Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

Apple wants to include more devices in its patent infringement suit against Samsung, including the recently-released Galaxy S3 Mini.

As the legal system would have it, patent disputes can be more complicated than they initially look. While Apple has already won in its claim against Samsung in California, both companies have been filing contentions against each other with the court, mainly to include additional products they believe would help in their case. For Apple, additional devices would mean it can seek additional damages from Samsung.

As such, Apple is asking the court to include a few more smartphones and tablets that it believes infringe on its patents and dilute its trade dress. Some of these contentions involve devices that were not previously included, but are now added to the list of possibly infringing products after receiving an update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

These devices are as follows:

  • Galaxy S3 with Jelly Bean update. While the Galaxy S3 was previously added in an earlier contention by Apple, the firm says the update only arrived on devices that its legal counsel examined just “earlier this month.”
  • Galaxy Note 2
  • Galaxy Tab 8.9 WiFi. The original patent infringement contentions were based on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and the device was actually included in an earlier contention. But with the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update, Apple wanted to include the updated devices in its list.
  • Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. In particular, Apple is targeting devices released with ICS begining November 9 and most recently November 21 this year.
  • Galaxy Rugby Pro, released on October 21.
  • Galaxy S3 Mini. The device was released in the UK earlier this month, but Samsung is yet to officially release it Stateside. But Apple says it has discovered the Galaxy S3 Mini is now for sale in the U.S., and so it wants to include the devices in its contention.

Another possibly important piece of information is that Apple wants to highlight that these devices (or updates) were released shortly after its launch of the fifth-generation iPod Touch, which Samsung also wants to include in its own contention. This makes it difficult for the court to allow Samsung to include the 5th-gen iPod touch in its contention without also allowing Apple to include the above-listed devices in their own due to untimeliness.

One other interesting point here is timeliness. FOSS Patents says the trial is set for March 2014, at which time a possible injunction would be rendered moot and irrelevant. But still, Apple’s aim here is to broaden the product base on which it can seek damages. In particular, Apple wants to include the devices updated with ICS or Jelly Bean in products it wants to charge damages for.

It will also be worth noting that Apple took care to avoid a direct attack on Google or Android, saying “Apple does not seek to accuse the Jelly Bean or the Ice Cream Sandwich platforms operating on any Samsung device.” This was due to the court not wanting Apple to bring sweeping infringement claims against Android itself without specifying Samsung products that are actually infringing.

But of course, these devices seem to be collateral damage in Apple’s “thermonuclear war” against Android, with the main target being the platform itself and Samsung, which is today’s biggest smartphone brand, thanks to Android.

J. Angelo Racoma
J. Angelo Racoma has written extensively about mobile, social media, enterprise apps and startups. Angelo develops business case studies for Microsoft enterprise platforms, and is also co-founder at WorkSmartr, a small outsourcing team that offers digital content and marketing services.