Apple and Samsung are locked in a heated dispute over whether Samsung's mobile devices copy the look and feel of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In April, Apple filed a patent suit against its rival, alleging that Samsung "chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface and innovative style," rather than innovate and develop its own technology.
Within days, Samsung responded in kind with its own patent suits against Apple. "Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property and to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business," the company said in a statement.
Samsung's latest salvo comes in response to a similar motion by Apple for "expedited discovery" of the South Korean electronics maker's announced but unreleased products. On Tuesday, a San Jose Federal Court judge ruled in favor of Apple, ordering Samsung to provide prototypes of its devices within 30 days.
However, the judge stipulated that only outside counsel can have access to the devices, not Apple's in-house legal team or engineering staff. Samsung is required to provide product samples for the Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G, and 4G LTE Droid Charge.
This is my next reports that Samsung's motion requests to see "a sample of the final, commercial version of the next generation iPhone that Apple will releases, whether that product will be known as the "iPhone 4S." iPhone 5," or some other name," along with a sample of the next-generation iPad.
Though Apple has yet to announce a new version of the iPhone, Samsung based its motion on "internet reports" and "Apple's past practice." Thus, Apple's motion for expedited discovery differs from Samsung's in that it only covered products that had already been announced.
Samsung has asked for the samples by June 13, 2011. If the final versions of the devices aren't yet available, Samsung wants "the most current version of each to be produced instead." According to the motion, Samsung would abide by the same limitations as in Apple's motion, with access to the devices limited to its legal team.
The motion claims that Samsung needs to see Apple's future products in order to prepare for a potential motion for a preliminary injunction from the company. According to the report, Apple told Samsung earlier this week that any potential motion for a preliminary injunction "would be based on products Apple currently has in the market."
Samsung argues that it needs to prepare for the products that will actually be in the market when Apple files the motion, since Apple often discontinues its previous products after launching a newer version. The motion also appeals to "fundamental fairness" as a reason for Apple to provide prototypes of its devices.
The legal battle between the two companies is particularly tense because Apple was Samsung's second-largest client in 2010, behind only Sony. Last year, Apple reportedly accounted for $5.68 billion, or 4 percent, of Samsung's $142 billion in revenue.
During Apple's most recent quarterly earnings call, COO Tim Cook acknowledged that, despite the suit, Samsung remains a valuable partner in supplying components. "We felt the mobile communication division of Samsung had crossed the line, and after trying for some time to work out the issue, we decided we needed to rely on the courts," Cook said.