Samsung draws iPad mini into patent battle
SAMSUNG has filed papers at a US court alleging that Apple’s iPad mini, introduced this month, infringes eight patented technologies.
It is the latest salvo in the rivals’ global legal battle. The Korean giant asked a judge on Wednesday to add Apple’s 7.9-inch tablet to a list of products it claims violate patents on radio signalling technologies, among others.
Both firms are seeking to ensure the others’ most recent products are drawn into the fight, which could lead to sales bans. Last week Apple successfully applied to add Google’s most recent mobile operating system, Android 4.2, Jelly Bean, to the case.
The case is separate to one decided by a jury at the same court earlier this year. It awarded Apple more than a billion dollars in damages after finding that Samsung copied the iPhone and iPad in its Galaxy range of smartphone and tablets.
In a minor victory for Samsung, also on Wednesday, the judge in the current case ordered Apple to reveal the financial details of its patent licensing deal with HTC, signed on 10 November.
Legal experts say the question of which patents are covered by the HTC settlement, and licensing details, could be instrumental in Samsung's efforts to thwart Apple's subsequent quest for a permanent sales ban on its products.
Samsung has argued it is "almost certain" that the HTC deal covers some of the same patents involved in its own litigation with Apple. It seeks to show Apple is willing to license its technology if the price is right.
The court ordered Apple to produce a full copy of the settlement agreement "without delay", though it will only be revealed to Samsung’s legal team.
It has been speculated that HTC has agreed to pay Apple a royalty of up to $8 on each smartphone it sells. The firm’s chief executive firmly denied that figure, however.
"I think that these estimates are baseless and very, very wrong,” he said. “It is a outrageous number, but I'm not going to comment anything on a specific number.”
“I believe we have a very, very happy settlement and a good ending.”
The settlement of Apple and HTC ended their worldwide litigation and brought to a close one of the first major flare-ups in the global smartphone patent wars. Apple first sued HTC in 2010, setting in motion a legal conflagration that has since circled the globe and engulfed the biggest names in mobile technology.