Apple could lose German patent case vs. Samsung in January, gives up iPhone 4S firmware in Australia

In Australia, as part of discovery, Samsung got access to Apple’s Qualcomm baseband source code for the iPhone 4S (lookout for battery issues while you are in there Sammy!).

Other matters appeared to be resolved, including Samsung’s access to the firmware used in the iPhone 4S’ baseband chip, supplied by Qualcomm.

A software expert had approximately two hours’ access to the firmware and would submit his findings by Sunday.

According to FOSSPatents, Samsung’s lawsuits against Apple in Germany are really heating up after a Mannheim hearing set a schedule for January 20 and 27 of 2012. It looks like Apple has a tough case, as the hearing leaned towards Samsung’s claims.

The two patents asserted in today’s litigations are

  • EP1005726 on a “turbo encoding/decoding device and method for processing frame data according to QoS”, and
  • EP1114528 on an “apparatus and method for controlling a demultiplexer and a multiplexer used for rate matching in a mobile communication system”.

Samsung’s third German complaint against Apple, which wasn’t at issue today, relates to EP1188269 on an “apparatus for encoding a transformat format combination indicator for a communication system”.

Below is a full rundown of the issues discussed at today’s hearing..

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Judge blocks Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales in Australia at Apple’s request

Claiming Samsung copied the iPad’s design, Apple has successfully achieved their mission in getting an Australian judge to block Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 from being sold in Australia, reports Sydney Morning Herald. Apple says that Samsung is infringing on two patents, and the judge ruled until changes are made the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can’t be sold from this point on.

Apple and Samsung have current litigation continuing over in Europe and the United States. Apple has already successfully blocked the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany and hopes to do so elsewhere.

Samsung won’t start addressing the core patent issue (screen patent) with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 quite yet. They want to prepare a proper defense against Apple. Interestingly, Samsung has setup a temporary store across from a Sydney Apple Store selling Samsung Galaxy S IIs for $2, to detract from the upcoming iPhone 4S launch Friday. The fight continues…

Cross-posted from 9to5google.com.

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Samsung offers Apple a secret deal in Australia

According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung has offered Apple a secret deal to sort out the mess surrounding the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet launch in Australia. The report has it that Samsung proposed a cunning solution that would allow them to release the device in the country next week. Apple’s legal counsel Stephen Burley allegedly told Justice Annabelle Bennett that Samsung’s “inconvenience would be diminished and we would be comforted” if the deal was accepted.

What incentive Samsung might have in store for Apple in exchange for releasing its tablet in Australia as early as next week is anyone’s guess. I asked patent expert Florian Mueller, who runs the FOSSPatents blog, about this. He responded on Twitter that Samsung “might promise not to infringe certain patents, make a payment, and perhaps also procedural concessions”.

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Apple vs. Samsung is about ecosystems, not tablets or patents


Apple has made its concerns official. The iPhone maker fears Samsung tablet will lure consumers away from the powerful iTunes ecosystem. Apple’s been successfully leveraging iTunes to tie people to the platform through app and entertainment content sales.

The heated Apple vs. Samsung legal battle over who’s copying who is really about the ecosystem rather than the hardware or the patents. That’s the gist of today’s hearing before the Federal Court in Sydney related to an Apple-requested ban on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia. According to Smh.com.au, lawyers for Apple argued that the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 could take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that buyers may be “seduced” from the iOS platform.

It’s all about the apps and the broader ecosystem, Apple’s legal team told Justice Annabelle Bennett, arguing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 “is vastly the one that is going to be targeting the iPad 2″. IDC numbers released today suggest that that tablet shipments to Australia and New Zealand doubled sequentially in the June quarter, which the research firm attributed to an influx of Android tablets recently released into those markets.

Apple’s lawyers then resorted to the “fire hose” metaphor to make their case:

This is going to be launched on the market with the velocity of a fire hose and it is going to just come in and take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that by the time we get to final hearing the full impact of the patent infringement will be to the detriment of Apple and to the benefit of Samsung.

And this bit about the battle of ecosystems:

They’ll then be Android people and the investment in the apps that they make to purchase on their Galaxy Tab will be something they can’t use on an Apple product.

