Tech giants Apple and Samsung have locked horns over a bitter dispute that involves patency rights involving a smart phone app that Samsung claims it designed it first, and that Apple had somehow plagiarized it.
The new dispute revolves around an iPhone 5 app that coverts text to voice read messages when the home key is pressed three times. This app has won accolades from critics who view this app as a sensitive approach of Apple to consider visually impaired users. Samsung has claimed however, that it had already patented the use of such a new feature button, and filed a suit in both Germany and Japan to block iPhone and iPad sales. Samsung says that this new technology should be confined to only Samsung items.
This move has been greeted with some alarm by both critics and visually impaired users that have seen this new technology as essentially a life saver. However, a Japanese court ruled this Thursday that Samsung had â€œnot negotiated in good faith with Apple Inc. before taking the case to courtâ€ the judge in the case ruled that Samsung had not tried hard enough to resolve the issue with Apple out of court, and also rejected its plea to collect damages from Apple Inc.
Similarly a German court denied Samsungâ€™s plea to block the text to voice feature on the iPhone 5. Called the VoiceOver, this app is claimed by Samsung to have been designed first. The court called Samsungâ€™s demand to remove the app unreasonable and that â€œit had no real proof of patent infringement.â€
The spokesman for the National Federation of The Blind Chris Danielson said that Samsung could have asked for monetary compensation instead of making a device more difficult to use for visually impaired people. He further said that he did not want to adversely affect any new technologyâ€™s patency rights, but he hoped that is should be done in a way that would not adversely affect the needs of disabled people.
When asked for comment on the German courtâ€™s ruling, Samsung said that they have invested heavily in new technology over the decades, and they continue to believe that Apple has infringed their patented mobile technologies, and they will continue to take the measures necessary to protect their intellectual property rights. However Samsung did not comment on the concerns of disability advocates, nor did they mention the VoiceOver feature directly.