Apple v. Samsung trial blows out to mid-2013

The Australian patent dispute between Apple and Samsung has been dragged out to May 2013, and risks being dragged out further.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

The Federal Court of Australia has laid out a hearing for every week from February to May in 2013 to hear the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung, in a case that was originally only supposed to run until October 2012.

The case kicked off in July 2011, when Apple sued Samsung over alleged patent infringement in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung counter-sued over three 3G patents that Samsung holds, which the company claims are infringed upon in the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

Hearings for the case got underway on 23 July, beginning with Samsung's counterclaim. The trial was originally scheduled to run for six weeks — with a number of breaks — until 12 October. However, according to the Federal Court online portal, the case will return in the last week of February, with a hearing scheduled for every day, excluding weekends and public holidays, until 17 May 2013.

The trial will likely continue past the announcement and release of the iPhone 5, as well as the release of Samsung's next tablet product.

Even with the extra timing laid out, Justice Annabelle Bennett raised her concerns that the case might be delayed further, because it took Apple longer than expected today to run through the affidavits that were provided by experts for the trial.

"There is a real potential that this could disrupt the ordinary hearing of the matter," Bennett said.

The court is also waiting for Samsung to provide evidence on whether the Qualcomm baseband chipset in the iPhone and iPad uses the 3G standard in the exact method as described within the Samsung patent.

Samsung counsel Katrina Howard said that the evidence should be ready by Wednesday next week, and reiterated that this part of the case could have been resolved more quickly if Apple had simply admitted whether it used the Samsung method or not.

"It's their devices, and they know how they work, your honour," Howard said.

"We don't," Apple counsel Steven Burley replied, adding that the onus is on Samsung to prove that the devices infringe on that patent.

Provided that there are not further delays, tomorrow's hearing will be devoted to the so-called "hot tub", which will see the experts brought in to explain their views and be questioned simultaneously by Bennett.

While the Australian case initially focused on Samsung's counterclaim, the trial underway in the United States has so far dealt with Apple's claim that the design of Samsung's devices "slavishly" copied the iPad and iPhone. Overnight, Apple brought in a design expert, who testified that a number of Samsung's tablets and phones are "substantially the same" as the designs that Apple holds patents on.

However, Samsung's chief strategy officer Justin Denison reportedly told the court that Samsung has customised the design of their phones to meet the needs of telecommunications providers, and currently has up to 100 different models of phones in the market in the US.

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