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Samsung Expands German Lawsuit To Include Emoticons

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Samsung has added four new patent claims to its lawsuit against Apple in the German courts

Apple and Samsung’s ongoing and increasingly bitter legal dispute has escalated yet further after the Korean company filed four new patent infringement claims in Germany.

One of these patents relates to how emoticons are entered into a phone, and increases the number of claims made by Samsung in the German regional court in Mannheim to seven, while Apple is suing Samsung over six patents.

Making Apple :-(

“(Samsung) made four more claims; two are standard-related patents and the other two are utility patents. And a court said it would make these claims separate from the April lawsuit,” said a Samsung spokesman.

These patents include methods for reporting inter-frequency measurement using Random Access Channel (RACH) messaging in a communication system and for configuring gain factors for uplink services in radio telecoms systems, as well as a system for converting data displayed on a mobile into speech data for output via loudspeaker.

Samsung’s most claim is one for an “emoticon input method for mobile terminal”, something that is unlikely to leave Apple smiling.

Despite the aggressive moves, Samsung has appeared to backtrack with regards to Apple products featuring Qualcomm baseband chips, such as the iPhone 4S.

“The short version is that this is a defensive move no matter how you look at it, and most likely it’s due to the setback Samsung suffered in France last week, where a motion for a preliminary injunction against the iPhone 4S was denied,” commented Foss Patents analyst Florian Mueller.

Earlier this month, a French court rejected Samsung’s request for a ban on the sale of the iPhone 4S in the country, labelling the lawsuit “out of proportion”. However Samsung has claimed that it has not waived its right to future patent disputes over the iPhone 4S, but rather it has decided to streamline the current lawsuit.

The court in Mannheim is due to announce a ruling on the earlier claims next March.

Worldwide disputes

In September, a German court decided to permanently ban the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country after Apple claimed that the design of the tablet was an imitation of its own iPad. This led Samsung to release a modified version of the device, the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, which featured a number of design alterations.

Apple was also granted a ban in Australia but it was overturned last month when the Australian Federal Court ruled that the decision was “clearly wrong”. However, Samsung’s Christmas plans were jeopardised when the ban was extended for another week so that Apple could appeal to the Australian High Court.

Apple also failed in its attempts to gain a preliminary injunction in the US District Court in Northern California after it alleged Samsung’s smartphones and tablets resembled Apple’s iPhone and iPad too closely.