Samsung Electronics has scored two victories against Apple in a global patent war between the two IT titans, but now both face a class-action suit in the U.S for allegedly gathering smartphone users' personal information. Samsung and Apple are locked in around 30 patent infringement suits in 10 countries, including the U.S., Germany and Australia.
After an Australian court overturned a sales ban for Samsung's Galaxy Tab, a district court in San Jose last week threw out a preliminary injunction filed by Apple against Samsung seeking to ban the sale of the Korean company's key products in the U.S. Judge Lucy Koh ruled that although the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab look similar, products resembling both of them have existed in the past.
This seems to give an upper hand to Samsung, which claims Apple infringed its technology patents rather than design. All eyes are now on an upcoming ruling in Paris on Thursday regarding an injunction request by Samsung seeking to ban the sale of the iPhone 4S. Germany's Post Patent reports that patent courts generally place more value on technological innovation than design, and that while Apple may have succeeded in the market with its superior design, the situation could be different in court.
Meanwhile, U.S. telecoms have apparently been gathering private information of their customers, leading to a class action suit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. Four consumers in Delaware accuse AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Apple of eavesdropping and fraud. In Illinois and Missouri, Samsung and HTC are accused of the same charges along with software developer Carrier IQ.
The plaintiffs say Carrier IQ's software provides telecoms with information on which buttons a smartphone user pressed, call time and length of program use. They added the program also enables mobile carriers to see which websites have been visited and monitor text messages and passwords. Samsung said it installed the program at the request of telecoms but denied gathering any information itself.