Apple V. Samsung: Adding Elements To Avoid Infringement

941 words - 4 pages

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., — F.3d —, 2012 WL 4820601, App. No. 2012-1507 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (N.D.Ill. 12-CV-0630) (APPLE II)

This is my second post on the appellate decision that I term Apple II. [Read the First Apple II Post.] In Apple II, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated N.D. California District Court Judge Koh’s preliminary injunction order that would have forced Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone off the market pending conclusion of the infringement lawsuit. The appellate court provided two independent reasons for vacating the preliminary injunction order: (1) that Apple had failed to provide proof of irreparable harm due to Samsung’s continued use ...view middle of the document...

We all use heuristics for searching. For example, if you want to find prior art relating to a chemical compound, you might hire an expert chemistry searcher. On the other hand, if your search area is airplane seat design, you might hire someone else. Under the language of the patent, these search strategies could be defined as two different heuristic modules each corresponding to their respective search area. In the lawsuit itself, Apple identified the three heuristic modules as (1) a Google Search Module; (2) a Module that allows for Search of Internet Browsing History; and (3) a Search of a user’s Contacts List. One difficulty with considering this case is that this invention appears in hindsight to be ridiculously obvious. However, obviousness is not the topic of the appeal.

The patent claim requires “a plurality of heuristic modules … wherein: each heuristic module corresponds to a respective area of search and employs a different, predetermined heuristic algorithm corresponding to said respective area.” Samsung’s product allegedly uses a plurality of heuristic modules corresponding to different search areas. However, the accused product does not use “different, predetermined heuristic algorithm” for each and every different search area. I have modeled this below with a diagram of the Galaxy Nexus Search System associated with five different Search Areas (A,B,C,D,E) but only three different Heuristic Modules (X,Y,Z). Although some of the Heuristic Modules are re-used by the system, Apple argues that the system still infringes under standard patent law that would find the addition of non-infringing elements to an infringing core does not negate infringement. See CIAS, Inc. v. Alliance Gaming Corp., 504 F.3d 1356, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (infringing device may include additional, unrecited elements).

Writing for the unanimous panel, Judge Prost (joined by Judge Moore and Reyna)...

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