Eager Samsung fans have been waiting patiently for their chance to purchase the long-awaited Galaxy S III on June 21 (for some carriers, anyway), but that wait could turn out to be longer than expected if Apple has their way.
Apple got their hands on an international version of the Galaxy S III not long ago, and came away none too pleased after they spent some time inspecting it. Now, the Cupertino company is trying to bar Samsung from selling their highly-hyped handset in the United States because it allegedly infringes two of Apple’s software patents.
To understand this whole situation a little better, we need to go back to this past February. At the time, Apple sought an injunction against Samsung (and more specifically, the Galaxy Nexus later on) because they claimed Samsung infringed patents that dealt with slide-to-unlock functionality (#8,046,721), a typing interface that suggests words, (#8,074,172), a unified search interface (#8,086,604), and the ability to tie device actions to particular data structures (#5,946,647).
Upon messing around with the Galaxy S III, Apple has come to the conclusion that Samsung’s Siri-esque S Voice intelligent assistant service falls under the category of a unified search interface and thus infringes their patent. Apple also takes issue with the ability for GSIII owners to, say, touch a phone number to fire up the device’s dialer, though that’s nothing new. That last patent also happens to be the one that HTC got dinged on when they tried to bring One X and EVO 4G LTE shipments into the U.S., so Apple seems to be getting pretty good mileage out of that one.
Apple has a preliminary injunction hearing set for tomorrow to discuss their Galaxy Nexus case, and what they’ve been trying to do is shoehorn the Galaxy S III into those proceedings as well. Samsung seems to be taking this whole situation in stride though, and company representatives note that they don’t expect this issue to delay the Galaxy S III’s big launch later this month.
Furthermore, Samsung officially replied to the complaint earlier today, claiming that Apple shouldn’t be allowed to squeeze the Galaxy S III into their existing motion — they argue that Apple should have to file a brand new motion instead. Whether or not the judge will agree with Apple’s rationale is still up in the air, but one thing is for sure — tomorrow’s going to be a pretty interesting day for everyone involved.