Samsung fires new salvo in Apple patent case

 

Updated: First response in Australian patent case.

Samsung has fired back in its ongoing global patent battle with Apple, claiming the iPad maker infringed on seven of the South Korean manufacturer's Australian patents.

In a cross-claim filed to the Federal Court on Friday, Samsung claimed Apple had infringed seven patents in making and selling the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G S, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 products in Australia.

Some of the patents claimed by Samsung dated as far back as 1999 and largely concerned wireless communications. They included a patent related to mobile communication encoding in CDMA devices, which are no longer supported in Australia by local carriers or the local version of Apple's smartphones and tablets.

It came in response to a claim initially filed by Apple in August, alleging Samsung had infringed 10 of the US giant's patents in making the US version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

Samsung provided Apple with a modified prototype planned for sale in Australia, leading Cupertino to amend its claim to include a total 13 patents.

In its cross-claim, Samsung also claimed the patents Apple claimed it had infringed were invalid in relation to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet "and should be revoked by the Court".

A Samsung spokesperson said the cross-claim was filed "to defend our intellectual property".

"Samsung has a proud history of innovation in the mobile industry. It has invested continuously in R&D, design and technology to produce our innovative and cutting-edge mobile devices," they said.

Patent expert Florian Mueller criticised Samsung's counter-claim for using claims that could be used widely across the mobile industry.

"It's highly problematic, and utterly desperate, to try to use such patents as a retaliatory arsenal," he told iTnews. "It shows that Samsung is unable to counter Apple's claims appropriately.

"If those patents are indeed essential to standards in the creation of which Samsung participated, it has an obligation to license them to Apple on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, while Apple doesn't have any such obligation with respect to its iPhone/iPad-related patents."

He said the use of such patents could ultimately trigger an investigation by Australian anti-trust regulators in a "worst case scenario".

The ongoing patent battle, begun earlier this year in US, had since expanded to countries including Germany, South Korea, Japan, Netherlands, France and Britain. Samsung and Apple had traded blows in each jurisdiction, with Apple attempting to file for injunctions on the sale of Galaxy Tab devices in each country.

It had led, most recently, to Samsung requesting sales data for the iPad and iPad 2 in Britain and the US, in an attempt to determine what effect a Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction in Australia would have on Apple's market share.

The South Korean manufacturer had suffered the biggest loss to date in Germany, when a regional court upheld a ban of Galaxy Tab devices in the country, agreeing with Apple's patent claims.

The injunction meant Samsung's German subsidiary could not sell the Galaxy Tab devices across European Union countries, though the judgement only restricted sales by its South Korean headquarters to Germany itself. Samsung was seeking to appeal the injunction there.

Samsung had used references to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as a defence in cases filed in the US and Germany, claiming the devices' form factor was similar to those already used in the 1968 film. It was unclear whether the same defence had been made in Australia at time of writing.

The parties are set to face their next interlocutory hearing regarding a potential injunction in Australia on September 26.

The patents

765735 : Apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system

2005239657 : Method and apparatus for transmitting and receiving data with high reliability in a mobile communication system supporting packet data transmission

722598 : Turbo encoding/decoding device and method for processing frame data according to QoS

751376 : Apparatus and method for controlling a demultiplexer and a multiplexer used for rate matching in a mobile communication system

2005213087 : Apparatus and method for allocating OVSF codes and I/Q channels for reducing Peak-To-Average Power Ratio in transmitting data via enhanced up-link dedicated channels in WCDMA systems

2005202512 : Method and apparatus for data transmission in a mobile telecommunication system supporting enhanced uplink service

2006241621 : Method and apparatus for transmitting/receiving packet data using pre-defined length indicator in a mobile communication system

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