iPhone 4S antenna switching solution may infringe on Samsung patents.

iPhone 4S reveled October 4, 2011

Danish professor Gert Frølund Pedersen, that predicted the iPhone 4 “antennagate” controversy, thinks Apple may once again run into trouble regarding the antenna. This time it might add a new chapter to the “patent wars”, since the new antenna switching solution of the iPhone 4S may infringe on Samsung patents.

Based on available information about the design of the iPhone 4S, Pedersen think that Apple is likely to come into conflict with several patents related to antenna selection, that he and several other researchers at Aalborg University in Denmark have developed – and several years ago sold to Samsung.

Gert Frølund Pedersen is a professor at Aalborg University’s Institute for Electronic Systems and came into the world spotlight when he at the site ComON, last year predicted  that the Apple iPhone 4 would have reception problems . The case evolved into a media storm as many, mostly American iPhone 4 users, could see the phone’s signal reception decline significantly, depending on how they held their phone.

The Danish antenna professor recently started investigating the antenna design in a new iPhone 4S, and this time the end result may be considerably worse for Apple than it was under “Antennagate”. Apple has been party to a worldwide patent war with Samsung, and was recently granted an injunction in a German court that practically prevents the sale of Samsung’s tablet across the European Union, except the Netherlands. Samsung has already tried to get an injunction against the iPhone 4S sold in France and Italy because the phone violates its patents.

According to the press release for the iPhone 4S of the Apple webpage the new antenna design is “Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive.”  It is a really smart technology, says the Danish antenna Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen, and he speculates that it solves any problems the previous iPhone 4 had.  “The idea is good enough, but the question is whether they are allowed to use it,” he says to ComON.

“When Apple says that it is new, it’s not true. It has been in use for very long. For example in the DECT cordless phones. Both in these and in some of the phones” says Gert Frølund Pedersen. Although this method with intelligent switching between multiple antennas has been around for years, it was in Apple’s presentation described as “unique”.

“You can quite simply do it by measuring the signal strength. But you can also make it a little smarter – and it could well imagine that Apple has done. For example, smartphones the record whether they are being held in portrait or landscape position. The problem is that if they make calculations based on the type of smart registrations, so they break a patent that I have and I have sold to Samsung” said Gert Frølund Pedersen.

“I can not say that they are directly breaking the patent, but there are not many ways they can choose the right antenna, without coming to break many patents. And just exactly what this patent covers a very broad” says Gert Frølund Pedersen to ComON.

Samsung has yet to comment on this new revelation.

You can download the patents as PDF’s from ComON here: Patent 1 & Patent 2