Aug 27 AT 3:14 PM Dustin Earley 44 Comments

Google speaks out on Samsung vs Apple, says Android is safe for the most part

android-vs-apple Image via: laihiu with Creative Commons

After the verdict in the Samsung vs Apple case was delivered on Friday afternoon, both Samsung and Apple released statements reflecting their thoughts on the initial outcome of the trial. Now Google has released a short statement that addresses how Apple’s victory will affect stock Android, and a few words on the state of the patent system as a whole.

Google’s statement is as follows:

The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don't relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office. The mobile industry is moving fast and all players – including newcomers – are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don't want anything to limit that.GooglePress statement

Google’s words on the patent system in general aren’t surprising. The only thing that might make you think twice is the short bit on how several of the patents in the case are being re-examined by the US Patent Office. What is interesting, however, is the part on how “most” of the infringed patents don’t relate to core Android.

Stock Android seems to be safe from any of the trade dress infringements Samsung was hit with, but technical patents are another story. The Samsung Nexus S was included in the case, and was found to infringe patents ’381, the “bounce-back” patent, and ’915, pinch-to-zoom. [1]

After the release of the Nexus S, Google started developing around ’381, the bounce-back patent. The bounce-back, rubberband effect was originally present in the app drawer, homescreen and gallery. Since then, a 3D horizontal tilting effect has been implemented to let users know when they’ve reached the end of a horizontal list.

Vertical lists have never been a problem. Before Gingerbread, Android 2.3, there was nothing to indicate when the end of a vertical list was reached. With the release of Gingerbread, Google added a glow effect. It’s still present in Android 4 and above, but the color has changed.

The other patent the Nexus S was hit with, pinch-to-zoom, is a bit tricker. Pinch-to-zoom is still present in Android to this day. Google may find a better way to deal with zooming in and out that doesn’t infringe on Apple’s patents, but there’s more to patent ’915 that almost seems unavoidable.

I’m no patent expert, but the filing for patent ’915 covers, “programming interface for responding to finger scrolls and gestures.” Essentially, ’915 covers not only pinch-to-zoom, but one finger scrolling as well. How else could you possibly implement something like this? I’m guessing ’915 is one of the patents Google is pushing to have invalidated. Otherwise they could be in a heap of trouble.

What do you think of Google’s statement on the case, did they defend Samsung enough and stand up for their product, or were they too vague?


  1. 9to5 Mac

Source: The Verge

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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