An Australian federal court on Monday began hearing two patent infringement cases brought by Apple and Samsung Electronics [corporate websites] that are anticipated to last for the next three months. Apple has sued Samsung for infringing numerous patents by producing smartphones and tablets similar in design to the iPhone and iPad. In response, Samsung brought a counterclaim alleging that Apple unlawfully used its 3G technology that allows users to take calls while uploading photos and other documents. Justice Annabelle Bennett of the Federal Court of Australia [official website], presiding over Monday's hearing called [Bloomberg report] the case "ridiculous" and asked both parties why the cases should not go to mediation. She gave both companies until the end of this week to answer. Despite the fact that the decision of the Australian court would not have a direct impact on cases brought by the companies in other countries, the outcome could significantly change the course both companies will take in other jurisdictions. Apple had initially won an injunction of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the Australian market which was overturned by the Federal Court. The litigation battle between the companies began in April 2011 when Apple sued Samsung [JURIST report] alleging the company copied its designs for the original iPhone and iPad in its Galaxy S line of smartphones and tablet devices.
Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in continuous patent litigation around the world. Earlier this month, a UK court ruled [JURIST report] in favor of Samsung in a design infringement case brought by Apple alleging that three of Samsung's tablets infringed upon Apple's registered design patents while Samsung denied infringement. The court held that the designs of Samsung's Tablets 10.1, 8.9 and 7.7 did not infringe upon the Community Registered Design No. 000181607-0001 which belongs to Apple. On the other hand, a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] issued an injunction [JURIST report] against Samsung to stop the sale of its Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the US. Judge Lucy Koh held that Apple is likely to succeed on the merits in the litigation and would likely suffer irreparable harm if Samsung's sale of its smartphone is not stopped immediately. A week earlier, Koh had already granted [JURIST report] an injunction against Samsung blocking the sale of its Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer while the patent infringement case is reviewed. Apple filed a suit [JURIST report] against Samsung in April of last year alleging that Samsung committed 10 patent infringements, two trademark violations and two trade dress violations by copying iPhone and iPad technology in making its "Galaxy" products. In June, the District Court of The Hague ruled [JURIST report] in favor of Samsung against Apple holding that Apple was liable for infringing upon one of the Korean company's four patents, a 3G patent. In March Samsung filed suit [JURIST report] against Apple in the Seoul Central District Court in South Korea alleging Apple had infringed three of its utility patents.