Court ruling in Apple's favor suggests Samsung may have to change software

Slide-to-unlock, autocorrection and quicklinks are all Apple's domain when it comes to mobile software says a U.S. court. Not only is this a potentially huge blow to Samsung but to all Google Android partners.

It may be Samsung's Galaxy but Apple appears to rule the mobile universe.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. ruled in 2-1 favor of Apple; a ruling that could require Samsung to alter the Android software it uses on phones and tablets.

Bloomberg noted the ruling on Thursday, with the court saying Samsung can't use "Apple's slide-to-unlock, autocorrect and quicklinks features."

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That's not just a major blow to Samsung, which is the largest seller of Android phones, but also has the potential to impact all of Google's Android hardware partners. None of those were named in the suit, however, the ruling provides Apple's legal team with a valuable precedent.

Indeed, a host of new Android competitors are starting to enter the U.S. handset market.

The ruling, however, will make it more difficult for Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE, among others, to replicate certain features found on Apple's iPhones. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Apple use the verdict to blunt any momentum from these China-based companies; at least in the U.S. where the ruling took place.

Is something like "slide-to-unlock" an invention that needs protecting? That's another question entirely given that it appears to be a common sense approach for a touchscreen handset. And Apple was already awarded monetary damages for Samsung using the software approach; the ruling takes things a step further by eliminating Samsung's ability to use the features.

At this point, if you're Samsung, it doesn't matter what you think about such inventions: The jury is no longer out.