Samsung-Apple war rages
삼성, 애플 상대로 뼈아픈 첫 패배
Oct 15,2011 Some predicted that Samsung Electronics and Apple may have kissed and made up in their ongoing patent war with the recent death of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, but it turns out they’re not ready to reconcile just yet.
This week, a string of important hearings and rulings came out - or are due - in some of the major markets, escalating tension between Samsung and Apple as they jostle for the top spot in the smartphone and tablet markets.
A U.S. court - where Apple in April sued Samsung for copying its products and thereby triggered worldwide, tit-for-tat litigation - held back its ruling on Apple’s request for a ban on Samsung products, questioning the validity of Apple patents.
In Korea, lawyers from the two firms battled it out in court as Apple questioned the validity of Samsung’s third-generation (3G) communications patents.
Patent’s validity is key
No one won in the U.S. yesterday.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, said on Thursday that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets infringe upon Apple patents.
During the hearing, Koh frequently remarked on the similarity between the Galaxy tablets and Apple’s iPad - even holding one tablet in each hand above her head, and asking Samsung lawyers if they could identify which company produced which.
However, the judge also said that Apple has a problem establishing the validity of its patents, thereby holding back a ruling on the fate of Samsung’s devices in the U.S. market.
Samsung attorney Kathleen Sullivan said “we think we’ve clearly raised substantial questions” about the validity of Apple patents. Apple attorney Harold McElhinny said Apple’s product design is far superior to previous tablets, so Apple’s patents should not be invalidated by designs that came before.
Apple then filed a request to bar some Samsung products from U.S. sale, including the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
Meanwhile, in Korea, the validity of Samsung’s patents were questioned yesterday.
The Seoul Central District Court held a hearing on Samsung’s claims that Apple has violated its five 3G communications patents.
Apple lawyers argued: “The patent Samsung alleges to be its own has flaws in terms of its novelty and innovation,” saying that such technology is well-known in the industry and is not revolutionary compared to the technology used by Canada’s Nortel.
Samsung lawyers refuted this by saying that a certain patent has been adopted as a new standard in the industry because it solves problems without changing existing algorithms, and given that the technology of Nortel’s is not a standard it’s not a proper comparison.
The heated dispute ended after three hours. Another round of hearings will take place on Dec. 9.
Samsung debates widening iPhone 4S ban
Another ruling was due out in the Netherlands.
The Hague Court in the Netherlands was to announce the ruling on Samsung’s request that the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and both generations of the iPad be pulled from shelves Friday afternoon (Netherlands time), after the Korea JoongAng Daily’s deadline yesterday.
Samsung claims that they infringe on Samsung’s four 3G technology patents, and is seeking that Apple be banned from trading, importing or selling these devices within the Netherlands, plus it wants all current iPhone and iPad models pulled from store shelves.
The Netherlands is where Apple managed to win a ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 earlier this year, as well as a ban on three Galaxy phones although Samsung got around that ban by tweaking a feature the court deemed a problem.
What’s more, Samsung’s request in the Netherlands is viewed as one of major Samsung-initiated attacks in the Samsung-Apple war.
Samsung has only recently vowed to be more aggressive toward Apple, its rival yet its biggest client in parts.
Korean media also speculate that this would be a good time for Samsung to widen its ban on the latest iPhone - iPhone 4S - as Samsung tasted defeat on Thursday in Australia where a ban on Samsung devices was announced.
By Kim Hyung-eun [firstname.lastname@example.org]
◆FRAND(fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory)=기술 표준화 과정에 참여한 특허권자에게 요구되는 의무. 한 기업의 특허가 기술 표준으로 채택되면 타 회사들이 그 특허를 쓰고자 할 때 특허권자는 공정하고 합리적이며 비차별적으로 협의해야 한다는 조건이다. 표준 특허를 가진 업체가 무리한 요구를 해 제품 생산을 방해하는 것을 막기 위한 장치다.