'No iPhone without Samsung patents'
By Kim Yoo-chul
''The truth never lies. Without Samsung-owned wireless patents, it’s impossible for the Cupertino-based Apple to produce its handsets,’’ said Samsung’s mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun in a brief meeting with local reporters on his way to the company’s main office in downtown Seoul, Wednesday.
''As you know, Samsung is very strong in terms of portfolios of wireless patents,’’ the executive added.
The remarks come after the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) decided to review an earlier ruling that Apple didn’t infringe four patents of Samsung Electronics in its mobile devices including the iPhone and iPad.
The USITC decision means Samsung grabbed the chance to persuade judges that Apple’s i-branded products infringed on Samsung-owned wireless patents. The USITC will make its final decision in January next year. If the government agency sides with Samsung, then Apple can’t sell iPhones and iPads even on its home-soil.
''The re-evaluation decision by the USITC doesn’t necessarily mean Samsung is better-positioned for the fight with Apple. But Samsung will do its best,’’ Shin told reporters.
''Samsung’s legal team is effectively responding to this fight. Yes, a new trial for the case is a possibility,’’ the executive stressed. Shin’s remarks were confirmed by its spokesman Park Han-yong.
The ITC plans to discuss in the review issues relating to standards-essential patents, including whether an undertaking to license a patent on FRAND, which is short for fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory precludes a ban on a product if it infringes the patent.
Standards-essential patents have been invoked in a number of infringement disputes in the U.S., Europe and other countries.
Shin also confirmed Samsung isn’t currently negotiating with the iPhone maker for a possible peace treaty. But the executive declined to elaborate further.
There have been some speculations that the Suwon-based Samsung may negotiate with Apple to reach a settlement after Taiwan’s HTC, which is a member of the Google Android community, agreed to pay 300 billion to Apple.
Apple and HTC had settled their global patent battle with a 10-year licensing agreement. Patent experts in Seoul said Apple is in talks with Google to reach a separate settlement in an attempt to put more focus on the fight with Samsung.
Shin will attend next year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (ICES) in the U.S. desert city of Las Vegas and talk more about its legal strategies against Apple. Its CEO Kwon Oh-hyun will miss the world’s most-influential technology trade fair in order to show that there’s a ''Chinese Wall’’ between Samsung’s component and finished goods businesses.
When asked if Samsung plans to exhibit another Galaxy-branded smartphone, the mobile chief Shin said; ''This is a secret.’’
The Korea Times was the first to report Samsung’s plan to develop Galaxy S4, which will be released in February’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in the Spanish city of Barcelona. The new Galaxy will use 5-inch OLED screen.
After the story was out Samsung used its official twitter to deny the new handset development plan, though Samsung officials later admitted that it was developing the Galaxy S4.