Samsung goes bonkers with iPhone 4S injunction

Samsung plans to beat Apple at its own game by seeking a preliminary injunction on the iPhone 4S.

In France and Italy, Samsung has sought to throw a further spanner in the works of Apple’s 4S launch by getting its products banned.

Samsung has chosen the two countries because they’re “key markets” in Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal, and is hoping that a ban could spread worldwide.

According to reports from Korean media it is a premeditated decision to try to hit Apple with an injunction – as the claws really come out during the ongoing patent spat between the two firms.

The preliminary injunction is sought on wireless technology in the 4S, which Samsung describes as “Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) standards for 3G mobile handsets”.

However, it seems Samsung may be getting ahead of itself with its lofty demands.

Unlike the patent cases Apple’s blood-hungry lawyers have set before judges, Samsung is making its case with ‘standards’ patents – altogether shakier territory and very difficult to make a case for a preliminary injunction with.

Samsung contributed the standards to an international body with the aim of standardising 3G technology.  These are then open to other companies wanting to use them on a fair and reasonable basis. 

According to patent expert Florian Mueller at FOSSPatents, when such cases have gone to a court they are usually settled early. So, for a standard patent to be used to get a product banned before a court has ruled on it, as Samsung has demanded, is very unusual.

“Judges have a lot of sympathy for standards patents, and don’t think they should be used as strategic weapons to shut down products,” Mueller told TechEye.

“While there have been standards patent cases in the past, generally in the State, Samsung takes this to a new level by pursuing a preliminary injunction. The right way is for the court to make a decision, and only if Apple refuses to pay royalties can an injunction be discussed.”

Clearly Samsung is on the ropes and Mueller says that it is “willing to use any means of attack”, with the “irresponsible” use of standards one such way of getting at Apple.

However, if Samsung gets its way with the upcoming preliminary injunction hearings, then there could be even worse patent disputes on the way.

According to Mueller: “The current patent wars are nothing compared to what would happen if Samsung succeeded with any of these preliminary injunction petitions.”