UPDATE [Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 7:25am ET]: A Samsung spokesperson chimed in, providing us with the official statement, included at the end of this article.
After Samsung confirmed the addition of four more complaints to its German patent offensive (two are standard-related patents, the other two being utility patents) on Monday, Apple this morning fired back by extending its Australian patent complaint to include Samsung-made cases for Galaxy tablets and smartphones, according to Bloomberg.
Apple issued the notice of infringement to Samsung in Australia over the cases, and will file a statement of claim, Apple’s lawyer Stephen Burley said at a hearing in Sydney today. Samsung’s lawyer Katrina Howard said at the same hearing the company was served with the notice that the cases infringe at least 10 patents.
The two companies are embroiled in a complicated legal fight that already includes more than 30 lawsuits filed against each other across the globe. The exact nature of Apple’s patent infringement claim concerning smartphone and tablet cases is not known, but 9to5Mac can’t help but wonder whether it has something to do with this.
We discovered in July that Samsung was marketing a Smart Cover knock-off for its Galaxy Tab tablet. The product was adorned with the “Designed for Samsung Mobile” certification and was carried in Samsung’s branded stores in South Korea. Youngbo Engineering owns Anymode, the company behind these cases, which is headed by Sang-yong Kim. He is the nephew of the Samsung’s chairperson Kun-Hee Lee.
Following 9to5Mac’s discovery and the media outrage that ensued, Samsung was forced to pull the product from its retail stores in the country as its legal battle with Apple was just heating up. The case was also pulled from the Anymode online store. The South Korean electronics giant soon followed up with a statement claiming the case was never sold, and they cited the certification as “an oversight”.
UPDATE: Samsung says that the additional claims refer to the utility of mobile devices and design rights related to the external appearance of devices, not Samsung’s protective case accessories. Here’s the official statement provided by a Samsung spokesperson:
We would like to clarify that the additional claims filed by Apple in Australia do not relate to protective case accessories, as has been indicated in some media reports. In fact, the intellectual property asserted are patents related to the utility of mobile devices and design rights related to the external appearance of devices. We are confident we can demonstrate that the Galaxy range of devices is innovative and distinctive, and will take all available measures to ensure our products remain available to consumers in Australia.
- Apple sues Samsung over smartphone and tablet cases, too (9to5mac.com)
- Judge rejects Apple’s request to block Samsung smartphone and tablet sales in the U.S. (9to5google.com)
- Samsung alters Galaxy smartphones to avoid Apple patents in Netherlands court (9to5mac.com)
- US Judge says Samsung tablets do infringe Apple patents but doesn’t issue an injunction (9to5mac.com)