Apple Shifts Patent Strategy, Targets Galaxy Nexus

Apple Shifts Patent Strategy, Targets Galaxy Nexus

Apple is targeting Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus in court, changing strategy as it aims to take down Android through patent legal battles.

Apple is asking a California court to block sales of the Galaxy Nexus, claiming the device infringes on four unique Apple patents. Apple’s preliminary injunction alleges the Android device infringes on Apple’s patents for data-tapping technology, a unified search feature, a new slide-to-unlock patent, and a word-completion patent for touch screen typing.

While designing the Nexus, Samsung said it took careful steps to avoid any infringements, but three of the four patents are newly filed by Apple. The patents at issue are interface- and software-related and not design-based, the focus of Apple’s earlier suits against Samsung. The change in direction suggests Apple is targeting Android OS as a whole instead of solely the Samsung device, and the company is now focusing on aspects of Android’s software performance.

If the California court grants the injunction and rule in Apple’s favor, the decision could require Google to redesign Ice Cream Sandwich, possibly holding up innovation on other fronts.

Google is angling to cash in on iPhone sales over its own patent concerns, but Apple is looking to stop Android devices from hitting shelves at any cost. Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus is a prime target, since the new device runs Ice Cream Sandwich and is the frontrunner in the Android lineup to compete with iPhone.

Apple’s past attempts to block Galaxy sales, among other lawsuits pending against Samsung, include a previous injunction denied in December. The legal dispute between the two companies started last year, with Apple targeting the Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets for their design.

Since then the two are battling in an all-out global patent war. Samsung fired back and eked out some victories, but some claims resulted in wins for Apple, though not as many as it likely hoped for.

Despite the accusations of intellectual property theft, Samsung and Apple are closely intertwined, as iPhones use Samsung technology in its iPhone devices. But both are racing to outpace each other in sales and new technologies, and the legal battles are only expected to win as the competition grows fiercer.

Apple likely believes the Android line, particularly Galaxy, copycats the iPhone, and Apple founder Steve Jobs excoriated Android before his passing. The latest claims take issue with features central to smartphone operation and prove Apple is going to fight Android on any front. With other manufacturers aiming to take on the iPhone in their designs and Google adjusting its Android OS for a more unified experience, Apple will likely continue to be aggressive in its attack.

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