At a time when consumers in the United States are eagerly waiting for Samsung to start shipping its latest flagship smartphone, Galaxy S3, the South Korean conglomerate has confronted a serious hitch that could end up delaying the availability of the device in the country.
Further heating up its patent war against Samsung, Apple sought a preliminary injunction motion (full text of Apple's motion is given below) against the new Galaxy S3 smartphone in the District Court for the Northern District of California Tuesday that could ban the sales of the device in the U.S. The Cupertino tech giant requested court permission to add the smartphone as another product targeted by its motion for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, which it developed in association with Google.
The preliminary injunction motion, targeting Galaxy Nexus, was filed in February, and was over four patents used in it. While Apple is still analyzing whether the Galaxy S3 has violated two of its four patents -- the new slide-to-unlock patent and the autocomplete patent, the current injunction has been sought against two patents covering unified search in regards to Siri and data tapping, which was successfully used to stop imports of HTC devices.
As far as the unified search patent is concerned, Apple believes that Samsung has replicated the technology with its S-Voice feature by shamelessly ripping off Siri's user interface.
According to patent expert Florian Müeller, writing for his FOSS Patents blog, Apple purchased the S III in the United Kingdom, where Samsung launched it on May 29. The U.S. launch date is June 21 -- precisely two weeks after the preliminary injunction hearing.
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Müeller referred to Apple's motion, which noted that [a]ccording to press reports, Samsung has already sold over nine million preorders of the Galaxy S III; indeed, the Galaxy S III has been reported to be the most extensively preordered piece of consumer electronics in history.
Müeller said that Apple's counsel contacted Samsung's counsel May 31 to discuss the company's desire to include Galaxy S3 among the accused products. Samsung was asked to confirm that it will not launch the Galaxy S III in the United States until the Court has ruled on Apple's preliminary injunction motion. But on June 4, Samsung's counsel replied saying that Apple's pending Preliminary Injunction Motion will have no bearing on the release date of the Galaxy S III.
On Wednesday, Samsung replied to Apple's motion and said that it was too late to add-on to the record for the motion that targeted the Nexus in February. The company said:
If Apple wishes to seek an injunction against the Galaxy S III, the Court should require Apple to file a new motion and allow the parties to develop a full factual record on all four factors. Accordingly, the Court should reject Apple's motion to amend its current notice of motion for a preliminary injunction.
If the claim of nine million preorders for the Galaxy S3 is to be believed, it would be a huge disappointment for quite a fair bit of people if the court enforces a sales ban on the device that would result in indefinite delay of shipments.
Samsung Galaxy S3 features a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, which is surrounded by an ultra-thin bezel to maximize the viewing area of the handset. It weighs 4.7 ounces (133.24 grams) and is 8.6 millimeters thin.
The device sports Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 4G LTE connectivity, 2GB of RAM, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, an 8MP Rear-facing camera, a 1.9MP Front-facing camera and a 2100 mAh battery.
From the connectivity part, the smartphone comes with NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n and MHL Video Out.
Full text of Apple's motion: [Source: Florian Müeller, FOSS Patents]