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College Claims Samsung Swiped ‘Smart Pause’

(CN) - The bestselling Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 smartphones' Smart Pause feature that pauses video when a user looks away violates three patents, a Canadian university claims in court.

Queen's University at Kingston and its patent licensee, PARTEQ Research and Development Innovations, sued Samsung Electronics and Samsung Telecommunications America in Beaumont, Texas Federal Court.

The Ontario-based school claims the Korean electronics manufacturer was explicit in its interest in commercializing attentive-user interfaces research by Dr. Roeland Vertegaal in November 2003. PARTEQ and Samsung singed a confidentiality agreement one month later, the university says.

Vertegaal is a professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the school and directs the Human Media Laboratory at its School of Computing.

Queen's University claims Samsung employees attended technical demonstrations and presentations related to the school's patents and the parties discussed issues regarding PARTEQ's ownership of the intellectual property rights.

The claims that says in January 2004, Vertegaal submitted to Samsung a proposal for "an attentive home theater system that could pause video content and perform other functions by processing a user's eye-contact cues."

"The proposal also enumerated mobile applications of the patented technology," the complaint states.

The school says the defendants responded that the project was not appropriate for its new innovation team and instead offered a one-year collaboration with Vertegaal to develop the attentive home theater application.

"However, Samsung later reversed course and informed Dr. Vertegaal and PARTEQ that Samsung and SAIT [Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology] were not interested in pursuing the project," the complaint states.

It continues: "In March 2013, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S4 smartphone, which featured what Samsung calls 'SmartPause technology.' In or about October 2013, Samsung included this technology in its Galaxy Note 3 device."

That violates the patents, the school says. It says Samsung has not bought or purchased the rights to its intellectual property.

Samsung states on its Internet home page that the Smart Pause feature is built on the Smart Stay feature on the Galaxy S3 smartphone. Samsung says Smart Pause stops video when a user looks away and resumes playing when the user looks back at the screen.

Samsung declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday.

The school seeks actual and punitive damages for patent infringement.

It is represented by David Peterson with Susman Godfrey in Houston.

Follow @davejourno
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