Samsung is the obvious loser in its patent lawsuit with Apple — a jury ruled that many of its products infringe on its rival’s patents. But this decision is also going to impact the Android OS, and not in a good way.
The jury decided that the Samsung Galaxy Tab doesn’t infringe on the design of the iPad, but that doesn’t mean tablet users have dodged the bullet. The decision did say that Apple has patents on some fundaments methods we interact with our tablets.
This includes two different ways we have all become accustomed to zooming in and out on web page and images: pinch-to-zoom and double-tapping. As of now, any device from any of Apple’s rivals that uses these is open to being sued.
More Money or More Hassle?
Google is now faced with a couple of options. The easiest but most expensive would be to pay to license Apple’s patents. As Google gives Android away for free, this means it would be taking a loss on the transaction. A sub-option: it could leave this up to device makers, so Samsung/HTC/Motorola/etc. would have to pay the licencing fee.
The more difficult option would be to figure out a completely new method for zooming in and out, and then teach all of us to use it.
Back To Court
There’s a third option, and it’s one that Google has already announced it’s going to pursue: appeal the decision, and try to overturn the ruling that gives Apple exclusive rights to include the aforementioned features in its tablets and smartphones.
The company released a statement this morning:
“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.”
Only time will tell how all this plays out. Keep checking with TabletPCReview for the latest as this story develops.