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Ahead of the launch, Samsung wants iPhone 5 banished from Korea


An artist’s rendition of iPhone 5.

The Korea Times reports that Samsung “is seeking a complete ban” on the iPhone 5 sales in Korea – even before the handset is even released, let alone officially announced. Local carriers KT and SK Telecom have so far sold about 3.1 million iPhones in the country. The paper quotes an unnamed Samsung senior executive:

Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents. For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.

Another Samsung executive is “quite confident” about “a big breakthrough” provided Samsung wins in Germany, adding that “so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5″. The report goes on to mention that iPhone sports an LG Display-made screen, LG Innotek’s eight-megapixel camera, Samsung-made NAND flash and A5 chip and an NFC chip for wireless payment.

The twist in this case, of course, is the fact that Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer, buying displays, NAND flash memory and custom-built A4 and A5 chips for its products. It has been reported that Samsung may soon lose its iOS device processor contract as Apple turns to rival TSMC.

The manufacturing relationship means Samsung gets information about the innards of Apple’s non-released devices months before the actual manufacturing ramp up. This early access to Apple’s designs could have led Samsung to move with the iPhone 5 ban in Korea ahead of Apple’s official launch. On the other hand, Apple did not accuse Samsung yet of abusing its manufacturing contract to rip off Apple’s upcoming devices with its own products.

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Samsung targets iOS devices in France as Apple puts brakes on Motorola until Google merger is completed


This is a Samsung-branded Windows 8 tablet Microsoft is giving away to BUILD attendees today. 

The latest in the ongoing patent saga involving Apple, Google, Motorola and Samsung includes an unexpected twist as Samsung goes after iPhone and iPad with a complaint filed before a Paris district court in July. The filing alleges infringement of Samsung’s three technology patents, reports AFP. The first hearing is expected in December of this year.

Meanwhile, patent expert Florian Müller notes on his blog FOSSPatents that Apple has filed motions to temporarily halt two Motorola lawsuits until Google completes its $12.5 billion acquisition, which shook the technology world last month. Put simply, Apple argues Motorola waived its rights to sue when it transferred patents to Google. Apple wrote:

To further its pending acquisition by Google, Motorola has surrendered critical rights in the patents-in-suit, such that Motorola no longer has prudential standing to pursue this action. According to the publicly-filed Merger Agreement, Motorola has ceded control of the most basic rights regarding the patents-in-suit

As you know, Google has transferred some of the Motorola patents to HTC, in addition to the ones acquired from Palm and Openwave Systems. HTC then used those patents to counter-sue Apple. Back to Apple vs. Samsung…

Financial Times today opined that Samsung needs to hit the reset button, predicting a licensing agreement of sorts provided Apple succeeds in blocking Galaxy products in the U.S. next month. Contrary to the reports, the publication thinks “Apple is restricted from taking its chip business to Samsung’s rivals in Taiwan because Samsung offers a complete package of components that other firms cannot match”. However, there are indications that Apple’s been lowering Samsung orders for some time and it’s widely believed the company is eager to take its silicon business to TSMC beginning next year.

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Wow, Apple actually got Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned in Germany

The verdict is in.  German consumers won’t soon be able to pick up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

A Dusseldorf court today upheld the temporary sales ban it issued Aug. 9, rejecting Samsung’s bid to overturn it for the most part. The judges won’t ban sales in other European Union countries as Apple had sought, Presiding Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said when delivering the verdict.

The judge stopped at German borders instead of issuing a full EU wide ban but further rulings could see the ban spread.

“The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible,” Brueckner-Hofmann said. “For the informed customer there remains the predominant overall impression that the device looks” like the design Apple has protected in Europe.

The ruling is a big victory for Apple and as the Verge puts it, “the decision could foreshadow the future of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 and, honestly, any number of rectangular-shaped tablets in Germany as well.”

FOSSPatents mentions some other “oddities” which could play a role in the widening scope of the case:

 The Community design that the Düsseldorf Regional Court deems valid and infringed was also presented by Apple in its Dutch proceeding, but a judge in The Hague threw it out.

