Samsung made comments early Friday about going on the offensive with its ongoing patent dispute with Apple, and it appears to be putting its money (and its lawyers) where its mouth is. The Korean company just filed a complaint with The Hague, seeking a ban on all sales of Apple’s smartphones and tablets due to alleged infringement of four of its wireless mobile technology patents.
Dutch site Webwereld.nl has the details of the new complaint filed with The Hague, which relates specifically to 3G mobile networking technologies, as well as technologies governing the transfer rate of data to mobile devices over a cellular network. Samsung’s complaint covers Apple itself, as well as five other private companies that manage Apple’s sales and distribution channels in the Netherlands.
Samsung is seeking the ban of sales of the entire iPhone line, according to the filing, as well Apple’s 3G tablet devices. It is asking for €1 million (around $1.34 million USD) in penalty for each violation of the ban, should it succeed in its complaint.
Apple already has an active suit against Samsung ongoing in the Netherlands. In August, the court in that case issued a mixed preliminary decision that hinders Samsung’s ability to sell its Galaxy line of phones in the country, but Samsung’s lawyers now claim that those patents are “futile, marginal and irrelevant” (from the translated Dutch) compared to the ones it claims Apple’s products are in violation of.
The patents held by Samsung in this case are considered essential, which means that they must be provided to a rival given reasonable terms under European regulations. Apple has yet to license the four patents in question, despite a “reasonable fee” in place, say Samsung’s lawyers, and the fact that other companies have agreed to the licensing terms.
That the patents are considered essential provides Apple a relatively easy out if it can negotiate reasonable licensing terms with Samsung. It’ll have a chance to do so next Monday, at a special session requested by Apple’s lawyers specifically to see if it can work out a deal that satisfies the FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) conditions that apply to essential patent licensing. If Apple does offer terms that satisfy the FRAND requirements, Samsung’s ban request could fizzle quickly.