Apple And Samsung Square Off In Australia

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

With their patent trial set to go to an American court next week, Apple and Samsung have started their patent wars in the Land Down Under today as an Australian judge started hearing evidence for what is expected to be a 3-month long trial.

In addition to America and Australia, the two companies can also be seen duking it out in Germany and the UK.

The Australian judge might not be too keen on ruling over this case, however, and has said the battle over the use of wireless technology  is “ridiculous” and would be best settled in mediation rather than a court room, a sentiment which has been growing amongst International judges.

Samsung sued Apple over the way their products transfer data over 3G. This was in response to Apple´s claims that Samsung products look too similar to their products. Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett will be presiding over the Australian case.

In opening arguments, Samsung´s lawyer Neil Young stated that Apple has refused to pay Samsung for a license to a very standards-essential technology covering the iPhone´s ability to receive phone calls while data is downloaded in the background.

Apple´s lawyer Stephen Burley refuted these claims, saying the iPhone maker was willing to license the patents, but Samsung refused to do so.

Judge Bennet made her stance on the case known immediately, saying, “Why on earth are these proceedings going ahead?”

“It´s just ridiculous.”

Judge Bennet then went on to suggest that Apple and Samsung´s size and popularity are what´s driving these cases to court, saying a case by any other companies would be sent immediately to mediation.

“Why shouldn´t I order the parties to mediation?”

Judge Bennet should have an answer from the two smart phone manufacturers next week.

Though it may appear as if this case will simply be another row between the two smartphone rivals, some are expecting this case to have some long last effects. Some have wondered if this case could put a $5 billion partnership between the two companies in jeopardy. Others, like Melbourne-based patent lawyer Mark Summerfield, wonder if the results of this Australian case will shape the way any future case in other countries will be carried out.

Speaking to Reuters, Summerfield said, “there´s no doubt there´s a strategic and psychological effect” in the Australian case. “Courts in other countries will watch what is happening here,” he said.

Samsung has scored a victory in Australia before when an injunction against the sale of the Galaxy 10.1 was overturned at the end of the year. Apple has seen more recent success in courtrooms, however, as Judge Lucy Koh placed a ban on both Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets and the Samsung Nexus smartphone, a ban which was later overturned by a US appeals court.

Apple and Samsung continue their worldwide battles in Germany, the UK and the US.