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A court error on Friday offered a brief glimpse at information that Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics have tried to shield from the public during their high-stakes patent litigation.

The material appears to be less important for what it says about the companies than what it reveals about efforts to keep court proceedings secret.

In denying Apple’s bid to stop Samsung from selling its Galaxy smartphone and tablets in the United States, District Judge Lucy Koh’s ruling inadvertently included details she had intended to black out. The judge’s staff quickly realized the error, sealed the electronic document and posted a redacted version four hours later.

The fuller version, which Reuters obtained while it was publicly available, did not expose the technical inner workings of the iPad — or anything close. Rather, it contained internal company analysis about the smartphone market, as well as some details about Apple’s patent licensing relationships with other tech companies.

The lawsuit, which Apple filed in April in a San Jose, California, federal court, says Samsung’s Galaxy products “slavishly” copy the iPhone and iPad. The South Korean electronics maker says Apple’s arguments lack merit.

The case is scheduled for trial next year. The Friday ruling means Samsung can continue selling Galaxy products for now.

Sealing documents has become standard in intellectual property cases. Investors, academics and other observers have expressed concern that some judges too readily accede to litigants’ claims that documents contain trade secrets and must be kept private.

Judges have wide latitude in granting company sealing requests, and Koh has granted all of Apple and Samsung’s requests to keep documents secret in the case.

Some crucial legal briefs from both companies were kept entirely secret for months, and then released with redactions. After an inquiry from Reuters last week, Koh issued new guidelines so that redacted briefs become public much sooner.

Timothy Holbrook, an intellectual property professor at Emory Law in Atlanta who reviewed Koh’s Friday ruling at Reuters’ request, said there did not appear to be any trade secrets among the blacked-out portions.

“Most of it just seems like it was sealed out of an abundance of caution,” Holbrook said.

In an email on Monday, Koh declined to comment on a pending case. Representatives for Apple and Samsung also declined to comment.

SMARTPHONE, TABLET BATTLE

The California case is just one battleground in Apple and Samsung’s bruising legal war, which includes more than 20 cases in 10 countries as they jostle for the top spot in the smartphone and tablet markets.

Global tablet sales are expected to explode to more than 50 million in 2011. Apple, which has sold more than 30 million iPads so far, is expected to continue to dominate the market in the near term.

While Amazon.com has also entered the fray with its Kindle Fire tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy line-up is widely deemed the closest rival to the iPad in terms of capability and design.

In her 65-page ruling denying Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung, Koh attempted to redact nearly two dozen sentences or short fragments. But because of a formatting characteristic in the prior electronic version, the redacted material can be viewed by copying text from the PDF and pasting it into another document.

The version now available to the public cannot be viewed in such a manner.

According to the redacted portions, Apple’s own studies show that existing customers are unlikely to switch from iPhones to Samsung devices. Instead, the evidence suggests an increase in sales of Samsung smartphones is likely to come at the expense of other smartphones with Android operating systems, Koh wrote.

In arguing against the injunction, Samsung — which is also a huge components supplier to Apple — said Apple’s supply cannot keep up with market demand for smartphone products. Koh recounted the argument in the redacted portions of the ruling.

But Koh then called Samsung’s argument “dubious,” given rebuttal evidence presented by Apple regarding its ability to keep up with demand in the long term.

The redacted portions also refer to licensing deals that Apple struck with other high-tech companies over one of its key patents. Issued in December 2008, the patent covers the method of scrolling documents and images on Apple’s touch-screen devices.

Apple has already licensed the patent to IBM and Nokia, according to the ruling. A technology blog, The Verge, first reported this detail on Saturday; the blog said it had been shown two statements that were redacted from the ruling.

Scant information has previously been made available about Apple’s licensing deals with Nokia or IBM.

While Apple and Nokia publicly announced a patent settlement for an undisclosed sum in June, they did not divulge any specifics, except to say the agreement resolved all litigation between the companies and that Apple would make a one-time payment to Nokia and pay future royalties. At the time, the settlement was viewed as a victory for Nokia.

There appears to be no reference to any patent-licensing deal for mobile technology between IBM and Apple either in news archives or company regulatory filings.

“Apple doesn’t license much, and it could be that they don’t want people to know who the licensees are,” said Holbrook, the IP professor.

Representatives for IBM and Nokia did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Samsung was also offered a royalty license during negotiations with Apple in November 2010, the ruling says, five months before Apple wound up suing Samsung in the United States.

