iPhone 5 launch to trigger 4G LTE-related legal action from Samsung, report confirms

September 11, 2012
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In case the title above sounds familiar that’s because we have already talked about this scenario – Samsung taking legal action against Apple once the iPhone 5, the sixth-generation iOS smartphone that will reportedly come with 4G LTE support, gets launched.

Now, a new Korea Times report reveals that Samsung is indeed very interested in pursuing an LTE-based case against Apple, and it will do so as soon as the new iPhone 5 is unveiled and launched:

Samsung Electronics will sue Apple over its release of the iPhone 5 for infringing on its fourth-generation (4G) long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity patents, according to industry sources, Monday.

“It’s true that Samsung Electronics has decided to take immediate legal action against the Cupertino-based Apple. Countries in Europe and even the United States ― Apple’s home-turf ― are our primary targets,” said an industry source.

The new iPhone is going to be announced during a special September 12 event, and released on September 21, according to some informed rumors, so we can only assume that a coordinated U.S. and European Samsung attack will follow very soon after that, although specifics are not clear on the matter.

Previous reports on the next iPhone’s 4G LTE support revealed that while Apple is beefing up its already consistent LTE patent portfolio, HTC is also very interested in obtaining an LTE-based ban in the U.S. with the International Trade Commission.

What about FRAND patents? Are the new 4G LTE patents also standard essential? In which case, would Apple have an easier time defending against any claim, just as it did in the recent U.S. Apple vs Samsung court? Here’s what another source told the newspaper:

“Apple claimed the existing 3G-related patents are standard essential patents (SEPs) according to our earlier commitment to the FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms. But the story is totally different when you talk about LTE patents. These are new and highly-valued.”

But since 4G LTE is going to be the new standard for post 3G and 3.5G telecommunications, chances are that all, if not most, LTE patents out there will be soon labeled as FRAND, if they aren’t already. In which case, any FRAND-based court dispute between any party involved is likely not to end up with injunctions or high royalty and damages payments.

In case you thought the Apple vs Samsung conflict is nearing its end, grab some popcorn, as more legal action is coming. We’ll report on all the Samsung upcoming legal proceedings against the new handset in the following days and weeks.

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