Judge OKs iPhone 5, newest Galaxy devices for next big trial

Some of Apple and Samsung's latest mobile devices can be added to an upcoming trial between the two tech giants.

by Josh Lowensohn  November 16, 2012 10:10 AM PST  (Credit: CNET)

Some of Apple and Samsung's latest devices have been given the go-ahead to be included in an ongoing lawsuit between the two tech giants.

In an order yesterday, U.S. magistrate judge Paul Grewal granted motions from both companies that sought to add devices launched after a legal cutoff in mid-June.

That shortlist includes Apple's iPhone 5, which debuted in September, Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1, the U.S. model of the Galaxy S3, and, notably, Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS in conjunction with the Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

The new devices add to an already impressive tally by Apple, which is accusing 19 of Samsung's devices of infringing claims from eight of its patents. The case, which is separate from one a Northern California jury decided in Apple's favor in August, is scheduled to go to trial in March 2014.

The most curious bit is the inclusion of Google's Android operating system into the spat. So far, the battle between the two companies has been seen as a proxy for a fight between Apple and Google, though much of Apple's offense during its previous suit against Samsung focused on exterior design issues and not just what it said were similarities to patented software features.

In the order, Grewal notes that Apple can't just target the Android OS for all Samsung devices, and that the OS itself is not something Samsung developed. Instead, the use of the OS is restricted simply to the a Samsung's smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus. "The court will not permit a sweeping amendment that might apply to devices other than those properly tied to Samsung," he said.

Both companies have time to add other devices to the fray. In the closing of Thursday's order, Grewal gave Apple a not-so-subtle warning that it should refrain from trying to block any efforts on Samsung's part to do just that with some of its latest products, which have not yet been brought into the spat.

"Given the early stage of this litigation and the reasoning of this order, the court notes that Apple should think twice before opposing similar amendments reflecting other newly-released products -- e.g. the iPad 4 and iPad Mini -- that Samsung may propose in the near future," Grewal wrote.


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