Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Samsung scores early hearing in patent row with Apple in Australia

Samsung won a small victory in its ongoing patent litigation against Apple today when an Australian court approved its request for an early hearing, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Apple’s lawyers had wanted an August hearing, claiming the they needed more time to prepare their case, but Australia Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett decided in favour of Samsung and set the hearing for March.

Samsung countersued Apple for infringing its low-level mobile connectivity patents after the latter successfully blocked sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia earlier this year on the grounds of patent infringement. The Korean company decided to drop its filing for an injunction on Apple’s iPhone 4S in Australia but sought an early hearing instead.

Samsung has a hearing scheduled for May and June in front of the International Trade Commission (ITC) in the United States for alleged infringement of Apple’s patents, and the company wanted its Australian hearing to precede that.

The original August schedule was more in Apple’s favour because the ITC holds the power to block imports of products that are found to be infringing on patents held in the USA. Apple wanted to block sales of Samsung’s products in the USA before the latter had a chance to try and block sales of Apple’s products in Australia.

Samsung hasn’t fared particularly well in its courtroom battles with Apple so far, with the company having been denied its request to block the iPhone 4S’ launch in Italy and the Netherlands. This was after the company had been found guilty of copying Apple’s products by US District Judge Lucy Koh.

The company has had better luck lately, however, as an Australian court ordered the iPhone maker to hand over the details of its private business dealings with carrier partners in the country, and now with the approval of its request for an early hearing in Australia.

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