Trial began today in the latest lawsuit between Samsung and Apple. This time, it is at a new venue, Australia. It seems that even at this very early stage, the judge feels the same way as most consumers – annoyed.
Calling the dispute “just ridiculous”, Australian Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett seems poised to send this to mediation. She noted that if this was a dispute between most other companies, it would have immediately been forced into mediation. She gave the parties until the end of the week to inform her as to why she should not order mediation.
The case began in July 2011 when Apple filed a suit against Samsung in Australia. Apple alleged that the technology used in Samsung’s Galaxy tablet infringed on Apple’s patents. Unperturbed, Samsung filed a cross-claim alleging that the iPhone 4 and 4S, and the iPad 2, infringed upon Samsung’s 3G patents.
Neil Young, an attorney for Samsung, made quite a bold assertion at the hearing today. He argued that Samsung had reached out to Apple negotiating a license agreement on FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms. In response, Young alleged that Apple simply refused to enter negotiations. Apple did not comment on the trial.
Of course, this could be legal posturing by Samsung to portray the company as the victim – even though Samsung is the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the market. But, if the allegations by Samsung are true, then Apple should be severely punished. If there were negotiations however, then Samsung should be sanctioned for making these false allegations.
While it would be interesting to follow the back-and-forth of trial, at this point we think it is clear that mediation is what really needs to occur here.