Samsung broadens patent attack against Apple; Files suit in the US

Fri, Apr 29, 2011

Legal, News

Apple a few weeks ago filed suit against Samsung for patent infringement, alleging that its line of Galaxy smartphones and tablets blatantly rip off the look and feel of Apple’s iOS products. Indeed, a perusal of Apple’s complaint is full of pictures that really makes one wonder if the blueprint for Samsung products were actually Apple design schematics.

In the big bad game of tech litigation, no company is prone to laying down without a fight. That said, Samsung last week filed lawsuits against Apple in Korea, Japan, and Germany alleging that Apple was infringing on 5 patents relating to transmission technologies.

At the time, some wondered why Samsung didn’t bring suit here in the US. Did that indicate that Samsung knew it didn’t have much of a case?

Of course not.

Samsung just needed a little bit more time, perhaps to comb through its extensive patent portfolio to pick exactly which patents it wanted to wield against Apple.

In it’s latest suit, Samsung alleges that Apple’s mobile products infringe upon 10 of its patents relating to mobile phones and “fundamental innovations that increase mobile device reliability, efficiency, and quality, and improve user interface in mobile handsets and other products.”

Specifically, the patents in question include methods a phone uses to simultaneously place calls and surf the Internet, methods for improving how text messages and attachments are sent, methods to reduce interference across mobile devices, and methods to increase capacity of mobile networks.

“Apple continues to violate Samsung’s patent rights by using these patented technologies without a license,” Samsung said in the lawsuit.

Apple of course is one of Samsung’s biggest customers, and last year contributed nearly $6 billion to their bottom line. The lawsuits aren’t expected to change their working relationship however. During Apple’s earnings conference call last week, Tim Cook explained:

We are Samsung’s largest customer (for liquid crystal display panels and semiconductors) and Samsung is a very valued component supplier to us.

And I expect the strong relationship will continue. Separately from this, we felt the mobile communication division of Samsung had crossed the line and after trying for some time to work out the issue, we decided we needed to rely on the courts.

And so the battle lines are drawn.

via Bloomberg



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