By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
April 19, 2011

If she dared develop an Android device, says an expert tracking the latest patent suits

“Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung has chosen to slavishly copy Apple’s innovative technology, distinctive user interfaces, and elegant and distinctive product and packaging design, in violation of Apple’s valuable intellectual property rights.”

Strong language for something as dry as a patent and trademark infringement suit, but that’s the kind of rhetoric Apple (AAPL) legal used Friday when it filed suit in a California Federal court against one of its top suppliers for allegedly copying its iPhone and iPad designs, down to the screen icons and the boxes the devices are shipped in.

“Apple is waging an all-out patent war on anything Android,” writes FOSS Patent‘s Florian Mueller, who obtained a copy of the 16-point complaint on Monday. Apple sued HTC a year ago and Motorola (MOT) last fall, but Samsung has deeper pockets and plays a key role in Apple’s supply chain. According to the
Wall Street Journal
, Apple purchased more than $6 billion worth of chips, displays and other components from Samsung last year.

“By going against Samsung,” writes Mueller, “Apple clearly demonstrates its absolute determination to fight ‘anything Android.’ It looks like Steve Jobs would even be prepared to sue a member of his family should any of his kins decide to build Android-based devices.”

Below: Mueller’s summary (with links) of the claims of intellectual property infringement filed on Friday:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,812,828 on an “ellipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces” (previously asserted against Motorola in an ITC complaint and a federal lawsuit)
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,669,134 on a “method and apparatus for displaying information during an instant messaging session” (a software patent, presumably infringed by the Google Talk chat client, which I also use on my Galaxy phone and on which this patent may very well read)
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,493,002 on a “method and apparatus for displaying and accessing control and status information in a computer system” (previously asserted against Motorola in a federal lawsuit)
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381 on “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display” (previously asserted against HTC in a federal lawsuit)
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,844,915 on “application programming interfaces for scrolling operations”
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,853,891 on a “method and apparatus for displaying a window for a user interface”
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,863,533 on a “cantilevered push button having multiple contacts and fulcrums” (a hardware patent)
  • Apple claims to hold “trade dress protection in the design and appearance of the iPhone, the iPod touch, and the iPad, together with their distinctive user interfaces and product packaging.” (yes, in Apple’s view even Samsung’s packaging infringes its rights)
  • Apple asserts its registered trade dresses no. 3,470,983, no. 3,457,218 and no. 3,475,327.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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