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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Did Motorola just win an injunction barring Apple from selling mobile products in Germany?

Florian Mueller isn’t a patent attorney but he plays one on his blog FOSSPatents.  For better or worse, he’s often quoted in the ongoing mobile technology patent battles where the winner is often Apple.  He’s also German so he probably understands this new, disturbing ruling a lot better than us (Our German is “rostig”)

Apple knows what it’s like to win injunctions against rivals. It won four of them against Samsung (two in Germany, one in the Netherlands and most recently one in Australia; all of them preliminary). Now it seems that Apple has just come out on the losing end of a patent infringement lawsuit. I have received a copy of what purports to be a default judgment by the Mannheim Regional Court barring Apple from selling in Germany — the single largest market in Europe – any mobile devices infringing on two Motorola Mobility patents and determining that Apple owes Motorola Mobility damages for past infringement since April 19, 2003.

If true, this would be a Hindenburg-sized backfire for Apple’s legal efforts in Europe.

The two patents and their US equivalents, Statements from Apple and Motorola and an update from Mueller below: Read more

Market shifts: Samsung beats iPhone in sales, ZTE passes Apple in global cell phone volume

The third quarter of 2011 marks a shift in the cell phone biz as Samsung takes the smartphone crown from Apple and China’s ZTE rises to become the world’s fourth-largest cell phone vendor by volume and Apple slides to fifth place. The bad news for Cupertino arrives just as the company for the first time in years missed Street expectations after shipping 17.07 million iPhones in the September quarter, a modest 21 percent annual growth and a notable 16 percent quarterly decline in units. As you recall, Apple in the June quarter sold 20.34 million iPhones, allowing them to beat Nokia and Samsung and become the world’s leading smartphone vendor, prompting Samsung to stop divulging smartphone and tablet shipments for competitive reasons.

Everyone was waiting for the new iPhone 4S.

Samsung today posted their quarterly earnings and they passed iPhone by an estimated ten million units. According to Reuters which cited a Strategy Analytics survey, Samsung shipped about 27.8 million smartphones, up nearly four times annually and 44 percent sequentially. This gave Samsung a 23.8 percent global market share in smartphones vs. 14.8 percent for Apple. Such a strong growth is attributed to their Galaxy smartphones, particularly the Galaxy S II model which sold ten million units in the five months since its introduction. Strategy Analytics attributed Samsung’s success to “a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution”, adding:

After just one quarter in the top spot, Apple slipped behind Samsung to second position and captured 15 percent share. Apple’s global smartphone growth rate slowed to just 21 percent annually in Q3 2011, its lowest level for two years. We believe Apple’s growth during the third quarter was affected by consumers and operators awaiting the launch of the new iPhone 4S in the fourth quarter, volatile economic conditions in several key countries, and tougher competition from Samsung’s popular Galaxy S II model.

Apple also slid to fifth place in Strategy Analytics’s worldwide cell phone rankings as ZTE shipped 18.5 million handsets for a five percent global market share. Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the October 4 iPhone 4S introduction that iPhone had five percent share of the global cell phone market, hinting at Apple’s phone strategy:


via Fortune

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More details on the iPad 3′s 2048×1536 resolution display

CNET’s Brooke Crothers has heard some information about the iPad 3′s upcoming 264PPI display. As we’ve heard a lot in the past, it will be a 2048×1536 resolution display as long as the Korean display manufacturers, Samsung and LG, can produce them in large numbers. According to his source, there could be some problems building it in the monstrous quantities that Apple demands.

The closest that iPad display manufacturers like LG Display and Samsung can get is 2048×1536 resolution display, according to the source. That’s a PPI of 264, twice the 132 PPI on the iPad 2.

But whether manufacturers can make them in volumes that Apple demands is the question. “They have production plans for 2,048×1,536 displays. Starting in November. But those are only plans at this point,” said the source, referring to LG and Samsung.

“It’s not a question of making just one. That, of course, can be done. The challenge is making lots of them,” the source said. “This is a quantum leap in pixel density. This hasn’t been done before.”

If manufacturers are not able to hit the volumes necessary for the higher resolution, there is an interim option of 1,600×1,200, according to the source.

The display is also expected to have a brightness of 550 nits. That’s pretty bright, as the typical laptop display panel tops out at about 350 nits.

I don’t think it is as easy as dropping the resolution down to 1600×1200. Apps don’t scale that easily even if the aspect ratio is the same. If for some reason, they can’t pump out the 2048×1536 in sufficient numbers (and Samsung is already testing better ones), Apple will continue with the same resolution….or wait until they can produce enough high resolution displays.

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Samsung looks to make Apple parts beyond 2012 and into 2013-2014


Samsung manufactures the Apple-designed A5 chip found inside iPhone 4S and provides 512MB DDR2 RAM for the processor.

Samsung and Apple are working towards a resolution to the differences that have been plaguing their long-standing relationship, which culminated with some twenty patent infringement claims filed before courts in a dozen countries around the world. Quoting industry sources, Korea Times, asserted Monday that Samsung might provide Apple with custom-built A6 chips for upcoming new iPhone and iPad models.

Today, Yonhap News reports that Samsung COO Lee Jae-yong said his company would continue to supply the Cupertino, California client with crucial components, including Apple’s in-house designed A-family of chips powering their iOS devices. The supply chain ties with Apple, he told reporters upon arriving at a Seoul airport, continue to be long-term. The executive sat down the previous day with Apple CEO Tim Cook following a private memorial service for Steve Jobs, to which he had been invited. His two-hour meeting with Apple’s boss touched on parts for the 2013-2014 period, he told journalists:

For the 2013-2014 period, we discussed how best to supply even better parts.

The executive, pictured below the fold, also spoke of “a need to compete in a fair manner for the benefit of the consumer”, adding “this stance existed in the past, is taking place now and will occur in the future”. Another indication of attempts to diffuse the ugly legal brawl comes in another report quoting Samsung’s mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun as saying that the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, which was unveiled yesterday with great fanfare, is designed to bypass potential legal attacks from Apple:

Now we will avoid everything we can and take patents very seriously. We will see if it will be 100 percent free [from Apple lawsuits]. I think it is just a start and [the lawsuits] will last for a considerable time. I don’t think there is much gain [from lawsuits against Apple]. What we are losing is the pride in our brand.

Now, despite Apple’s rumored chips deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Apple reportedly isn’t taking risks. The company sold a quarter billion iOS devices to date and hopes to grow sales even faster in the years ahead.

Apart from Samsung’s semiconductor fab in Austin, Texas, other chip vendors may not be capable of producing mobile processors for Apple in volume, without affecting quality and all the while meeting Apple’s high standards. Remember, we’re talking up to 200 million chips for iPhones, iPads and iPods in 2012. As for Apple cozying up to TSMC…
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