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Apple accuses Samsung of abusing its 3G power

Firm says Sammy wanted way too much cash for its patents

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Apple got in one last dig against Samsung in the US on Friday, claiming that the Korean tech giant abused its "monopoly power" gained by its ownership of wireless patents and demanded unreasonable royalties from Apple for its iDevices.

The two firms raced to persuade the jury, which is due to start deliberating later this week, in the final day of testimony, as they crammed witnesses into the last few hours of Judge Lucy Koh's allotment of 25 hours each.

As well as accusing Samsung of being downright unfair when it comes to its standards essential patents (SEP), Apple also alleged once more that Sammy didn't do right by the standard in the first place as well. The fruity firm has claimed before that Samsung didn't fully disclose the patents it had to the authorities before the 3GPP standard was adopted.

To back that assertion up, Apple put Michael Walker, a former chairman of ETSI, the European standards body, on the stand, AllThingsD, The Guardian and others reported.

Walker said that Samsung didn't tell the body in time that it held the patents which it is now accusing Apple of violating. But Samsung said that ETSI had never had any problem with it on that score and anyway, it didn't have to tell the body about its IP, because it was confidential.

Apple also brought out another well-worn argument, that the Korean chaebol had tried to squeeze an excessive amount of cash out of it for the 3G SEP licence. Richard Donaldson, a former Texas Instruments patent lawyer, was the expert for this part of the row, claiming that Samsung's demands were neither fair nor reasonable, though they're supposed to be for standards patents. Patents covering standard technology used across the board are supposed to be licensed to rival punters on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) terms.

Donaldson added that if all SEP owners demanded the same level of licensing fees, the costs would amount to half of the price of iPhones.

As the minutes ticked down in the firms' testimony time, both sides had to cross-examine witnesses quickly – and sometimes even didn't bother, saving the time for their own witnesses. Koh assigned the ticking clocks when it looked like the tech firms were going to drag out the case for years with their extensive presentations and witnesses.

Even with the 25-hour timeframes, Apple tried to put in a list of 75 witnesses on Thursday – even though it was only supposed to have a few hours of time left. Koh was not too happy, snapping that unless the lawyer was "smoking crack" he had to know he wasn't getting all those people on the stand.

That was enough to convince both Apple and Samsung that she was serious, and they stuck to within seconds of their remaining time on Friday.

The pair will battle today on what final instructions should be given to the jury, before they hear closing arguments on Tuesday, for which Koh has given them two hours each. Then the jury will be able to start its deliberations.

Koh had advised both sides to consider more settlement talks last week, but there's been no mention of any negotiations yet, making it a lot more likely that Apple and Samsung are going to leave it up to the jury. ®

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