On Monday we told you that Apple had secured a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Google’s flagship Android phone, and the first device slated for the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean rollout later this month. The injunction, as you might imagine, set off a flurry of activity in Samsung’s legal camp. The company quickly filed notice that it planned to appeal.
The judge in the case, Judge Lucy Koh, declined to stay the injunction while Samsung appealed, meaning that once Apple posted its $96 million bond, the Galaxy Nexus could no longer be sold. Apple, as you might imagine, posted the bond quickly, and the Galaxy Nexus was pulled from the Google Play store and other online retailers. That, of course, is not the end of the story. According to a report from AllThingsD, Google and Samsung have prepared a software patch for the Galaxy Nexus that should resolve the patent infringement on which the injunction is based, allowing the Galaxy Nexus to go back on sale.
What’s more, Google is now making plans to get more directly involved in Samsung’s ongoing legal battles with Apple, and is planning to get Apple’s patent declared invalid. The patent covers universal search. Google is reportedly planning to request the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office overturn the patent on the grounds that the concept of universal search is older than Apple’s patent on it.
It’s not at all surprising that Google has decided to step into Apple’s ongoing legal battle with Samsung. While some of the patents at issue are design patents related to the form factor of Samsung’s devices (many of which bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s), many are software related. In fact, many of Apple’s ongoing patent infringement cases with companies like HTC, Samsung, and Motorola are really just proxies for Apple’s rivalry with Google. Steve Jobs believed strongly that Google had ripped off the basic iOS interface in designing Android, and famously declared “thermonuclear war” on Google because of it.
Between the software patch, the challenge to Apple’s patent, and the upcoming release of Jelly Bean, it’s a fair bet that the Galaxy Nexus will be back up for sale on Google Play and elsewhere very soon. For now, the Google Play store simply says that the Galaxy Nexus with Jelly Bean is coming soon, and offers visitors the chance to sign up to be notified when it’s available.