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Samsung Fights Apple Suit With Counterclaims

While Apple's charges that Samsung copied the iPhone grab most of the headlines, Samsung levels its own charges: Apple infringed on its patents.

The specifics of the Samsung claims, referring to the patents by the last three digits of their assigned numbers, are:

U.S. Patent 7447516 (the '516 patent) gives priority to the most important attempted broadcast from a cellphone device on a 3G network by scaling back the power of less important channels. Before Samsung invented how to do this, the different functions of the phone might compete simultaneously for the phone's limited transmission power, even though a data transmission would be automatically repeated if it didn't get through, while a voice transmission would drop the call when the demand for power exceeds a prescribed maximum. The Samsung approach was to give the non-retransmittable function the most power, putting retransmittable operations on hold until more power frees up.

"The result was fewer dropped calls. Samsung invented the intelligence that was applied to the problem, a significant invention that Apple is using. It was so significant, it got adopted into the 3G standard," Verhoeven said. The approach is also used to send sets of pictures or video.

Samsung will prove Apple is using the transmitting method by calling the Intel software developer who programmed the X-Gold 616 baseband processor, Markus Paltian, to testify, he said. "He programmed the Intel chips to meet the 3GPP standard," Verhoeven said.

"This is a much more fundamental patent than the neat things you can do on a touchscreen," he added. At another point he described as "trivial" the user interface functions that Samsung is accused of copying, versus the fundamental technology advances that Samsung has on its list of infringed patents.

Samsung also designated its '941 patent as "standards essential." It reduced bulky headers on data packets using a more minimalist approach. "Samsung invented a more efficient header so the sender could get more data in the packet." Samsung will call Intel's Andre Zorn to testify that he programmed an Intel chip to perform this function and establish that Apple uses the component.

In addition, Samsung claims it patented three cellphone user interface features that Apple has freely used without compensation to Samsung. They are:

-- its '893 patent, which earmarks a photo that a user is viewing in a gallery so that the user may leave the gallery, do something else, then return to the same photo.

-- its '711 patent, which allows user to play music in the background while doing other things, with an indicator on the screen that the music continues to play.

-- its '460 patent, which allows a user to take a picture, review it in a gallery, then send it in an email along with a text message, a feature the iPhone uses but "invented eight years before the iPhone by Samsung," Verhoeven said.

When the iPhone launched, "Apple highlighted it" as one of the things that made the iPhone unique and special, he said.

With Apple seeking $2.5 billion for Samsung's infringements, a damage award that can be tripled in punitive damages by the jury, the Korean firm must hope some of its own infringement claims stick.

But Samsung attorneys' problem is illustrated by the way they ended their first day in court. As the new jury left the building, it passed two signs meant to direct people to the courtroom where the trial was taking place. Both said, "Apple vs. Samsung."

"Can't we get one of the signs to say, 'Samsung vs. Apple?'" Samsung's Verhoeven asked the judge plaintively at the end of proceedings. Judge Koh seemed taken aback, then saw the deep sense of inequality that fueled the request. "Yes," she affirmed agreeably. "We can get the sign changed."

If only the rest of it could be so easy for Samsung.

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User Rank: Apprentice
8/3/2012 | 4:48:04 PM
re: Samsung Fights Apple Suit With Counterclaims
What a great strategy reverse the claims and countersues Apple, bravo Samsung. It is a good thing that Samsung keeps meticulous records. Weather it is retaliation or not if the claim is valid then it really does not matter. It will be great to see how this pans out, and if after there will be rippling lawsuits if Samsung wins across the board. Props to Verhoeven for the quick response in why the delay in the lawsuit against Apple. It makes sense as to not sue the hand that is feeding you big pieces of filet mignon!

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
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