Smartphone patent wars

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The smartphone wars or smartphone patents licensing and litigation is an ongoing business battle by smartphone manufacturers including Sony, Google, Apple Inc., Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola, and HTC, among others, in patent litigation. The conflict is part of the wider "patent wars" between multinational technology and software corporations.

To secure and increase their market share, companies granted a patent can sue to prevent competitors from using the methods the patent covers. Since 2010 the number of lawsuits, counter-suits, and trade complaints based on patents and designs in the market for smartphones, and devices based on smartphone OSes such as Android and iOS, has increased significantly.

Timeline[edit]

Initial suits, countersuits, rulings, licence agreements, and other major events in italics:[1][2][3][4][5]

2009[edit]

The pattern of suing and countersuing really began in 2009 as the smartphone market grew more rapidly.

2010[edit]

  • 2010, Jan 15: Apple files an ITC complaint against Nokia over 9 patents.[11][12]
  • 2010, Feb 19: Apple drops 4 patents from their countersuit against Nokia that are in their ITC complaint against Nokia.
  • 2010, Feb 24: Apple countersues Nokia in Nokia's second lawsuit, over the 9 patents that are in Apple's ITC complaint.
  • 2010, Mar 02: Apple sues HTC over 10 patents and files an ITC complaint against HTC over 10 other patents.[13][14][15][16][17]
  • 2010, Apr 26: 5 of the patents in Apple's ITC complaint against Nokia are merged into their ITC complaint against HTC.
  • 2010, Apr 27: HTC signs an agreement with Microsoft to licence Microsoft patents in return for royalties on HTC's Android-based devices[18][19] (rumored to be $5 per handset).
  • 2010, May 7: Nokia files a third lawsuit against Apple over 5 more patents.[20]
  • 2010, May 12: HTC files an ITC complaint against Apple over 5 patents.[21]
  • 2010, May 28: S3 Graphics files an ITC complaint against Apple over 4 patents used in the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Apple computers.[22]
  • 2010, Jun 28: Apple countersues Nokia in Nokia's third lawsuit, over 7 more patents.
  • 2010, Jul 06: HTC countersues Apple over 3 patents.[23]
  • 2010, Jul 21: Nokia drops 1 patent from their ITC complaint against Apple.
  • 2010, Aug 12: Oracle sues Google over 7 patents relating to the use of Java in Android.[24] See Oracle v. Google.
  • 2010, Sep 17: Nokia adds 2 more patents to their third lawsuit against Apple.
  • 2010, Sep 27: Apple sues Nokia in the UK and Germany over 9 patents.
  • 2010, Sep 30: Nokia countersues Apple in Germany over 4 patents.
  • 2010, Oct 01: Microsoft files an ITC complaint and a lawsuit against Motorola over 9 patents.[25][26]
  • 2010, Oct 06: Motorola sues Apple over 18 patents, and files an ITC complaint against Apple over 6 of them.[27]
  • 2010, Oct 08: Motorola files a request for declaratory judgement that they do not infringe 12 Apple patents, and that those patents be declared invalid.[28][29]
  • 2010, Oct 12: Nokia adds 3 more patents to their countersuit against Apple in Germany.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Oct 25: Nokia sues Apple in another German court over 5 patents.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Oct 28: Apple drops 4 patents from their ITC complaint against HTC and/or Nokia.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Oct 29: Apple sues Motorola over 6 patents, and files an ITC complaint against Motorola over 3 of them.[30][31]
  • 2010, Nov 05: HTC drops 1 patent from their ITC complaint against Apple.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Nov 09: Microsoft alleges Motorola has failed to comply with RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing obligations.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Nov 10: Motorola sues Microsoft over 7 patents in one court and 9 patents in another.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Nov 18: Apple makes counterclaims against Motorola over 6 patents.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Nov 22: Motorola files an ITC complaint against Microsoft over 5 patents.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Dec 01: Apple adds the 12 patents to their suit against Motorola that Motorola previously requested declaratory judgement that they do not infringe.[32]
  • 2010, Dec 03: Nokia countersues Apple in the UK over 4 patents, and files a new suit against Apple in the Netherlands over 2 patents.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Dec 03: Apple countersues Nokia in Nokia's second German lawsuit, over 1 patent and 2 utility models.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Dec 06: Nokia drops 1 patent from their ITC complaint against Apple.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Dec 15 and 22: Nokia and Apple take their first German suit/countersuit to the Federal Patent Court of Germany.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Dec 23: Motorola files a third lawsuit against Microsoft over 3 patents.[citation needed]
  • 2010, Dec 23: Microsoft countersues Motorola over 7 patents.[citation needed]

2011[edit]

