Samsung: Apple Relied on Our Patents to Enter Smartphone Market

Samsung has accused Apple of relying on four of its patents in order to enter the smartphone market with the iPhone. In statements during a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) trial, Samsung said that Apple had no experience in this market, but that it still didn’t enquire whether or not it needed licenses for some key technologies in the iPhones.

Apple vs. Samsung

“All of these things that Samsung built up, Apple was using when it entered the market,” Samsung attorney Charles Verhoeven said in opening arguments, according to Bloomberg. “Apple, in 2007, when they decided to enter an industry they’d never been in before, didn’t even inquire of there was a license they needed to take.”

This is a long-expected ITC trial between the two companies. Samsung is accusing Apple of infringing on four of it patents that are designated as “standards-essential” patents. That means they are part of a standard the industry has agreed on, and by getting them included in the standard, companies like Samsung agree to license them on fair and reasonable, nondiscriminatory terms (FRAND).

Apple has said in the past that FRAND licensing terms weren’t offered, but Samsung said in Monday’s ITC hearing that this wasn’t true.

“My client did make an offer and what did Apple do?” the attorney said, but Administrative Law Judge James Gildea cut him off before he could explain what Apple did. Bloomberg said that the response was considered confidential, and that the judge told members of the public (including reporters) to clear the room.

Apple has its own case against Samsung in front of the ITC, and both companies have numerous lawsuits going in the U.S. and around the world. Apple has accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying Apple’s iPhone and iPad design patents, a charge that Samsung denies.

In Monday’s ITC case, Apple pointed out that Samsung didn’t raise any patent infringement cases against Apple for more than four years after the iPhone was released. According to Apple, the infringement claims didn’t arise until Apple launched its complaints. Whether or not the judge will care about this rather obvious factoid remains to be seen.