facetime

In the ongoing patent trial where Apple is claiming Samsung infringed five of its patents, and Samsung is claiming Apple did the same to two of its patents, it has been suggested that Samsung bought the two patents concerned specifically to sue Apple. The allegation was made by Apple’s attorneys, reports The Verge.

The original inventors on the video patent, for instance, originated in Oklahoma, and the gallery patent originally belonged to Hitachi. In the case of the video patent, Samsung disclosed that it paid $2.39 million to acquire it in 2010, the same year FaceTime debuted alongside the iPhone 4. Apple hopes that will stand in stark contrast with its five patents, two of which were filed the day the company introduced the iPhone, and all developed within the company …

The two patents concern video calls over a mobile network, and a means of displaying and accessing photos. Samsung claims that FaceTime infringes on the video patent, and the Camera Roll within the Camera app violates the image gallery patent.

Buying patents with the specific intention of making claims against companies believed to be using the technologies concerned is not unusual: it’s the (unpleasant) business model of so-called patent assertion entities – more commonly known as patent trolls. But the idea of Samsung buying two patents in order to sue Apple in particular is a far more specific claim. It effectively accuses Samsung not just of being a patent troll, but of doing so with the specific intention of providing a counter-claim to legal action it expected from Apple.

Apple denies infringing either of the two patents, stating that FaceTime evolved from earlier work in the Game Center, and that there is no similarity between the gallery patent owned by Samsung and Camera Roll. Apple will continue to defend itself against Samsung’s claims for the rest of the week, before both companies make their closing arguments on Monday.

If Apple wins its claims against Samsung, the bill may be picked up by Google, with four of the five patents relating to Android rather than anything Samsung-specific.