Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Judge Favors Apple While Defining Claims for Trial

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) - A federal judge has nailed down several key terms for an upcoming patent trial between Apple and Samsung Electronics.

An "applet" is "an application designed to run within an application module," U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote, explaining how to read a 2010 Samsung patent.

The claim-construction order clarifies seven other technical definitions too.

Samsung wanted "applet" to mean "a small application designed to run within another program," while Apple liked a narrower definition: "An operating system-independent computer program that runs within an application module."

The judge's "applet" definition blends language from both sides, but most of the terms she reviewed received treatments favorable to Apple.

Defining these terms is key to a dispute that started when Apple accused Samsung of selling knock off smartphones and tablet computers that "slavishly copy" iPhone and iPad products.

The companies are currently locked in more than 20 legal battles worldwide over patent and design issues related to the blockbuster products.

On the topic of cursors, Koh said that "the court rejects Samsung's limitation that a cursor is only 'controlled by a mouse, track ball, or touchpad,' instead ruling that a cursor is "an indicator to help a user interact with a display," but does not necessarily have to be visible on the screen.

Samsung won its argument over a term that describes the surface of tablet and smartphone touch panels. Koh gave "glass member" its plain and ordinary meaning: "a member made of glass." Apple had lobbied for "glass or plastic material."

Though Apple's brief said eyeglasses and wine glasses can commonly be made of either glass or plastic, Koh said its "examples of the term 'glass' used to describe plastic objects each use 'glass' as a noun."

The ruling also addressed windows as they appear in display areas, the definition of pixels, and the direction of a user's input when scrolling on a smartphone or tablet computer.

Michael Jacobs, Harold McElhinny, Jason Bartlett and Grant Kim with Morrison & Foerster represent Apple.

Samsung is represented by Charles Verhoeven, Victoria Maroulis and Kevin P.B. Johnson of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Jury selection is scheduled for the end of July.

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