Samsung and Apple warring over patents again

Samsung Tab and iPad side by side Apple and Samsung are suing each other around the world, based on a number of technology patents.

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Samsung and Apple have gone to court once again in their ongoing, tit-for-tat patent war.

The companies went before judges in Australia and the Netherlands on Monday, each asking for the other's products to be banned from sale.

Apple's lawyers in Sydney claimed that Samsung's Galaxy Tab infringed patents relating to its touchscreen interface.

In the Hague, Samsung launched a counter attack, seeking an embargo on iPads and iPhones over 3G patents.

To date, Apple has been more successful in using the courts to hamper its rival's commercial ambitions.

  • The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently banned from sale in Germany.
  • A ban on sales of Samsung smartphones is due to come into effect in the Netherlands in October.
  • Samsung has postponed its tablet launch plans in Australia while its legal battle there is ongoing.

Samsung has yet to score a significant victory against Apple, although it has filed suits in a number of countries, including France and South Korea.

Both companies also have actions pending in the United States.

Look and feel

In Monday's Australian hearing, Apple attorney Steven Burley told the court that the rival tablet resembled the iPad 2 in "form, factor and shape" according to the AFP news agency.

"It must have been as plain as the (Sydney) Opera House to Samsung that the Apple patents were right in front of its eyes, and they were wide open," he added.

The discussion of both products' look and feel was similar to arguments laid out in earlier European cases, although Apple is also claiming that specific patents have been infringed. These relate to the Galaxy Tab's unlocking, scrolling and zooming features, said the Sydney Morning Herald.

Samsung has reportedly filed a counter-claim in Australia, based on 3G mobile telecoms patents it holds.

Those pieces of technology also formed the basis of Samsung's claim in the Netherlands.

The Korean manufacturer claimed that Apple failed to license patented designs used inside the iPhone and iPad.

Apple argued that it should not have to, because it is already making payment to Intel and Infineon which, in turn, license those Samsung patents.

A Dutch reporter for Webwereld, Andreas Udo de Haes, tweeted from the court that Samsung said it had offered licensing terms that were rejected by its US rival.

As the hearing continued, patent blogger Florian Mueller told BBC News: "I believe an injunction is rather unlikely. Samsung may be entitled to a royalty payment, which requires some detailed technical analysis, but Apple will most likely continue to be able to sell."

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