Samsung Sues Apple in France over 3G in iPhones, iPad

Posted by at 10:27 am on September 13, 2011

Samsung tried to counter rapidly mounting losses in court on Tuesday by filing a lawsuit against Apple in France. The Parisian complaint alleges that the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and 3G-capable iPads all violate three patents Samsung claims to have for UMTS-based 3G data. Samsung was unusually emphatic in saying the issue was over patents and not the design, which it was unlikely to win given the upheld preliminary ban on its own tablets for an allegedly imitative look last week.

The suit had been quietly filed in July but wasn’t made official by Samsung until Tuesday. Its first hearing isn’t officially scheduled until December.

For Samsung, the French dispute is more an emergency action as it sees the risk of having devices taken off the market. A recent Netherlands ruling could pull the Galaxy S II and other top Samsung phones off of Dutch and general European shelves. Apple has also been successful in temporarily keeping the Galaxy Tab 10.1 out of Australia and is scheduled to have a hearing in October that could start taking current Samsung devices out of stores in the US.

Apple is partly using the complaints, which it began early this year, as a proxy fight against Android itself. Unlike its issues with HTC and Motorola, however, the Samsung complaints are focused more on appearance, which between the central home button on Galaxy phones and the TouchWiz interface is much more like the iPhone’s than any regular Android distribution. Tablet designs have been more contentious, with the court believing Samsung could have been more creative but others saying Samsung had little choice in designing a tablet.

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