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Apple requested a ban on all of Samsung's Android smartphone lineup in U.S. federal court

In the U.S. and worldwide only one smartphone manufacturer is offering Apple, Inc. (AAPL) a true challenge in market share.  In fact, that company is actually beating Apple in unit sales, although trailing far behind it in profit.  That company is Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930).

I. Gotta Ban 'em All

If Samsung was gone Apple might have what it's dreamed of ever since it first launched its iPhone -- a monopoly market share in this lucrative market.  Apple's hopes to achieve that goal rest on its plea to the U.S. government to ban Samsung's entire smartphone lineup, the Galaxy phones.

The Galaxy S III is set to launch June 21 on all four of America's top carriers, priced at $199 USD.  But Apple is intent on disrupting this summer blockbuster, aiming for a speedy ban.

The Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung says Apple's claims are anticompetitive junk litigation, vowing, "[We will] demonstrate to the court that the Galaxy S III is innovative and distinctive."

Apple filed the following request to ban Samsung's flagship phone in Northern District of California -- a San Francisco federal court -- late Tuesday.  The filing comes a couple weeks after the collapse of court-ordered settlement talks.

12-06-05 Apple Motion on Galaxy S III

Apple has already filed for bans on the other popular Galaxy smartphones, such as the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus.

II. Apple Will Have to Compete With New Samsung Flagship Phone

The Cupertino gadget maker is reportedly preparing a larger size iPhone for a July launch, although no details have been officially discussed.  Sources close to the companies indicate that Apple is concerned that by beating it to launch, Samsung's Galaxy S III will get a jump on it in sales.

Apple store NYC
Apple is reportedly fearful of allowing the Galaxy S III to beat its sixth generation iPhone to the U.S. market this summer. [Image Source: Double DT]

Apple's quest to destroy Samsung's smartphone market share via lawsuits began in April 2011, when Apple called Samsung's original Galaxy smartphone a "copycat" of the iPhone.  Samsung has since countersued Apple in numerous jurisdictions.

Now as the suit nears completion, the effect on the company's relationship will likely be chilling.  In 2011 the pair did $8B USD in business.  Apple's payments to Samsung are expected to rise to $12B USD in 2012.  Samsung's biggest display customer is Apple and the South Korea-based electronics conglomerate also makes the chip "brains" for every iPad and iPhone sold at its plant in Texas.

While Apple stands a shot at its efforts to gain a court-enforced monopoly in the U.S., overseas it has been unable to prevent Samsung's flagship phone from watching.  Approximately 300 Asian and European carriers launched the smartphone on May 29.

For Apple the U.S. is the final battlefield.  The preliminary injunction hearing will be held today, at which point Apple will see whether it scores a big win or sees its dreams of hegemony slip through its fingers.

III. The Patents in Question

In its request for a preliminary injunction Apple cites two patents which it says Samsung's other Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus also infringes -- U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 (a patent on "unified search") and U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 (the "data tapping" patent on "linked structures").  

The data tapping patent allowed Apple to ban Android smartphone maker HTC Corp.'s (TPE:2498) shipments temporarily.  Google Inc. (GOOG) has since implemented a workaround.  To Apple's dismay U.S. Customs and Border Patrol checkpoints cleared HTC handsets with the fix on them late last month, lifting the ban.  But HTC is a small fish in the U.S. market -- Samsung is much more attractive game.

HTC handset
HTC phones were banned for the data tapping patent, but have since been freed.
[Image Source: Asa Mathat/All Things D]

The patent's enforcement is slightly controversial as it covers essentially a hyperlinking processing, describing the invention in a personal computer context.  Some question the patent's applicability to the smartphone realm and Apple's decision to "park" on this intellectual property real estate for a decade before looking to leverage it in a new market.

Samsung's attorney says that Apple's decision to tack on a request for a ban on the Galaxy S III violates the U.S. International Trade Commission's process, and that Apple must file a new preliminary injunction because it's amendment came too late.

