Apple vs. Samsung: Agreement reached on split iPhone hearing

Macworld Australia Staff
10 February, 2012
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Apple has reached an agreement during a hearing proposal with Samsung in the Sydney Federal Court in the case against Apple for allegations of patent infringement in the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S.

Samsung filed the case in 2011, claiming Apple’s iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S infringed on 3G patents, breached a FRAND (Fair Reasonable and Non Discriminatory) licence and compromised competition law. The case was initially scheduled to begin in March, but Apple argued that was not sufficient time to prepare a defense.

Click here to find out more!Chief  barrister for Apple, Stephen Burley SC, yesterday told judge, Justice Annabelle Bennett, that the company would be ready and able to begin the hearing in July, addressing the infringement claims first, with the rest of the allegations from Samsung to be heard in September.

“Your honour has heard both parties say six weeks is the estimated time for the hearing and it’s not going to be heard or there isn’t going to be any decision before the end of September in any event,” Burley explained. “So what we submit is that first week of the hearing take place in July to enable your honour to hear the evidence if that’s convenient and then the balance of the trial to be completed over September.

Last week Apple refused to agree to a split hearing put forward by Samsung, beginning in April and resuming at a date no later than August. Apple’s legal counsel, Cameron Moore, responded to the proposal saying they wished to schedule the case no earlier than September, with the balance of the case  to continue into 2013.

Samsung barrister, Katrina Howard SC, told the court that the nature of the case required urgent attetnion and that the proposed split hearing was “commonplace”.

“At the very least the matter should commence in July,” she said. “Our position is that parties should be ready to begin on the second of July and that we should take advantage of all the dates as early as possible to finish by the end of September.”

“If the case is ready by the 23rd of July I would want to start on the 9th and use that week not necessarily for witnesses,” Justice Bennett said. “It will be much more efficient if I have time before we rush in to make sure I understand everything, giving me a little bit more time to ask questions and understand all the issues.”

The case is just one more in the string of legal stouches between Apple and Samsug, the most recent was a filing from the former alleging that the Galaxy Tab design infringed on elements of its iPad.

Justice Bennett said she would not confirm a final hearing date because it was “hard to put a finger on how long the case would take”. Instead Bennett has ruled that both parties return to the court for case management March 9.

Whatever the outcome, it seems that legal woes between the two companies have only just begun.


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