Staying true to its word, Samsung this week filed motions in both France and Italy seeking a permanent injunction that would prevent Apple from selling its brand new iPhone 4S in those respective countries.
Samsung of course is embroiled in a bitter and far-ranging legal battle with Apple over patent issues pertaining to both iOS and Android. Apple initiated the lawsuit last April, accusing Samsung of slavishly copying the look and feel of its iOS. Since then, lawsuits between the two companies have sprouted up across the globe with Apple, thus far, having the edge in the courtroom as it’s already achieved success against Samsung in Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany.
A Samsung spokesman explained that they’re going after Apple in France and Italy because they’re both key European markets while also citing “the local legal system and processes.”
Samsung said that in France and Italy it will accuse Apple of infringing on three Samsung patents used in third-generation transmission technology. The statement called Apple’s infringement “too severe” and added “iPhone 4S should be barred from sales.”
The Samsung spokesman said the company contributed the patents to an international body that standardized 3G technology. By doing so, Samsung agreed to license the patents to any competitor, including Apple, on a fair and reasonable basis. By seeking the injunctions, Samsung is claiming that Apple didn’t access the standards pool properly.
We’ll dive into this more later, but in seeking an injunction for alleged RAND violations, Samsung’s actions go against the very notion of the standards setting process and paints the company as lacking scruples.
Briefly, if a company’s patented technology is submitted to be included as part of a technological standard, those patents cannot be used offensively. Rather they must be licensed out to anyone who wants a license on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Used correctly, this scheme results in a mutually beneficial arrangement where one company’s technology becomes an integral part of a standard while simultaneously becoming available for everyone else to use.
Samsung’s actions here, therefore, reek of desperation and demonstrate a flagrant disregard for the accepted rule of law surrounding RAND patents. In short, Samsung wants the best of both worlds – inclusion in technological standards and the right to prevent competitors from implementing those same standards.
In France, Samsung said it would challenge Apple on patents that cover the encoding of a signal-transmission format and a method for correcting encoding errors. In Italy, Samsung said it would challenge over patents on the signal-transmission format and a method for bundling low bursts of data into more-efficient transmission.
Again, all these patents relate to 3G technology. Notably, Apple in early July was part of a consortium of companies who successfully bid for and won an auction for Nortell’s extensive patent portfolio. The winning bid topped out at $4.5 billion, of which $2 billion was put up solely from Apple in exchange for outright ownership of Nortell’s 4G patents.