Apple just ran roughshod over Samsung with Apple’s touch-enabled smartphone — and tablet — patents. Samsung tried to fight back but clearly its smartphone related patents, at least in the United States, couldn’t hold up against the Cupterino juggernaut. Samsung’s data related patents, however, are another story.
According to iRunway (which is an independent intellectual property research firm despite sounding like an Apple plaything), Samsung owns roughly 10% of all patents related to Long Term Evolution, otherwise known as LTE or 4G, only to be surpassed by Nokia and Qualcomm. The Korea Times reports Samsung fully plans on using these patents against Apple if the iPhone 5 has LTE:
Samsung confirmed that it will immediately sue Apple if the latter releases products using advanced long-term evolution (LTE) mobile technology.
It should be mentioned the new iPad, which has LTE, was released earlier this year and Samsung has yet to file a lawsuit against Apple for it. This means that either a) Samsung is waiting for Apple’s “big gun”, aka iPhone 5 or b) Samsung didn’t previously plan on using its LTE patents but has now decided otherwise in light of its smackdown courtesy Apple.
It will be interesting to see how Samsung goes about this fight over LTE with Apple simply because LTE is a standardized technology, and patents relating to LTE are probably covered by FRAND laws. FRAND — which stands for “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” — laws are laws the govern the licensing of patented standardized technology. FRAND laws say any patent that is related to a standardized technology must be “fairly” licensed to any and all interested parties.In other words, if any of Samsung’s patents are FRAND LTE patents then it will be forced to “fairly” license the patents to Apple and any lawsuit over FRAND patents will likely not be very successful (ask Motorola if you don’t believe me). It could very well be that Samsung plans on using its LTE patents that are not FRAND. (Is it possible to have non-FRAND LTE patents? Ugh, I hate patent law.) We won’t know until Samsung makes their move. For what it is worth, iPhone 5 will most likely have LTE so we won’t have to wait long to see what Samsung does.
[via BGR | Image credit Martin Hajek]