  • 2011, Jan 06: The third Nokia/Apple lawsuit/countersuit is transferred to the location of the first and second ones.
  • 2011, Jan 18: Apple seeks to invalidate one Nokia patent in the UK, which it was not yet being sued over.
  • 2011, Jan 18: Motorola drops 1 patent from their lawsuits against Microsoft.
  • 2011, Jan 19: Microsoft counterclaims against Motorola, asserting 5 patents.
  • 2011, Jan 25: Microsoft counterclaims against Motorola, asserting 2 patents.
  • 2011, Feb 14: Motorola adds 2 patents to their lawsuits against Microsoft.
  • 2011, Feb 22: Apple drops 1 more patent from their ITC complaint against HTC and Nokia.
  • 2011, Mar 21: Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble over the Android operating system in the Nook ebook reader.[33]
  • 2011, Mar 25: ITC finds that Apple does not infringe on 5 Nokia patents.
  • 2011, Mar 29: Nokia files an ITC complaint against Apple over 7 more patents, and a fourth lawsuit over 6 of those.[34][35]
  • 2011, Apr 15: Apple sues Samsung for patent and trademark infringement (7 utility patents, 3 design patents, 3 registered trade dresses, 6 trademarked icons) with its Galaxy line of mobile products, including the Galaxy S smartphone and the Galaxy Tab tablet.[36][37]
  • 2011, Apr 22: Samsung sues Apple in South Korea (5 patents), Japan (2 patents), and Germany (3 patents).[38]
  • 2011, Apr 28: Samsung countersues Apple over 10 patents.[39]
  • 2011, Apr 29: Apple drops 1 more patent from their ITC complaint against HTC.
  • 2011, May 18: Samsung ordered to provide Apple samples of the announced Galaxy S2, Infuse 4G, and Infuse 4G LTE smartphones, as well as the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets as part of Apple's lawsuit against the company.[40][41]
  • 2011, May 18: Samsung files a court motion for Apple to provide samples of the unannounced iPhone 5 and iPad 3 prototypes.[42]
  • 2011, Jun 14: Nokia and Apple settle their litigation with Apple agreeing to pay Nokia an undisclosed one-time payment as well as continuing royalties.[43][44]
  • 2011, Jun 16: Apple amends its lawsuit against Samsung, dropping 2 utility patents and 1 design patent, and adding 3 new utility patents plus 4 trade dress applications, now covering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.[45]
  • 2011, Jun 22: Apple countersues Samsung in South Korea over an unknown number of patents.
  • 2011, Jun 22: Samsung's motion to be provided samples of Apple's unannounced iPhone 5 and iPad 3 prototypes is denied.[46]
  • 2011, Jun 27: General Dynamics Itronix signs an agreement with Microsoft to licence Microsoft patents in return for royalties on General Dynamics Itronix's Android-based devices.[47][48]
  • 2011, Jun 28: Samsung files an ITC complaint and a lawsuit against Apple over 5 patents.
  • 2011, Jun 29: Samsung sues Apple in London, UK over an unknown number of patents, and a Samsung lawsuit against Apple in Italy becomes known (details unknown).
  • 2011, Jun 29: Velocity Micro signs an agreement with Microsoft to licence Microsoft patents in return for royalties on Velocity Micro's Android-based devices.[48][49]
  • 2011, Jun 30: Samsung converts its countersuit against Apple into counterclaims against Apple's suit, dropping 2 patents but adding 4 more.
  • 2011, Jun 30: A consortium of companies made up of Apple, EMC Corporation, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony win against Google[50] in an auction of over 6,000 Nortel mobile-related telecommunications patents for $4.5 billion USD.[51][52]
  • 2011, Jun 30: Onkyo signs an agreement with Microsoft to licence Microsoft patents in return for royalties on Onkyo's Android-based devices.[48][53]
  • 2011, Jul 01: Apple files for preliminary injunction against 4 Samsung products: Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 based on 3 design patents and 1 utility patent.[54]
  • 2011, Jul 01: ITC rules that Apple infringes on 2 patents held by S3 Graphics, while not infringing on 2 others.[55]
  • 2011, Jul 05: Apple files an ITC complaint against Samsung over 6 smartphones and 2 tablets infringing 5 utility patents and 2 design patents.
  • 2011, Jul 05: Wistron signs an agreement with Microsoft to licence Microsoft patents in return for royalties on Wistron's Android-based devices.[48][56][57]
