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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  • Fulaman

    Enough of this passive bullcrap, Google or some other major Android manufacturer needs to go after Apple…Apple themselves are huge hypocrites they have copied so much from Android OS (notification menu, Siri talk being based off of Google Voice, etc. etc.) Someone needs to put them in their place and make them pay $1B

    I hope that Samsung gets them back.

    • Michael ‘Dogfight’ Vick

      Nobody is safe forever.
      I learned my lesson as they sneaked up my azz and caught me.
      Could happen to Android too.
      You never know.

    • Tammy

      Remember it’s not about “who copied it” or “who thought of it” or “who built it”…. Apple was smart enough to have *PATENTED* it. Some very generic ideas. And were fully awarded the patents. 1000s of them.

      • cdg

        Actually, it is a bit about “who thought of it” as obvious patents or patents exploiting prior art shouldn’t be granted. So many software patents come into the patent office these days, though, that it seems they don’t really evaluate for that. They simply grant the patent and let litigation decide.

        Since pinch-to-zoom and other gestures have been around forever, I can’t imagine that patent will actually stand up under real scrutiny. It’s simply too obvious. Go watch Minority Report from 2002 and see how Tom Cruise’s character interacted with the pre-crime system.

  • spazby

    Google needs to be more active and maybe use some of the Motorola patents it acquired

  • Derek

    I agree, Google has a massive team of lawyers on retainer as well. They need to get to work invalidating a lot of Apple’s blatantly obvious patents. Most of Apple’s patents are so obvious a 4 yr old would have come up with them. Like navigating around a touchscreen. How else are you supposed to navigate a touchscreen, if not using touch gestures?? Duhhhhhh

    • Homncruse

      With your elbow, duh.

      • geronimo8

        Just being in contact with any part of the skin is touch gesture.
        Apple will still sue you. LOL

        • Homncruse

          Dammit, you’re right. Does it count if it’s a partner-based system? E.g., I can’t use my own hands, so I have to use yours.

          • mridzuan

            it says touch gesture… you could be touching it with your friends *ehem* and still it would violate Apple’s patent.

  • gf1 fanatic

    I, for one, would do without a smartphone rather than be forced to buy an iPhone. Apple’s behavior is despicable.

    • Janice

      If you held those same patents… you wouldn’t want the billion dollars?

      Write me a check. I’ll gladly take the money off your hands.

      • Nando

        Patents for round edges? I gues we have to invent a square wheel now. I sheep

  • Jon Garrett

    In addition to having some of these patents invalidated, Google and all its partners should petition to have them declared industry standards and force apple to FRAND them out.

  • Scotter

    Part of innovation is standing on the shoulders of those before you. Should Edison or Tesla get a piece of every single gadget that uses electricity? I am all for a serious revamping of patent law. In fact, I would go so far as to investigate just how necessary having ANY patenting is. IMHO, being first-to-market gives enough of an edge. Reputation, too.

    • Homncruse

      I made a similar argument on Twitter to someone who was obviously pro-Apple, claiming a loud victory. While most inventors and the companies they represent stand on the shoulders of giants, Apple’s delusion is that they’ve been the giant all along, standing on their own recursive shoulders.

  • Tangent

    Posted this elsewhere also, but it’s directly relevant to how bogus the pinch-to-zoom patent claim is…

    Fast forward to 4:45 for the directly relevant bits…

    Steve Jobs at the iPhone introduction: “We’ve invented a new technology called multi-touch. You can do multi-finger gestures on it; and boy have we patented it.”

    ONE YEAR EARLIER AT A TED TALK BY JEFF HAN: “Multi-touch sensing isn’t anything — isn’t completely new, people like Bill Buxton have been playing around with it in the 80′s”

    • Mix

      Thanks for the link, loved the video!

      I liked the 1996 Steve Jobs versus the 2010.

    • Lazaro

      great video! thank for the link

  • Homncruse

    “I am not an Apple hater. I don’t wish ill will on any company. However, there is a part of me that hopes that Google sues the shit out of Apple with it’s Moto and notification pane patents. I know that doesn’t make me any better than the Apple people, but you can only poke the sleeping dog so many times before it snaps at your fingers.”

    ^^ This. I have the same opinion, except it seems like Google is overly optimistic that everything will just work itself out. They’re the nice kid on the playground who thinks bullies are just misunderstood and if you ignore them, they’ll stop.

    If Apple has their way, it won’t matter that they won’t have anyone to copy; they’ll just patent the concept of innovation and automatically own everything.

  • Nathan D.

    Most of these patients needs to be invalidated, because really these patients are so over use or so vague that makes this whole thing bull sh**. Some one needs to stick it to apple where it hurts, like their parents they love so much.

  • gmaninvan

    How the hell did they grant patent 915? Finger scroll really? How else are you supposed to operate a touch screen. This should be an obvious invalidation.

  • gmaninvan

    How the hell did they grant patent 915? Finger scroll really? How else are you supposed to operate a touch screen. This should be an obvious invalidation. Plus, I am pretty sure there has to be prior art for this. Pinch to zoom, well….they could be screwed on that one but we will see. Hard to design around.

  • pjamies

    It patent 915 does stick, every company who makes a touch screen will be in danger of being sued! That includes M$
    I cannot see how a court can uphold a patent like this, it would put an end to all touch screens in the US at least!

    There should be a trial just to find out what moron actually let Apple patent such a gesture motion. I wounder if Apple has a man or woman on the inside of the patent office!! Hhmmmmm..

