Unintentionally, Samsung might end up helping its rival Apple (via Bloomberg) to save an enormous sum of $533 million that Apple was supposed to pay over a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Smartflash earlier in February.
Apple was ordered by a jury in February to pay $533 million as its iTunes service infringed patents owned by Texas licensing firm Smartflash. The patents in question have to do with mechanism for controlling access to digital data through payment systems. Apple was targeted by the company for overstepping a subset of these very patents in iTunes.
Now, Samsung seems to have fallen into the same pit and has been sued over by the same technology. Smartflash lists a total of 7 patents on its website, all of which have to do with “Data storage and access systems” and, according to its legal department, collectively Apple and Samsung are in violation of 6 of them.
However, the company has managed to convince the US regulators to review whether two patents owned by Smartflash should have been issued in the first place. If the court rules in favor of Samsung, the same would be applied in Apple’s case.
Commenting on this development, Justin Oliver, who leads Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto’s office for contested patent office proceedings said-
Can Apple put off paying any damages until there’s resolution of the Samsung case?. If it’s forced to pay damages, it’s very difficult to get that back.
A patent issue review board has also presented its preliminary findings, which suggest that the patents are not qualified for legal protection as they are based on ideas rather than functioning technology. The judges will review these arguments pertaining both Smartflash and Samsung and then issue their decision in about a year and odds are very much in favor for Samsung.
There are still hearings to be held, as well as decisions to be made on petitions to reconsider the Smartflash patents, filed by both the corporations.