U.S. Galaxy S3 sales ban already requested; Apple brings up the same patent it used to block the HTC One X

June 7, 2012
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In early May, soon after Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S3, certain reports claimed that the company’s legal counsel had a hand in the device’s design, a design that was heavily contested at the time by certain tech blogs and even potential buyers. It was suggested that the Galaxy S3 is lawsuit-proof, as its design would not infringe any of the patents Apple could use to attack the handset.

Apple and Samsung have been involved in a huge patent-based legal fight that spanned across four continents, with the two companies suing and counter-suing each other in 10 different markets. There are well over 30 lawsuits between the two at this time, and even though Apple obtained the most favorable (temporary) rulings so far in various countries, the fight is not yet over.

Now, we hear that Apple filed on Tuesday a new motion against Samsung in the U.S., seeking to obtain a preliminary injunction against Galaxy S3 sales in the region, as the device is apparently infringing certain Apple patents.

FOSS Patents reports that Apple asked the U.S. court in its second litigation in California to allow it to “supplement the record regarding Samsung’s Galaxy S3 product.” Apple wants to include the new Galaxy S model in a preliminary injunction motion that was filed back in February against the Galaxy Nexus over four patents.

The iPhone maker is apparently still analyzing the potentially infringing elements of the Galaxy S3 on two of those patents, but the company would like to obtain a sales injunction in the region based on the other two patents, the “the ‘604 [unified search, i.e., Siri] and ‘647 [data tapping] patents,” that are allegedly infringed by the Galaxy S3.

In case the “data tapping” patent sounds awfully familiar, it’s because we’re looking at the same patent that helped Apple score an import ban of HTC devices with the ITC. That ban caused the launch delay of the HTC EVO 4G LTE and the HTC One X in the U.S., and that patent helped Apple move forward with a new ITC complaint against HTC, that targets 29 new HTC devices, including the two mentioned above.

Apple’s counsel went ahead and contacted Samsung lawyers to discuss the whole matter, and asked Samsung to “confirm that it will not launch the Galaxy S3 in the United States until the Court has ruled on Apple’s preliminary injunction motion.”

As expected, Samsung responded to Apple’s formal request telling the court that “if Apple wishes to seek an injunction against the Galaxy S3, 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.”

Business Week reported today that Samsung stated that it will “vigorously oppose Apple’s request for a court to ban sales of the Galaxy S3 smartphone and still plans to go ahead with the device’s scheduled release in the U.S. on June 21.”

Samsung will launch the Galaxy S3 in the US with five carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. We have already given you all the launch-related details for each American mobile operator that’s getting the phone, but we’ll remind you that only Sprint, T-Mobile mentioned actual release dates. Both carriers plan to launch the device on June 21, the date that Samsung referred to in its comments to The Associated Press.

The company said that will “demonstrate to the court that the Galaxy S3 is innovative and distinctive” and we’ll certainly follow this new legal battle between the two giants for you especially since it involves this highly-anticipated Android device.

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