Samsung Wins Dismissal of Some Apple Patent Suit Counterclaims

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) won a court order dismissing some counterclaims by Apple Inc. in a lawsuit over alleged patent infringement of Apple’s smartphones and tablet computers.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, yesterday denied most of Samsung’s requests to dismiss Apple’s counterclaims. She dismissed Apple’s so-called promissory estoppel counterclaim on the grounds that issue is governed by French law, which doesn’t allow such a claim.

Apple and Samsung are both members of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, a standards setting organization based in France.

Apple claimed it relied on Samsung’s commitments to license patents under “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms,” and argued that Samsung deliberately failed to disclose its intellectual property rights policy during the standard setting process for its products operating on wireless networks.

Koh dismissed Apple’s counterclaim that it relied on Samsung’s licensing commitments, even though Samsung might have made those commitments without thorough consideration.

The judge also granted Samsung’s request to dismiss Apple’s breach of contract counterclaim “to the extent that Apple claims that it has an existing license” to some of Samsung’s patents.

Galaxy Tab

In its lawsuit, Apple claims that Samsung’s 4G smartphone and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer infringe its patents. In December, Koh ruled against Apple’s request to block Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung from selling that phone and tablet in the U.S. That order followed an Australian court ruling lifting an injunction on the tablet there.

Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, referred to the company’s previous comment on the case.

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging,” Apple said in previous statements. “This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

Samsung, which was the world’s largest seller of smartphones last year, and Cupertino, California-based Apple have filed at least 30 lawsuits against each other on four continents since April 2011.

The case is Apple Inc. (AAPL) v. Samsung Electronics Co., 11-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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