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Galaxy Nexus Stole the Slide-to-Unlock Feature from iPhone, Apple Says

A new battle in the legal war between tech giants Apple and Samsung is under way in Germany, with the former targeting the smartphone joint venture between the Korean manufacturer and Google.

The hearing held at the Mannheim Regional Court on January 20th relates to a Gebrauchsmuster ("utility model") which is a specific kind of 'fast-track patent', the intellectual property website FossPatents explains.

Skipping all the legal explanations, Apple is claiming that Samsung has infringed its slide-to-unlock feature, with a similar accusation having been made against Motorola in a case being examined in Munich.

In the lawsuit against Samsung, the German regional court is expected to reach a decision in mid-March, and analysts are reluctant to predict the outcome of the ruling; the judges will decide whether Apple's rights have been infringed, or the ruling could possibly be postponed.

This could happen if the court needs to appoint an independent expert to asses the situation. The Cupertino-based company would clearly prefer the Mannheim Regional Court to pronounce a ruling as soon as possible.

The Galaxy Nexus, which is the handset in regard to which Apple filed the latest infringement contentions, is a key smartphone in Google's strategy, being the lead device for Android Ice Cream Sandwich.