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5/25/2011
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Samsung Forced To Deliver Prototypes To Apple

A federal judge has ruled that Samsung must turn over five unreleased smartphones and tablets to Apple in a case involving patent infringement claims.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Slideshow: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Samsung Electronics was dealt a blow in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Apple. The company has to send five unreleased handsets to Apple, thanks to a ruling issued last week by San Jose federal court judge Lucy Koh. Normally, Samsung would have three months to produce the handsets, but Koh notes that there's enough merit to Apple's claims to expedite the delivery of the handsets within 30 days.

"Apple has demonstrated good cause for some, limited expedited discovery," Koh said. "While Apple has not yet filed a motion for preliminary injunction, courts have found that expedited discovery may be justified to allow a plaintiff to determine whether to seek an early injunction."

Apple sued Samsung in April, alleging that Samsung is willfully designing and creating products that mimic the look and design of its devices, specifically the iPhone and iPad.

Apple's lawsuit states: "Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface, and innovative style in these infringing products."

The devices in question include the Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G, and Droid Charge. Samsung also has to produce the packaging, which Apple says copies its designs, too.

The ruling states, "In particular, the design and appearance of Samsung's forthcoming products and packaging are directly relevant to Apple's trademark, trade dress, and design claims. Because these claims are subject to consumer confusion and 'ordinary observer' standards, the products themselves and the packaging in which they are sold are likely to be central to any motion for preliminary injunction."

Samsung, of course, hoped that it could keep Apple from getting its hands on the products, arguing that they hadn't been sufficiently announced to the public. It said that giving Apple access to the unreleased products would give Apple an unfair competitive advantage. The court, however, disagreed.

Apple pointed out that Samsung gave more than 5,000 samples of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to attendees of Google's recent I/O developer conference, and had already released images, details, and other information about the other products in question to members of the media.

Apple itself will not be able to look at the products, and neither will its in-house lawyers. Instead, the team of lawyers Apple hired for this case will be the only ones with access to Samsung's devices.

The judge didn't make any rulings on the lawsuit itself.

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