Apple Takes On Samsung, Android, And Google

Feb.14.12 | About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) latest lawsuit against Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) -- and by extension Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which is responsible for the Android software -- is its most serious yet.

The new case involves three new patents covering such basic smartphone concepts as a voice interface, a data tapping patent linking data across applications, swiping the phone to unlock it and auto-completing search entries, according to FossPatents. There's also a fourth patent at issue, over which Apple has already won a case against HTC.

The charges are made against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone, but could extend to the entire Android line and to Google's search services.

The company wants a preliminary injunction and an immediate import ban, claiming it will be irreparably harmed if the Nexus Galaxy, and Samsung's ad campaign aimed at Apple, is allowed to go forward.

Florian Mueller, who writes FossPatents, says Apple has carefully studied past rulings before the judge trying this case and has tailored its demands accordingly. It has already won a case on one of the patents at issue, the data-tapping patent. All the capabilities at issue are part of the base Android code, so Apple hopes changes to the code base might be construed as an admission of guilt.

Since the patents were issued, and the innovations supposedly copied, after legal action had begun on other issues, Apple is calling Samsung an unrepentant, "recidivist" infringer the courts must stop.

The issue is also being covered heavily at PatentlyApple and Apple Insider In his own post on the new filings, Mueller credits these two blogs with important breaks in the story.

Apple stock has been on a long winning streak, rising in value 136% over the last year, while Google shares have been falling slightly. The latest moves could accelerate the trends, although it must be noted that American courts have been much slower to make rulings than German courts, where Samsung and Motorola have been pressing their patent cases against Apple.

The cases should also be seen as bullish for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) which could gain market share against Android if Apple seems poised to succeed.

Disclosure: I am long GOOG, MSFT.