Australian iPhone 4S court case faces 2013 judgment

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Australian iPhone 4S court case faces 2013 judgment

Apple 'free-riding' on 3G patents, Samsung claims.

Apple has sought to delay full hearings of a patent infringement case against three generations of its iPhone until "later this year", putting the case at risk of extending into next year.

In the first hearing of 2012, Apple counsel Cameron Moore sought to cancel six weeks set aside by Justice Annabelle Bennett to hear the case in March and April, citing delays in compiling and submitting expert evidence.

When asked by Justice Bennett when Apple wished the case be heard, Moore said it "certainly won't be before September and later this year".

Neither party could agree to a timeframe for first hearings, prompting Justice Bennett to order the parties to consult outside court before returning for directions this week.

Justice Bennett said further attempts by Apple to push the case beyond an April 2012 start date means "this case will not finish this year".

In response, Samsung barrister Neil Young sought that the case against Apple be heard in two parts in order to ensure some elements could continue in April.

Samsung proposed that the Federal Court hear arguments and expert evidence on the validity and alleged infringement of Samsung's 3G patents in April.

Other matters relating to competition law and each party's responsibilities in negotiating patent licenses under French-based telecommunications standards would be heard after August.

Young said that while some evidence would be shared between the two parts of the case, neither party would be required to cross-examine expert evidence on both occasions.

A judgment on the issue would only be handed down once the two parts of the case were heard.

"I'm not against the idea of having two tranches," Justice Bennett said.

"It does seem to some degree to be a natural separation."

However, Moore said that Apple could not provide expert evidence at the times suggested by Samsung.

Samsung barrister Neil Young alleged Apple's arguments were delaying tactics as the iPhone and iPad maker sought to "free-ride on our patents" while litigation stalled in the court.

"The reason urgency in this case is so important is because Apple is continuing to market products without seeking or obtaining a license from Samsung in circumstances where we allege those activities infringe patents. They intend to do that for years if they can," Young said.

He suggested Apple's "cynical exercise" would continue until similar proceedings in the United States clarified Apple's stance globally in July this year.

Progress on Galaxy case

While failing to agree on progress for the iPhone and iPad case, Apple and Samsung appeared to agree on a final hearing for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 case after May this year.

The final case, which follows a Federal Court appeal last year that reinstated the sale of Samsung's tablet, covers nine other Samsung smartphone and tablet products.

Apple will file evidence and patent infringement claims on May 11, seeking a final decision on 258 claims and 22 patents it claims are being infringed in Samsung's products.

Some 12 of the 22 patents claimed in the infringement case have been brought up in other jurisdictions.

Samsung's Young alleged hypocrisy in Apple's request for expedition, when also seeking to delay hearings threatening sales of its own devices.

"We won't have the prior art search on so many patents [by April]", he said.

"This is a new case presented to us in the last couple of days. If we're to prepare and file a properly considered defence, we are going to need the time."

Justice Bennett agreed to extend Samsung's deadline on filing a defence from April to May 18.

"This better be some defence Mr Young - it better not be 'deny, deny, deny'," she said.

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