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September 20, 2012

Samsung to Drag the iPhone 5 into its Patent Wars with Apple

We’d hoped that it would not come to this but Samsung has confirmed that it will in fact sue Apple and the iPhone 5 over at least eight different patents it believes (or wants to believe) the iPhone 5 infringes on. Filed late in the day this past Wednesday, September 19, 2012, Samsung is essentially going to throw the iPhone 5 into the same patent suit it has already filed by filing a motion to amend that suit. Interestingly, when Samsung will do so is unclear as the company has not yet had a chance to actually do a deep dive and analysis on the new smartphone.

Image via Shutterstock

Here is the relevant section from pages three and four of the actual legal brief itself:

Samsung anticipates that it will file, in the near future, a motion to amend its infringement contentions to add the iPhone 5 as an accused product. On September 12, 2012, Apple announced that it will release the iPhone 5 on September 21, 2012. Based on information currently available, Samsung expects that the iPhone 5 will infringe the asserted Samsung patents-in-suit in the same way as the other accused iPhone models. Samsung plans to file a motion to amend its infringement contentions to address the iPhone 5 as soon as it has had a reasonable opportunity to analyze the device. Because Samsung believes the accused functionality of the iPhone 5 will be similar to the accused functionality of other accused Apple products, Samsung does not believe that amendment of its infringement contentions should affect the case schedule.

The eight patents we noted above are the same patents that Samsung is already asserting in its existing lawsuit. We note here that two of those patents have already been declared as fundamental in nature and subject to fair use of technology (aka FRAND - fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory), and we believe this will ultimately prove to be the case for all of the patents at issue. Though it hasn’t stated yet that it will in fact do so, Samsung will, we believe, also seek to have the judge order a preliminary injunction against any sale of the iPhone 5 - if anyone believes this will actually occur we also have a very nice bridge in New York City we’d like to sell you.

Samsung states in a separate statement that was released today that "Apple continues to take aggressive legal measures that will limit market competition. Under these circumstances, we have little choice but to take the steps necessary to protect our innovations and intellectual property rights." We don’t anticipate Samsung will win anything here – and as further proof we’ll note that last week Apple came out on top again when a judge at the International Trade Commission said in a preliminary ruling that Apple did not violate patents owned by Samsung.

The original filing was made jointly by both Apple and Samsung in the same court – with the same judge, Lucy Koh – where Apple won its recent patent suit. It is believed that Apple will go all the way and ask Judge Koh to award it treble damages ($3 billion). The second suit is not expected to go to trial until March 2014 (a lifetime in the mobile space), and by then there will be little that will be recognizable from where things are today and where they were 12 to 18 months ago.

Apple, meanwhile, has also added the Samsung Galaxy S III to the list of devices it wants the court to ban, so we doubt Samsung will not ask for its own injunction. Apple has also noted that the newest release of Android, v 4.1 (Jelly Bean) will also become an Apple patent target. Google, meanwhile, doesn’t believe that any of the “hardware-related” patents Apple won on have anything to do with Android. We believe that both Apple and Samsung need to end their patent war and move on.

At the time of this writing, Judge Koh has scheduled a next court date of September 26, 2012 to discuss ongoing management of the second lawsuit. Stay tuned.

Want to learn more about today’s powerful mobile Internet ecosystem? Don't miss the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5 2012, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at Mobility Tech Conference & Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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