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Apple's Data Tapping patent accounted for 85% of its damages award


A jury on Monday finalized Apple's damages award, leaving the company's original $119 million figure intact. While Apple at trial asserted five patents, the jury determined that Samsung's products infringed upon three of them. And from those three, one patent in particular accounted for the vast majority of Apple's damages award.

Patent 5,946,647, otherwise known as the '647 patent, was initially filed in 1996 and encapsulates a feature known as "Data Tapping." The patent describes a method by which a device can detect certain types of data -- i.e dates, URLs, phone numbers, addresses etc. -- and subsequently present users with a list of clickable actions.

For instance, say you receive a text that says, "Let's meet for lunch next Thursday." iOS is able to detect the data structure "next Thursday", underline it, and subsequently allow users to tap on the string whereupon they can create a calendar event for that day. As another quick example, let's say you receive an email with an embedded phone number. iOS detects the presence of a phone number and presents users with the following options when they tap the string.

data detection ios

It's a rather nifty iOS feature, and a valuable one at that.

Of the $119.6 million awarded to Apple, 85% of that amount ($102 million) resulted from Samsung products infringing upon the '647 patent. Also worth noting is that if you look at the damages award on a product by product basis, the Galaxy S2 and S3 are largely responsible for the bulk of the damages Samsung now owes Apple.

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