Samsung, Apple allowed to add products including iPhone 5 in patent lawsuit

The Judge raised the possibility that Apple's latest tablets could be included if Samsung requests it

A court in California has allowed Samsung Electronics to include Apple's iPhone 5 among the products alleged to have infringed its patents, while also allowing Apple to amend its infringement contentions to include the Jelly Bean operating system and newer products from Samsung such as the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the U.S. version of the Galaxy S III.

Paul S. Grewal, Magistrate Judge of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division in his order on Thursday also raised the possibility that Apple's latest tablets may also be allowed to be added if Samsung requests their inclusion.

"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," Judge Grewal wrote in his order. Any amended contentions shall be served no later than Nov. 23, he added.

In February, Apple filed suit against Samsung alleging that certain Samsung smartphones, media players, and tablets, including the Galaxy Nexus, infringed on eight of Apple's patents. Samsung filed a response and cross-complaint, denying its products infringed on any of Apple's patents and alleging that Apple's iPhone and iPad products infringed on eight patents owned by Samsung, according to court papers.

The lawsuit is one of two patent infringement disputes between Apple and Samsung pending before the court. In the other lawsuit, a jury decided in August that the South Korean company must pay Apple US$1.05 billion for infringing several of its patents in Samsung smartphones and tablets. Samsung has, however, asked for a new trial of the case, alleging the foreman of the jury, Velvin Hogan, was untruthful and biased and did not disclose certain information in the voir dire, a court procedure of questioning prospective jurors for potential bias.

Samsung requested for leave to amend to include the iPhone 5 as an infringing product, as it was required to submit its infringement contentions on June 15 while the iPhone 5 was released later in the year on Sept. 21. The company could not have known the specifications of the iPhone 5 before it was released in September, Judge Grewal observed in his order.

Apple's leave to amend included the addition of newly-released Samsung products as infringing devices, clarifying changes to the claims charts, and the addition of several mistakenly-omitted claims charts.

Like the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 was released after the parties exchanged their infringement contentions, Judge Grewal said. Apple was also allowed in the order to update infringement contentions with respect to the Samsung S III, as it had previously filed infringement contentions against the device based on its U.K. version, before the U.S. version was released.

Apple was, however, allowed to include Jelly Bean, a version of the Android operating system, only with regard to the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung does not have any design control over the content of Jelly Bean as it is a Google Android product that Samsung itself did not develop, the Judge said. "The court will not permit a sweeping amendment that might apply to devices other than those properly tied to Samsung," he added.

The court also allowed Apple to add 17 more Samsung products to its pen stylus claims. Apple had sought to add claims 1, 2, 4, 5 and 13 of U.S. Patent No. 5,666,502 to its infringement contentions for the devices because they could also be used with a stylus.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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