Apple vs. the Mobile World

As Apple readies for their big event on October 4th, it seems like others are trying to rain on their parade as patent infringement issues are still brewing up all around them.

Quick recap: Samsung and Apple are battling court cases all over the globe from the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia.  And now, both titans are just revving up on more patent issues as they both prep for new smartphone launch; HTC is battling with Apple as the latter is accused of using patented technologies on their computers, televisions, smartphones and tablets after they were sued early on by Apple; and finally Apple filed to acquire trademark for the term “multi-touch.”

Samsung

Samsung seeks to ban the sale of iPhones, including the unreleased iPhone 5, and iPads in the Netherlands.  They filed four patent cases in The Hague and asked for a preliminary injunction against the stated devices.  Dutch judge said on Monday that the ruling for Samsung’s request will be handed down on October 14.

The main issue here is that Samsung accuses Apple of using their patents and should have asked for a license before launching the devices to which Apple retaliated and stated that Samsung never asked for a licensing fee and kept mum about it all these years because Apple was a big client of Samsung.  As for their Australian case, the Australian court would hand down their ruling by tomorrow as to whether or not the Samsung tablet would be banned in the markets of Australia.  The Samsung Galaxy Tab is scheduled to go on sale on Friday but Justice Annabelle Bennett said earlier this week that “she may have to impose a brief pause on sales, possibly for a few extra days, while she considers whether to grant the temporary injunction.”

HTC

U.S. International Trade Commission sided with HTC and stated that they would start their investigation regarding the allegations that Apple infringed HTC’s intellectual property with their mobile phones, tablets, and computers.  HTC recently updated their complaints and included the patents they recently acquired from Google.  If Apple wins this case, this could result to high royalty fees paid to them by competitors.

US Patent and Trademark Office

The US Patent and Trademark Office rejected Apple’s appeal to get the trademark for the term “mutli-touch” stating that though the term has been used in association with a highly successful product it does not mean the term has acquired distinctiveness and that multi-touch not only identifies the technology behind pinching, zooming, swiping, and scrolling, but that it “also describes how a user of the goods operates the device.”

The arguments for and against trademarking “multi-touch” was based on the difference between “mere descriptiveness” and “acquired distinctiveness.”  Multi-touch is seen interchangeable in use with “multitouch” as seen in Popular Mechanics, The New York Times, PC Magazine, and others.