Apple fails to delay Samsung court case

Samsung wants final hearings in March while Apple wants them in August; Judge sides with Samsung

Apple’s attempt at pushing back the final hearing dates for its patent case with Samsung has been kyboshed by the Federal Court.

The legal stoush was initiated by Apple, which sued Samsung of infringing on patents with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The device has since been banned from sale in Australia until the case has been concluded.

Apple has launched similar legal action against Samsung in several other countries including the US.

Samsung has since counter-sued, claiming Apple too has infringed on patents owned by the Korean-vendor through its iPhones and iPads. It is seeking an injunction to suspend the sale of the devices in dispute.

Three patents will be disputed in the final hearing.

Samsung has applied to the Federal Court to start final hearings in March which would deal with liability and entitlement to an injunction on the sale of Apple products should they be found to have infringed the patents in question.

This would include the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and the iPad.

Apple has already rejected Samsungs early final hearing application, claiming it will not be ready to present the company’s case by that time. One of the issues the vendor’s legal team wants to deal with is Samsung’s third-party licencing agreements one of the patents in question which is a “standard essential patent” for the operation of 3G mobile networks.

“It would affect the way in which the Court reacts to any relief being sought [by Samsung,” Apple’s legal representative, Burley SC, told the Federal Court.

The vendor’s representative also noted hearings for similar cases will be running in the US from June to July and suggested August as a better time to hold the final hearing.

“[The US cases] will be the same witnesses and the same matters that are being dealt with,” Burley SC said. “Those major cases concern all the matters that are going to be [dealt with here].”

Presiding Judge, Justice Bennett, vehemently rejected Apple’s suggestion. She said it was hard to understand why Apple would not be ready to present its case in March.

Justice Bennett pointed out, as she did in when she issued the injunction on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the kinds of technology in question have a short life cycle and are rapidly supplanted by new devices.

“By August next year, the [iPhone] 4S will – or may – be superseded,” she said. “[Samsung] may have to recast the entire case to deal with a new product which will delay [the case] even further.”

According to Justice Bennett, Samsung is trying to expand the Google Android Market with its devices and the longer this case drags on the harder it will be for the vendor to do so. It will also inhibit Samsung’s ability to compete with other players, not just Apple.

Samsung’s legal representative, Young SC, said there is commercial urgency in holding the final hearing in March as the longer the case dragged out the more the vendor will suffer financially and in terms of its reputation.

Much of the damage will be irreparable, he said.

Justice Bennett sided with Samsung and is seeking to lock in date for final hearings to be held from March to April.

The case continues.

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