A federal appeals court decision in an unrelated case could spell trouble for Apple's current legal battle against rival Samsung.
A US Court of Appeals decision on Friday affirmed a federal judge's ruling in a patent-infringement case between Apple and Google's Motorola Mobility. In 2012, US Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner of the Northern District of Illinois threw out that patent case, saying neither company was able to prove damages.
One particular point of interest in the Apple-Motorola case, which involved several patents on both sides, is Apple's patent for quick links. Apple had accused Motorola of infringing the patent for quick links -- and is now claiming infringement of the same patent in its current suit against Samsung.
Apple's quick links patent, also refereed to as patent '647, covers technology for the automatic detection of data that can be clicked. For example, a user being able to send a telephone number straight to the phone dialer versus having to memorize or copy and paste the number. Apple's patent involves the use of an "analyzer server" to perform the action.
This development adds a twist to the current trial unfolding in San Jose, Calif. Apple is arguing that Samsung infringed on five of its patents for the iPhone, and that Apple is due $2 billion for that infringement. Samsung wants about $7 million from Apple for infringing two of its software patents.
The quick links patent was considered the most valuable one for Apple, according to patents blog Foss Patents. Apple can still seek an injunction for the quick links patent against Motorola, but the scope would be narrow, which means Motorola could easily work around the patent, according to Foss.
Closing arguments were supposed to happen on Monday, but it's unclear how this news may change the course of the trial.
Update, 10:06 a.m. PT: Added more background and information.