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Phones

Apple tries to ban Ice Cream Sandwich

Apple has filed yet another lawsuit, this one seeking to ban the latest version of Android. Is this a lawsuit too far?

Apple has rolled out its most powerful legal guns and is taking aim at Google's biggest target. The iPhone maker filed another lawsuit against Samsung and its Galaxy Nexus, though it's not the hardware that's irked Cupertino. Rather, it's the Android Ice Cream Sandwich software.

Apple has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to ban the Nexus because of a batch of software patents it claims Google has infringed, The Verge reports. These are wide-ranging, including such intricacies as clicking a phone number to call, and sliding across the screen to unlock. And if successful, it could put the brakes on the Ice Cream Sandwich rollout lots of other companies are trying to get going. Uh oh.

Apple wants to defend patents that cover quite a few of the iPhone's features. One focuses on detecting data like a phone number in an email or web page, and letting you call it by clicking. Another covers searching lots of sources of information on the device and online through a single interface, like Siri, or -- presumably -- the magnifying glass icon on Android devices.

Slide to unlock is covered by another patent. While Apple has patented an image unlock feature, this one looks to cover everyone else's subtly different variations. The last patent covers suggesting words while you type on a touchscreen keyboard, then allowing you to accept or reject said suggestions.

Predictive text? Clicking a phone number to call? Search? Is it just us or are these claims a step too far?

This news comes soon after Apple decided to sue Motorola concerning a Qualcomm licensing deal. Apple claims Qualcomm pays Motorola to licence the components used in its chips, so Apple shouldn't have to pay Moto again. Motorola recently had the iPhone and iPad banned in Germany, though Apple soon overturned the ban. Apple also banned the Samsung Galaxy Tab for being too similar to the iPad, though Samsung redesigned and now it's fine.

Which side are you on? Is Apple right to defend its software like this? Or is it being too litigious? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.