Apple has brought claims against Samsung based on design patents — which protect the look and feel of a device — and so-called “utility” patents, which cover engineering innovations.

A footnote in the ruling says “it does not appear” that Apple and Samsung discussed design patents during their negotiations that preceded the lawsuit.

Yet since much of Koh’s opinion covers design patents, the mistakenly released data does not reveal much about the inner workings of the technology, said Holbrook.

“There was nothing I saw that was shocking, just stuff that is not (otherwise) available to the public,” he said.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.

(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco and Carlyn Kolker in New York; Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington; Editing by Martha Graybow and John Wallace)

via reuters


If Porsche Design made a BlackBerry… oh wait, that’s already happened. Well this leaked handset is said to be a forthcoming BlackBerry, and just happens to share design cues with the Porsche P’9981 that emerged a couple of weeks ago.

It’s also said to be the first handset running the QNX operating system, reports The Verge. Whether it’s anything to do with BBX is anyone’s guess, but here’s what we do know.

Dubbed the BlackBerry London, it can apparently stand on one of its sides, according to the source, so expect it to be pretty rectangular. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Inside is a TI OMAP dual-core CPU running at 1.5GHz, as well as 1GB of RAM. It comes with 16GB storage onboard (no word on card slots), and there’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back and 2-megapixel front-facer.

It’s pretty impressive in the dimensions department too. The source claims it’s “thinner than the iPhone 4” (and therefore slimmer than the 4S, too), and about the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S2, though which model of S2 isn’t clear. Still, pretty swish.

read more


  • Samsung Electronics Co overtook Apple Inc as the world’s top smartphone maker in the July-September period with a 44 percent jump in shipments, and forecast strong sales in the current quarter in a clear warning to its rivals.
  • In the handset division, Samsung has no real rival models to challenge its products except for the iPhone 4S. Apple and Samsung will continue to dominate the market in the fourth quarter,” Reuters quoted Kim Hyun-joong, a fund manager at Midas Asset Management, which owns Samsung shares as saying.
  • Profits from the South Korean firm’s telecoms division, announced on Friday, more than doubled from a year ago to a record 2.5 trillion won ($2.2 billion) and accounted for 60 percent of Samsung’s total profit, offsetting a plunge in earnings from its bread-and-butter memory chips.
  • Shipments of smartphones jumped 44 percent from the preceding quarter to 27.8 million units, up nearly four times from a year ago, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Apple’s iPhone sales shrank by 16 percent to 17.1 million units in the third quarter. Samsung had 23.8 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, 9 points higher than Apple. Samsung’s flagship Galaxy line of products is powered by Google’s Android software.

  • Samsung on Monday unveiled three new smartphones in India. These handsets are Omnia W, Wave III and Galaxy Y. Samsung Omnia W is based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone latest version code-named Mango. Equipped with 3.7-inch display and a 5MP camera, the handset has a 1.4GHz processor.

 

  • Mobile handset maker Samsung is betting big on smartphones and expects the segment to contribute about 20% of its total revenue from mobile devices by the year-end.

 

  • Smartphones currently contribute about 12-14% of volumes of Samsung’s mobile handset business, which is one of the largest verticals of the company. Samsung also sells other electronic items like refrigerators, ACs and televisions. When asked about the sales number, Yadav declined to comment since the company does not disclose country-specific numbers. The company has launched three new handsets to expand its smartphone portfolio taking the total number to 12.

 

  • Samsung Omnia W is based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone latest version code-named Mango. Equipped with 3.7-inch display and a 5MP camera, the handset has a 1.4GHz processor. Features such as Windows Phone People Hub integrated with social networking services built-in Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allows users to always stay in touch with their social community.

read more at caclubindia


  • South Korea’s top mobile carrier SK Telecom said Wednesday it would this year offer seven smartphone models and one tablet device running on ultra-high-speed network technology.
  • SK launched its super-fast 4G wireless services, based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, in Seoul in June and plans to secure national coverage by 2013.
  • LTE promises fast data traffic and quicker access to applications such as television programmes, movies and video conferencing. The company said it would this month launch two phones, from Samsung Electronics and Taiwan’s HTC Corp, for its LTE service.
  • Samsung will offer two additional LTE smartphones through SK Telecom in October and November. Its tablet PC, the Galaxy Tab 8.9, will hit the local market before December with LTE technology. LG Electronics will release its first LTE smartphone next month, while Pantech will provide two LTE smartphones in October and December, SK said in a statement.
  • The carrier said it aims to lure 500,000 LTE subscribers by December, five million next year and 15 million by 2014.

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