In what seems like another prime example of how broken the patent system is, Google and Samsung are now forced to remove functionality from Galaxy Nexus smartphones because Apple scored a preliminary injunction over a search widget on the Galaxy uNexus that searches multiple sources. Full details at OS News.
The judge has to assume Apple's patent is valid - the USPTO is a respectable, thorough, and careful organisation, right? Right...? - and so, grants a preliminary injunction. The Galaxy Nexus has to be taken off the shelves entirely because this one tiny bit of functionality infringes on some obscure nonsensical software patent. I mean, we also execute thieves for stealing a loaf of bread, right? Eye for an eye is so 6000 BC.
Google and Samsung have to respond to ensure minimal interruption to device sales. So, they do the only thing they can do: they prepare a software patch that removes the ability to search multiple sources from the search widget. In other words, the widget now only searches the web, and not on the devices itself. They then proceed to send this patch out to all Galaxy Nexus devices in the United States, regardless of carrier.
The device you bought will see its functionality reduced, post-sale.