Samsung Patent Ruling Appeal: It’s Not About the iPhone

| Analysis

Samsung's fight to block iPhone sales in the United States isn't dead yet, despite a veto on the ban from President Barak Obama. The electronics maker filed an appeal in July in hopes of overturning an ITC ruling that dropped three other patents from its case, and if it wins that appeal, the fight to block iPhone 4 sales will be back on -- a fight that's mostly symbolic at this point, but could have a big impact on Samsung's future patent infringement lawsuit strategies.

Samsung is appealing an ITC ruling in hopes of leveraging its SEP technology in courtSamsung is appealing an ITC ruling in hopes of leveraging its SEP technology in court

Samsung had won an International Trade Commission import ban on some iPhone 4 and iPad 2 models that was set to go into effect on Sunday, August 4. That ban was overturned, however, by the White House a day ahead of the deadline over concerns that patents considered standards essential were being used to strong arm companies into paying higher licensing fees.

From Apple's perspective, Samsung is pushing for mobile device patent licensing fees that are too high and is using standards essential patents (SEP) it owns to do that. Those patents cover technologies necessary for smartphones which makes them important not just for the iPhone, but for smartphones from other companies, too.

From Samsung's perspective, Apple is balking at paying fair licensing fees.

The bigger issue here isn't whether or not Apple is paying enough to license Samsung's SEP technology for the iPhone, but how companies can leverage SEP in patent infringement fights. Samsung sees the President's veto ban as a sign it can't effectively protect its intellectual property, and that's really what the company wants to control, not whether Apple can sell a three year old smartphone that's about to drop off the market.

Since Samsung can't take on the President's veto directly, it's going back to the ITC ruling that dropped three other patents from the case. If the company can get that ruling overturned, it can try again for a product ban which ultimately will strengthen its ability to effectively use SEP in future patent infringement cases.

It's not so much about stopping sales of the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. It's about the infringement lawsuits Samsung files in the future, and what role its standards essential patents will play.

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Could it be that Apple’s upcoming low-cost phone will replace the older iPhones? And perhaps a similar scenario for iPad 2? If so, Apple will just stop making and selling these devices.

The South Korean government has protested the Obama administration’s veto, seemingly condoning Samsung’s questionable (to US eyes) business practices. Apparently Korean ethics in business differ markedly from those generally accepted here.


You missed a very important point.
The bickering is not so much about money but about Apple’s patents covering iPhone and iPad differentiating features.

Samsung is trying to twist Apple’s arm into cross lincensing the patents Steve Jobs boasted about at the introduction of the iPhone in exchange for patent licenses for standard technologies that everyone except Apple pays Samsung a pittance for.
The money part is just a sideshow.

Shameer Mulji


Ethics in business in the vast majority of Asian ( and African) countries differ markedly than those generally accepted in the USA.


Here (thanks to skipaq) is a very elucidating & quite definitive history of the legal aspects of the Apple-Samsung dispute before the ITC & Obama.

, for your link’s   elucidating & quite definitive history of this question


Jeff - I sure hope you guys are making headway in your efforts to restore the user editing function to TMO’s Comment box.



Everyone is paying a pittance for SEPs.

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