US judge: Samsung infringes Apple autocorrect patent

Samsung is violating an Apple patent with the autocorrect function of the onscreen keyboard on its smartphones, a US judge has concluded. The ruling could have major consequences for other smartphone manufacturers.

Because many manufacturers use a system of autocorrect and autocomplete for their keyboards as Apple describes in its patent, phone makers such as Google, HTC and LG also run the risk that Apple will use this patent against them, claims Foss Patents. Apple received the patent in late 2011, but filed it back in January 2007, just days before the iPhone was unveiled. It is unknown why the judge declared the patent valid. However, the system to correct words automatically has been in word processors for years and has long been available on telephones via T9.

The American judge ruled that Samsung infringed this patent in preliminary relief proceedings prior to the actual lawsuit. In that summary proceedings, she said that one of the patents that Samsung submitted about the synchronization of multimedia is invalid. The summary judgment comes before the negotiations for a settlement in the worldwide legal battle over patents of the two electronics companies.

The ruling is only valid in this case and for the United States. If Apple wants to use the patent in other countries, the judge will judge it there independently of this case. It has happened in the past that, based on the same documentation, Apple was right in one country and not in another.

Illustration from Apple patent from 2007. The way of displaying mobile coverage with dots, visible here in the top left, Apple would not introduce until iOS 7 in the fall of 2013