Saturday, June 18, 2011

Apple Broadens Legal Complaint Against Samsung

With more than $70 billion in cash, Apple could buy out struggling Research In Motion, Nokia, Motorola and HTC. But for now the iPhone maker is setting its sights on putting the kibosh on Samsung's mobile Relevant Products/Services-phone designs.

Apple on Thursday amended the complaint it filed against Samsung in April. Apple still maintains that the mobile-device maker is using too many Apple ideas in its products. But Apple has found something more to beef about.

In April, Apple flat-out accused Samsung of stealing ideas from the iPad Relevant Products/Services and the iPhone. Apple filed suit in U.S. District Court in Northern California alleging Samsung trespassed on its patents and its trademark with the Galaxy product line, which includes the Galaxy S smartphone Relevant Products/Services and the Galaxy Tab tablet Relevant Products/Services.

More Devices, More Infringements

Now Apple is adding more trespasses to the list, focusing on Samsung's Nexus 4G, Sidekick, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Droid Charge, and eight other devices. In all, Apple said 15 of Samsung's devices "slavishly" copy the iPhone and iPad. Apple added three new violated patents to the suit, including a touchscreen-related patent, a UI-related patent, and a multi-touch hardware patent.

Apple is also accusing Samsung of unfair competition. The iPad maker seeks injunctions as well as actual and punitive damages against its one-time ally. Apple also wants the court to rule that the alleged infringement was willful. Samsung hasn't responded to the latest accusations, but previously said it would "respond actively to this legal action taken against us through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property."

Earlier this week, Apple settled a patent dispute with Nokia. Apple signed a license agreement with Nokia to settle all litigation between the companies. Apple will make an undisclosed one-time payment to Nokia and pay ongoing royalties.

Will Apple, Nokia Team Up?

"Apple is under the belief that pretty much the entire Android ecosystem was stolen from them. The belief is founded in the fact that much of the iPhone development occurred while (former Google Relevant Products/Services CEO) Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board and Steve Jobs was mentoring the Google founders," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "Google has no deep IP portfolio. So it certainly looks like they copied somebody, and Apple is pretty convinced it was them."

In terms of Apple's willingness to settle with Nokia, Enderle warned not to look at the deal in terms of the Android patent wars. Nokia has a deep patent portfolio, for one, and Microsoft is already in a cross-licensing deal with the company. Neither Apple nor Nokia believe the other cheated to find success in the technology market, Enderle said.

"Both companies seem to agree that if anyone cheated, it was Google. Nokia and Apple are of one common mind, and that is that Google is stealing from both of them," Enderle said. "So I think you are going to see some coordinated efforts from Nokia and Apple going forward."

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