Oh Samsung, you so crazy!
Apple and Samsung’s legal battles are often great fodder for tech bloggers and make a great popcorn viewing experience for outsiders who get a kick out of high-tech litigation. But the ongoing lawsuits between the two companies is starting to have some very real-world implications for Samsung.
Apple has achieved notable, though not conclusory, legal victories against Samsung in both Germany and the Netherlands. Moreover, Apple recently scored an injunction against Samsung in Australia that prohibits the company from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the land down under.
Samsung, meanwhile, hasn’t been so lucky. It’s countersuits are objectively much weaker than Apple’s suits on account that Samsung is asserting RAND encumbered patents. Furthermore, Samsung appears to be quite prone to making outlandish legal requests that are quickly shot down.
This past June, Samsung’s request for early access to Apple’s iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 was rejected out of hand by Judge Lucy Koh.
In the latest example of Samsung embarking on bizzare and outlandish legal requests, the company in Australia is demanding that Apple hand over its soucrce code to the iPhone 4S as part of its efforts to ban the device in the country. Never mind the fact that the iPhone 4S has been available in the country for weeks now.
In Federal court today Samsung counsel Cynthia Cochrane said her client would need the source code for the iPhone 4S and agreements Apple had with major carriers Vodafone, Telstra and Optus in order to make a legal case for a ban before the court.
What’s more, Samsung also wants to take a look at the contracts Apple has signed with Australian carriers as to get a look at the subsidies they pay Apple for the right to carry the iPhone.
Samsung’s tenuous legal reasoning claims that Apple’s iPhone products infringe upon Samsung’s 3G patents. Consequently, their argument goes, Apple has used illegal methods to increase the popularity of the iPhone and, as a direct result, garner a significant share of of the smartphone market as it pertains to revenue.
“If subsidies are given for the iPhone 4S, there are less to go around for my client’s products,” Samsung’s lawyer claimed.
Now this is empty legal mumbo jumbo of the highest degree.
Note how Samsung here is basically complaining that the iPhone garners high subsidies that directly affect Samsung’s ability to get the same deals Apple does. This, however, is the result of the iPhone being a more desirable product in the eyes of Australian carriers. Indeed, one can argue that Android based handsets are a dime a dozen. Further, executives from AT&T and the like have never been shy about admitting that iPhone users, on average, are more valuable customers than other smartphone users.
And again, Apple doesn’t have the bulk of the smartphone marketshare in Australia, but because it has the highest marketshare in terms of profits, that’s where Samsung draws the line. Never mind the fact that Australian carriers are hesitant to pay high subsidies for products that, logic dictates, are second rate compared to the iPhone. So on one hand Samsung proudly boasts that it has better products and in the same breath acknowledges that the iPhone is the recipient of more favorable subsidies. How convenient.
Lastly, it’s worth pointing out again that the patents asserted by Samsung are part of established technological standards. As such, Samsung is obligated to license these patents out to Apple on fair and non discriminatory terms, otherwise known as RAND terms. Apple recently stated in a court filing that Samsung repeatedly denied requests to proffer RAND terms and that when they finally did, the terms proffered were not in line with what other similarly situated companies were paying. Furthermore, Apple asserts that it’s immune to Samsung’s 3G patent attack on the grounds that it holds a third party license because the Qualcomm chips Apple uses in the iPhone are already covered via Qualcomm’s deal with Samsung.