As the whole world should know by now, Samsung was found guilty of infringing on Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) patents. That intellectual property included such items as using one's finger to tap the screen to zoom in. Another infringement concerned the so-called bounce-back patent, and then, of course there's patent 915, which pertained to pinching and zooming.
Sometimes a pinch is just a pinch
For Seinfeld watchers, this may harken back to an episode of that sitcom-about-nothing series where Jerry is enraged that Elaine's boyfriend, David Puddy, has stolen one of his "patented" foreplay moves. This technique involved a "swirl" at the end, the key to a satisfactory outcome, Jerry claims. So Puddy throws out the swirl -- to Elaine's disappointment.
Meanwhile, back in San Jose, Apple lawyers made the point that a satisfactory smartphone experience could have been designed into Samsung's handsets without Samsung's merely cutting and pasting Apple's "swirl" into the South Korean company's design.
But in a more-or-less left-handed compliment to the technological prowess of Nokia's engineers, Apple used Nokia's Lumia line of smartphones to illustrate that it is indeed possible to build a smartphone that doesn't have to blindly copy Apple's design. What the lawyers probably left out was that so far, those Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Windows Phone 7 running devices have failed to excite smartphone shoppers.
Now that Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android mobile operating system, which has by far the largest share of the global smartphone marketplace, has hit this legal snag, that dim spotlight Apple threw on Nokia's Windows Phone devices may have given the once-dominant cell-phone maker a bit of lifesaving CPR.
By the way, Seinfeld's technique sometimes involved a pinch, too. But don't tell Apple.
Apple's example can't hurt Microsoft in trying to win over other mobile-device makers to its Windows Phone OS. If you're thinking about making an investment in Microsoft shares, you can't afford to miss this premium Fool report. It comes with a full year of analyst updates and is available instantly.