Analysing Apple’s ‘Auto Correct’ Patent And What It Means For Android Devices

Earlier today we reported that Apple has been granted a summary judgement on one of their patent  titled – Method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations  (U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172) by federal judge Lucy Koh.

Samsung devices were found to have  infringed claim 18 of the U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172) :

[su_quote]A graphical user interface on a portable electronic device with a keyboard and a touch screen display, comprising: a first area of the touch screen display that displays a current character string being input by a user with the keyboard; and a second area of the touch screen display separate from the first area that displays the current character string or a portion thereof and a suggested replacement character string for the current character string; wherein; the current character string in the first area is replaced with the suggested replacement character string if the user activates a key on the keyboard associated with a delimiter; the current character string in the first area is replaced with the suggested replacement character string if the user performs a gesture on the suggested replacement character string in the second area; and the current character string in the first area is kept if the user performs a gesture in the second area on the current character string or the portion thereof displayed in the second area.[/su_quote]

If successful, this patent could spell trouble for almost all Android devices.

According in her summary judgement, judge Lucy Koh stated that Apple’s expert Professor Andrew Cockburn was able to demonstrate that Samsung devices involved in the lawsuit were infringing claim 18 of this patent:

[su_quote]As part of its summary judgment motion, Apple includes the infringement analysis of its expert, Professor Andrew Cockburn. Professor Cockburn’s analysis provides sufficient evidence to conclude that every ’172 Accused Product contains all the elements of claim 18. For example, Professor Cockburn demonstrates that the Galaxy Nexus is a portable electronic device with a keyboard and a touch screen display that includes the following graphical user interface:[/su_quote]

Android keyboardProfessor Andrew Cockburn said in his opinion the ’172 Accused Products all infringe claim 18 of the ’172 Patent in the same way. 

According to judge Koh:

[su_quote] Professor Cockburn includes the following general description of the ’172 AccusedProducts in his report:For example, if the user types “messaf” (the current character string) in theMessaging application found on each of these devices, “messaf” appears in the portion of display showing the entirety of the text message the user is composing(the “first area”). All of the accused devices also display the current characterstring in a suggestion bar, which is located between the first area and thekeyboard (the “second area”). The suggestion bar contains both the currentcharacter string and suggested replacement words for the current character string.Using our example, if the user typed “messaf”, the second area would display“messaf”, as well as suggestions for replacements for “messaf”, such as“message” or “messages”. Next, in every accused device, when the user selects adelimiter, the current character string in the first area is replaced by one of thesuggestions in the second area. Continuing the example, if the user selectsspacebar after typing “messaf”, “message”, one of the suggestions displayed inthe second area, would replace “messaf” displayed in the first area. Alternatively,if the user instead taps on “message” displayed in the second area, “message”would replace “messaf” in the first area. Finally, in all of the accused devices, ifthe user taps on “messaf” displayed in the second area, “messaf” is kept in thefirst area.. [/su_quote]

Samsung‘s only defence was that the ‘keyboard’ Apple is referring to in their patent is a ‘hardware keyboard’ and not a ‘software keyboard’ as seen in their devices.

This is a ridiculous thing to say given that the iPhone is all software.

Of course, judge Lucy Koh was having none of it:

[su_quote] [Professor Cockburn] believes that no reasonable jury could understand the plain and ordinary meaning of the term“keyboard” as used in claim 18 to exclude virtual keyboards.

Other independent claims of the ’172 Patent clearly encompass both virtual and physical keyboards. The scope of “keyboard” in those other claims is crucial to understanding the term’s scope in claim 18.


a display. . . [and] a keyboard” (among other things), and claim 29 recites “the portable electronic device of claim 28, wherein the display is a touch screen display, and wherein the keyboard is a virtual keyboard displayed on the touch screen display.” Similarly, independent claim 2 recites, among other things, a “portable electronic device with a touch screen display” and a “keyboard,” and subsequent dependent claims alternatively limit the keyboard of claim 2 to “a soft keyboard that is part of the touch screen display” (claim 6) and “a physical keyboard that is not a part of the touchscreen display” (claim 7). Because a dependent claim necessarily sets out a “further limitation” of the subject matter of the independent claim, 35 U.S.C. § 112(d), the scope of the unmodified term“keyboard” in independent claims 2 and 28 is necessarily broad enough to include a virtual or soft keyboard.


This evidence leads inescapably to the conclusion that claim 18’s reference to a “portable electronic device with a keyboard and a touchscreen display” naturally includes a virtual keyboard.


To conclude, judge Koh stated that Apple’s motion for summary judgment of infringement of the ’172 Patent is GRANTED.


Posted by | Posted at January 22, 2014 23:52 | Tags: ,
Storm is a technology enthusiast, who resides in the UK. He enjoys reading and writing about technology.

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