updated 11:00 pm EDT, Thu April 21, 2011
Samsung sues Apple back over patents
Samsung tonight said it had countersued Apple in retaliation for Apple's trade and patent lawsuits. The complaints include a suit alleging infringement of five patents in Samsung's hometown of Seoul, Korea, as well as three patents challenged in Mannheim, Germany, and two patents in Tokyo, Japan. An initial mention of the lawsuits didn't explain the nature of the patents.
It conspicuously avoided any mention of a US lawsuit, where Apple's original pursuit is located.
The Galaxy S maker stopped short of responding directly to Apple's accusations and issued a relatively generic response. "Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property and to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business," it said.
A responding lawsuit was expected given earlier threats as well as typical practices in patent disputes. Many companies will often countersue to create a possible stalemate and hopefully push the original complainant into reaching a settlement. Apple has tried to assuage some fears by saying it planned to keep Samsung as a supplier.
Samsung will likely have trouble attacking Apple through the same complaints of trade dress and design copying that were leveled against it in the original lawsuit. Although the Ultra Smart F700 was technically announced before the original iPhone and could theoretically have been cited as prior art given some superficial similarities, the phone's final design wasn't shown until February 2007, a month after the iPhone was made public. Apple has so far pointed to fairly self-evident instances of Samsung copying the iPhone's design in the Galaxy S, ranging from the central home button on some models down to very close visual traits in icons and home screen behavior.
Apple hadn't had an opportunity to comment as of this writing.