[Updated 6:45pm with more patently phone-y commentary]
Samsung (LON:SMSN) (SEO:005930) is reacting strongly to yesterday's iPhone 4S release date announcement, in a bid to prevent its sale in Europe. It alleges that the new pomaceous shiny infringes on Sansung patents, and so has requested injunctions in France and Italy, while looking into adding more countries.
- On the one hand, break out the popcorn and enjoy the latest instalment of the Apple vs. Samsung soap opera.
- On The Other Hand, it sounds like the intellectual property in question may be 'essential' industry-standard patents; in which case, Samsung is duty-bound to license them to Apple.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: BeyoncÃ©, the giant metal chicken, has a Facebook page...
Mikael RicknÃ¤s rÃ«pÃ¶rts:
The iPhone 4S was only announced [yesterday; this] could derail plans for it to go on sale on Oct. 14 in France and on Oct. 28 in Italy. ... The filings with courts...will each cite two patent infringements related to wireless telecommunications technology, specifically...WCDMA standards for 3G mobile handsets.
Samsung plans to file preliminary injunctions in other countries after further review. ... This is just the latest development in the ever growing battle between...Apple and Samsung...covering cases in Asia, Europe and North America.
Chris Davies adds:
Samsung claims that Apple “has continued to flagrantly violate our intellectual property rights...it is now necessary to take legal action to protect our innovation.” ... [T]he company says it plans to file further demands...in other countries “after further review.”
Last month, an unnamed company exec told Korean newspapers that...Samsung intend to make as much of a nuisance of itself as possible. ... “it would be impossible for [Apple] to sell its i-branded products without using our patents.”
Christian Oliver reminds us of the background:
Conflict between the two companies erupted in April when Apple sued Samsung for...“slavishly” copying the iPhone and iPad. ... Samsung, the world’s biggest technology company by sales, denies the charge.
The dispute cuts to the heart of the complex relationship between Apple and Samsung. ... Samsung is also a core supplier of chips to Apple.
Samsung officials have been surprised by the ability of Apple’s lawyers to draw blood in rich Western markets. ... A protracted legal dispute in Australia is also delaying the release of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 there. ... In recent weeks, Samsung has taken a far more belligerent stance on the cases.
But Florian Mueller is deeply troubled:
Very importantly, Samsung's announcement declares those patents to be "essential", which is an incredibly important term. ... [It means Samsung] has an obligation to grant licenses to...Apple on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms...there are two questions to be analyzed by a court: Does Apple have to pay? And if so, how much can Samsung ask for?
Many may think that Samsung is right to seek an injunction since that's what Apple does. ... But we're talking about two completely different types of patents. ... Apple simply doesn't have an obligation to grant a license...because those patents aren't standards-related. Samsung, however, made FRAND commitments...and must honor them.
Samsung's determination to fight hard is admirable. ... I don't support some of Apple's overreaching claims. ... But the use of standards patents as a weapon is something I cannot support.
So here's Peter Scott, with a colourful metaphor:
With competition between in the smartphone market heating up and both companies acting like patent trolls, the legal dispute seems destined to escalate.
And Alex Mohacs dampens the mood a tiny bit:
[T]he move by Samsung is not quite as dramatic as it may first sound. Samsung already have outstanding international patent infringement claims against the previous three iPhone models...so this is really just adding the 4S ... The timing of the move is slightly more revealing...less than 24 hours after Apple introduced the iPhone 4S, this is a statement of intent to aggressively pursue Apple...at any opportunity.
It’s not yet clear how this will impact the consumer - more will be known on October 14, when the...4S is slated for release in France [and] a fortnight later in Italy.
Meanwhile, the Samsung fandroids cheer on the Korean underdog:
Samsung, just go and kick some ***. ... I never bothered much about brand following, but apple just made me stick with Samsung.
Up yours, Apple.
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.