Samsung to sue Apple over iPhone 5

Barely months after Apple won a landmark $1bn judgement against arch-rivals Samsung over infringements to it's intellectual property, the legal battle between the two companies shows no sign of abating.

The latest development in the dispute comes little over a week after Apple unveiled its next generation iPhone, with Samsung announcing its intention to sue its rival over alleged infringements to eight of eight patents apparently being used in the iPhone 5, including (most significantly) the LTE technology which allows the iPhone to support 4G wireless connection.

Samsung has yet to formalise the complaint but is expected to do so as indicated by this extract from a case management filing:

"Samsung anticipates that it will file, in the near future, a motion to amend its infringement contentions to add the iPhone 5 as an accused product. On September 12, 2012, Apple announced that it will release the iPhone 5 on September 21, 2012. Based on information currently available, Samsung expects that the iPhone 5 will infringe the asserted Samsung patents-in-suit in the same way as the other accused iPhone models. Samsung plans to file a motion to amend its infringement contentions to address the iPhone 5 as soon as it has had a reasonable opportunity to analyze the device. Because Samsung believes the accused functionality of the iPhone 5 will be similar to the accused functionality of other accused Apple products, Samsung does not believe that amendment of its infringement contentions should affect the case schedule."

While there is no guarantee that the complaint, which would be filed in European and US courts, will amount to anything (a patent dispute between Apple and Motorola was thrown out of court earlier this year), the concern is that a temporary injunction against the iPhone 5 could damage Apple's sales and stall the launch of the device in Europe and the US.

With this latest development, Apple is now involved in over 50 patent disputes in more than 10 countries and it's hard to see how these disputes are benefitting customers.

While we understand the need to protect intellectual property rights, the question surely needs to be asked whether the astronomical sums of money being thrown about on these court cases might better be spent on research and development....

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