  • 2011, Jul 06: HTC agrees to purchase S3 Graphics to secure 235 patents for use in its defense against Apple.[58][59][60]
  • 2011, Jul 06: Microsoft seeks $15 licensing fees from Samsung for a range of claimed patent violations on every Android device.[61]
  • 2011, Jul 11: Apple files a second ITC complaint against HTC over 5 more patents, and sues HTC over 4 patents from this second ITC complaint that they weren't already suing HTC over.[62][63]
  • 2011, Jul 11-12: Google acquires 1,029 Patents from IBM for an undisclosed amount.[64][65]
  • 2011, Jul 15: ITC finds HTC infringes on 2 Apple patents.[66]
  • 2011, Jul 29: HTC sues Apple in London, UK over an unknown number of patents.
  • 2011, Aug 02: Apple sues Samsung in Australia over 10 patents, resulting in Samsung delaying the launch and halting advertising of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia to an indefinite date.[67][68]
  • 2011, Aug 09: A German court issues a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Apple's lawsuit against Samsung which causes its sale to be banned in most of Europe.[69][70]
  • 2011, Aug 15: Google announces its intention to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion USD. Eighteen of Motorola's patents could potentially be used for defense or countersuits against Apple and Microsoft, and may influence the smartphone war. These patents may change the balance of power, and force the various players to settle their lawsuits.[71][72]
  • 2011, Aug 16: The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales ban in Europe is lifted outside of Germany.[73][74]
  • 2011, Aug 17: Google acquires 1,023 more patents from IBM for an undisclosed amount (not revealed until 13 Sep 2011).[75]
  • 2011, Aug 23: Microsoft files a complaint with the ITC requesting a ban on several key Motorola smartphones and devices in the USA based on infringements of 7 patents.[76][77]
  • 2011, Aug 24: A court in the Netherlands rules that Samsung will be banned from selling the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Galaxy Ace in a number of European countries due to Apple's patent infringement claims.[78]
  • 2011, Sep 02: Apple granted preliminary injunction against Samsung preventing display of the prototype Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet at the IFA trade show in Berlin.[79]
  • 2011, Sep 02: Apple court filings assert that Andy Rubin got inspiration for Android framework while working at Apple before working at General Magic and Danger, Inc.[80]
  • 2011, Sep 07: HTC countersues Apple using nine patents from Google. The move is seen as a possible first step for Google giving direct support in lawsuits involving manufacturers using Android.[81][82][83][84]
  • 2011, Sep 08: Acer[85] and ViewSonic[86] sign patent license agreements with Microsoft regarding their use of Android on smartphones and tablets.[87][88]
  • 2011, Sep 09: Apple's preliminary injunction against sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany is upheld.[89]
  • 2011, Sep 12: Samsung announces a lawsuit against Apple in France that had been filed in July over 3 patents.[90]
  • 2011, Sep 12: Apple countersues Samsung in the UK over an unknown number of patents.[91]
  • 2011, Sep 13: Google's August 17 acquisition of 1,023 patents from IBM is revealed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.[75][92]
  • 2011, Sep 17: Samsung countersues Apple in Australia over 7 patents.[93]
  • 2011, Sep 28: Samsung signs an agreement with Microsoft to licence Microsoft patents in return for royalties on Samsung's Android-based devices.[94][95][96]
  • 2011, Oct 12: An Australian court issues a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Apple's lawsuit against Samsung which prevents its sale in Australia leading up to the 2011 holiday season.[97]
  • 2011, Oct 13: Quanta signs an agreement with Microsoft to licence Microsoft patents in return for royalties on Quanta's Android and Chrome-based devices.[98][99]
  • 2011, Oct 13: Judge in Apple's U.S. lawsuit against Samsung agrees that Samsung's tablets infringe on Apple's patents, but also that the validity of some of the patents might be questionable.[100]

