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Samsung accuses Apple of 'ambush litigation' in 3G patent trial

Apple says it has raised new issues because it doesn't know exactly how its chipsets, made by other vendors, function

Samsung accused Apple of "ambush litigation" on Friday in Federal Court in Sydney by suddenly raising new defenses against the South Korean company's 3G patent infringement allegations.

The two companies' Australian court battle started Monday with opening statements and preliminary arguments. Apple accuses Samsung of infringing touchscreen patents it holds, while Samsung alleges Apple infringes three 3G patents.

Samsung attorney Neil Young accused Apple of violating court rules by bringing up new points regarding how the baseband chipsets in its iPhone 4 and 4S models and second iPad function.

The issues, which arose as the parties delved into highly technical issues regarding how the chipsets work, threatened to cause a major problem, but Justice Annabelle Claire Bennett said she was reluctant to delay the case.

Friday's discussions mainly revolved around Samsung's Australian patents No. 2005202512 and No. 2006241621, which deal with power control and the format of packet headers used for 3G data transmissions.

Apple's lawyers argued this week that it implements UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) standards in its products. Samsung's patents are incorporated into international 3G standards, but Apple contends there are variations in which the standards can be implemented which do not infringe on Samsung's patents.

Apple's new defenses should have been brought up earlier to allow Samsung to gather evidence for its allegations, including examining source code for the relevant chipsets from Qualcomm and Intel, Young said.

"We've had no fair opportunity of dealing with this," he said.

Further, Young said there are restrictions on access to Intel's source code, which could affect Samsung's case, and he was not sure how Intel would respond to a request for source code. He said Samsung's legal team did have access to Qualcomm's source code.

Apple lawyer Cameron Moore said the chipsets are highly complex and not made by Apple. There are many aspects of the chipsets' technology "that Apple simply does not know."

"We are zeroing down to a very specific piece of technology," Moore said. He contended that Samsung is required to prove that Apple is infringing.

The trial, scheduled to run intermittently through October, will resume Aug. 6. The court will eventually deal with Apple's alleged violation of Samsung's patent No. 2005239657, which deals with rate matching patterns used in data transmission, as well as Apple's accusations regarding its touchscreen patents.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com


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