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.
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.