Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc fought the latest battle of their patent wars on Monday when the Korean firm urged a Dutch court to ban Apple's iPads and iPhones in the Netherlands. Samsung has also filed four patents cases against Apple in The Hague and asked for a preliminary injunction against all of Apple's mobile products that use 3G technology, including iPhones and iPads. That is likely to include the latest iPhone5, which is expected in October.
A Dutch judge said on Monday he would rule by Oct. 14 on Samsung's bid to ban the sale, distribution and import of Apple iPhones and iPads in the Netherlands, ahead of the next four separate patent cases due to run through to Nov. 17 in The Hague. The two technology titans have been locked in an acrimonious global battle over smartphone and tablet patents since April. Apple has successfully blocked Samsung from selling its latest tablets in Germany and some smartphone models in the Netherlands. On Monday, Samsung's legal team in The Hague accused Apple of not paying licensing fees for some of Samsung's patents before it started selling iPhones. “Apple should have asked for a licence before it launched the iPhone in 2007 or 2008 in Holland. Period,” Samsung's lawyer Bas Berghuis said in court. Apple's lawyer Rutger Kleemans told the Dutch court on Monday: “Samsung never demanded a licence until 2010 and before that Samsung remained silent because Apple is an important customer of Samsung.”
Samsung on the offensive this time
Lawyers from Apple and Samsung argued their cases at a hearing in The Hague district court and agreed not to request additional injunctions before the judge rules in mid-October. Apple and Samsung are vying for top spot in the global smartphone market and are squaring off over patents in courtrooms around the world. Earlier on Monday, Apple sought an injunction in Australia to ban the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet, asserting three patents have been infringed. Another hearing is set to resume in Australia on Thursday. On Sept. 9 a German court upheld a ban on Samsung's local unit from selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Europe's biggest economy.
The iPhone and iPad maker has forced its rival to indefinitely delay launching its new Galaxy tablets in Australia, where a court will give its ruling this week. The latest Dutch deliberations involved those Samsung patents deemed standards-essential, which means they have been incorporated in internationally accepted technology standards, or in these cases, 3G and UMTS technology. “Samsung's Dutch counterclaims against Apple raise important issues concerning patents that are essential to industry standards. The terms on which such patents can be licensed transcends this particular dispute,” said patent expert Florian Mueller. He said the issues at stake around industry standards from Monday's hearing concern the wider industry at large as all handset makers implement what is known as “FRAND” (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) standards and rely on those licensing commitments.
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