There are very few times when we can literally jump off our seats when we read something coming out of the US courts, especially as of late with all the unfairness that has been witnessed in the case(s) of a certain Cupertino company’s crusade against a comparatively lesser known Korean company. Well, while tides are not exactly changing their course, at least we can see that some sense of justice still prevails among certain individuals who handle a third of the country’s government. These particular kudos actually go to the Appeals Court, and the reason is for reversing the decision made back in July to place an injunction on top of Samsung/Google’s Galaxy Nexus device, thus blocking US imports altogether.
Here’s a little bit of background for those of you who were not aware of this issue. Among the constant barrage of lawsuits and complains that Apple bombarded the Court Circuits with, there was one that specifically targeted the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which was being sold by Google in the Play Store (as well as a few carriers like Verizon). The patent being put in question was the patent known as ’604, and it essentially dealt with global search. Apple was claiming that the search feature on the Nexus was actually creating issues for them (sales wise) and hurting their numbers because it was too similar to Siri, which is included on the iPhone.
Now, we all know that there is nothing that ships stock on the GN that could remotely resemble Siri. Pre-Jelly Bean AOSP search does not come with that kind of functionality, period. Can it search for things on your phone or on the web? Absolutely. Can you talk to the pre-Jelly Bean GN and get a reply back (without 3rd party software)? No way. And even with Jelly Bean and Google Now, there are numerous qualitative difference between Google’s and Apple’s offerings. So, because of suddenly having realized that, the Appeals Court decided that while Siri was indeed a unique feature and that anything similar to it (infringing the aforementioned patent) could indeed be detrimental to the sales figures of the company, that this argument would ONLY be valid if the Android device in question actually did come loaded with such capability. Well, the truth of the matter is that it does not.
The case that was originally ruled over by the District Court that granted the original injunction essentially (if that decision was taken as a precedent) could open the doors for Apple to try and sue virtually any handheld device that could search within itself and in the web with the same “unified” engine. The decision has just been reversed, and the Galaxy Nexus is back in the shelves. Will it sell a whole lot with the SGS3 and other, more powerful devices coming out like cars out of an assembly line? Maybe, maybe not. However, the true reason for celebrating is not the fact that the device is once again available for purchase, but the fact that this sole fact just shone a ray of hope into this seemingly over-and-done battlefield.
Based on this, it may just be worth keeping your hopes up that other already-made decisions could potentially be overturned. Maybe based on this, future patent cases will be handled with more care and due diligence, and most of all, fairness. Or even better yet, this may be a light through the proverbial crack in the patent system that will alert some of the people in charge, and make them realize “hey, I think this may be broken!”