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Samsung Vs. Apple in Germany: Much Different than the U.S.

November 28, 2012 - Written By Michael Roberts

Here in the United States, the court systems have moved fairly quickly to get a lawsuit between tech giants Apple and Samsung, first filed in April 2011, to court by August 2012. In just more than a week, the court will deal with the appeal process following the billion-dollar ruling during the summer.

Germany, on the other hand, has already dealt with two lawsuits: one in April 2011 and one in December 2011. Some parts of the cases are still wrapping up due to appeals and such, but the German court system should be done with the ordeal by the end of January.

This isn’t some big rush on the part of German courts. That’s just how much quicker their law system handles these issues. Mind you, I haven’t sat and compared how many cases are on the schedule for German court systems, but still, that’s a pretty substantial difference.

Samsung Could Win an Injunction against Apple 3G Devices in Germany

Apple and Samsung are at odds right now about… well, a lot of things, but patent EP1720373 is our focus for the sake of this article. The patent is for a “method and apparatus for reporting inter-frequency measurement using RACH message in a communication system”.

I don’t mind saying that the definition seems more than a little convoluted, but suffice it to say that German courts are viewing the process and the device covered by the patent are potentially essential elements of 3G technology. We’ll get back to the whole “essential” part in just a moment.

Basically Samsung is saying that Apple is infringing on Samsung’s patented processes on 3G devices, but Apple claims that the frequency measurement does not happen in the same chip as it does in Samsung devices. If Samsung can prove otherwise, then Apple may be in a difficult position.

It’s possible that a German injunction against Apple devices using 3G could begin as early as February, 2013

Why “Essential” Could be a Big Deal

Here’s the tricky part of all of this. The European Commission is working on its own version of FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) rates for “essential” patents. If the Commission decides that Samsung’s patented process and apparatus are, in fact, essential elements of 3G-device design, then that patent would fall under the new rules.

The rules of FRAND, or whatever the European Commission would call it, mean that companies owning those patents have to set a reasonable fee for other companies to pay in order to use that technology. The patent-owning companies still get money from everyone, but they don’t get as much.

If the German court awards Samsung a victory in this dispute, then Samsung could have precedence to show that its patent should not be covered under FRAND-like rules.

The Commission has until February to figure out which parts of mobile devices to declare essential.

Source: Foss Patents