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Verizon: Samsung 4G ban not in our, er, public interest

Telco urges US court to scrap Apple's injunction

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Verizon Wireless has taken a legal stand on the side of Samsung in the ongoing war between the South Korean company and Apple over smartphones and fondleslabs.

The company filed an amicus brief* at the Californian court that is hearing Apple's request for a US-wide ban on Samsung's 4G mobile products. The fruity iPhone maker has had other injunctions against Samsung upheld elsewhere in the world.

Verizon Wireless - the biggest mobile provider in the US and a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Blighty's Vodafone - said in the brief:

The requested injunction of certain Samsung products will harm Verizon Wireless and US consumers. It also has the possibility of slowing the deployment of next-generation networks -  such as Verizon Wireless’s - contrary to the stated goals of the US government.

In order to grant the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction, this court must find that the requested relief will not do serious harm to the public interest.

Verizon Wireless says that the injunction would stop "some of the newest, most advanced wireless devices sold today" and that would in turn slow down the growth of its 4G network.

The firm added:

Verizon Wireless has invested and is investing billions in developing and deploying its next-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network; that investment depends on consumers having access to devices that can make use of that network.

The telco is also annoyed that the motion to prohibit Samsung devices is coming at a bad time, when the company is "expanding its LTE network to paying customers and right before the holiday shopping season".

Interestingly, Verizon Wireless also points out that the bid to ban Samsung devices is only on those products that use next-generation networks, even though the patent at the heart of the dispute covers the way documents can be viewed on devices:

The utility patent at issue in the motion has nothing to do with the 4G network technology that makes the accused smartphones and tablet uniquely attractive to consumers.

There are nearly two dozen other devices accused in the current lawsuit that are not part of Apple’s preliminary injunction motion. But those devices are mainly older devices that are not designed to make use of Verizon Wireless’s and other carriers’ next-generation networks.

Verizon Wireless said it supports "without reservation" the protection of intellectual property rights, but says any factors on the side of the ban have to be outweighed by the public interest in protecting competition and consumers.

Neither Apple nor Verizon Wireless had responded to requests for comment at the time of publication. ®

Bootnote

* An amicus brief is a document filed in court by someone who's not directly related to the case. They're often filed by lobby or advocacy groups that want to make sure the public good or the concerns of a specific group of people are taken into consideration when deciding a case. The phrase derives from amicus curiae, which means 'friend of the court'.

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