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Apple Lengthens Laundry List of Patent Complaints Against Samsung

Apple Lengthens Laundry List of Patent Complaints Against Samsung

Rumor has it Apple and Samsung may be on the verge of settling their patent problems, but in the meantime, Apple has fattened its complaint to include a slew of Samsung products that weren't originally mentioned. Most cases of this sort don't actually reach the trial stage, primarily because the stakes are too high and the outcomes too uncertain for either party to take the risk.

By Erika Morphy MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
06/20/11 3:24 PM PT

Apple has upped the ante in its patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung, even as rumors swirl that the two companies are in talks to settle.

It's more than likely the two firms are negotiating a resolution, despite the unusually sweeping charges they have flung at each other. For instance, in its latest filing, Apple accuses Samsung of copying several of Apple's features and technologies in virtually almost every product it has ever made.

In previous filings, Apple named the Samsung Captivate, Continuum, Vibrant, Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, Indulge, Mesmerize, Showcase, Fascinate, Nexus S, Gem, Transform, Intercept, Acclaim and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The amended complaint adds even more to the list of culprit devices: the Droid Charge, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S (i9000), Gravity, Infuse 4G, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, Sidekick, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Galaxy S II.

Neither company responded to MacNewsWorld's requests for comment in time for publication.

Common Pattern

The two firms are likely to settle because that is usually what happens in patent suits -- even between hated enemies, Stan Gibson, a partner at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell, told MacNewsWorld. "And when there is a rumor of a settlement in the works, there is almost always some truth to it."

The stakes are too high for either side to allow the case to actually go to court, Alexander Poltorak, CEO of General Patent Corporation, told MacNewsWorld.

The companies' settlement will involve a cross-license and, possibly, a payment to compensate for imbalances in their respective IP portfolios, predicted Poltorak. "If the recent settlement between Apple and Nokia is any indicator, we can expect the case between Apple and Samsung to be settled soon as well."

Sophisticated Patent Portfolios

Neither company would be assured of a slam dunk in court, explained David Makman of the Law Offices of David A. Makman.

Apple has a huge patent portfolio and sophisticated patent strategies in place," he told MacNewsWorld, and "Samsung has an equally sophisticated IP strategy and has extensive experience in IP litigation.

"Whether they copied or not is a matter for the courts," continued Makman, "but assuming they had competent IP lawyers, Samsung is likely to have patents that will be of enough concern to Apple that the copying allegations won't be the determining factor."

Global Play

Moreover, Samsung has taken this fight to courts in other countries, including Germany and Japan, Makman noted, which suggests that Samsung has the stronger global IP strategy.

"I would expect they knew exactly what they were risking before they picked this fight," he remarked.

"In general, U.S. companies appear to be a little behind the rest of the world in figuring out effective IP strategies overseas, especially in Asia," observed Makman, "though Apple's Asian IP strategy -- especially its branding strategy -- is probably stronger than that of most U.S. companies."

For those reasons, Makman was not willing to bet on a quick settlement, despite the rumors.

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