Samsung Stepping Up Attacks on 'Free Riding' Apple in Patent Dispute
Associated Press reports that Samsung is becoming more vocal about its efforts to go on the offensive against Apple in the patent dispute between the two companies, accusing Apple of "free riding" on Samsung's intellectual property with its products.
"We'll be pursuing our rights for this in a more aggressive way from now on," Lee Younghee, head of global marketing for mobile communications, said Friday in an interview.
Lee, a senior vice president at Samsung, did not say what form the South Korean company's stronger stance would take or if there would be more lawsuits. But her remarks suggest a definite change in tone. She described its previous approach as "passive."
Lee suggests that Samsung has been relatively "passive" in the dispute thus far out of respect for the fact that Apple and Samsung have a close relationship for component supplies, although Apple is reportedly looking to minimize its reliance on Samsung in that regard.
Lee said that Samsung has kept that relationship in mind amid the dispute with the Cupertino, California-based company, and has largely been pulling its punches.
"We've been quite respectful and also passive in a way" in consideration of those links, Lee said during the interview in her office at Samsung's headquarters building in southern Seoul. "However, we shouldn't be ... anymore."
It hasn't taken Samsung long to follow through on its promise to become more aggressive, as Dutch site Webwereld.nl reports [Google translation] that Samsung has filed suit against Apple in The Hague, requesting a ban on sales of Apple's 3G-enabled iOS devices in the Netherlands. The suit explicitly names the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, and original iPad, but does not limit its claims to the listed devices.
Apple argues that the patents in question are so basic to wireless telecommunications technology that they should be subject to FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) conditions that would require Samsung to license them to all competitors under fair and reasonable terms, which Apple does not believe Samsung has been offering in its discussions over the patents. FRAND conditions are applied by standards-setting organizations in certain situations to prevent companies from engaging in anti-competitive behavior by refusing to license patents that are crucial to a given industry.
Earlier this week, sources within Samsung also indicated that the company is planning to target the iPhone 5 with patent lawsuits as soon as it is introduced.