Did you know 17 Valid Apple and Microsoft Patents are Infringed by Android Devices?

By Tony Rizzo September 28, 2012

In case you find yourself in need of some party trivia this weekend, or if you happen to be a patent lawyer that loves reading this kind of stuff, it turns out that there are currently 17 patents held by either Microsoft (4) or Apple (13) – among numerous others still locked in patent infringement trials or not yet at trial – that the International Trade Commission (ITC) and courts in various countries have deemed to be infringed upon by Android. That is a big number, and our guess is that over time a good many more will be added to the headcount.

It is interesting that Android happens to infringe on so many patents. Some are well known, and some are lower profile. Microsoft manage to collect licensing fees on Android – a scenario that results from device vendors preferring to play it safe up front and settle terms with Microsoft on an equitable basis up front – just in case. It has always been a fun fact of sorts, or at least it is simply funny, that Microsoft collects licensing revenue off of Android.

Image via Shutterstock

The current list presented below has been compiled by Florian Mueller on his FLOSS Patents blog site. He provides a lot of detail on each of the patents listed. Mueller notes that his list has grown from 11 infringed patents just three months ago to the 17 he lists today, 50+ percent increase in three months.

The list is fluid to some degree as there are always possible appeals down the road that may overturn any patents currently deemed as being infringed. Still, it is a hefty list, and rather than growing shorter we anticipate it will grow longer over time. It will be interesting to see what Mueller finds next quarter.

Here’s Mueller’s list (each patent number contains a link to the actual patent documentation):

  • EP2059868 on a "portable electronic device for photo management" (Mueller refers to this as the "photo gallery page-flipping" patent)
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381 on "list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touchscreen display" (The well-known "overscroll bounce" or "rubber-banding" patent. Mueller notes that Apple has won its case on this one in North America, Europe and Asia)
  • U.S. Design Patent No. D618,677 on an "electronic device" (An iPhone-related design patent)
  • U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 on a "system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data" (Mueller refers to this as the "data tapping" patent)
  • EP1964022 on "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image" (The first of two “slide-to-unlock” patents)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,370,566 on "generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device"
  • EP1304891 on "communicating multi-part messages between cellular devices using a standardized interface"
  • U.S. Design Patent No. D504,889 on an "electronic device" (An iPad-related design patent)
  • U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 on a "universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system" (A patent on Siri-style unified search, and one that is in the courts still)
  • U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721 on "unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image" (The second slide-to-unlock patent)
  • U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172 on a "method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations" (A patent on autocorrect)
  • EP0618540 on a "common name space for long and short filenames"
  • U.S. Design Patent No. D539,087 on an "electronic device"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,844,915 on "application programming interfaces for scrolling operations" (This Apple patent is inevitably infringed by any reasonable implementation of “pinch-to-zoom”)
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,864,163 on a "portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying structured electronic documents" (Apple "tap-to-zoom" patent)
  • U.S. Design Patent No. D604,305 on a "graphical user interface for a display screen or portion thereof" (Mueller lists this as one of Apple’s software-related design patents, in this case focused on the visual arrangement of icons)
  • EP1040406 on a "soft input panel system and method"

So there it is - the current list of patents that frame “wins” in the patent wars, especially between Apple and Samsung. The list above is limited to Apple and Microsoft patents. We will note that Skyhook Wireless last week brought a second patent infringement action against Google, all which alleges infringement of eight more patents by Android, and in this case, Google Maps.

Visit Florian Mueller’s FLOSS Patents blog site for a great deal more insight on these patents and the ongoing patent wars.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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