updated 05:10 pm EDT, Fri August 19, 2011
Apple and Samsung trade new shots in lawsuits
A new examination of tactics in the ongoing Apple and Samsung legal action has shown escalating accusations. In a statement, Apple said that Samsung's counterclaims were attempts to "obfuscate and delay" the case. They weren't related to nature of the case and even included public wireless standards, Apple said in Edible Apple's copies of court documents.
The iPhone maker argued that Samsung's claims, which centered on a dozen different patents, should be broken out into their own lawsuit to keep the case on time. Samsung had moved the complaints out from an original countersuit to Apple's existing case to try and streamline its own work.
It added that the patents tied to standards didn't need a Samsung call for FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms since they were already on that level. Dropping the terms was necessary because new Samsung products that were allegedly were infringing were coming to market, Apple said. It singled out the August 29 Galaxy S II event as proof and also mentioned that the Galaxy Tab 8.9 should be coming soon.
The aim was to have the trial process sped up to where it would start on March 7, 2012. Samsung's own, separate claims would be heard on June 21, 2013.
Samsung, meanwhile, was mounting resistance to the patent claims itself, although two of which have already been proven insincere. It argued that the design patents, trade dress, and trademarks were "common, functional, [and] obvious." It objected most to the concept of patenting a rectangular phone design with round corners and to the similarity of icons being viable as a trademark issue. Many have noticed the uncanny similarity between the icons in Samsung's TouchWiz interface and its large, central home button, neither of which are standard either in Google's designs or among other Android phone producers.
Samsung nonetheless wanted the court to toss out Apple's trademarks and similar intellectual property around its designs.
More contentiously, it claimed Apple's Australian Galaxy Tab 10.1 ban agreement, which saw that the US version of the Galaxy Tab wouldn't be allowed in, was "erroneous" as the US version was never going to appear. Samsung, however, omitted that it had withheld details of the Australian Galaxy Tab to try and keep it outside of the product ban.
The Korean firm also repeated its argument that its ban in Germany had been sprung by surprise, with Apple getting an injunction in secret that left Samsung out of the dispute until a ban was already in effect. Later discoveries had found that Samsung had submitted a pre-emptive resistance to Apple's claims in the same court a week earlier, suggesting it was fully aware of what was to come.
Apple has independently been accused of manipulating stock images to make Samsung products look more similar than they are. This too has mostly been debunked as the same collection includes live photos and other images with the right proportions.
Both companies are maneuvering to get the first decisive legal action on each other. In patent lawsuits and similar disputes, the first to get a definitive ruling often has a major advantage in lording a product ban or a heavy fine over the other. Few lawsuits complete a full trial as the costs both of hiring the attorneys and the risks of losing the case are often greater than simply making a royalty deal.