Even though Apple didn't go after the Samsung Galaxy S III directly yet, their "universal patent search - aka the Siri patent" victory against the Galaxy Nexus in court has taken it's toll on the SGS3 anyway. Both AT&T and Sprint have issued updates that effectively remove the unified search functionality from the phones. At first the updates were disguised as "security updates; however, both companies have fully disclosed that the update does indeed remove the universal search functionality. Both companies also made it clear that it was Samsung that proactively created this patch to remove the functionality. This is the same issue that Google and Samsung have been frantically developing a software workaround for on the Galaxy Nexus.

It's interesting to note that the biggest legal problems the Samsung devices are facing from Apple are actually mostly in the United States. Here's a quote with some additional details,

In the US, where software patents are allowed, it is possible for a company such as Apple to have a patent covering the concept of unified search. As Apple does not license out its patents, that effectively blocks anyone else from letting their users search for things in multiple places at once.

However, in the EU it is much harder for companies to get software patents, and Apple does not have an equivalent to the 'Siri' patent here.
Also, for AT&T users who want to reenable the universal search functionality on their device after AT&T's patch, there is a workaround that uses an older version. It can be found here: XDA

It's reassuring to see Samsung taking extra precaution with their newest flagship device. Still, it's frustrating that they have to do this at all, simply because of a flawed system, and the willingness of a few patent trolls willing to exploit it.

As a sidenote, the AT&T update also brings with it a new radio patch, version UCLG1.

Thanks to all of my tipsters on this one!

Source: S3Forums via ZDNet