Apple Patently Under Attack From Samsung And Via


Samsung in the Netherlands and Via in the US are both trying to get Apple products taken off the shelves

Apple’s aggressive pose over patents has brought it under attack. Its favourite punchbag Samsung has filed to have the iPad and iPhone banned in from sale in Holland, and Taiwan’s Via Technologies is taking on a bigger challenge and attempting to hit Apple in the US.

Apple successfully won a ban on the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones in the Netherlands after accusing the South Korean firm of copying its product designs. Now Samsung is hitting back with a mightier force and accusing Apple of patent infringement.

Patents Cases Are Up In The Air

The patents concerned are embedded in 3G and UMTS mobile telephony standards but it could be that Apple only has to pay to licence the patents and the Samsung initiative will flounder.

The case will hang on the FRAND (Fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) licensing obligation required by standard-setting organisations (SSOs) for members that participate in the standard-setting process. This obliges the patent holders to issue licences to whoever asks for them for a fair and reasonable charge.

Before the injunction case can go ahead, Apple’s lawyers have requested a hearing to address the FRAND issues. The Hague district court judge has granted Apple’s request and there will be a hearing next Monday that will only focus on these issues.

If Samsung manages to win the argument on Monday, it has four separate patent hearings lined up. The patents relate to methods of managing the data connection and speed between a mobile station (device) and a network base station.

The FRAND hearing could have repercussions on similar patent cases that Samsung has raised against Apple in the UK, US, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea.

If the hearing goes Apple’s way, the injunction hearings will be cancelled – assuming Apple pays Samsung the FRAND licensing fee.

Chips May Be Down For Apple

The Via Technologies case may not be so easily settled. The company has filed a patent infringement suit against Apple in the Delaware courts and opted for a jury hearing.

The semiconductor maker, based in Taipei, is seeking an order to prohibit the sale in the US of Apple products containing processors that employ Via’s designs, according to the filed complaint.

“The products at issue generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices,” Via’s complaint states.

The lawsuit targets the custom ARM-based A4 and A5 processors used mostly in Apple’s phones and tablets, specifying: iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPhone 4 CDMA, iPod Touch 4th generation, and Apple TV 2nd generation.

The disadvantage for Via is that it will be fighting Apple on its home ground and patriotic feelings may make it hard to find an impartial jury.

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