$100 million judgement in Apple vs Samsung case overturned. What can two minutes in Cluster Searching tell us?

 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C has just overturned a judgement awardign a total of $116 million to Apple. Five different apple patents were asserted by Apple in this case, but $99 million out of the $120 mlllion judgement was in relation to just one patent, being US5946647, filed in 1996 and with just 7 published backward patent citations.

Claim 1 of this patent reads:  

1. A computer-based system for detecting structures in data and performing actions on detected structures, comprising:
an input device for receiving data;
an output device for presenting the data;
a memory storing information including program routines including
an analyzer server for detecting structures in the data, and for linking actions to the detected structures;
a user interface enabling the selection of a detected structure and a linked action; and
an action processor for performing the selected action linked to the selected structure; and
a processing unit coupled to the input device, the output device, and the memory for controlling the execution of the program routines.

This was asserted in relation to the ability of say a phone being able to recognise that a phone number being displayed in a web page on a mobile phone was a phone number, and providing the option to click on this number to make a call to this phone number.

In the end, the appeals court ruled that Samsung did not infringe this patent.   But how obvious was this patent?

There are many ways of assessing this. But perhaps one of the very fastest is to use the Cluster Searching program available from Ambercite. In this case, we will a run a query for patents simlar to the Apple patent, and filed before the priority date of February 1996.

The resulting query looks like this:



And the result looks something like this (click on this image for a full size version)



Not of these patents are directly relevant to the Apple patent, but the top listed patent is very close



Filing date

Type of citation


Recognition of and operation on text data





The Intel patent discloses:

 Text of a predetermined class is recognized in a body of text. After recognition, operations relevant to the recognized text may be performed. For example, text such as telephone numbers, telefax numbers, and dates can be recognized in a body of text. Options are provided for selecting and running operations and programs relevant to the recognized text, such as, telephone dialers, telefaxing programs, writable databases etc.

This is essentially the Apple concept, and yet was filed three months before the Apple patent. Perhaps of most interest, this was not recognised by an official citaiton in the search report (hence the ‘unknown’ type of citation) – and yet is highly relevant.

This whole search process took about two minute, and produced a highly relevant and yet unknown piece of prior art.  Of course we can’t warrant that Cluster Searching will work this in all searches, but it certainly shows what it possible.

Offer to patent litigators – free search report

Interested in running search report for your own litigation? Ambercite is offering free search reports – for details check out the webpage found here. Other interested users are invited to contact us for a free trial.

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