Samsung Refutes "Beauty" and "Elegance" being used in Patent Case in Australia
Apple and Samsung’s patent struggle took quite the turn in Australian Federal Court recently with Samsung questioning whether Apple’s claims to “beauty” and “elegance” in its iOS interface is enough to justify an enforceable patent. According to ZDNet, Samsung counsel Richard Coben argued that Apple patents such as pinch-to-zoom and slide-to-unlock, describe only human-computer interaction, a design principle that cannot be patented.
According to Cobden, Apple was inferring that the interactions’ functionality stems from the “elegant or beautiful” movements that users perform to activate them. He said such features don’t constitute grounds for a patent. Cobden continued by arguing that “patents are not granted for the reason that something is beautiful or elegant. The attractiveness of a feature is subjective.” He went on to state that Samsung disputed the notion that functionality derives from the attractiveness of a feature. The gestures Apple has patented are more akin to “fine art,” and thus cannot be patented.
As of right now, Samsung is clearly attempting to invalidate the patents in suit with the Australian Commissioner of Patents. Apple can’t hold innovation patents and be granted standards patents for the same patents. If the court allows them to do so, such a move would give Apple leeway to “threaten the market” with more patent suits going forward. We’ll have to see how the court responds by being patient.