Sunday, November 18, 2012

Samsung seeks to examine Apple's HTC deal to prevent device sales bans

Earlier, Samsung said it would not settle its patent disputes with Apple with licensing agreements, despite HTC and Apple's earlier deal. That being said, Samsung is attempting to leverage that deal to its advantage.

On Friday, Samsung asked a U.S. judge to force Apple to turn over a copy of the HTC agreement. The big question, still unanswered, is whether or not the deal with HTC covers all of Apple's patents.

While Apple, in August, won a major victory over Samsung in a U.S. court, sales of Samsung products continue. There is, however, the chance that Apple could win an injunction blocking such sales.

However, judges generally prefer licensing agreements to injunctions against sales. Logically, if Samsung can prove that HTC and Apple came to terms over patents that are included in Apple's dispute with Samsung, it would disprove a necessary component to any injunction.

To secure an injunction against Samsung device sales, Apple has to show that the patent violations caused "irreparable harm and that money, by itself, is an inadequate remedy." A licensing deal with HTC which includes the patents in question would disprove that assertion.

Ron Laurie, managing director of Inflexion Point Strategy and a long-time intellectual property (IP) attorney, told Reuters that it was very unlikely that HTC would sign a deal with Apple that did not include all of Apple's patents.

The deal, when publicly announced, said only that the agreement extended to current -- and future -- patents held by both companies.

No matter what the case, it appears that Apple is now willing to settle its legal battles with other companies, rather than simply going "thermonuclear," as former Apple CEO, the late Steve Jobs promise. Jobs long called Android a "stolen product."

Samsung, however, does not seem amenable to settling out of court.

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