Samsung Electronics stands accused of willfully infringing US Patent 7167731
titled “Emoticon input method and apparatus,” which is held by a company based in New York called Varia Holdings LLC paidContent
"It is known that for many users, their email and instant messaging communications...often involve the use of emoticons, such as the 'smiling face' or the 'sad face,'" says the complaint
filed in the US District Court (NY southern district). "However, few email or instant messaging applications offer any assistance to a user to enter and use emoticons in their communications."
The lawsuit adds: “For example, emoticons can be created by combining two or more existing characters together which, when viewed with one’s head tilted 90 degrees from left to right, resemble an emotion or expression. For example, combining “:” with “)” to create :), or a smiley face, conveys an expression of happiness.”
The lawsuit also lists the Samsung devices that "practice the ‘731 Patent invention":
Acclaim, Admire, Android 2.3.4-Sprint Nexus S, Captivate Glide, Captivate, Conquer, Continuum, Dart, DoubleTime, Droid Charge, Epic, Exhibit 4G, Fascinate, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Indulge, Galaxy S II, Gem, Gravity Smart, Indulge, Infuse, Intercept, Mesmerize, Precedent, Prevail, Replenish,Showcase a Galaxy S Android Smartphone,Sidekick 4G, Skyrocket, Stratosphere, Transﬁx, Transform Ultra,Transform, Vibrant, and Vitality.
Varia asserts that Samsung actions were willfully done due to their own patent infringement lawsuit against Apple entitled “Emoticon Input Method for Mobile Terminal” (“the ‘729 Patent”), the lawsuit states.
"Therefore, by asserting the ‘729 Patent against Apple, Samsung has recognized the value of the type of invention embodied in the ‘73l Patent."
Since the Defendants’ wrongful conduct has caused the Plaintiff to suffer "irreparable harm," the claim states, Varia wants the court to award the company an unspecified amount in monetary damages along with a judgment of willful infringement against Samsung and a trial by jury.
The lawsuit comes days after Yahoo! (NSDQ: YHOO) sued Facebook for infringing ten patents that allegedly show that Yahoo was the real inventor of social networks, paidcontent reported.