  • kwills88

    it’s kinda simple really, while google runs android, they have nothing against apple, they make a lot of money from Apple so they wont go attacking them head on just like that, but at the same time they have to find a way to protect their partners or else android might hit a road block, but i am optimistically hoping everyone bonds together and come up with a way to stop this foolish battle that apple started, Apple was named the most important tech company and value over 6b yet they can go to court and cry foul about them losing profit and it’s hurting them

  • Chris

    I hope Motorola’s recent patent lawsuit goes through. Patents involve location reminders, email notifications, video playback and Siri. Motorola’s lawsuit argues that virtually every single hardware product Apple currently sells in the U.S. infringes upon these seven patents

  • Tammy

    > I am not an Apple hater.

    That’s sweet.

    > I don’t wish ill will on any company.

    That’s good, too.

    > hopes that Google sues the shit out of Apple

    Very childish.

    Do you gain something?

    • Ben Trigg

      Yeah, he gains a potential end to Apple trying to sue Android out of existence.

    • Homncruse

      We gain choice and competition, which further drives innovation, which further drives choice and competition.

      Here’s the alternative: Apple successfully litigates everyone else out of the market. What reason do they have to innovate or give *anything* new, when they have a monopoly? “Because they can”? Please, that’s more Google’s thing (see: Kansas City fiber).

  • Zee

    I’ve owned 5 Android phones. None of them were Galaxy S phones because their UI’s are too [email protected] for me. Especially the original Galaxy S.
    Why do you think Crapple picked Samsung to sue?

  • reverenddak

    The whole litigation/patent system is just broken, and stifles innovation… but this is old news, industries have been doing this for years. No one rips anyone off, innovation is dependant on improving existing technology by “making it better” or “adding” something that is not already there. Patenting “obvious” innovation. I predicted, as did anyone that had a fancy phone in 2000, that we’d have all purpose devices in our pockets (in the future) that are more powerful than the computers at our desks. Heck, my crappy $99 Android Phone is more powerful than my desktop from 10 years ago.

    • Droidiack

      Um – isn’t that the definition of innovation – improving on an existing product?

  • Max

    I’m not sure what Apple is trying to accomplish with all of these patents and lawsuits. If they did end up making Android unusable it would win me over as a consumer or make me a customer. I think the iPHone is a nice device but I have a Samsung phone mainly because I didn’t want AT&T as my carrier back when they had an exclusive deal and so I went with an Android phone and have been happy ever since.

    All they have accomplished so far is make me feel that hey are acting like a spoiled child or as someone else put it a bully. In the end all they would accomplish is force me to get a Windows phone. At things are I will never buy an iPhone. Great work Apple.

    • Max

      Sorry for the grammatical errors. I don’t know why I don’t see them even when proofreading, but once I’ve hit submit… “…Android unusable wouldn’t win me…” and “…As things are I…”

  • cb2000a

    Scrolling with fingers on a touch screen was conceptualized long before Apple got involved. I think there are problems in this case with prior art.

  • Leo Young

    It is difficult to predict what the courts will do. Of course, Samsung won in Korean court. Some of this is culture bound and some of it is patents on really basic operations.

    I am curious to see what the US patent office is going to do. In many ways, this is the most important news out of this.

    The other important thing is to know that Google is going to stand behind their product.

  • Applekiller

    Everyone here is blind all other countries besides America as a matter of fact including America the Samsung Galaxy S3 is on the rise higher then the iPhone4s Apple tried to sue Android on things that doesnt make sense to disable the use of Samsung phones where as there going to take the 1billion they got off the lawsuit to develop a better phone then the S3 the people of that jury are blind to see what Apple is trying to do so when it all goes downhill for them they try disabling the company thats taking their fame people need to be more open minded on the whole Android and Apple thing but personally i think the whole having a iPhone is being a follower and being controlled whereas our Androids arent controlled stop being blind and see what Apple is trying to do.

    • ibap

      e. e. cummings? Faulkner? – another reason I dislike devices without physical keyboards, or what were you smoking when you wrote this?

      I don’t like what they do either. I’m waiting for a patent on the rectangle.

  • Kyle Clark

    I will personally never buy an apple device again. I buy iPod touch every time it comes out and I have purchased iPhone 4s for my father. I have had the Samsung gravity, nexus s, and I now own the galaxy s3. they have all been the best for reliability and features, especially the s3. its sleek, offers amazing features and is the product of many ideas and jobs. something apple doesn’t seem to understand. Apple is getting to used to being on top and it is time they manned up and rather than bitching about Samsung’s prosperity come out with something better. Apple, u have just lost a loyal customer. I am 100 PERCENT a Samsung customer. Thanks for continuing a what seems to be a forever perishing economy. Grow a set.

  • maira hedge

    well i would go with Samsung. i am a big admirer of this great firm not because of its superb products, but because of its excellent customer service. i am not saying that Apple is not good, it is superb rather, but the price range is always something that keeps me away from its amazing products. here is a full history of Samsung, have a look:- Samsung if your product hasn’t have the wow factor, but if you are providing good customer service and you care those people who are buying your devices, and from the bottom of your heart you are wanting to give them best in terms of everything. No one can prevent you to sit on the apex of your customers choices; this is exactly what the Samsung does. since many years i have been noticing a constant improvement not only in its (Samsung) products quality but also in customer relations. Samsung makes an unbreakable bond with its users, and i strongly believe this. what do you think ???
    as far as the Galaxy series is concerned so i would say i am in love with this. and Galaxy S3 is not less than what we call an exemplary device/phone.

  • mike lott

    Basically every company continually sueing each other just slows down the advancement of humanity, hasn’t religion done enough of that already?

  • Mombawamba

    Hey Microsoft had touch screens years before everyone else did. The tech world always builds upon itself. It will just be a matter of time before something else comes along and all this is forgotten.