If the face of the Galaxy Tab is what is at issue, it isn’t Samsung that is at fault, it is Android.  Cross-posted at 9to5Google.

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Apple moves to pull Samsung phones and tablets from Japan, seeks damages

Apple’s patent infringement claims against Samsung now include twelve courts in nine countries on four continents. Reuters reported this morning that Apple is now formally suing Samsung in Japan and seeking to block sales of Samsung phones and tablets in the country:

Apple has filed a suit with the Tokyo District Court seeking the suspension of sales of Galaxy S and its sequel S II smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 7 in Japan, according to sources close to the matter. The first hearing was held on Wednesday, the source said.

The iPhone maker is seeking 100 million yen, or approximately $1.3 million, in damages. Apple previously had filed four complaints before the Tokyo District Court, according to patent expert Florian Müller. Coincidentally, Japan is also another high-revenue market for Apple. Other countries where Apple took Samsung to court include Germany, U.K., U.S., Australia and more.
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Apple successfully blocks Samsung from showing off Galaxy Tab 7.7 at IFA in Germany


(We got a look at the Tab 7.7 before it was pulled)

Apple won a pretty significant victory today in its attempts to block Samsung from selling its iPad competitor products in Germany and in greater Europe.  This week’s IFA show is a CES-like pan-European event which showcases new consumer products from just about everyone except Apple.

Most of the buzz this year however is around two of Samsung’s new products, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the Galaxy Note 5.3.  Both have 1280×800 SuperAMOLED Displays and run Android 3.2 but the Tab falls under the line of products that Apple is trying to block and is currently under a set of injunctions in various parts of the world.

Interestingly, Samsung was originally showing the 7.7 devices to reporters with “not for sale in Germany” stickers attached. However last night, Samsung started removing the devices from the floor and covering up the advertisements like the product never existed (below).

It appears that Apple got Samsung to block the whole Tab line.  The Tab 7.7 is much smaller than the iPad weighing only 334 grams, yet has a higher resolution screen – so it appears that Apple’s injunction is very broad.

Bloomberg reports:

Samsung, Apple’s closest rival in tablet computers, pulled the just-unveiled Galaxy Tab 7.7 out of the IFA consumer- electronics show in Berlin after a Dusseldorf court on Sept. 2 granted Apple’s request to ban sales and marketing of the product, James Chung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, said by telephone today.

“Samsung respects the court’s decision,” Chung said, adding that the company believes it “severely limits consumer choice in Germany.” Samsung will pursue all available options, including legal action, to defend its intellectual property rights, he said.

It will be interesting to see what direction this goes.  Will Apple be able to successfully block Samsung’s (and others’) tablets for sale across the world? There is some concern that if Apple doesn’t win in these cases, damages to Samsung could be significant.

Images via ThisismyNext, Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com Read more

Apple’s EU Honeycomb sue-age may carry a huge risk

Yesterday, Apple blocked Samsung’s Galaxy Tab in the EU as it had in Australia previously. Today, it is blocking Motorola’s XOOM.

According to Reuters, this is a high risk strategy for Apple maintaining its market share lead. The cases could take months, if not years to come to court and Apple will have to provide more substantial evidence in subsequent court cases that the design of the Galaxy infringed its patents or copied their designs in order to make any bans permanent. So, they aren’t done deals. And if Apple Loses, it will owe Samsung a lot of money.

If Apple loses it will be liable for the business lost by Samsung in the meantime.

“Apple has a strategy of filing patents, getting some protection and trying to prevent other people from entering the market in the short-term,” said Nathan Mattock, an intellectual property lawyer at Marque Lawyers in Sydney. “If Apple’s wrong it will have to pay Samsung a considerable amount of damages, so it’s potentially quite risky.”

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Fring adds native iPad 2 to its 4-way video conferencing device list

We’re expecting Skype’s iPad client at any moment now, but old Skype collaborator and new foe Fring already has lept ahead with the ability to video conference between four people, right in the iPad 2 window, at the same time.

The 5.1.1.2 update also includes bugfixes, drag and drop navigation, Bluetooth support and connectivity improvements.

More shots below: Read more