Apple, Samsung Agree to Narrow Patent Infringement Claims

By Beecher Tuttle May 08, 2012

At the behest of the judge overseeing their ongoing patent lawsuits, Apple and Samsung have each agreed to narrow the number of infringement claims made on each other to avoid subjecting jurors to "cruel and unusual punishment."

The prodding from California District Judge Lucy Koh, led Apple to cut its patent infringement claims in half, while Samsung agreed drop five of its 12 asserted patents, according to intellectual property expert Florian Mueller, who referred to the concessions as "substantial."

But even with the narrowing of the claims, the relationship between Samsung and Apple can still be described as venomous. Apple has claimed that Samsung has made its name in the mobile space by building "copycat products," and has even suggested that Samsung is dragging its heels with the trial to continue to harm Apple.

"While the parties have been readying the case for trial Samsung has vaulted into first place in worldwide sales of smartphones, with massive sales of its copycat products," Mueller quoted Apple as saying. "Samsung's infringement of Apple's intellectual property has already resulted in damages that reach billions of dollars. It is critical to Apple to start trial on July 30, to put an end to Samsung's continuing infringement."

Samsung's recent success can't be overstated. The South Korean company shipped 42.4 million smartphones in Q1, 267 percent more than it sold in last year's first quarter, while Apple sold 35.1 million units, good for second in the smartphone race. Samsung also beat out Nokia to become the top overall mobile phone vendor in world.

Apple believes that Samsung's success can be directly attributed to alleged infringements on its iPhone and iPad patents.

Samsung, meanwhile, says that Apple's intellectual property only covers "extremely minor user interface features, design patents and trade dresses that offer far narrower protection than Apple urges." Rather than battling in the marketplace, Apple has instead chosen to "compete through litigation," says Samsung.

The hot-tempered legal battle between the two tech giants began back in April of 2011 when Apple accused Samsung of ripping off its iPhone and iPad designs. Samsung has since sued Apple for allegedly infringing on its wireless technology, leading to ongoing suits and temporary injunctions on nearly every continent.

The U.S. trial is tentatively scheduled for this summer, but Judge Koh has hinted that the proceedings could be pushed back if various concessions weren't made.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributor

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