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6/27/2013
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Apple Dealt Setback In Samsung Lawsuit

Judge says Apple can't add the Galaxy S4 to its existing patent suit against foe Samsung.

Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour
Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)
Apple hoped to add the Samsung Galaxy S4, which was released earlier this year, to an existing patent-infringement lawsuit the company filed against Samsung. The GS4, argued Apple, violates many of the same patents that the Galaxy S III and other Samsung Galaxy smartphones do. The court didn't care for Apple's request.

U.S. magistrate judge Paul S. Grewal, who is overseeing this case, complained that adding the GS4 would put a "tax on the court's resources. Each time these parties appear in the courtroom, they consume considerable amounts of the court's time and energy, which takes time way from other parties who also require and are entitled to the court's attention."

Apple complained that leaving the Galaxy S4 out of the current case will require it to file a new lawsuit against Samsung because the products covered by the case will be out of date by the time it goes to trial. Grewal didn't fall for it. Apple did not specifically say that it will file a new lawsuit, but it's a distinct possibility, given that Apple's executives have said that the lawsuits will go on.

There are already two cases in motion, both taking place in California. The first case reached an inflection point last August when a jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages after finding that Samsung infringed on Apple's patents in a wide number of smartphones. That award was cut down to $640 million by U.S. district judge Lucy Koh, however, after it was determined that the jury improperly calculated the damages. That case will be revisited in November when a new jury will be tasked with reassessing the damages owed to Apple. Koh complained often about the amount of time and money being consumed by the case, and enforced strict limits on what both Apple and Samsung could present to the jury.

[ Take a look at Apple's upcoming mobile OS refresh. See Apple iOS 7's Dramatic Design: Visual Tour. ]

The second case is the one being overseen by Grewal, and concerns a different set of patents, but some of the same phones covered in the first case.

Apple and Samsung have seen mixed results against one another in courtrooms around the world, including Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. Many of the cases being heard outside the U.S. pertained to Samsung's smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets, which Apple accused of aping the iPad's design. Both companies sought a mix of injunctions and damages.

In an entirely separate case being overheard by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Apple is hoping to avoid an import ban on some of its older iPhones and iPads. The ITC found Apple guilty of infringing on a Samsung patent, but Apple says the patent is standard-essential, which means it must be licensed at fair and reasonable terms.

"The ITC has taken action that threatens an international, political, regulatory and judicial consensus aimed at critical economic issues cutting across the worldwide economy," Apple argued. "And, it has done so for a party, Samsung, that seeks nothing more than hold-up leverage to make exorbitant licensing demands."

Apple said that it will experience harm if its products are blocked. The ITC is expected to make a final decision on the matter soon.

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