Last year, Steve Jobs tried (and failed) to defuse Samsung patent row

Last year, Steve Jobs tried (and failed) to defuse Samsung patent row

The legal fight between Apple and Samsung over claims the Korean smartphone vendor had copied smartphone and tablet designs entered new territory on Thursday after it was revealed that Apple founder and ex-CEO Steve Jobs personally tried to intervene in proceedings and head-off courtroom meetings last year, before it filed legal complaints across the world.

According to a MarketWatch release, Apple and Samsung were back in a Sydney courtroom to give evidence over an injunction that could see the ban of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 device in Australia. During the meeting, senior Apple executive Richard Lutton said that Jobs moved to quell tempers between the companies because of the close supplier relationship they held.

“The discussions started with contact from (Jobs), and then he wasn’t involved in meetings beyond that,” Lutton told the Federal Court in Sydney when cross-examined by Samsung attorney David Catterns.

The case has been adjourned to Friday, with Justice Annabelle Bennett hoping to decide whether to block sales and imports of Samsung’s tablet device by next week. Samsung, which hoped to place its tablet on sale from Friday, will wait until a judgement is made.

According to the release:

Lutton said Samsung is an “important” supplier of components to Apple and the two companies have “a deep relationship”. He said this relationship was one of the reasons that Apple started talking to Samsung in the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2010 “to give them a chance to do the right thing”.

This initial conciliatory approach didn’t work. Samsung, which supplies memory chips and flat panels that are used in iPhones and iPads, released its first Galaxy tab in Germany in September last year.

In the meeting, Samsung said it would be happy to amend technologies used in its tablet that ignored selective or accidental touches – a technology argued in one of Apple’s patent complaints – with Samsung’s lawyer noting “we can live without that feature, Your Honour. I told you it was trivial”.

Samsung recently backed up claims that it would react to Apple’s patent claims aggressively by filing four cases in The Netherlands accusing the Cupertino-based company of infringing patents with its iPhone and iPad products that utilise wireless technologies.

The electronics giant has appealed for a Dutch trade and import ban on sales of all Apple’s smartphones and tablets. The ban is said to apply to Apple but also five other companies that are affiliated with Apple’s sales and distribution. The infringement and trade ban encompasses “in particular but not exclusively for the latest products from Apple iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 1 and iPhone 2” writes Samsung in its indictment. It also claims one million euros for each violation of the ban on sales and imports.

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