Judge Lucy Koh has struck two blows against Samsung in its ongoing lawsuit with Apple. In a ruling on Tuesday, Koh ruled that Samsung was infringing on one patent, and she invalidated one of the patents it was preparing to bring against Apple in court. Specifically, the keyboard found on the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, and several other older devices officially violates an Apple autocorrect patent, which covers Android's system of displaying both what the user is typing and what the system thinks they meant to type.
Samsung argued that Apple's patent could only refer to a hardware keyboard, not the "soft" one used on both iOS and Android. But this claim didn't hold water, and Koh found the infringement so clear that she granted Apple summary judgment, which means Samsung will need to prove the patent is invalid in order to win. If Apple comes out victorious, this isn't just a problem for Samsung: Google will have to work around the judgment in order to make sure Android as a whole isn't left open to lawsuits.
Apple's patent covered the Android autocorrect system
Apple didn't do as well in its claims for summary judgment on other patents. Koh declined to judge a claim that Samsung's system for recognizing things like phone numbers or email addresses in text violated an existing patent. Samsung, however, also failed to get an assurance that Android's Jelly Bean iteration didn't violate that patent. The same thing happened with a patent for synchronizing information between devices and one for universal search, a feature that's come up in other Apple patent suits: there was enough potential ambiguity that neither side won a decisive victory.
One of Samsung's patents, however, was declared invalid, leaving it with only four claims to bring to court. Koh agreed with Apple's argument that the patent, which covered syncing media between devices, depended too heavily on previous work, with few meaningful updates. This puts Samsung at a disadvantage if the case goes to trial, but it also gives it less bargaining power when the two meet for a mediation session in February. Either way, the chances of an agreement seem unlikely, and both parties are likely to go before a jury in March.