[nfbmi-talk] FW: [IDevices] Fwd: [acb-l] Voiceover threatened by Samsung

Fred Wurtzel 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

Technology reporter

  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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