Apple seeks to air Samsung's dirty laundry

Apple's legal team are looking to dredge up Samsung's dirty laundry in the Federal Court by exposing a settlement between the Korean gadget maker and its rival Ericsson.
Written by Luke Hopewell, Contributor

Apple's legal team are looking to dredge up Samsung's dirty laundry in the Federal Court by exposing a settlement between the Korean gadget maker and its rival Ericsson.


(Dirty Laundry image by Merry, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The old case that Apple is seeking to access is believed to be the only occasion where Samsung has taken a company to court over the patents that it is using to try to block the new iPhone 4S in Australia and Japan.

Samsung dragged Apple to court over the iPhone 4S in mid October, claiming that the device infringes on three Australian patents held by Samsung.

Australian patents include:

  • Method and apparatus for transmitting/receiving packet data using a pre-defined length indicator in a mobile communication system (WCDMA)
  • Method and apparatus for data transmission in a mobile telecommunication system supporting enhanced uplink service (HSPA)
  • Method and apparatus for transmitting and receiving data with high reliability in a mobile communication system supporting packet data transmission (HSPA).

Samsung also sought to block the 4S in Japan, claiming that another four patents that it holds there are also being infringed upon:

  • One HSPA patent, which relates to a method for deciding the amount of power consumption during data transmission
  • Three user interface patents that are essential for displaying information on the screen, specifically user interfaces for the "in-flight mode" indicator (aeroplane icon); for customising a smartphone's home screen; and for browsing applications categorised in a tree structure (in an app store).

On Friday in the Federal Court, Samsung was naturally hesitant to provide the documents that Apple requested, claiming that previous litigation isn't relevant to the current tit-for-tat battle between the two gadget giants.

Justice Lindsay Foster, however, ordered Samsung to provide the documents. Samsung's legal counsel told the court that it may take some time to dredge them up from storage.

The legal warfare between the two parties began in August, when Apple Australia took Samsung to court over the alleged infringement of several patents by the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung claimed that the legal base of Apple's claims was false, as it had been referring to the US version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Samsung agreed to provide Apple with three of the proposed Australian versions of the device for expert study, while pledging to delay the release of the new Tab in Australia until the court action could be resolved.

Since then, Apple has sought to block Samsung's products in the European Union, Japan and France, as the court action continued down under.

Samsung pushed back the local launch of the device another two times, while proposing in court that a stripped-down version of the case be heard in court for interlocutory purposes. Apple rejected an initial deal proposed by Samsung, which would see it launch the device in the interim until a full patent hearing can be held next year. The court then decided that Samsung couldn't release the device until the full patent case could be heard. Samsung is appealing the ruling.

The two are set to meet again in the Federal Court before Justice Annabelle Bennett tomorrow.

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