T-Mobile USA asked a court on Wednesday leave to submit a brief of amicus curiae ("friend of the court") to prevent a preliminary injunction asked by Apple against the sale in the U.S. of Samsung's Galaxy S 4G smartphone and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, citing its impact on holiday sales this year.
The timing of such an injunction on two popular consumer products that will help anchor its 2011 holiday sales would unnecessarily harm T-Mobile and thousands of U.S. consumers, T-Mobile said in the brief before the United States District Court of Northern District of California, San Jose Division.
T-Mobile also asked the court to allow it to appear at the preliminary injunction hearing on Oct. 13 and present an oral argument on issues relating to its amicus curiae brief.
Apple moved the court in July for a preliminary injunction prohibiting Samsung Electronics and its U.S. entities from selling, offering to sell, or importing into the U.S. some products including the Galaxy S 4G and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer, claiming these products infringed its patents.
Another U.S. wireless operator Verizon Wireless asked the court last week to refuse Apple's motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S., as it would hinder Verizon Wireless in developing and deploying its next generation high-speed LTE (long term evolution) network, with consequences for job creation and on the expansion of access in the U.S. to broadband networks.
The "accused Samsung devices" are among the few products that can access Verizon Wireless' next-generation high speed network and therefore are among the most sought-after devices by early-adopting consumers, a critical market segment in the industry, it added.
T-Mobile respects intellectual property rights and believes that owners of intellectual property deserve their day in court, it said in its brief before the court. However, "a preliminary injunction is a drastic and extraordinary remedy that is not to be routinely granted", it added.
T- Mobile said it has already prepared its sales and marketing campaigns for the 2011 holiday sales season, which prominently feature the Galaxy S 4G and Galaxy Tab 10.1, and ordered holiday inventory of the products. These investments cannot be recouped easily, it said. Consumers who prefer Android-based smartphone and tablet devices and/or who prefer T-Mobile's network coverage or capabilities would be unable to purchase substitute products with the same features and at the same price points, the company added.
An injunction, particularly in the midst of the holiday sales season, would unnecessarily harm T-Mobile and its customers. In contrast, money damages would remedy any harm suffered by Apple between now and the July 30, 2012 trial, T-Mobile said.
Apple could not be immediately reached for comment. Samsung is currently involved in a number of lawsuits with Apple in different regions, including one in the Netherlands, but this week did a deal with Microsoft.
Microsoft signed Wednesday a cross-license patent agreement with Samsung that grants Microsoft royalties from Samsung's Android-based smartphones and tablets.