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Samsung smacks Apple back with 8-patent knuckleduster

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Samsung has responded to Apple's California-filed patent suit with a fat bundle of its own patents, including a couple that fall under the much-discussed FRAND rules.

The countersuit accuses Apple of infringing eight Samsung patents, including two which Samsung claims are "essential" to the telephony standards laid done by ETSI. Those essential patents are subject to Fair Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing, but Samsung has already accused Apple of rejecting such licences in the past.

The details come courtesy of Florian Mueller, who's been loitering around the patent courts again. Mueller points out that despite filing claims in various countries, Samsung has never succeeded in an infringement claim against Apple, but this is a big war and one can't be put off by defeat in a few early skirmishes.

The good Mr Mueller also makes the point that Samsung is under investigation by the EU into its use of FRAND patents, and therefore displays considerable nerve citing them in America. The problem being that "fair and reasonable" can look very different from opposite sides of a deal, and while Non-Discriminatory might appear explicit it's harder to apply when deals often include cross-licensing and are hidden by commercial confidentiality.

The filing from Samsung also includes US patents on "a volume control for external audio reproduction" and multimedia synchronisation, among other things, but it's all grist to the mill for the lawyers involved in what could be the largest of the ongoing patent spats endemic in the mobile industry these days. ®

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