Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Apple seeks to keep Samsung's Galaxy S III out of the U.S.

Five U.S. carriers will sell the Samsung Galaxy S III. Or they will, unless Apple has its way.

If you think Apple isn't looking at every Samsung Android device that is released, it seems you'd be wrong. When the GS3 was released in the U.K. on May 29, Apple was there to buy one. It wasn't pleased by what it found, and wants to block the device from entry into the U.S.

In a new court filing, Apple claims the GS3 infringes on two of its patents, both related to software features. The company wants the GS3 added as another device in an already existing motion for a preliminary injunction, one against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

The preliminary injunction hearing is set for June 7, which is tomorrow. Coincidentally, it is exactly two weeks prior to the U.S. launch date for the device, set for June 21.

In Apple's motion, which was filed yesterday, the company says, "Because the Galaxy S III contains two of the exact infringing features already at issue with respect to the Galaxy Nexus, the S III is not more than colorably different from the Galaxy Nexus."

The two patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 ("unified search") and No. 5,946,647. ("links for structures").

The Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy S II were huge hits for Samsung, which has become the world's leading OEM for overall cell phone and smartphone shipments. The Galaxy S III is already a hit in those countries that it has been released in.

In an emailed statement to the media, Samsung said,

"Samsung believes Apple's request is without merit. We will vigorously oppose the request and demonstrate to the court that the Galaxy S III is innovative and distinctive. We would also like to assure consumers that the U.S. launch and sales of the Galaxy S III will proceed as planned. The Galaxy S III has already been highly received in markets where it has been introduced. Samsung looks forward to bringing the Galaxy S III to the U.S., and we believe that Apple's actions would only serve to disrupt consumers' access to the latest innovative mobile technology."

Apple, on the other hand, has its own point of view:

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging, This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

This latest move is just one battle in a larger war between the two companies, over devices and patents in many countries. The CEOs and their legal counsels met last month in a court-ordered bargaining session, but as expected, no agreement was reached.

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