For nearly a month now, we've been following Samsung's request for access to Apple's next-generation iPhone and iPad hardware, a move obviously made in retaliation for Apple having demanded (and received) access to unreleased, albeit publicly-shown, Samsung hardware as part of the legal battle between the two companies.

samsung logo
As noted by FOSS Patents, a federal judge has now ruled that Apple does not have to turn its plans for the next-generation iOS hardware over to Samsung's lawyers.

The judge also ruled, however, that there is some merit to Samsung's claims that its own forthcoming devices claimed to be infringing on Apple's designs should be compared to Apple's next-generation hardware as opposed to the current-generation hardware, particularly in the case of the iPhone. With Apple expected to be releasing the next-generation iPhone within the next few months, the judge notes that the potential for customer confusion should be gauged against products on the market at the same time.

Samsung is free to argue, for instance, that there is little likelihood of confusion because consumers will not encounter its products side-by-side with the iPhone 4 or iPad 2, but rather with Apple's next generation iPhone and iPad. Similarly, as to proximity, Samsung is free to argue that because the iPhone 4 and [iPad] 2 will soon be outmoded and reduced in price, they are not being sold (or very soon will not be sold) to the same class of purchasers who are likely to buy new Samsung products. By choosing to allege infringement only of its current products, Apple opens itself up to these arguments.

But while the judge admits that aspect of Samsung's argument, her ruling also reveals that she is unconvinced of an imminent release of new hardware from Apple, particularly in the case of the next-generation iPad. And regardless of Apple's timeline for a hardware release, Samsung's case does not hinge upon receiving early access to Apple's unannounced devices.

Top Rated Comments

IzzyJG99 Avatar
128 months ago
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dethmaShine Avatar
128 months ago
Now that the people have claimed that Apple was being ridiculous and Samsung was right, I guess the judge is mad too, and/or an Apple fanboy and/or not a judge at all.

^This.

/s
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nwcs Avatar
128 months ago
Not surprising that the judge ruled that way. I wonder what will happen with the new patents being approved, etc.? I wouldn't be surprised to see a behind the scenes settlement.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SockRolid Avatar
128 months ago
A "saving face" lawsuit at best

After Apple's infringement suit was lodged, I'm sure Samsung's top brass went to their legal department and said "What can we do to make it look like we're fighting back?"

The result? A nuisance suit that only had PR value.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
*LTD* Avatar
128 months ago
No surprise.

Samsung requested to see products that didn't exist. What exactly were they thinking?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
128 months ago
Guess Apple won't feel "harassed" anymore.:cool:

I do agree with the Judge that the products need to be compared against current shipping devices. Otherwise Samsung, might "accidentally" copy Apple some more.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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