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Samsung countersues Apple, avoids US courts

updated 11:00 pm EDT, Thu April 21, 2011

Samsung sues Apple back over patents

Samsung tonight said it had countersued Apple in retaliation for Apple's trade and patent lawsuits. The complaints include a suit alleging infringement of five patents in Samsung's hometown of Seoul, Korea, as well as three patents challenged in Mannheim, Germany, and two patents in Tokyo, Japan. An initial mention of the lawsuits didn't explain the nature of the patents.

It conspicuously avoided any mention of a US lawsuit, where Apple's original pursuit is located.

The Galaxy S maker stopped short of responding directly to Apple's accusations and issued a relatively generic response. "Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property and to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business," it said.

A responding lawsuit was expected given earlier threats as well as typical practices in patent disputes. Many companies will often countersue to create a possible stalemate and hopefully push the original complainant into reaching a settlement. Apple has tried to assuage some fears by saying it planned to keep Samsung as a supplier.

Samsung will likely have trouble attacking Apple through the same complaints of trade dress and design copying that were leveled against it in the original lawsuit. Although the Ultra Smart F700 was technically announced before the original iPhone and could theoretically have been cited as prior art given some superficial similarities, the phone's final design wasn't shown until February 2007, a month after the iPhone was made public. Apple has so far pointed to fairly self-evident instances of Samsung copying the iPhone's design in the Galaxy S, ranging from the central home button on some models down to very close visual traits in icons and home screen behavior.

Apple hadn't had an opportunity to comment as of this writing.


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By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010

    +10

    I don't see these issues as the same.....

    patents boil down to discovering and implementing new technologies . Whatever patents Samsung are claiming are probably used by every handset maker including Nokia, BB, etc. whihc means they should protect their patents if they feel somone is infringing on them.

    Look and feel is all about copying someone elses uniqe design because customers like it. Instead of taking a technology (for example touch screens) and developing a handset that looks and behaves differently (such as Motorola Droid or the whole WP7 interface), Samsung have decided to trick customers and ride the coattails of Apple. Not very creative.

    The picture above sums it all up. The phone looks like an iPhone 3GS...no ifs or buts Up close the plasticky feel and odd square button and square camera lense are more obvious but it is obvious where they got thier inspiration from. Too bad Samsung lack the epertise to differentiate a bit more.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999

    +10

    Korea = China

    Home-court advantage plus 'patriotism' makes it a win-win situation for them.

    They have proven to be shameless in many situations, just like the Chinese.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004

    -21

    what is shameful is a patent on a button

    This article reads like you could have a patent on a button-sorry but nobody confuses Samsung products with iPhones - iPhones run iOS, Samsungs run Android - big difference.

    No Apple, you don't own the concept of a 'button' or even a row of 4 icons at the bottom of a screen.

    That's generic stuff. I think Samsung was clever. Apple sued on their home court, Samsung countered back around the world - including their own home court.

  1. sierra_vista

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010

    +14

    Trade Dress Issue

    @Jonathan

    One of the main issues of Apple's lawsuit vs. Samsung regarding the iPhone has to do with trade dress. Apple has been there done that before with the iMac and eMachine's eOne back in 1999.

    "In 1999, Apple successfully sued eMachines, whose eOne too closely resembled the then-new iMac's trade dress. The eOne was taken off the market, resulting in eMachines losing the ability to sell the eOne as intended."

    Oh, and the iMac ran the Mac OS 9 and the eOne ran Windows, so the iOs vs. Android OS comparison doesn't wash.

    Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc._litigation#Apple_v._eMachines

    For comparison photos of the original iMac and the eOne and an article that talks about trade dress issues, SEE: http://boards.core77.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=21326

    No, this particular lawsuit is not all about Apple trying to own the concept of a 'button.' Indubitably, right?

  1. MacnnReader

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010

    -8

    Look and Feel?

    Didn't we lose this argument with Microsoft and windows 95?

  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Warning shot

    Apple could win or loose this suit but the affect of bringing it may give the clones to pause when ripping off the next iOS signature look.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011

    -11

    Apple

    So Apple has a monopoly on "rounded rectangle phone with one button" phones? I guess Samsung is going to have to use another shape.

    I hope Apple likes the look and feel of being out of business in a few years.

    - Sent from my Android device.

  1. B9bot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2008

    +2

    Since Apple created the real tablet computer

    Since Apple created the real tablet computer, which is the iPad. Apple has what it needs to fight this easily. Samsung is a copy machine like all the others, piss poor at best.
    Copying the iPads layout with icons the shape of the unit where the home button is placed and so on is just wrong.

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