Top stories of 2011: The year in technology

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Apple sues Samsung: Android under siege again

Apple sues Samsung: Android under siege again

Apple's lawsuit against Samsung, launched in the U.S. in April and eventually involving courtroom battles in Germany, France, Australia and elsewhere, focused on a patent for list-scrolling software and three smartphone and tablet design patents. The real threat to Apple, however, is not only Samsung but Google's Android. While Samsung, which sells Android devices, became the world's biggest smartphone vendor this year, Android's market share surpassed 50%, comprising 60 million devices from multiple vendors. Android's success makes it a target. Google suffered a direct legal attack in 2010 when Oracle filed a lawsuit charging that Android infringes Oracle patents and copyrights related to Java. Microsoft, also gunning for Android, signed a cross-patent deal with Samsung in September that grants it royalties from Samsung's Android-based smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile, Google hopes to strengthen its patent arsenal by acquiring Motorola Mobility, which itself was hit with a lawsuit last year from Microsoft. With Smartphones and tablet sales skyrocketing, the stakes are enormous and Android-related legal battles likely will be fought for years to come.

Apple's helpful guidelines for competitors to avoid patent infringement

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