Android may face 'disaster' after judge upholds Apple patent

Motorola will be ‘unable to avoid a finding of infringement’, according to report

A judge has upheld Apple's touchscreen heuristics patent, resulting in trials between Motorola and Apple. During the trials, which are due to take place in July, it is expected Motorola will 'be unable to avoid a finding of infringement', leading to a serious threat for Android.

Apple's patent covers the ability for a touchscreen to recognise a user's gestures that are not straight lines. Analyst Florian Mueller agrees with Motorola's view that the patent is too broad, and therefore should not be patented at all.

Mueller wrote on his blog for FOSSpatents: "Motorola will realistically be unable to avoid a finding of infringement and will have to come up with some really good invalidity arguments if it wants to avoid disaster."

Motorola has been fighting against the patent since January, when Judge Richard Posner ruled in Apple's favour.

Motorola argues that the patent is specific to a level of tolerance corresponding to a 27-degree angle. Judge Posner rejected Motorola's argument on 29 March, however, stating: "I reject Motorola's argument (this is the third time they've made it and the third time I reject it) that the structure must be limited to the 27-degree angle uses as an example by the specification."

Mueller warns that if this patent dispute goes in Apple's favour, it will deem Android devices uncompetitive. "Motorola and Samsung, and the Android ecosystem at large, face a serious threat. If Android can't implement any of the gestures as described above, they won't be competitive."

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Ashleigh Allsopp

Macworld U.K.

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