Apple ends Samsung and Qualcomm patent truce

Today old Sammy and Apple continue their battle in the courts over patent infringement, this time in Australia with the Australian Federal Court hearing Samsung’s counter claim that Apple infringed on 3 ‘standard-essential 3G patents’ held by Samsung on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and Apple iPad 2.

According to an article over on Zdnet, Samsung lawyers have admitted that Samsung had an agreement with Qualcomm to not sue Qualcomm or their customers for infringement on 3G patents, which was apparently agreed back in 1993.

Samsung’s lawyer said, “There was an agreement between Samsung and Qualcomm. That agreement was not a licence agreement. It contains a contractual provision that Samsung would not sue Qualcomm or customers of Qualcomm who apply [the 3G patents].”

However, Sammy did say that this agreement was ended in the April of 2011, and notified Qualcomm when Apple first filed proceedings in California over the Samsung Galaxy Tab, at which point Apple sought a licence from Samsung to use their UMTS patents in their iOS devices.

Samsung’s lawyer stated that the company did offer a ‘fair commercial rate’ to licence the products under FRAND terms; however, Apple turned down their proposal and didn’t enter into any other negotiations for a licence, with the lawyer saying, “Samsung has done nothing other than take steps to protect its patent rights against infringement in the same way in it would in the ordinary course in circumstances where it has been sued by Apple, and Apple has refused to enter negotiations for the UMTS patent.”

Apparently Apple’s argument is Samsung’s willingness to licence the patents means they are automatically licensed under ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) laws, and these rules should apply as Australia is an associate member of the institute, but Samsung argues that this isn’t the case.

There are 3 patents in dispute, Australian patent number 2005239657, 2005202512, and 2006241621, which you can familiarise yourself with by following the links if you wish, with this first week of the hearing concentrating on the first two patents, with a hearing starting as of the 6th of August will concentrate on the first patent.

Whatever the case, no doubt there is still a long road to travel before both Samsung and Apple can come to some kind of agreement over the alleged patent infringement; more as and when it becomes available.

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