[nfbmi-talk] FW: [IDevices] Fwd: [acb-l] Voiceover threatened by Samsung
f.wurtzel at att.net
Sat Feb 23 12:14:20 CST 2013
From: IDevices [mailto:idevices-bounces at gatewayfortheblind.com] On Behalf Of From Toto&s World
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 7:49 AM
To: Iphone; Discussion List Accessible Phones The; ew at moblind.org; and support. technology information Adaptive; List Missouri
Subject: [IDevices] Fwd: [acb-l] Voiceover threatened by Samsung
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Bob Acosta" <boacosta at pacbell.net>
Date: February 22, 2013, 9:07:43 PM CST
To: <acb-l at acb.org>
Subject: [acb-l] Voiceover threatened by Samsung
Samsun g struggles to block iPhone function for the blindBy Leo Kelion
The VoiceOver function is designed to help
blind and partially sighted consumers use the
iPhone Samsung has suffered a setback in its
effort to win an iPhone ban based on a function
making its software accessible to blind people.
The South Korean firm had sought an injunction in
a German court arguing Apple's VoiceOver
screen-access facility infringed one of its patents.
However, the judge has ordered the case to be
suspended pending another ruling that could invalidate Samsung's claim.
Disability campaigners had expressed concern about the case.
Apple's VoiceOver function is used by blind and
partially-sighted people to hear a description of
what the iPhone is showing by touching its screen.
The software covers text and icons including
audio descriptions of the battery level and
network signal. It also allows the phones to be
operated via Braille-based add-ons.
Samsung had argued that Apple had failed to
licence a patent it owned which describes
pressing a button to make a handset describe its
display. The basis for this was that VoiceOver
could be switched on by triple-clicking the iPhone's home button.
Apple declined to comment.
A statement from Samsung said: "For decades, we
have heavily invested in pioneering the
development of technological innovations in the
mobile industry, which have been constantly reflected in our products.
"We continue to believe that Apple has infringed
our patented mobile technologies, and we will
continue to take the measures necessary to
protect our intellectual property rights."
'Regrettable in the extreme'
Patent consultant Florian Muller, who was first
to report the Mannheim Court's decision, questioned Samsung's tactics.
"If Samsung had only requested monetary
compensation in this action, it would have made a
much better choice than by trying to achieve,
through the pursuit of an injunction, the
deactivation or (more realistically) degradation
of the voiceover functionality Apple provides to
its German customers," he wrote on his blog.
The British Computer Association of the Blind
said it was worried such an important feature might be threatened.
"A lack of access to information is arguably the
biggest potential barrier to inclusion in society
for blind and partially-sighted people," a spokesman told the BBC.
"If something as important as access to telephone
technology had been blocked by the actions of one
company over another the consequences for blind
people everywhere would be regrettable in the extreme."
The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD tech site was more damning.
"Leaving aside the ethics of asserting a patent
against a feature designed to help the blind,
this is unwise," wrote John Paczkowski.
"It's the PR equivalent of punching yourself in
the face. Samsung has now identified itself as a
company willing to accept the loss of
accessibility for the vision-impaired as
collateral damage in its battle with Apple."
Apple and Samsung have fought a number of patent
cases against each other in courts across the world.
The biggest award involved a US jury ordering
Samsung to pay Apple $1.05bn (£688m) in damages.
The judge in the case later rejected Apple's call
for the sum to be increased and a sales ban on some Samsung handsets.
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Robert Acosta, President
Helping Hands for the Blind
Email: boacosta at pacbell.net
Web Site: www.helpinghands4theblind.org
You can assist Helping Hands for the Blind by donating your used computers to us. If you have a blind friend in need of a computer, please mail us at the above address.
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