Blocking Galaxy S4 from Patent Trial Means More Apple Lawsuits to Come

Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal has denied Apple's request to at the Galaxy S4 smartphone to its patent infringement case against Samsung. The Judge denied the motion saying it would put too much of a strain on court resources, which means we'll likely see yet another infringement case -- this time focused on the Galaxy S4 -- at some point in the future.

Judge denies Apple request to add Galaxy S4 to Samsung patent trialJudge denies Apple request to add Galaxy S4 to Samsung patent trial

Apple filed the motion as part of its second patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung that's scheduled for trial in spring 2014. Apple told Judge Grewal that the S4 infringes on its mobile device patents in the same way as devices, which he ultimately didn't disagree with. Instead, he said that adding yet another device to the already long list of products named in the case would cause a substantial burden because it would require additional time for extensive discovery.

With the S4 officially out of next spring's patent infringement trial, Apple has found itself in a position where it'll have to file a new case that includes Samsung's new flagship smartphone, and since the company is always releasing more Android-based products, it's a safe bet that whenever that new trial hits, the S4 won't be the only device on the list.

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents stated,

The real problem is that as long as Apple and Samsung don't settle, but Samsung continues to launch devices Apple considers to infringe on its IP, Apple will be forced to bring new lawsuits to go after additional products.

Apple's own attorneys called the process a "whack-a-mole game with Samsung."

Judge Grewal said he's expecting there's a new trial in the future for Apple and Samsung anyhow because some of the devices Apple dropped from the current case to meet court-imposed limitations will come back in a future filing, and that filing could also include the S4.

The Judge added that a new trial could be in Apple's best interests, saying,

Although Apple did not raise the issue, the court notes that to the extent that Apple believes it is irreparably harmed by Samsung's sale of the Galaxy S4, a new case might actually be the better option to prevent sales as the time for a preliminary injunction in this case has long passed.

Apple and Samsung have been fighting over patent infringement claims in courts around the world for over a year. Apple's big win came in August 2012 when a U.S. Federal Court ruled that some Samsung smartphones and tablets were infringing on its patents. Apple was awarded over US$1 billion in damages, some of which will be reassessed in a separate hearing this fall because the Jury improperly assigned monetary values to some devices.

Even though another trial seems very likely, don't expect Apple to file a new case right away because putting more time between the current case and new litigation for the S4 cuts down on Samsung's chances of getting the two cases joined.

Apple hasn't commented on Judge Grewal's ruling.