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Apple has asked a court in California to issue a preliminary injunction and block sales of Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus smartphone, saying it infringes on four of its patents. Although these types of patent fights have become relatively common, this time around analysts seem to agree Apple has a strong case. Patent expert Florian Mueller describes the four patents in question as “the patent equivalent to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” That is quite a contrast from Apple’s original case against Samsung that concentrated on what Mueller calls “softer, design-related rights.”
The patents in question include technology that allows users to dial a number by touching a phone number on a webpage, the “slide-to-unlock” technology, the technology behind searching multiple sources of information at once, and a “word completion patent” that speeds up text entry in touchscreens.
Daniel Eran Dilger at Apple Insider finds particular significance in the fact that Apple is challenging the Galaxy Nexus because it represents the latest version of the Android operating software known as Ice Cream Sandwich. The software on the phone is a Google-led design that has a stock version of Android, rather than the different versions that are common it other devices. “This takes Apple's infringement case directly to Google's Android,” writes Dilger, “while focusing the damages upon the most successful Android licensee with the deepest pockets: Samsung.”
The new legal efforts by Apple illustrate just how strong the competition is in the smartphone market. In the fourth quarter, Apple shipped 23.5 percent of global smartphones, compared with Samsung’s 22.8 percent, details the Wall Street Journal.
In the past Apple has failed to show how it would suffer if a preliminary injunction wasn’t granted. But this time, Apple is specifically saying that sales of the Galaxy Nexus would “cause irreparable harm” because a user’s first smartphone often affects their future purchases. The importance of that initial purchase “is precisely why Samsung copies Apple's products and incorporates Apple's patented features, i.e., in order to lure crucial first-time purchasers away from Apple,” the company said in the suit, according to PC World.