Apologies to anyone who thinks this is a repost – I don’t blame you. Apple has thrown some more patent infringement claims in Samsung’s direction, this time taking direct aim at Samsung Galaxy Nexus, seeking to prevent the Ice Cream Sandwich Android smartphone from being sold in the United States. The hearing for the latest in an interminable series of lawsuits between the two tech giants is scheduled for May 2nd.
This time, the patents in question are for slide-to-unlock technology, data tapping (the same patent used against HTC last year that covers tapping phone numbers on the device to initiate a call), unified search, and word completion for touchscreens. Of course, it could be argued that this isn’t really about Apple versus Samsung at all. Most of the infringement claims are really attacking concepts at the core of Android phones in general.
As far as Samsung and Apple go, there are now about 30 claims of infringement going in both directions, as the companies continually try to get a leg up on the other by preventing sales of certain phones in certain markets. Earlier this month, a similar lawsuit in Germany to prevent the sale of the Nexus there fell through.
So, who will win this fight? Considering the money being thrown in by both sides over what amount to frivolous patents in the grander scheme of what these phones are capable of, it doesn’t really matter. Every dime that goes toward undercutting competition through the courts hurts the consumer. That’s less money going into actual innovative projects, and if either company actually succeeds in getting competitors’ products pulled, so much the worse off we all are for it. As long as these companies continue to go “thermonuclear war” on each other, there’s only one outcome that’s certain – the consumer will lose.