind(2 iPads, 4 generations of iPhone and 4 generations of iPod Touch), therefore making the author know what device the code will run.

Android software tends to be less device specific, for obvious reasons...

Reply Parent Score: 2