2012[edit]

  • 2012, Jan 17: Apple files a lawsuit in Düsseldorf regional court, Germany against Samsung claiming the Galaxy S2 infringes on Apple patents.[101]
  • 2012, Mar 7: Samsung files a lawsuit in Seoul's Central district court claiming that the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 infringe on three of its patents.[102]
  • 2012, Mar 7: Judge Allan Gropper ruled that Apple was disallowed from suing from Kodak for patent infringement. arguing that it would be an "inappropriate way forward".[103]
  • 2012, May 22: Google Inc. completes acquisition of Motorola Mobility.[citation needed]
  • 2012, Jun 10: Apple sues Samsung over its auto-correct patent in San Jose Calif.[104]
  • 2012, Jun 23: Federal Judge Posner throws out Apple-Motorola case with prejudice.[105]
  • 2012, Jun 29: Apple is granted an injunction against import of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.[106]
  • 2012, Jun 30: Judge Lucy Koh grants Apple an injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.[107]
  • 2012, Jul 1: Samsung files an appeal against Apple's injunction against the Galaxy Nexus.[108]
  • 2012, Jul 2: Nokia claims that the Nexus 7 infringes on its patents.[109]
  • 2012, Jul 4: A high court in the UK rules that three of the four patents Apple brought up against HTC are invalid.[110]
  • 2012, Jul 6: Google and Samsung are forced to degrade the universal search bar on the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S3 as a result of an injunction granted to Apple by Judge Lucy Koh.[111]
  • 2012, Jul 6: The ITU announces that it is convening a patent roundtable on October 10 in Geneva to have stakeholders resolve their differences.[112]
  • 2012, Jul 9: Samsung wins a patent dispute on the Galaxy Tab against Apple in the UK. Judge Colin Birss stated that Samsung's tablets were "not as cool" as the Apple's, and "do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design."[113]
  • 2012, Jul 12: San Francisco based EMG Technology sues Google in an East Texas court claiming the mobile version of Chrome infringes on its patent for "apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming and scrolling internet content."[114]
  • 2012, Jul 15: RIM is ordered to pay US$147 million to Mformation for infringement of its remote management patent.[115]
  • 2012, Jul 18: Apple is granted 'the mother of all smartphone patents' by the USPTO, "encompass[ing] the user interfaces Apple designed for blogging, e-mail, telephone, camera, video player, calendar, browser, widgets, search, notes, maps and most importantly, a multi-touch interface".[116][117]
  • 2012, Jul 18: Apple is forced by UK Judge Birss to publish public apologies to Samsung on their website stating that Samsung did not copy the iPad.[118][119][120]
  • 2012, Jul 27: A Mannheim court bans Motorola's Android devices in Germany ruling that they infringe on Microsoft FAT patent.[121]
  • 2012, Aug 23: A court in Seoul in South Korea ruled that both Apple and Samsung had infringed each other's patents, and that Samsung had not copied the look and feel of Apple's products.[122]
  • 2012, Aug 24: Apple wins patent dispute against Samsung and is awarded $1.049 billion in damages for 6 of the 7 patents brought to bear.[123] Samsung is awarded $0 in counter suit.[124] The jury deliberated for 3 days before coming to a verdict[125] that found among other things that Samsung violated the "scrolling bounce back" patent and "pinch to zoom" patent of Apple.[124]
  • 2012, Aug 31: A Tokyo court rules that Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and tablets do not violate an Apple patent on technology that synchronizes music and videos between devices and servers.[126]
  • 2012, Oct 11: A U.S. appellate court overturns the sales ban against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone finding that the district court in California "abused its discretion" in imposing a preliminary injunction on Galaxy Nexus sales and that Apple did not establish cause for a sales ban.[127]
  • 2012, Oct 18: The Court of Appeal of England and Wales upheld the High Court Judgement that Samsung's Galaxy Tablet didn't infringe Apple's designs. As part of the ruling Apple has been instructed to run advertisements in select publications and on its own website saying Samsung didn't copy its tablet designs. This decision is valid through all the European Union and led Darren Smyth partner at EIP to remark " this will be the end of the line. An appeal to the Supreme Court is in principle possible but there has been no indication so far that Apple plan such an appeal."[128]
  • 2012, Oct 23: In a non-final Office action the USPTO declares all 20 claims of Apple's rubber-banding patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381) invalid, including claim 19, which Apple successfully asserted against Samsung in the summer trial in California. The claims were rejected based on 'obviousness' and 'lack of novelty'.[129][130]
  • 2012, Nov 5: An Apple lawsuit against Google's Motorola Mobility over alleged patent abuse is thrown out by a US Federal Court.[131]
  • 2012, Nov 13: HTC settles with Apple and agrees to pay royalties of an undisclosed sum to Apple Inc.[132]
  • 2012, Nov 28: Ericsson, Swedish mobile communication infrastructure manufacturer, sues Samsung over patent infringement on its mobile infrastructure technology in the United States.[133]
  • 2012, Dec 7: Preliminary United States Patent and Trademark Office ruling declares the Steve Jobs patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, invalid on all 20 claims.[134]
  • 2012, Dec 13: A US federal jury rules that Apple's iPhone infringed on three mobile device patents belonging to MobileMedia Ideas LLC, a company belonging to Nokia and Sony.[135]
  • 2012, Dec 17: Judge Koh denies Apple's motion for permanent injunction against Samsung.[136]
  • 2012, Dec 26: Samsung Electronics files a complaint against Ericsson with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to ban some Ericsson products from sales in the US.[137]

2013[edit]

  • 2013, June: ITC rules iPads infringe on Samsung patents.[138]
  • 2013, August: ITC ruling from June vetoed, ITC blocks older Samsung phones for violating two Apple patents.[138]
  • 2013, Oct 31: Rockstar Consortium, a consortium owned by companies including Apple and Microsoft, starts legal action against Google, Huawei and Samsung,[139] and other makers of Android phones including Asustek, HTC, LG Electronics, Pantech, and ZTE.[140]
  • 2013, December 23: Google initiates legal action against Rockstar Consortium with a countersuit filed in San Jose, California.[141]

2014[edit]

  • 2014, February: HTC and Nokia settled all their patent suits with HTC paying an undisclosed amount to Nokia.[142]
  • 2014, March: The $929 million judgement from the US trial Apple vs. Samsung becomes official. Samsung files a formal appeal.[138]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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