Apple 2.0

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Apple vs. Samsung: 8 venues, 6 countries, more than 50 patents

July 7, 2011: 5:31 AM ET

A move to "streamline" an epic legal battle has only made it more complicated

Click to enlarge. Source: FOSS Patents

There was some confusion in the tech press last Saturday when Bloomberg reported that Samsung had quietly dropped a countersuit filed in California in response to Apple's (AAPL) charge last April that Samsung had "slavishly" copied Apple's iPhone.

"One down, one to go?" wrote Christopher Trout for Engadget.

Hardly. As FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller reported Wednesday, what Samsung did in California "was the opposite of a retreat." While claiming to streamline the case, Samsung actually complicated it, converting its countersuit into a counterclaim and throwing four new patents into the mix for good measure.

Apple's legal team, meanwhile, has been busy adding its own layers of complexity to what was already an epic legal snarl. Samsung had asked the U.S. International Trade Commission last week to block Apple from importing the iOS devices it makes in China, so Apple upped the ante Tuesday by asking the ITC for a preliminary injunction that would immediately ban Samsung's entire line of smart devices, including six smartphones and two tablets.

As Mueller's updated battlemap shows, the legal showdown now encompasses more than 50 patents and a half-dozen trademarks in six countries and eight legal venues. He traces the progress of the case step by step in a pdf that grows with every filing. It's now 17 pages long.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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