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Verizon goes to bat for Samsung in Apple patent spat

Mon, 09/26/2011 - 8:00am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Verizon Wireless is supporting Samsung in its ongoing legal battle with Apple over patents used in its Android-based smartphones.

The operator filed an amicus curiae brief with a Northern California District Court on Friday, arguing that Apple's requested injunction against Samsung's wireless devices would harm consumers and could even slow the deployment of its LTE network.

"The requested injunction of certain Samsung products will harm Verizon Wireless and U.S. consumers," the company wrote. "It also has the possibility of slowing the deployment of next-generation networks – such as Verizon Wireless' – contrary to the stated goals of the U.S. government."

The brief was filed ahead of an Oct. 13 court hearing on Apple's motion for a preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G and Droid Charge, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Verizon said the injunction should not be granted because it is not in the public interest, citing the 1985 case Roper Corp. v. Litton Sys.

Samsung is one of only six manufacturers making smartphones for Verizon's LTE network. Its Android-based devices have been hugely popular, and a ban on the importation of the devices could be a blow to smartphone sales at Verizon right before the critical holiday shopping season. Verizon also sells the iPhone.

"The proposed injunction would disproportionately affect the very devices that are most critical to adoption and expansion of Verizon Wireless' next-generation network," the company wrote.

Apple and Samsung's intellectual property fight over Android began in April, when Apple accused Samsung of "slavishly" copying its products. The battle now reportedly spans 10 countries, including Germany, Australia, Korea and the United States.

Apple recently scored a victory over Samsung in Germany when a court barred direct sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

Samsung told The Associated Press last week that the company planned to fight Apple in a "more aggressive way from now on."

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