Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer heat in the courtroom: Apple has four Android-related patent trials this month

The big Apple v. Samsung trial in California (by the way, its primary hashtag on Twitter is #iCourt, though some also use #appsung) is by far not the only Android-related patent trial for Apple during this month of August. I thought it would be a good idea to provide a quick overview of what else is going on -- three more trials and one preliminary injunction appeal hearing:

  • In late July, another Apple v. Samsung trial involving a multiplicity of patents kicked off in the Federal Court of Australia, and it probably won't be concluded before October.

  • On July 31, an evidentiary hearing (i.e., trial before an Administrative Law Judge) started at the ITC. The complainant is VIA Technologies, a Taiwanese chipset maker that is part of the same family of companies as HTC. I don't mean to underrate VIA's independence, but there's so much of an overlap at the ownership level that VIA's decision to sue Apple is almost certainly related to the dispute between Apple and HTC that has been going on for more than two years. That ITC hearing will conclude on Tuesday (August 7).

  • The next day, the ITC hearing in the investigation of Apple's second complaint against HTC will start. It is scheduled to end on August 24.

  • On August 20, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear Samsung's appeal against a preliminary ban of the Galaxy Nexus (to the extent that it implements a Siri-like unified search feature patented by Apple). Unlike the Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction, the Galaxy Nexus injunction has no overlap (other than the court, the parties and many of the lawyers) with the case that is currently on trial in California. It was the first result of Apple's second California lawsuit against Samsung (filed in February 2012). For the time being (but nobody knows for how long), that preliminary injunction is stayed by the Federal Circuit. If Samsung's appeal fails, Apple is likely to enforce the Siri-related patent against other Samsung devices and possibly also against Android-based gadgets from other device makers.

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