The company writes, "If Apple wishes to seek an injunction against the Galaxy S III, the Court should require Apple to file a new motion and allow the parties to develop a full factual record on all four factors. Accordingly, the Court should reject Apple’s motion to amend its current notice of motion for a preliminary injunction."

We will keep you updated on what the court decides.

Source: Business Week

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RE: when will it end?
By testerguy on 6/8/2012 3:32:01 AM , Rating: -1
While as it happens I disagree with Apples approach in this particular case, lets not try to 'prove' that by going on about 'Palm' and their ridiculously poor performing, poor selling, poor featured, and not remotely comparable to today's interpretation of a smartphone phone.

While Apple didn't 'invent' the smartphone, they certainly innovated sufficiently to create a new genre of smartphone which has shaped how we have come to understand them today. The combination of the features, quality of the touch screen with new gestures and no keyboard, fully functioning web browser, easy to use app store making it infinitely expandable, combined with sufficient speed and a whole host of other features was VERY MUCH unique and a first when Apple did it, and its sales and impact on the market is testament to that.

When you're a product manufacturer, the 'invention' is in the way you combine the technologies which are available to you in a unique and new way - which they certainly did. Pretty much no Android manufacturer can claim to have invented things either, even Motorola were using technology which had already been developed by someone else.

Lets try and focus on the case. Now, being allowed to have a patent on what amounts to basically a different type of hyperlink is arguably ridiculous, but as a few others have said I blame the patent system rather than the players. I think the whole basis for all of this legal mess is that when Apple created the iPhone originally they made something like 200 patents and they firmly believed that they were protected and nobody else could create an equivalent device. Now the validity and relevance of all of those patents is being tested and one by one the hold Apple believed they had on the market they arguably popularised is being eroded. They still believe, however, that Android is a 'stolen product' and I think as long as that view prevails they will try all the legal tricks they can.

As I mentioned above, I don't agree with their approach, but then you've got companies like Motorola suing over FRAND patents, which in my opinion is far worse - they're all at it.

RE: when will it end?
By retrospooty on 6/8/2012 7:57:06 AM , Rating: 3
"the 'invention' is in the way you combine the technologies which are available to you in a unique and new way - which they certainly did"

I actually dont disagree with most of you post, other than that word. When you take existing tech and make it into a product, it's called product design. At that, Apple did a fantastic job with the iPhone in 2007. Like I said, they took existing tech and made a great product that raised the bar for everyone to play catch up. In the same way OSX made MS raise the bar with Win7. That is a good thing. For that, we all owe Apple a thank you. I am particularly happy about the display res. The res on iPhone 4s and new iPad is way overkill, but what it is doing is forcing a new generation of higher res screen in other products. Laptops are already coming out with 13 inch 1080p screens instead of the awful 1366x768 crap we have been forced to eat for a few years now. Another thank you to Apple.

"They still believe, however, that Android is a 'stolen product' and I think as long as that view prevails they will try all the legal tricks they can."

This is where they lose most of us. Apple copies as much, if not more as the next guy. I don't for a minute think that they believe this is valid. What they are doing is taking advantage of the flawed patent system to their own gain.

Clearly Apple is more than capable of competing fairly. Their product design and supply chain mastery is always top notch. They really need to stop the lawsuits... There wont be any Android bans, they are just stoking fires.

RE: when will it end?
By Initium on 6/8/2012 1:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
To answer the question posed in the title, it will end when people stop supporting companies like Apple who seek to prevent competition through patents rather than innovate and create better products . Stop buying their products. It is as simple as that.

The true function of a free and open market is to provide the best and cheapest products to the consumer. If the market is being subverted by outside influences like the patent system only the actions of consumers will change that behavior.

If people stop buying Apple products because they believe Apple is subverting the true nature of a free market and preventing the cheapest and best products from entering the market apple will change its behavior. It is not rocket science guys. You have the power just like democracy. All you need to do is have the courage of your convictions and use it.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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