Italian Court rejects Samsung’s request for injunction against Apple in Italy

On 5 January 2012 an Italian Court rejected Samsung’s request for an injunction against Apple in relation to the sale of the iPhone 4S in Italy.  Samsung alleges that Apple is violating a number of its patents, which Samsung claims are essential to implement the 3G/UMTS standard used in smartphones like the iPhone 4S.

According to the Court’s order (the Court issued a second order in relation to a different patent), the injunction to stop marketing of the iPhone 4S cannot be granted, mainly because Apple (albeit unsuccessfully) requested that Samsung grant a license for certain patents on FRAND terms.  Apple even set aside an amount in the event that Samsung was deemed to be entitled to royalties, notwithstanding the fact that Apple disputes Samsung’s entitlement to any royalty at all.

The Milan Court further noted that, as a result of an agreement between Samsung and Qualcomm that relates, inter alia, to the contested patents, Samsung agreed not to sue “Qualcomm’s customers.”  According to the Milan Court, Apple would appear to fall within such a definition to the extent that its iPhone 4S incorporates Qualcomm’s chips (using Samsung technology), even though the chips are actually bought by the intermediary that assembles the iPhone.

The Milan Court will address Apple’s claims on the merits, which state that Samsung abused its dominant position by setting the 3G/UMTS standard (“a patent ambush”) and by refusing to license its “essential” standards on FRAND terms. [Gabriele Accardo]