The patent wars have gotten downright silly. Or smiley, if you will.
No one was surprised when Samsung added four new patents to its German lawsuit against Apple on Monday. But then news got out that one of the patents covers an "emoticon input method for mobile terminals."
That's right -- Samsung is suing Apple over emoticons. And oddly enough, Samsung's emoticon patent is based on the crude smiley faces of yore.
The South Korean tech giant actually acquired the European patent to smart phone emoticons in 2000, reports the Los Angeles Times. It covers the technology that allows users to add emoticons with a single touch.
More specifically, Samsung alleges that the iPhone's Japanese emoticon keyboard infringes on its patent. When users activate the Japanese keyboard, they also activate an emoticon menu. With one click, they can add dozens of complicated faces. These include:
(^_^) (T_T) )^-^( \(^o^)/ (^3^)-* t(^_^t)
If you don't know what these mean, don't worry. Just be assured that they are very popular in many Eastern cultures, according to the Times.
For those keeping track, Samsung has now filed 7 patent suits against Apple in German court. Apple is lagging behind at 6, but the emoticon patent suit is sure to bring a few retaliatory lawsuits. Whether they will be lodged in France, Australia or the United States is unknown. But they are sure to come.
Indeed, it appears as though Apple and Samsung have become the new Intel and AMD. That fight went on for a little over 20 years. How long will this one be?
- Samsung adds a smiley face to Apple patent suit(CNET)
- Apple Blocks Samsung Galaxy Tablet Sales in Europe (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Apple Legal Dept Stays Busy: Sues Samsung over Phones, Tablets (FindLaw's In House)