Samsung to use Apple-HTC truce to prevent sales ban?

Samsung wants a copy of the Apple-HTC settlement agreement, as it has major ramifications for Apple's exclusivity argument.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

Apple and HTC are putting their differences behind them, with a deal that lets them license each other's patents for the next 10 years. But any hopes of Apple and Samsung calling a similar truce have been thoroughly quashed, as the Korean company is trying to use the deal to stop its own products being banned, The Verge reports.

According to a court document, Samsung wants a copy of the Apple-HTC settlement agreement so it can see which patents it covers. If Apple has licensed any of those Samsung was found to have infringed in its $1bn lawsuit -- such as bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom -- the latter will argue the former can't try to ban its own products.

In the words of the court filing, Apple will have been happy to "forego exclusivity in exchange for money". And hence it shouldn't be allowed to ban Samsung's products, in Samsung's eyes, as Apple has already won more than $1bn from it, along with potentially another $700m.

During the trial with Samsung, Apple said it did license its standards-essential and computing patents, but "we strongly desire not to license" those covering user experience, such as slide to unlock, and the others you actually see the benefit of when you use the device. According to Boris Teksler, Apple's director of patent licensing and strategy, anyone licensing the user experience patents would be making an exact clone of an Apple device.

Apple has already said it'll let Samsung see the agreement, but it needs to give HTC 10 days' notice, apparently. Apple and Samsung are set for a major pow-wow about the potential sales ban on 6 December, so the court should let Samsung see the agreement well before then.

This could change everything. Do you think Apple should be allowed to license its patents, then impose a sale ban on other companies that use them? Or has Samsung come up with a watertight get-out? Let me know what you think below in the comments, or on our Facebook page.