Samsung starts its defence in patent dispute with Apple

By Graeme Burton
15 Aug 2012 View Comments
The iPhone 4v and the Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Samsung has opened its defence in its patent dispute with Apple.

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The company is opening with its own expert witnesses in a bid to refute the claims made by Apple that Samsung's smartphones directly copied Apple's design patents, and to assert its own counter-claim that Apple is infringing Samsung's mobile technology intellectual property.

Early witnesses include Clifton Forlines, who worked on DiamondTouch in 2004. DiamondTouch was a "multi-touch", interactive PC interface produced by a company called Circle Twelve and the product was presented by Forlines as an example of prior art on Apple's patent claim over "pinch and zoom" touch features in its iOS operating system.

The most intriguing evidence to emerge from the case so far this week was Apple's "non-aggression pact" with Microsoft that obliges the software giant to steer clear of any form of "cloning" of Apple's products.

The initial deal was reached in 1997 after Microsoft injected $150m into Apple, which was then struggling. At the same time, Microsoft was being assailed by claims of anti-competitive behaviour and needed to keep its rival in business.

However, by 2010, Apple was pursuing Samsung for licences to cover all the phones that it produced, not just for the smartphones that it claimed infringed its design patents. Indeed, according to documents filed in the case, Apple was seeking royalties for Symbian, Bada and even Windows-based phones produced by Samsung, as well as Android.

Bada is a Samsung-developed platform designed to run on top of either Linux or a real-time operating system. It has since been rolled into the Tizen initiative.

Apple's licensing proposals to Samsung suggest that Apple has assumed intellectual property rights over the whole category of the mobile phone.

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