Apple escalates patent war with Samsung


Ongoing battle over iPhone and iPad patents could stop sale of Samsung devices, and allow Apple to negotiate favourable settlement

Apple has upped the ante in its ongoing patent war with Samsung with a refined and expanded claim that could lay the ground for an injunction stopping the sale of a large number of the South Korean firm’s Android-based devices such as the Galaxy Tab (pictured left) and  Samsung Captivate.

The updated claim uses stronger language, and also now refers to forthcoming Samsung devices such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Galaxy S II, and a range of 4G devices designed to take advantage of next generation data services.

Apple has said it is considering whether to press for a preliminary injunction against Samsung which could stop the sale of existing Samsung products and delay the launch forthcoming devices.

A recent patent dispute between LG and Sony led to tens of thousands of PlayStation 3 consoles being seized by European customs officials.

If Samsung believed a court would be likely to grant a preliminary injunction, it would put Apple in a commanding position from which to negotiate a settlement quickly. The battle between the firms has surprised some, as Samsung is one of Apple’s biggest component suppliers.

Apple’s claim, originally filed in April, refers to both hardware and software patents as well as the overall look and feel of devices such as the iPhone and iPad (pictured right). The original 38 page claim now covers 63 pages.

Samsung initially responded to Apple’s original claim with countersuits in South Korea, Japan and Germany, and later also filed a countersuit in California, where Apple’s orignal claim was filed.

As a result of Apple’s claim, Samsung has been told to provide the firm’s lawyers with access to devices such as the Galaxy S2, which have not yet been released in the US.

As a result, Samsung has filed a request for its lawyers to be given access to the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 to enable it to assess Apple’s adherence to a specific design style, despite the fact that neither  device has been announced.

Samsung argues such disclosure is necessary to respond to allegations that it is copying Apple’s design across its range of devices.

Apple’s revised claim comes just days after the firm settled a patent dispute with Nokia. As a result of the settlement, Apple agreed to pay a lump sum and regular royalties for patents held by the Finnish mobile maker.

The settlement is expected to provide a much-needed boost Nokia’s results for the current quarter.