updated 06:50 pm EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Filing made public by Apple submission of ruling to ITC
Part of the Japanese judge's ruling against Samsung in its ongoing worldwide patent battle with Apple has been translated and submitted to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). In the course of Apple's court victory, it was found that in delaying the disclosure of standards-essential patents to potential licensees and to the court, Samsung was ruled for the first time to be abusing the legal process.
The Tokyo District Court based its finding of abuse on Samsung's failure in its obligations to license standards-essential patents on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND). It also noted the fact that Samsung "still maintained a petition for a preliminary injunction" even after conclusion of the oral arguments, and finally that Samsung didn't disclose its patent to the ETSI regulatory board until two years after the technology of the patent was adopted as part of the standard for 3G.
The Japanese ruling leaves little room for interpretation, and is very strict. In Japan, the patent was deemed unenforceable, preventing Samsung from claiming damages or obtaining any injunctive relief of any sort from Apple, or any other case.
Patent analyst Florian Mueller believes that Apple's filing with the ITC will carry significant weight in the decision-making process. He notes that it "would be more than just odd if a US government agency that was originally set up to protect the domestic industry became the first entity in the world to grant Samsung enforceable (after a 60-day Presidential review) injunctive relief against Apple."
Samsung first filed suit against Apple in Japan in April 2011. In January 2013, Samsung filed a petition to get documents from a California Apple v. Samsung lawsuit for use in the Japanese case, but the US court denied it. Apple opposed the motion on the claim that Samsung was trying to bypass normal Japanese legal procedures. The defeat is Samsung's 22nd loss against Apple on smartphone patents worldwide, with three victories -- two of which were in split decisions in a South Korean court.