Apple vs. Samsung: Another Patent Slapfight, Another Exasperated Judge
Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett, the judge presiding over the Apple-Samsung patent dispute in Australia, is fast losing her patience with the two bickering companies and their petulant call and response.
On Monday, after listening to Samsung argue that Apple has refused to license three standard essential patents covering 3G wireless data transmission — and Apple argue that it offered to pay Samsung what it presumably feels to be a fair and reasonable licensing fee, which it refused — Bennett threw up her hands in frustration, declaring the case ludicrous.
“Why on earth are these proceedings going ahead?” Bennett asked. “It’s just ridiculous. … Why shouldn’t I order the parties to mediation?”
Indeed, why not?
Well, here’s one reason: Mediation has been tried before with these two players, and it hasn’t worked. In the U.S., court-mediated settlement talks between the warring companies began and ended at the same impasse, with Apple continuing to insist that Samsung “slavishly” copied the design of its iPhone and iPad, and Samsung demanding that Apple pay royalties on the wireless patents it believes the company infringed. It’s hard to imagine the outcome would be any different in Australia. As I’ve noted here before, the stakes in this battle are far too high and the fronts it’s being fought on far too numerous; Apple and Samsung have more than 50 lawsuits pending against one another in some 10 countries. And that fact alone would seem to belie any chance of an amicable resolution.
Apple, you’ll recall, was one of the parties, along with Google’s Motorola Mobility, in the most recent patent spat to irritate a judge beyond words. So, one more and we can officially call it a trend.