Still reeling from its major court defeat
against Apple in the US and a string
of legal losses
in other countries (punctuated by the occasional -- but minor -- victory), Samsung has now added the iPhone 5 to its new lawsuit against Apple, this time claiming that all LTE-equipped mobile devices Apple makes are in violation of eight patents the Korean "fast follower" device maker holds. The lawsuit is widely seen as weak, since at least some of Samsung's LTE patents would likely be declared "standards-essential" and subject to FRAND regulations.
Samsung originally threatened to sue Apple in August
over the LTE patents if the company brought out any products that used LTE, but was apparently unaware at the time of the statement that Apple had already launched the LTE-equipped third-generation iPad months earlier. Apple has maintained that it buys its LTE radios from Qualcomm, which has a full license for the patents, and thus that license extends to its customers. Qualcomm has taken the same position, though it is not a party in the suit.
The biggest question in the suit is to what degree Samsung's LTE patents will be considered standards-essential when tested in court. The Korean company is risking having some patents ruled FRAND-eligible, weakening its portfolio. It's also possible that some will be found invalid, though Samsung is thought to hold about 12.2 percent of all LTE patents (with Qualcomm and Nokia holding equal or larger stakes). Samsung has not had much success in getting courts to uphold patents it has used in legal battles thus far.
Should a court find that Qualcomm's license covers the buyers of its radios, the case could also be dismissed, handing Apple a further victory. A number of analysts have said that the suit could be aimed at forcing Apple to agree to a cross-licensing deal, where Samsung would be granted licenses for some of the many Apple patents they have been found guilty of infringing in exchange for a cessation of legal wrangling.