Samsung, which has been accused by Apple of stealing its technology and design has turned the table on its accuser, which is famous for its corporate secrecy, by demanding to see pre-production prototypes of next generation iPhone and iPad so that it can evaluate whether its Galaxy range of devices are confusingly similar to Apple devices.
According to documents filed May 27 by Samsung in a federal court in San Jose, California, the South Korean company said Apple must show its iPhone and iPad models under development so that Samsung can examine them and see whether the smartphones and tablets sold by the two companies are confusingly similar.
Samsung said it must the iPhone and iPad under development to evaluate whether a likelihood of confusion exists. The company has asked Apple to turn over its pre-production prototypes, including product packaging, by June 13 to help it prepare its defense against any preliminary injunction motion brought against Samsung by Apple for trademark or trade dress infringement.
The demand by the South Korean consumer technology major has stumped Apple which, a month ago, had complained to the court that Samsung's galaxy range of devices slavishly copied iPad and iPhone technology and design.
Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung has chosen to slavishly copy Apple's innovative technology, distinctive user interfaces, and elegant and distinctive product and packaging design, in violation of Apple's valuable intellectual property rights. As alleged below in detail, Samsung has made its Galaxy phones and computer tablet work and look like Apple's products through widespread patent and trade dress infringement. Samsung has even misappropriated Apple's distinctive product packaging, Apple said in its filing.
It demanded that it see Samung products, including the to-be-released Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. The court agreed, but imposed the condition that only Apple's external lawyers would be allowed access to any of Samsung's pre-production products.
Samsung in response is now saying that in all fundamental fairness, it must be given an opportunity to compare the devices sold by the two companies as Apple is seeking a court order to bar it from selling future products.
Apple has asked the judge not to heed Samsung's request because Apple's claim is based on intellectual property which is embodied in products that Apple currently has on the market.
A preliminary injunction motion will be based on Apple’s current intellectual property rights, not on future products. Because Apple’s future products have no relevance to a preliminary injunction motion, we reject your request that Apple provide samples of such future products, the company, famous for its corporate secrecy, said in its motion.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. 11-cv- 01846. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose).
The latest twist in the legal battle came even as Apple COO Tim Cook visited the Suwon-based company to explore possibilities of the iPad using Samsung-developed AMOLED displays. We are Samsung's largest customer, and Samsung is a very valued component supplier to us. I expect a strong relationship will continue, Cook said.
Interestingly, Samsung still continues to be the key chip supplier to the iPhone maker.