The last we heard about the Apple-Samsung smartphone patent battle, Apple seemed to have at least a temporary advantage. Last month, a judge in the Netherlands ruled that three Samsung phones running Android 2.3 violated an Apple patent covering photo management. As such, importing those devices into Europe will be illegal beginning October 15. The ban will apply in the Netherlands and in any other European country where the patent at issue has been registered.
But this week, Samsung made clear its intention to "strike" against the yet-to-be-revealed iPhone 5. According to InformationWeek, a company executive who wished to remain anonymous told The Korea Times Samsung will file patent infringement claims against the iPhone 5 in Korea as soon as the newest iPhone is announced. The story quotes the executive as follows:
For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple ...
The new suit, when it is filed, will be one of quite a few that have been filed in several different countries in recent months. All of those, coupled with the import bans in Europe, a delay for the newest Galaxy Tab launch in Australia, and the International Trade Commission actions in the United States, make it hard to believe that Samsung and Apple have been partners for years. Samsung CEO Cjoi Gee-sung said recently the company is "not entirely happy" about the litigation. That's putting it mildly, to say the least.
I have to agree with InformationWeek's Eric Zeman, who says the whole thing is bound to get even uglier before it's over.