Now that the big court-case between Apple and Samsung has reached its final stretch, Sammy is about to face the music. As a reaction to Cupertino’s legal action, the Korean firm has been attempting in various ways to ban the sale of its counter-part’s products. We’ve heard already that they’re keen on banning the iPhone 5 just because it uses LTE. An earlier suit relating to 4 very non-descript “patents” has been virtually thrown out of court by Judge E. James Gildea. The 4 patents:
- claims 75-76 and 82-84 of U.S. Patent No. 7,706,348 on an “apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system” (an allegedly UMTS-essential patent)
- claims 9-16 of U.S. Patent No. 7,486,644 on a “method and apparatus for transmitting and receiving data with high reliability in a mobile communication system supporting packet data transmission” (allegedly UMTS-essential)
- claims 5, 9-10 and 13 of U.S. Patent No. 6,771,980 on a “method for dialing in a smart phone”
- claims 1-5 of U.S. Patent No. 7,450,114 on “user interface systems and methods for manipulating and viewing digital documents”
The judge deemed them void since ““no domestic industry exists” for them. The big deal here is that the first two are patents that apply to standard-essential patents. In other words, there’s no other way to achieve the outcome without using that specific technology. So, Samsung cannot sue Apple for those, in much the same way that the iPhone 5’s LTE chip cannot be subject to similar treatment. When there’s no other way to do it companies are – by law – required to work out a reasonable licensing agreement. In the past, Samsung has attempted to charge Apple significantly more for the licenses than what it expects from other companies. Apple doesn’t pay, hence the lawsuit.
It’s all getting a little ridiculous. But, until there’s a radical patent law shake-up, this is almost certainly not the end of Apple and Samsung’s legal tussles.