Australian Apple v. Samsung patent hearing begins

Two of the world's biggest technology companies will today front up in court for their patent-infringement case over the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Today marks the start of three months of hearings between Apple and Samsung over claims of patent infringement from both companies across various iPad, iPhone and Galaxy devices.

Apple first took Samsung to court back in August 2011, prior to the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. In a case similar to those launched across the globe in 2011, Apple alleged that the Android tablet infringes on a number of Apple's patents, including a "slide-to-unlock" patent.

Apple initially sought and won an injunction preventing the release of the 10.1 in Australia; however, this was eventually overturned by the full bench of the Federal Court.

Samsung countersued Apple, claiming that the iPhone and iPad infringe on a number of Samsung's 3G patents. The patents that Samsung has relied upon for the suit are what are known as standards-essential patents, meaning that the technology must be included within 3G devices in order to operate. Samsung is required to license these technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Samsung alleges that Apple never obtained licenses for these patents prior to using them in the iPhone and iPad. Apple has alleged that the licensing terms that Samsung sought from Apple were not reasonable, and not on the same level as those offered to other third-party vendors.

The case has taken months of directions hearings to set discovery in motion, have evidence ruled in and ruled out and seek testimony from technology and legal experts across the globe. Samsung even brought the Australian Commissioner of Patents into the case, seeking to have a number of the patents that were granted to Apple in Australia invalidated, because the company held more than one of the same type of patent at the same time.

In the meantime, Apple has released a new iPad and an iPhone, and Samsung has released the Galaxy S III and managed to get the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to market.

The case will go before Justice Annabelle Bennett for a full week, and will then return to court on 6 - 10 August, 10 - 14 September, 17 - 21 September, 25 - 28 September, 2 - 5 October and 8 - 12 October.

The court has opened the option for the case to be heard by two judges, who would receive lessons from tech experts in order to be fully informed across the issues of the case.

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