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Summary:

A motion to accelerate Apple’s suit against Samsung was denied, allowing Samsung more time to prepare for the briefing process. The likely reason? Apple’s business isn’t harmed much right now, based on the fact that the two companies worked for a year to resolve the situation.

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Part of Apple’s recent suit against Samsung for allegedly copying many of the physical and software attributes of the iPhone won’t get fast-tracked like Apple had hoped. Earlier this month, the Cupertino, Calif.–based company moved to shorten the briefing process and proposed a schedule that puts the case in front of a jury by next February. The case schedule is still unknown, but the briefing process won’t begin on July 21, as Apple had hoped.

The main reason for the lack of haste appears to be due to the length of time that Apple and Samsung attempted to work out the issues prior to Apple filing suit. According to Florian Mueller’s FOSS Patents site, the two companies were in discussions for more than a year:

Moreover, Apple indicated at the May 12, 2011 hearing that it had been aware of its infringement claims for at least a year and engaged in negotiations with Samsung during that time. See Transcript of May 12, 2011 [...] (‘there have been extended efforts . . . to resolve this problem short of litigation. . . . they’ve been going on for at least a year’). The Court agrees with Samsung that the length of time Apple has been aware of its claims and the long history of infringement alleged in the complaint undermine Apple’s claims of urgency to some extent.

In the grand scheme of the overall case, the denial to shorten or quickly get to the briefing period probably won’t have any measurable impact. And it doesn’t say anything about the likely case verdict, although it suggests that the judge doesn’t believe Apple’s business is currently so damaged by Samsung’s products that the case warrants faster action. To be honest, I don’t know of anyone who bought a Samsung product and thought they bought something from Apple, even with the obvious similarities in look and feel. And customers generally have a return period of at least 14 days for a smartphone, so if they wanted Apple and bought Samsung, there’s time to make the swap.

The talks around infringement between Apple and Samsung for at least a year reinforce the idea that Apple has been treading carefully with Samsung, likely due to its reliance upon Samsung for key device components. Apple doesn’t produce its own chips, flash memory or touchscreen displays, although it has designed the ARM-based A4 and dual-core A5 chips that power its mobile devices. It’s far too early to say how this case will be resolved, but I’d bet money that Apple is looking for other component suppliers outside Samsung where possible. Until then, Samsung will keep following an Apple-like strategy, helping it become the smartphone king.

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  1. Please, please legal system, save us from Apple’s evil competitors.
    Apple is awesome!

    1. Yeah, every Android phone I see looks just like my iPhone. It’s so easy to confuse them. The only difference is that the Android phones are really crappy and my iPhone is awesome.

  2. Apple’s claim of loss is NOT based upon the idea that people bought Samsung products thinking that they bought Apple products. It is about two things:

    1) Samsung illegally adopted patented iPhone features to attract customers that would have otherwise purchased an Apple product in order to get those features.

    2) Samsung illegally copied Apple’s patented designs and trademarked dress to increase the appeal of their products to customers who would otherwise have been drawn to Apple products. In effect, Samsung stole Potential Apple customers by misappropriating important aspects of Apple’s brand identity and ownership experience.

    Samsung is guilty as charged on both counts.

  3. Doesn’t matter– Did you guys hear that a judge has determine that Google knew they were violating Sun’s Java patents and went ahead with Android anyway. Sounds like the beginning of the end. Larry Ellison is not going to stand there and let Google steal his IP.

    Get ready for a multi-billion dollar settlement and possibly a new owner of Android- Oracle.

  4. Alex Tucker Sunday, July 17, 2011

    I love apple but I think android is so much better because there are more free apps on android than apple.

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