Samsung, Apple in legal stalemate
By Kim Yoo-chul
The legal battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple over patent infringements is showing signs of a stalemate.
Some non-Samsung affiliated patent experts say it is time for Apple to drop its anti-Android crusade, bringing an end not just to its fight with Samsung but also to other Android-using smartphone makers.
It is not immediately clear whether Apple will change its tack and become conciliatory.
A source at Samsung confirmed its stance of “no reconciliation” with Apple with its leadership wanting to see its fight through to victory.
In the latest development, Apple’s appeal to have Samsung’s Galaxy tablets banned in the Netherlands was rejected.
This followed a ruling in Germany that favored Apple.
``It’s reasonable that Apple should fully realize that battles aimed at crushing the `Android alliances’ are not truly helping its operation in anyway,’’ said an expert who is familiar with the Apple-Samsung fight. This view is gaining momentum among some experts but it is highly unlikely that the U.S. firm will change its stance overnight, considering its strong performance.
But it is widely believe that the two tech giants will be left with few other options except cross-licensing deals, an industrial norm to resolve an entanglement of a no-holds barred patent war.
In the Dutch case, Apple sued Samsung as part of its effort to impose a sales injunction on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. But the appeals court confirmed a lower court ruling and denied the request.
Just before the ruling, Samsung’s effort to ban the sale of Apple products in Germany was also denied.
Apple’s representative in Korea said that he was not in a position to comment.
The chances of the lawsuits coming to an end any time soon look slim as Samsung is still insisting it doesn’t have plans to mend souring ties with Apple.
``Officially, our stance toward Apple has not changed. If Apple approaches us with a goodwill gesture, Samsung will consider whether to accept, that’s the only condition,’’ said a high-ranking executive.
Meanwhile, Samsung made a formal request with the U.S. District Court in California for Apple to completely reveal the details of its contract with wireless chipmaker Qualcomm as the company believes they will provide ``critical evidence’’ to strengthen its case.
``Apple buying Qualcomm chips is as good as paying for the patents,’’ said a document obtained by The Korea Times. Qualcomm is currently in a cross-licensing agreement with Samsung.
Another court decision is slated for this week in Germany. ``The upcoming decision by a court in Germany is more than critical. Samsung’s strategies might be different according to it,’’ said the unnamed Samsung executive.
``I doubt that Samsung wants to see a complete ban on Apple products. Samsung aims to be better positioned to have an edge in cross-licensing deals,’’ said a patent expert in Seoul, adding he expects to see a peace treaty between the technology giants.
Apple brought a suit against Samsung over claims its iPad design patents were infringed on by Samsung’s Galaxy tablet.
Samsung immediately countersued, although Apple is the biggest component buyer from the Korean firm.
The latter claimed that the former had infringed in its mobile wireless patents. Since then, the dispute has continued to spread to over 30 court cases in 10 different jurisdictions.
``Apple CEO Tim Cook should understand that the fight with Samsung hasn’t been successful so far. Apple relinquished its lead in smartphones to Samsung. Apple should return to normal business operations that are reasonable,’’ said the patent expert.