By Jordan Crook
Two months before Apple (AAPL) won its import ban against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, Samsung (GM:SSNLF) was launching an attack further West. The South Korea-based company filed a complaint against Apple back in July alleging infringement on three mobile-related patents with regards to the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, and both models of the iPad. The first hearing is expected to go down in December.
Unlike the case in Germany, these Samsung patents are related to technology rather than design, so that EU-wide Community Design shouldn’t come into play here. At least not for now. A source close to the matter said the Samsung patents are focused on UMTS, which is a form of third-gen phone technology related to high-speed data transfer, reports Agence France-Presse.
This is one of many patent wars between Apple and Samsung that have been ongoing throughout the world. Japan, Australia, the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and now France have all been affected. Most poignantly, Germany has been excluded from any Galaxy Tab 10.1 fun just last week, though Samsung’s Korean unit can still sell the slate throughout the rest of the EU.
As far as the design patents have gone, Apple seems to have the advantage. However, Samsung filed a rebuttal with the U.S. court system citing 2001: A Space Odyssey as an example of prior art for the tablet design Apple has on lock. With software and technology patents, the lines get blurred. Oftentimes the patent describes the technology in incredibly broad terms, which seem to encompass just about every one of the right-holder’s and their competitors’ products.
If Samsung wins in France and actually lands a blow to Apple’s killer products (iPhones and iPads), then we might finally see a settlement here. And that would be the best thing for everyone. When it comes down to it, this is more about competition than property rights.
Of course, companies have every right to protect that which they created. But when it extends as far as it has here, it starts to become obvious that these companies fear each other in the market. Anyone who should be buying a smartphone or tablet, should know the difference between an iPad and a GalTab. I’d expect that every Apple fanboy and Samsung loyalist would rather see a settlement than a win for their company of choice. Why? Because this is getting ridiculous.