A federal judge has ruled that Apple may add Jelly Bean, the latest version of the Android operating system, and Samsung may add the iPhone 5 to the lawsuit.
Samsung seeks to retaliate for the $1 billion loss by going after Apple’s iPhone 5. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal has allowed Apple to add Jelly Bean, but it is limited to Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus devices. Since Samsung does not have any design control over the content of Jelly Bean, Judge Grewal has reasoned that the Android OS as a whole remains off limits. This is not part of the pending appeal of the previous lawsuit, but a new one.
Despite the Judge’s instructions regarding Jelly Bean, there are some issues. Patent expert Florian Mueler explains on his blog.
What Apple just achieved is that the updated version of the Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean will also be adjudged by the court.
In connection with other products than a Nexus gadget, it might also be useful to Apple if it could later claim that the court determined (if it so did) that the infringing component of the accused product is the Android operating system – but if a court finds a Nexus device to infringe a software patent, everyone in the industry knows that “stock Android” (Android as made available by Google, without vendor-specific enhancements) is at issue.
Of course, the court order may nevertheless trigger Google’s formal intervention.
This second Apple/Samsung lawsuit is scheduled for trial in 2014. It includes various iPhone, iPad and iPad Touch models and around 19 Samsung devices. Lawyers on both sides have moved to add additional products that have come on the markets since it was initially filed.
I don’t know how anyone involved is going to be able to take two more years of this.