Who’s suing who: September 2012

With court rulings as hard to predict as a substitute NFL referee’s penalty calls, it can be hard to keep track of who’s suing who in the tech world and how everyone’s getting on. Here’s a quick update on recent developments.

Samsung has failed to overturn a temporary sales ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. That was a ban put in place before the jury trial between Samsung and Apple. This week’s ruling means the device will remain under the ban unless and until Samsung prevails in an appeal on the patent case itself.

Samsung is seriously considering a brand new lawsuit against Apple, this time based on the way it incorporated LTE in the iPhone 5. Samsung has already begun legal preparations but will wait until it gets hold of a handset for a closer examination before making a decision to proceed.

The International Trade Commission has made a preliminary ruling to reject Samsung claims of patent violations by Apple. That’s not a court battle as such, but the ITC can ban imports of violating devices to the US. In practice, with so many devices made abroad, that would be as good as a sales ban.

Microsoft and Apple have both won patents cases in Germany against Motorola (now owned by Google.) The Microsoft case involves how mobile devices deal with user commands while the Apple case involved “bounce back” technology that puts icons back in the right place after they’ve been dragged out of position. Both cases look set to go to appeal but if upheld would mean Motorola couldn’t use the technology in Germany without paying a license fee.

A wireless tech firm Unwired Planet (formerly Openwave) has filed 10 complaints apiece against Apple and Google for alleged patent infringement. Forbes has the full details, but at first glance it appears to be a scattergun approach claiming infringements with everything from speech recognition to maps to over-the-air software updates. Unwired Planet holds around 200 patents but doesn’t appear to manufacture anything: make of that what you will.

The state of Illinois is suing, Hitachi, LG, Philips, Panasonic, Samsung and Toshiba for allegedly colluding to fix the price of cathode ray tubes between 1995 and 2007. To add a little juiciness, one of the customers said to have been faced with unfairly high prices was Apple.