Samsung Declines to Seek iPhone 4S Ban in Korea, Wins Source Code Access

The Chosunilbo reports (via The Next Web) that Samsung has at the last minute elected not to request an injunction banning the sale of the iPhone 4S in its home country of South Korea. According to the report, the decision appears to have been spurred by public relations considerations, with Samsung preferring not to irk South Korean customers by attempting to have iPhone sales banned there.

Samsung had debated until the last moment whether to file the motion after making similar applications in France, Italy, Australia, and Japan.

The decision was apparently driven by public-relations concerns. A senior Samsung executive said, "We concluded that we should engage in legal battles with Apple only in the global market, but not in order to gain more market share in Korea."

Samsung and Apple are of course engaged in legal battles in a number of other countries, with each company seeking injunctions banning the sale of the other's devices based on claims of intellectual property infringement.

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Samsung is one of Apple's key component suppliers for its mobile devices, but also a primary competitor with its slate of Android-based handsets. As noted in his biography, Steve Jobs believed that Android was a "stolen product" and had vowed to "spend every penny" of Apple's cash horde to destroy the platform. Samsung initially adopted a defensive stance in the disputes, but has recently stepped up its efforts and begun targeting the iPhone using its own portfolio of patents covering 3G wireless technologies.

Meanwhile, developments continue in Samsung's case against Apple in Australia, where Apple was able to avoid Samsung's request to see Apple's contracts with mobile phone carriers in that country by simply testifying that the language Samsung was looking for was not included in the contracts. Samsung had been pursing claims of anti-competitive behavior by suggesting that carriers may have committed to paying premium subsidies for the iPhone.

Samsung did, however, win one concession from Apple, as noted by ITNews, with a Samsung engineer being given two hours with the iPhone 4S source code to examine its 3G implementation. Apple had argued that the specific 3G patents being cited by Samsung were licensed by Qualcomm, Apple's chip supplier, absolving Apple from any separate licensing requirement. But Samsung was apparently allowed access to the iPhone 4S source code in order to explicitly determine how the Qualcomm chip interfaces with the rest of the device's hardware.

Top Rated Comments

Gasu E. Avatar
122 months ago
Two hours alone with Apple source code! I'll bet it was a real turn-on for the engineer.;)
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
claus1225 Avatar
122 months ago
2 hours is kind of short
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iRCL Avatar
122 months ago
Can you imagine the incredible stress and pressure of being that one engineer with that kind of responsibility?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Oletros Avatar
122 months ago
Apple is letting them see the relevant source code (ie. not all of iOS) for a very good reason: Apple doesn't believe they are infringing Samsung's 3G patents.
Apple is not letting them anything, Apple must show the baseband source code because the judge has ordered them to show it to Samsung
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ScoobyMcDoo Avatar
122 months ago
2 hours to try to decipher someone else's code would be challenging. You know Apple is going to remove all comments and maybe even obfuscate the code to some degree..
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vrDrew Avatar
122 months ago
Apple is letting them see the relevant source code (ie. not all of iOS) for a very good reason: Apple doesn't believe they are infringing Samsung's 3G patents.

Apple is claiming "exhaustion" - in other words, because the 3G functionality is mostly provided by the Qualcomm chips they buy (and Qualcomm is a Samsung licensee) - then they aren't guilty of infringement.

What the source code will show is how Apple implements 3G: If the source code says something like "pass this task off to the processor located at address XYZ, and return the result to address ABC" - then Apple hasn't copied Samsung's IP.

On the other hand, if the iOS source code itself contains instructions as to how to handle the data, using methods that Samsung has patented - then Apple would be guilty of infringement.

That is what Samsung's engineers are going to be looking for. And while two hours isn't a lot of time to analyze source code, it should be enough for Samsung's engineers to decide if Apple's version is basically true, or not.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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