Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone Pulled, Google Plans Workaround

Google and Samsung have pulled the Galaxy Nexus smartphone from store shelves and the online Google Play store to comply with a court-ordered sales ban on the device. Google said that it is planning a software update with a workaround that would keep the device from infringing on an Apple patent.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Denied

Apple won an injunction in June after a federal judge ruled that Apple was likely to prove that Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1 both infringed on an Apple patent, and that the validity of the patent would be upheld.

It was the first significant win for any of the Apple vs. Android court battles taking place in the U.S. Some of the patent claims from the various parties involved in the patent battles have been tossed out, and many others have taken considerable time to wend their way through the U.S. International Trade Commission or U.S. courts.

In a similar case over different patents, Judge Richard Posner dismissed claims by both Apple and Motorola. In an interview, Judge Posner said this week that the U.S. patent is out of sync, and he questioned whether some industries, including technology companies, should be entitled to patent protection at all.

Judge Lucy Koh thought differently about the case in front of her, however, and granted Apple a preliminary injunction prohibiting the sale of both Samsung devices, while denying Samsung an injunction based on standard-essentials patents that company was asserting against Apple. The actual trial is scheduled to begin on July 10th.

ABC News reported that both Google and Samsung had pulled the Galaxy Nexus from store shelves, while The Verge reported that Google is planning a software update that will disable the infringing feature, which is a search feature that allows users to search their device and the Web at the same time.

The update will mean that no local searches on the device will take place at all when preforming searches on the Nexus device, though voice searches won’t be affected. Google believes this will be enough to immediately keep the Galaxy Nexus from infringing on Apple’s patent covering a, “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system.”

Whether or not that will be enough to get the injunction lifted remains to be seen.

Google hasn’t yet announced a long-term solution that would include device searches without infringing on Apple’s patent.