Samsung Sued For Infringement Of Mobile Device Sensor Patent

On Tuesday in the Western District of Texas, plaintiff Context Directions LLC filed a complaint against defendant Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., for patent infringement alleging that Samsung infringed the patent-in-suit relating to the “context” of a mobile device, referring to a device’s awareness of its environment and user behavior.

The patent-in-suit is United States Patent No. 10,142,791 (the ’791 patent), which the complaint stated “includes claims directed to a method for detecting the context of a mobile device, as well as a mobile device having such detection capability, where the mobile device has a plurality of sensors assigned to sensor groups arranged in a hierarchy, along with classifiers assigned to the sensor groups and a context detection module that activates and adapts the classifiers to evaluate the context of the mobile device based on signals from one or more of the sensors.”

Samsung’s accused products include mobile phones such as the Galaxy S10, S10+, S10e, Note 10, Note 10+, S20, S20+, S20 Ultra; and Samsung watches such as the SAMSuNG Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active, and Galaxy Watch Active2. According to the complaint, Samsung’s mobile devices, “are equipped with a large number of different types of sensors, which allow, inter alia, automatic activation and deactivation of the individual functions or to change configuration of mobile devices, depending on the context. Awareness of the context improves the usability of these devices.” Moreover, the plaintiff contended that Samsung’s accused products perform the patented method described in the ’791 patent.

Samsung allegedly infringed claim 1 of the patent-in-suit because its accused phones are mobile devices that have “sensor hardware, one or more processors, a display, operating system (OS) software, and Applications software.” These accused phones also have a plurality of sensors, specifically, the plaintiff claimed “they each comprise the ‘motion’ (Accel, Gyro) sensors and the Altitude/Barometric sensors used by the SAMSUNG Health ‘Floors’ function.” Moreover, the plaintiff proffered that Samsung’s sensors correspond to or are part of a sensor group. For instance, the 6-axis and 9-axis sensors are examples of multiple-sensor groups, according to Context Directions. Accordingly, the 6-axis and 9-axis sensors “compris[e] outputs from two and three 3-axis sensors (drawn from accelerometer, gyroscope and compass), respectfully.”

These sensors purportedly support various functionality and are “arranged according to a hierarchy,” which is “shown by a specified execution order of sensors (to implement the hierarchy).” Moreover, “the sensor groups are arranged according to a hierarchy because there is a sequential execution of sensor actions in the respective sensor groups.” Additionally, the plaintiff noted that each of Samsung’s classifiers is attached to a sensor group, such as the motion and barometric sensor groups. Furthermore, the Samsung Health Floors app utilizes these sensors. Therefore, the accused phones’ classifiers are designed to “evaluate one or more contexts of the mobile device based on signals from one or more sensors assigned to the same sensor group as the classifier.” This allegedly produces an “outgoing classification result from that classifier.” For example, the Samsung Health “Floor” function “requires the software to evaluate a first context of a floor or some fraction of a floor having been climbed,” thus the sensors are used to evaluate this context through the phone’s software. This is the first level in the hierarchy because the barometric and motion readings will be impacted by this context. As a result, the plaintiff claimed that Samsung utilized the patented technology, thus infringing the patent-in-suit.

Context Directions has sought an adjudication that Samsung infringed the patent-in-suit, an award for damages, an award for costs and fees, and other relief.

Context Directions is represented by Devlin Law Firm LLC.