Apple has enough reasons to worry as the latest order in the ongoing Apple-Samsung patent dispute is a pointer towards which way the wind is blowing. Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Apple's motion to speed up the federal lawsuit against market rival Samsung.
On July 1st, along with motion for Preliminary Injunction to halt the sale of four Samsung devices, Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1, Apple also filed two more motions. First one demanded an expedited trial which would begin on February 1, 2012 and second one for shortening the time available for briefing process. The order made yesterday, which affects the second motion, scheduled the hearing for August 24th instead of July 21st, date Apple had hoped for.
The order issued yesterday pertains only to a minor subset of the entire litigation, but the judge's rationale behind the order suggests a more serious implication which wouldn't be in favor of Apple.
The order denying an accelerated trial noted, The Court agrees [with Samsung] that Apple has not established substantial harm or prejudice justifying a shortened briefing and hearing schedule for its Motion to Expedite.
The judge is unconvinced that Apple is suffering badly and that the five weeks between July 21 and August 24 make a major difference. Instead, the order suggests Samsung should be given time to develop its opposition to Apple's motion for an expedited trial.
Though it is impossible to reach a conclusion about motion for preliminary injunction and expedited overall trial, there is more to yesterday's order than meets the eye.
Apple had been negotiating with Samsung for about an year before going ahead with its decision to take Samsung to court. Judge believes that if Apple truly thought Samsung's patent infringement posed a fundamental threat to its business it won't negotiate for a year but will take action sooner than that.
The Court agrees with Samsung that the length of time Apple has been aware of its claims and the long history of infringement alleged in the complaint undermine Apple's claims of urgency to some extent, yesterday's order read.
According to Foss Patents, the word undermine indicates, Apple has a serious credibility problem with all of its claims that it needs an extraordinarily swift resolution of this lawsuit.
Apple's delay in suing Samsung is believed to have strategic reasons behind it as Samsung was an Apple vendor for certain components (chips and screens) and Apple would have possibly been looking for a replacement. Apple might have also wanted to concentrate on its lawsuit against HTC as a winning verdict against HTC would increase Apple's chances against Samsung as well.