In the words of Ron Burgundy, "Boy, that escalated quickly". Since we first reported on the patent infringement action between Apple and Samsung in the United States and Australia, it has been all systems go between the parties. To start the ball rolling, Samsung commenced its own patent infringement action in Milan and Paris on October 5 2011, seeking an injunction to prevent Apple from selling the iPhone 4S "...in the respective markets." This was followed up with preliminary injunction motions in Tokyo and NSW, seeking a ban on the sale of the iPhone 4S in Japan and Australia respectively. Samsung extended the ambit of its claims in Japan to include the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. There must be some "interesting" discussions going on between the two parties - remember that Samsung will supply approximately US$8 billion worth of parts to Apple this year.
It is noteworthy that the patents subject to Samsung's applications differ between Japan and Australia. In Japan, the patents relate to power consumption and user interface, whereas in Australia, the patents relate to data transmission. That these patent infringement actions being brought by Samsung vary between the jurisdictions may suggest (amongst other things!):
- the component parts are varied for local markets (this seems unlikely)
- material differences between the patents Samsung has registered in different jurisdictions (this seems highly unlikely), or
- that Samsung believes it can obtain a strategic victory in specific jurisdictions on specific patents.
Meanwhile, as we reported Apple was successful in gaining a temporary injunction to prevent Samsung selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 smartphone in Australia.
But as we have seen, injunctions have their limitations in a globalised world. Australian consumers are still able to purchase the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia from online retailers. These online retailers can source the Galaxy smartphone from Samsung entities outside Australia, thus negating the effect of the temporary injunction granted by Justice Bennett. A final decision on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 ban in Australia is not expected until 2012. However, no doubt keen to try and get the Galaxyf Tab 10.1 to market before Christmas, Samsung has been granted an appeal before the full bench of the Federal Court against Justice Bennett's original decision to ban Australian sales of the smartphone. A court date has yet to be agreed for this appeal, partly because of the hearings for Samsung's own interlocutory application against the iPhone 4S, also before Justice Bennett. Its going to be a busy Christmas, anyway you look at it. In the meantime, "You stay litigious, San Diego!"